Paying abroad Are your finances vacation-ready?

Vacations come round sooner than you think. Before you start packing your bags, first check your wallet. Eight invaluable tips.

byUBS Insights 04 Jun 2019

You have the tickets in your hands; your flight leaves at 6:30 a.m.; the night before, you check every item on your packing list. Sun cream and insect spray are a given, but more important still is that you have all your travel documents with you and can access your money at any time. To ensure that happens without a hitch, there are a few things to consider.

1. Home delivery of foreign currency

To buy a holiday souvenir at a souvenir stand or hand the hotel staff a tip, you’ll need some cash in the local currency. But that doesn’t have to mean a trip to the nearest bank: you can order cash in around 75 foreign currencies in UBS E-Banking or the UBS Mobile Banking App. Simply select “Payments,” then click “Foreign currency.” Your money will be delivered within one to two working days, free of charge and insured against loss.

Image: istockphoto

2. Nothing in excess

“Cash is king” can be a risky motto for vacations: if your cash is stolen, you´re not likely to see it again. In addition, carrying only high-value notes in your wallet or purse isn´t practical. In many countries – especially outside the EU – stores, restaurants and taxis are suspicious of high-value notes, afraid they may be counterfeit. You’ll save yourself some trouble by carrying cash in small denominations.

3. Hold the winning cards

Credit cards really come into their own when you’re on vacation. In addition to their convenience and acceptability worldwide, they´re practically indispensable for some hotel and car rental companies. For example, some firms like Europcar waive the usual security deposit and offer additional discounts if you pay by credit card.

Paying by credit card is safer than cash because if your card is lost or stolen it can be blocked easily. All you’ve lost is a piece of plastic rather than all your money.

4. Total peace of mind

Let’s take a look at a worst-case scenario: after browsing through a street market you enter a cafe for a quick break, only to discover that your credit card is gone. No need to panic: simply block the card in the UBS Mobile Banking App and order a free replacement to be sent to your home.

So that you have a clear picture of your finances at all times, you can also be notified of your credit card movements, expenses and receipts via push notification, text message or email. In UBS E-Banking or in the UBS Mobile Banking App, simply select the method that works best for you.

While you’re on vacation, credit card providers like UBS stay vigilant, letting you tune out completely. An ingenious early-warning system recognizes suspicious activity right away. If there’s the slightest doubt about a transaction, UBS will contact you – before any harm is done. And you can call our hotline around the clock. Simply save the number to your smartphone: +41 44 828 31 35.

5. If you reach your limit

Regardless of whether you’re heading to the mountains or to the beach, you have “your bank in your hand.” You can do all your banking in the UBS Mobile Banking App and keep tabs on your spending. And if you end up going over the monthly limit on your credit card, you can easily increase it under the menu item “Payment to card.”

Image: istockphoto

6. Better safe than sorry

We’re used to running backups on our smartphone. But a “backup” also makes sense for your credit card: take a second card with you. If you lose one card or it stops working, you’ll still have an ace up your sleeve. If you don’t yet have a second card, order one for free before you go on vacation. One more tip for your second card: store it in the hotel safe.

7. Don’t be left high and dry

For the perfect financial mix on vacation, it’s good to have a debit card too. Because if you do need to withdraw money, using your debit card will be cheaper.

8. Pay in the local currency

“Would you like to pay in Swiss francs?” What sounds harmless at the cash register could turn out to be a costly trap later. It’s often not clear what exchange rate is being used or what charges may apply. That’s why you’re usually better off opting to pay in the local currency. Swiss card providers like UBS ensure your credit card bill is transparent by making it clear what exchange rate was used to convert the amount, including any processing charge.

Advantage: credit cards

According to a comprehensive survey by Swiss credit card providers, two-thirds of the Swiss population take their credit card abroad. In addition to being a secure means of payment, credit cards offer many other benefits. In the case of UBS, there’s the popular KeyClub bonus program, for example, as well as discounts on car rental at Europcar and various insurance packages. This is especially good to know in the context of vacations. If you pay for a flight or other journey with your credit card, you’re automatically covered by travel and aviation accident insurance as well as the SOS Assistance Service.