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Tips for Banking Abroad

What’s the worst story you’ve heard about banking abroad? Everyone has one, whether you experienced it yourself or listened to a friend recount their tale. Recently, I heard from a friend whose brother was dining at a restaurant in Italy and planned to propose to his girlfriend during their after-dinner stroll. The romantic mood was completely killed when the waiter reported that his credit card had been frozen.

Banking abroad doesn’t have to be a nightmare if you are prepared. Point Breeze Credit Union offers several services that will help your trip go smoothly. Here are a few tips and services to consider before your next international vacation:

Notify us before you travel

As most seasoned travelers know, it’s crucial to notify your financial institution before you travel. Remember my friend’s brother whose credit card froze right before he planned to pop the question? He forgot to notify his financial institution, so when they saw charges from another country they flagged his card for potential fraud.

When you let us know about your trip, we’ll likely ask for your departure and return dates. If your travel plans change and you end up staying overseas longer than expected, make sure to let us know that too!

Check to see if our co-op network has branches near your destination

Point Breeze Credit Union is a member of the CO-OP® Network, which gives you direct, surcharge-free access to 30,000 ATMs and 5,000 shared branch locations nationwide and abroad. You can check the list of participating CO-OP locations here to find an ATM or branch in your destination.

If you can’t find a CO-OP location nearby, make sure to find out what fees, if any, will apply to your transaction(s) at other financial institutions.

Monitor your account with mobile banking

When your smartphone or tablet is connected to WiFi, open our mobile banking app to monitor and manage your accounts. If something looks fishy, notify Point Breeze Credit Union right away at 888.233.7228.

Set up recurring payments ahead of time

If you’ll be traveling for an extended period of time, plan ahead by setting up automatic payments for your various bills. Start by logging into our website and selecting Pay Bills. From there, you can set up recurring payments for any bills that are due while you’re away, like your car payment, utility bills, etc. The last thing you’ll want to return to is a dark home with no running water!

Use a Visa® TravelMoney Card

We offer reloadable Visa® TravelMoney Cards, which are accepted worldwide. Using this card provides the same safety as a traveler’s check and can also help you stick to a budget on your trip. Load up the card before you travel with a designated amount based on your travel budget – a great reminder to not overspend. But if you do see a souvenir over your budget that you can’t live without, rest assured knowing that reloading the card is simple. Another great feature is that the card comes with 90 days of purchase protection and also provides travel and emergency security.

Research exchange rates for the best deal

Before you hop on the plane, make sure you research your destination’s exchange rate. Use sites like and download a conversion app for calculations on vacation. We recommend the Currency app ($0.99) or the free My Currency Converter app – they’ll come in handy while shopping and dining.

Want to hear more tips for banking and money management while traveling abroad? Call us toll-free at 888.233.7228. We’d love to speak with you!