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Going on holiday - mobile banking checklist

Tags Money Management Saving for a Holiday
Category Budgeting

Managing finances on holiday with a mobile

The iPhone 6 is set to launch this month, giving way to a flurry of articles speculating the new features. One of the most talked about improvements, being iPayments, which is essentially a mobile payment solution. With all this talk of iPhones, we’ve taken a look at how you can use mobile tech to manage your money when you’re travelling.

Holiday spending can quickly spiral out of control when you’re enjoying yourself, and the last thing you want as a souvenir is a massive credit card bill. With some careful planning and budget tracking on your mobile, however, you can splurge safely without fear of a massive blowout.

1. Set up mobile banking

Mobile banking is a great way to keep track of your spending and access your savings while overseas. It can also help you stay on top of what you’ve paid for and avoid awkward situations. Booking your accommodation through affiliate sites, for example, can give you access to great savings, but not if your hotel hands you a duplicate bill when you check out. Having your transaction history in the palm of your hand can serve as quick and easy proof of payment.

2. Inform your bank

If you’re planning to go overseas, it’s important to let your bank know. If you start spending money in an unusual location, the bank’s fraud-detection system may freeze your account for suspicious activity. While speaking with your bank, discuss whether they have their own app – this can be particularly useful if you are also looking to buy a local SIM card to avoid roaming charges.

3. Research the destination

Knowing which service providers are accepted at your destination is important. Whether you’re worried about your type of credit card or access to ATM networks, researching beforehand will prevent you from being stuck without access to your money. Blogs, forums and travel agents can be a good way to get on-the-ground knowledge about what works and what doesn’t.

4. Consider SMS issues

If your bank sends you access codes via SMS, you won’t receive them if roaming isn’t enabled or if you’ve switched your SIM card. If this can’t be deactivated, install an SMS forwarding app so you can still get your codes sent to your phone. Alternatively, you could temporarily change your mobile number with your bank so that SMS messages get sent to a friend or relative – they can then text or email you.

“if you’re planning to go overseas, it’s important to let your bank know.”

5. Little things can add up

ATM withdrawals, EFTPOS and credit card purchases can all charge different fees overseas. Check what the charges are with your bank and plan how you will access your cash. If one of your accounts has fewer fees, use that as your primary access. Or, in the case of per-transaction costs, it may be more cost effective to make fewer withdrawals of larger amounts.

Local taxes can also creep up on you. Unlike Australia, where GST is built into the sale price, some countries add an extra tax at the cash register. Also brush up on tipping etiquette before you go – tipping of up to 20 per cent is the norm in some countries.

6. Pay bills before you leave

The last thing you want is to return home to a cold, dark house with a fridge full of spoilt food because your electricity bill wasn’t paid. Make sure your bills are up to date and any direct debits can be covered by what you have in your account.

7. Pre-purchase tickets

Pre-book what you can. Not only will this ensure you don’t miss your must-see attractions, there could also be great online specials or multi-visit discounts for major tourist sites. Often these let you download the ticket to your mobile, saving you from carrying (or losing) extra printouts. Remember to also back up everything to the cloud or online storage services. That way, if you do lose your mobile, everything’s not lost with it.

“Remember to also back up everything to the cloud or online storage services.”

8. Install useful apps

As well as your bank’s app, you may find other apps useful for keeping track of things. Tools like Spendee can be great for managing money and keeping track of your holiday budget. Task-management apps like Things or note-taking apps such as Evernote are also handy for creating an itinerary and budgeting around it.

9. Anticipate the unexpected

No matter how careful you are with planning your spending, there are some things you simply won’t anticipate. Your accommodation or transfers may fall through, or you may get stuck somewhere and have to pay for a cab rather than use public transport.

On the positive side, you may come across amazing things you didn’t realise would be available. Sometimes it can be worth blowing your budget for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. So with any budget, give yourself some room to move.

Finally, keep your receipts and tickets to track your spending as you go. This way you’ll know whether you’re blowing out your budget or being conservative. Some locations also let you claim back the tax on your purchases at the airport. If not, then the ticket stubs can be kept as keepsakes of the exciting things you did while on holiday.

How do you manage your money on the go?