Financial Facts

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Holiday Travel; Financial Loose Ends to tie Before you Leave The holiday season is upon us, and that brings many changes to our routines and schedules, including holiday travel. It can be wonderful to get away and reunite with family and friends, but it can also be overwhelming. After all, it’s the busiest time of year for travel. Aside from the hustle and bustle, the list of potential stress-inducing travel factors includes weather — inclement or not — the expense of travel, scheduling vacation for the family in the midst of their own commitments and packing. To help reduce some of your pre-holiday travel stress, we’ve listed five finance-related loose ends to tie up before you leave for the holidays. Even if you stay home for the season, these tips are great to help relieve stress. Make Online Banking Your Best Friend While traveling, you won’t be able to easily visit your familiar credit union branch to conduct necessary transactions. Depending upon where you are traveling, you might not even be able to call. Online banking will be a lifesaver for you if you need to make a quick transfer from savings to checking or order a replacement debit card. Start using it now to familiarize yourself with the system before you leave. Let Your Credit Union Know You’re Traveling To help protect you from fraudulent purchases on your debit and credit cards, your credit union tracks your spending activity. If your credit union thinks that you are in Michigan and a purchase from Ireland appears in your account, they might place a temporary block on your cards to prevent any further fraud from occurring. If you actually were in Ireland, a block on your card would be inconvenient and cause undue stress. Before you leave, place a travel notice on your account to avoid any mishaps of this sort. A travel notice should be placed on your account for any type of travel: international, across the country, or even within your home state. Check ATM Locations Before You Leave If visiting another country where you need local currency, ATMs can often offer you the best conversion rate. Make sure you check to see what fees are associated with ATM use and if that will be the best choice for you to get currency prior to leaving. If you’re not in a major city, though, it could also be difficult to find an ATM and withdraw money. In that case, make sure you research alternative payment options such as traveler’s checks, credit cards or ordering local currency prior to departure. Don’t Forget About Those Bills When you are gearing up for the big family holiday dinner and party, your Netflix subscription is probably not your primary focus. Give yourself one less thing to remember and schedule your payments, including subscriptions, credit cards and utilities, in advance. Plan for Emergencies As you might have experienced in the past, things don’t always go as planned. Prepare for the unexpected as much as you possibly can. Keeping an additional debit or credit card in a safe place and only carrying a small amount of cash are both ways to help you have a back up plan should your wallet or purse be lost or stolen. Of course, we hope that you will have a safe, enjoyable and mishap-free holiday season. But just in case, take these action steps now and spend the holiday season worry free. Deidre Davis is the Vice President of Marketing and Communications at MSU Federal Credit Union. MSUFCU’s headquarters are at 3777 West Road East Lansing, MI 48823. Contact Deidre at deidre.davis@msufcu.org or (517) 664-7877.
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