Guiding consumers since 2009

Keeping your money safe when travelling overseas

By Jessica Anne Wood

If you’re going on holiday or on a business trip one of your concerns may be how you travel with your money or cards safely. Many people fear being a victim of fraud when going overseas, but MasterCard believe they have found a solution to this problem.

With the rise in the use of smartphones, improved network coverage and more affordable data roaming options and the increase of free Wi-Fi, it is easier for travellers to use their cell phone for a range of services wherever they are in the world. “Research indicates that 80 percent of travellers now use their smartphone while overseas,” said Ajay Bhalla, president for enterprise security for MasterCard.

However, with increased use of technology while abroad, travellers are increasingly becoming targets for cybercriminals, increasing their chance of being affected by fraud. According to Bhalla, the key to ensuring a traveller’s safety against cybercriminals and fraud lies in their mobile phone.

“Mobile phones can unlock unexpected benefits for digital payments. One benefit is the digital wallet, which simplifies the digital payment landscape both domestically and internationally. Digital wallets are a one-stop payment source, which enables consumers to shop whether online, in app and now in-store with contactless in multiple countries. Behind the scenes, smartphones can now also use location information to verify user identity to ensure a smoother travel experience,” explained Bhalla.

A changing payment landscape

When it comes to card payments overseas, it is vital that you inform your bank of your intention to use your card abroad, or else or transactions will most likely be declined. “While the bank is attempting to manage fraud, a blocked transaction at a critical moment and in an unfamiliar place is not just an inconvenience, it can feel like a lifeline being cut. However, new technology allows mobile phones to verify your location, reducing the chances of your card being falsely declined,” said Bhalla.

Furthermore, Bhalla pointed out that the advantages of this technology are not only limited to consumers. Banks and retailers are able to avoid lost business and weakened consumer confidence with these new payment methods.

“It’s crucial that security measures are wielded accurately so that payments are not only safer but smarter, too. This also means that using multiple layers of security is paramount.

“Further solutions enable banks, retailers and travellers to exchange vital purchasing information which is used to evaluate the risk of a current transaction. By considering transaction risk levels and consumer behaviour patterns, the chances of a card being falsely declined is reduced regardless of location,” noted Bhalla.

In addition, this technology also allows consumers to have greater control and oversight over their spending and finances. Via their smartphone, travellers can receive real-time alerts, and can set spending limits, while also having the ability to turn on and off credit or debit at certain merchants or within certain locations.

“It’s clear that we are now only just scratching the surface of the possibilities the smartphones can unlock for a generation on the move. And as we continue to see advances in geolocation technologies and biometrics, digital transactions will continue to become safer, simpler and more convenient wherever we are, every time we make a payment,” added Bhalla.

Further reading:

  1. FIA launches fraud watchdog
  2. Protect yourself against identity fraud
  3. Tips to beat ATM fraud
  4. Protect yourself from fraud this festive season
  5. Credit card fraud on the rise


 Handy tip: Planning to travel? Make sure you are adequately insured while you are away. You can apply for a range of insurance products on Justmoney, click here.

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