Travelling Overseas? Your Credit Union can help!
Ask us about your options
There are various options for paying for goods and services while travelling abroad. Do your homework on the fees for exchanging your hard-earned money on all the options available. Your credit union offers a range of cards and options to manage your money whilst travelling. Keep things simple but make sure you give yourself options while on holiday. Take a mixture of the payment options available to you but remember to choose the ones that will best suit your holiday needs. It is also a really good idea to have a backup card that you can keep in a separate place from the rest of your cards in case your purse or wallet gets stolen.
Tell us about your plans
Like most other financial institutions, you credit union may put a hold on your card due to "unusual" activity, like an unexpected charge from a restaurant overseas. This is done to protect you should your card get stolen, however it can cause you headaches if you are in fact making legitimate purchases. By contacting South West Credit on (03) 5560 3900 before you go, a notation can be added to your account to ensure this does not happen. Your call will prevent any needless interruptions to your shopping spree.
Know your numbers and card details
We suggest you keep a copy of your cards as well as the phone numbers to call if your cards are lost or stolen in a safe place so you're prepared should something go wrong. In an event that your card is lost or stolen MasterCard can be contacted on 1800 135 538 and Visa on 1800 224 004. However for extra peace of mind you can ask for a local number for your card issuer that you can call from any phone, as some general numbers do not work in all countries.
Make sure you deal in local currencies only
Before you charge something, ask the merchant whether or not he or she plans to do a dynamic currency conversion (DCC). In such a transaction the credit-card processor (shop, restaurant, or hotel, not Visa or MasterCard) converts the currency and charges you in dollars. In most cases you'll pay the merchant a 3% fee for this service in addition to any credit-card company and foreign transaction surcharges. This is an option and as such we suggest you speak up to avoid these hidden charges.
Keep Track of Dates
If you are travelling in an area where the currency tends to fluctuate wildly, you might want to note the transaction date of your purchase. Shifty merchants will sometimes wait a few weeks (or months) to submit the charge to your credit card company in hopes of getting a better exchange rate. Your credit card statement shows both the transaction date, which is the date you made the purchase, and the posting date, which is the date the merchant presented your card company with the charge. If something seems wrong, call your credit card company and ask them to research the transaction.
So in summary...
- Do your research in advance well before you go.
- Test any cards you are taking with you before leaving.
- Make copies of your card details and ensure you have contact phone numbers in case the worst should happen.
- Carry a spare card or other payment alternative in a safe place.
- And most importantly contact your credit union and other card issuers before you go.
© 2012 South West Credit Union Co-operative Limited | ABN 44 087 651 705 | AFSL / Australian Credit Licence 241 258 | BSB 803 073