Do I need to let my bank know I'm travelling overseas?

Tom Watson

10 Dec 2019

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Summer. It’s one of the most popular times of the year for Australians to head interstate or overseas to make use of the holiday period, and it's also prime time for planning that international adventure next year. 

And according to recently released figures from the Travel 2020: Forecasting the new decade of travel report commissioned by travel website Luxury Escapes, Australians will certainly be keeping up their love affair with overseas travel in the first year of the new decade. 

A survey of 20,000 travellers, which was part of the report, found that 2 in 10 Australian travellers are planning on taking an overseas trip of at least one week in 2020, with Canada (21%), USA (19%) and Italy (17%) topping the destination charts. 

Sound like someone you know?

Well while it’s difficult not to get wrapped up in planning flights and accommodation, not to mention making sure that passport is still valid, there’s one task travellers will want to add to their pre-flight checklist: letting your bank know you’re going overseas. 

RELATED: Australia's top travel money cards for 2019

"There is nothing worse than arriving at your destination and realising you can’t pay for that pool-side cocktail you just ordered. Make sure you notify your bank of your travel dates and destination so that your bank account doesn’t get blocked,” advises UBank CEO, Lee Hatton.

“UBank’s Ultra transaction account allows you to simply enter your trip details through the UBank app in minutes, making the process something you can do en-route to the airport, it’s that simple."

UBank aren’t alone in allowing their customers to alert them of their overseas travel plans via their banking app though.

In fact, they’re part of a growing number of banks allowing adding travel-friendly features to their apps, with 40% of banking apps being tracked in the Mozo database now equipped with a travel notification option. 

But if you’re not an app user, how exactly do you go about letting them know you’re heading abroad and when do you actually need to tell them? 

Read on below for answers to some of the most common questions to help you prepare for your next international trip, including some of the travel money options you could have at your disposal while abroad. 

Why do I need to alert my bank about overseas travel plans? 

As Hatton alludes to above, the last thing you want to do is start your holiday with a lock on your travel debit or credit card. This is because your bank is constantly monitoring your card for suspicious activity and purchases made overseas are one of the biggest indicators that something might not be right.    

How can I let my bank know that I’m heading overseas? 

While each bank is different, one of the easiest options is to jump online and either use your banks mobile app or online banking platform to let them know. Generally it’s as simple as selecting your travel dates and the countries you’re planning to visit. Otherwise you’ll still be able to give them a call if you’d rather speak to someone in person.        

When do I need to let them now?

Ideally you’ll want to let your bank know prior to getting on a flight or before your start using your card/s overseas, but the beauty of being able to use a mobile banking app or online banking means you could lock in your travel information while you’re waiting for your flight at the airport.  

Do I need to alert my bank if using a prepaid travel card overseas?

While it’s not always necessary to let your bank know about your travel details if you’re just going to be relying on a prepaid travel card, most banks still recommend that you get in contact with them before you leave. 

Should I use a prepaid travel card, travel debit card or travel debit card overseas? 

There are plenty of travel money options available to Aussies heading abroad, including an everyday debit or credit card, but each come with their various pros and cons. 

  • Prepaid travel cards: These can be a budget-friendly option for travellers going to multiple countries with different currencies because you’ll be able to load up the amount of money you need ahead of time. Just bear in mind that there can be costs involved when loading the card, withdrawing cash and transferring any remaining funds off the card.  

  • Travel debit cards: Many banks, including UBank, are making their bank accounts and linked debit cards more attractive to Aussie travellers with travel-friendly features such as zero foreign ATM fees and 0% foreign exchange fees. The added bonus of using a debit card is that you’ll be spending your own money, so you’re less likely to go over-budget.   

  • Travel credit cards: With the spending protection they offer and added benefits such as complimentary insurances and the ability to earn points, travel credit cards are another popular travel money option. Once again, it’s important to weigh their benefits against costs such as annual fees, foreign exchange fees and, of course, any interest you may need to pay.  

Ready to compare travel money options yourself for your next holiday abroad? Have a look at some of the hot offers in the table below or check out the winners of our 2019 Mozo Experts Choice Travel Money Awards for even more great options.

Compare travel debit cards - rates updated daily

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