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A financial travel checklist

Published on May 9, 2024 | Webster Bank

You’ve placed your liquids, gels, and aerosols into a single, quart-size, zip-top, clear plastic bag. You’ve packed your swimsuit and are ready for that long-awaited vacation. Good news, we have you and your debit card and accounts covered, too, so there’s no need to notify us before you go on a trip!

Our enhanced security tools monitor your debit transactions automatically, and we’ll contact you if we suspect any fraudulent activity while you are off on your holiday adventures. Simply follow these eight easy travel preparation tips to ensure your debit card has maximum spending potential on vacation with a minimal chance of hiccups:

1. Set up online access to your bank accounts.

If you haven’t already, sign up for online banking to check your balance, make payments, transfer funds, and review your account activity to ensure your transactions have been posted correctly. You can sign up for online and mobile banking if you’re a Webster Bank customer. As convenient as they may be, use caution when accessing your bank accounts from a public computer while traveling; you never know if a virus or malware has been installed on a public machine. Also, be wary when using unfamiliar or unsecured public WiFi hotspots from your mobile devices, as it’s possible your sensitive account information can be intercepted and used by fraudsters long after you leave.

2. Always take more than one form of payment with you.

In addition to your debit card, it’s always a good idea to bring cash, checks, and one or two credit cards in case your debit card is stolen, damaged or doesn’t work. Be sure to store them securely and avoid leaving them unattended whenever possible.

3. Memorize your debit card personal identification number (PIN).

Memorizing your PIN will help you quickly obtain cash from ATMs while traveling. Also, use a local ATM or make a PIN-based purchase to verify your PIN is correct before leaving on your trip. CAUTION: Never write your PIN on your debit card or share it with others for security reasons.

4. Compile a list of telephone contact numbers.

Find the numbers for your bank’s customer service and fraud departments and carry them with you if you lose your debit card. For quick reference, here are the numbers Webster Bank customers should keep handy: Webster Bank: 800-325-2424 Webster Fraud Protection: 800-966-0256

5. Verify your card expiration dates and spending limits

If your debit card is expired, merchants may not accept it. Also, each of our customer’s debit cards has a daily spending limit as a fraud prevention measure. If you go over this limit, your purchases will be declined. Several declined transactions could cause your debit card to be blocked. Daily limits can be temporarily raised for vacations, special purposes, etc, so call us to increase your spending limit temporarily.

6. Make sure to respond if our fraud department calls you.

Please respond to any messages received from our fraud detection services by calling 866-416- 5690 as soon as possible to minimize any restrictions to your card access. We monitor your debit card activity to detect and prevent fraudulent transactions from hitting your checking account, and transactions outside your normal geographic area could prompt us to call you or even block your card until we can verify those transactions.

7. Only perform cash withdrawals at an ATM at a financial institution (if possible).

Withdrawing cash from official banks or financial institutions’ ATMs helps minimize various security risks to you and your account. Avoid using free-standing ATMs whenever possible (for example, an ATM on a street corner near shops or in a bar/restaurant). Free-standing ATMs do not have cameras and as much security as ATMs located on a financial institution’s property. It’s also possible for these ATMs to be compromised with skimming devices or other exploits that may make it possible to steal or otherwise misuse your account information.

8. Examine your accounts frequently for fraudulent charges

Carefully examine your bank statements and continue to do so for several months after traveling. Please inform your bank immediately if you notice any unusual or unauthorized charges.

Vacations are one of the pleasures in life, but having your card and accounts compromised can put a wrench in your plans. Follow these tips before going on your next trip, and you’re most likely to enjoy smooth sailing. Bon voyage!

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