Money tips for travellers
Don't leave home without us.
You're travelling and need to check your accounts and get some cash? Some useful money management tips for when you're on the move.
One of the most important factors for a stress-free vacation or business trip is ensuring you can access – and protect – your money. Thanks to international ATM networks and online banking, it's a lot easier to manage and exchange funds internationally. But there are still a few things to keep in mind before you leave our home and native land.
Register for Online Banking
If you haven't already, be sure to sign up for Online Banking. With Internet access, you'll have 24/7access to your accounts and be able to pay bills and transfer funds wherever you are.
Ensure you have the right amount and type of insurance
Paying for travel and major purchases with your Mastercard® credit card can offer extra protection over and above your private or employer's travel insurance. Depending on your card, you may be eligible to receive additional health coverage, accident and trip cancellation insurance, 90-day purchase and extended warranty protection and, if you rent a vehicle, additional collision coverage. Check to see what benefits your card offers.
Use ATMs – but make sure they're a financial institution's
Your Access Card offers convenient access to ATMs around the world, but surcharge-free at 4,500 THE EXCHANGE® or ACCULINK® ATMs in Canada and 40,000 Allpoint® ATMs and 500,000 Accel® ATMs in the U.S. They're the easiest way to get cash and often provide the best exchange rate for international currencies when you're outside North America. At any bank ATM there will be a transaction fee and a currency conversion fee, but it's still less than most foreign exchange kiosks. You can minimize fees by making larger and fewer withdrawals. In some countries, your first exchange may be subject to a daily withdrawal limit, so check with us before you leave. Stay away from "white label" machines, those not owned by a recognized bank – your fees are often double. Some companies even place their machines next to a bank's in hopes that travellers may get confused! In addition, most ATMs in Europe will not provide an option to choose which account you wish to pull funds from; in these instances, the funds will always be pulled from the primary chequing account. If you plan on using your Access Card in Europe, please ensure your card is linked to a chequing account.
Let us know before you go
Before you head out on your next trip – for business or pleasure – it's a good practice to let both your credit card company and your financial institution know about your travel plans. Make sure your contact information is up-to-date and provide both your email and cell phone numbers, in the event you need to be contacted about any irregular transactions or compromised cards.
Carry some foreign cash
Local currency is always welcome, and will often net you a better deal when shopping. In many cases, smaller merchants may not offer credit card payment services. If you want foreign cash before you travel, phone us or drop into your branch. Please note that while we'll typically have U.S., euro and pound sterling on hand, other currencies will need to be ordered in advance; however, it typically only takes a day or two.
Check if debit is available
Your Access Card is a great alternative to carrying cash. Direct debit payments are available virtually everywhere in Canada and at most major U.S. retailers. As an added value when travelling within the U.S., a cash-back option is available at the majority of merchant locations.
Avoid dynamic currency conversion (DCC).
Some merchants might offer to convert their prices into dollars so you can see how much you're paying on your credit card. Unfortunately, you won't see the merchant's regulated exchange rate (usually very high) that's charged on top of the card's standard foreign transaction fee. When your statement arrives, you may have paid a significant premium for the "convenience" of seeing your purchase in dollars.