Protecting Your Money at Home and Abroad

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When I first moved to London I made a rookie error. One night after I’d been out for a meal with friends, I came home to realise my wallet was missing.

I immediately retraced my steps from the restaurant to the bus ride home and remembered I’d pulled it out to pay for dinner that evening. My stomach dropped and panic set in.

It must have been stolen from my bag on the bus ride home.


I was shattered. All of my money and cards were in there. All I had left on me was £25 and some change to last me until… well, a new card could be issued. At least that’s what I thought. Thankfully, I know my bank has my back because Westpac has a Card on Hold function for Debit MasterCard, more about that in a second! I’ve now become more conscientious about where my wallet is and protecting myself by separating my cards, just in case the worst happens.

You work hard for your money so you want to keep it safe wherever you are. Here are my top tips for keeping your money safe at home and abroad!


Know what to do if the worst happens

Whether it’s at home or abroad, have you ever thought you’d lost your debit card and cancelled it, only to have it turn up a few days later? I’ve found a way to put that to an end.

Should you think your card is lost or stolen, Westpac allows you to put a temporary lock on your Debit MasterCard for up to 15 days with its Card on Hold feature. This means it cannot be accessed and gives you time to ensure you haven’t left it in a pair of pants at the bottom of the laundry bag before unnecessarily cancelling it.

Best of all, it’s really easy to use. Simply access the Card on Hold feature through Westpac’s mobile banking app, without having to call or visit a branch!!

One aspect I really like about Westpac’s Card on Hold feature is that if you’re at home in Australia, you can still withdraw money without your card from any Westpac ATM by using their ‘Cardless Cash’ function that’s also in the app. Simple!

Avoid Public Computers

If you don’t own a personal computer or prefer not to travel with a laptop or tablet, it may seem easier to head to the local internet cafe to check your emails and do your banking. The problem with public computers is that they’re really easy to hack with a device called a ‘key logger’ that can track every keystroke made on the computer, giving away all your passwords.

There's only one card I trust at home and aboard, that's my Westpac Debit Mastercard

Let your bank know when you are travelling

This is an easy one we can sometimes forget. Let your bank know you are travelling overseas to ensure your card is working when you arrive. Better still, it will help them monitor the security of your accounts and detect if a transaction seems suspicious.

You can notify your bank by heading into a branch, by phone, online or through some mobile banking apps!

Say Goodbye to International ATM withdrawal Fees

ATMs are the quickest way to access your money abroad, but can sometimes hurt your savings account with large fees. If you know your options, you can avoid having to pay withdrawal fees every time you take out money overseas.

Some Australian banks partner with international banks to provide deals for their customers when using ATMs abroad. Click here to read more about Westpac’s Global ATM Alliance, which gives Westpac customers access to over 50,000 withdrawal-fee free ATMs worldwide!

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Protect your cash

You wouldn’t walk around your hometown with large amounts of cash in your wallet, so why would you do it when you are overseas? Divide up your money and keep it in different places – like locked in the hotel safe, hidden in your suitcase or swaddled inside dirty socks, and only keep a small amount with you for daily purchases.

I also recommend this for any additional cards you might be travelling with. I keep my Debit MasterCard in my wallet and another backup card hidden safely in my suitcase. A lesson learned after my experience in London!

So there you have it, my top five tips for protecting your money at home and abroad. Do you have any more to add?

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This post was put together with the help of Westpac and Nuffnang.
All thoughts and opinions are, as always, my own.

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