Protect Your Debit Card When You Travel
Take these steps to protect your card, your identity and your account.
Debit and credit cards are both convenient alternatives to cash when you’re traveling. However, your debit card requires special care on the road, since it’s linked to your bank account. While this makes it easier to budget and manage spending, it also means that if your card is stolen, your account may be drained in no time. These hints may help you protect your card.
- Call your bank before you leave town. Let them know your travel plans, especially if you’ll be leaving the country. Give specific information about where you will be and when. This will protect you from theft—and it will ensure that your bank doesn’t cut off your card access because of an unusual increase in purchases.
- Limit the amount of money in your checking account. Travel advisor and former financial planner Nora Dunn suggests moving money beyond what you need for each leg of your trip to a savings account. That way, you can transfer funds to your checking account as you go and protect the rest.
- Monitor your account activity online. Check your accounts from secure Internet locations throughout your trip and follow up on unauthorized purchases immediately.
- Carry cash and debit cards separately. Instead of loading up your wallet or purse, split your funds into different pockets, including internal pockets in jackets. Be extra vigilant in crowds, where pickpockets have the greatest advantage.
- Use reputable ATMs. Look for those associated with financial institutions.
- Pay attention at the ATM. Experienced thieves may watch you enter your PIN and then steal your card.
- Review transactions when you get home. Don’t wait for monthly statements. Save your receipts and check them or review each transaction online.
Your Good Name Whether you’re traveling or at home, identity theft is always a concern. Find out how Nationwide ID theft coverage can put your mind at ease. Then ask your agent about adding it to your policy.