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Mobile banking on the go: Making payments with your smartphone while travelling

Written by Fiona

January 09 2024

As globalisation continues to shape our world, many individuals now choose to live, work and travel abroad. One of the practical challenges faced in this lifestyle is the payment of bills overseas. Whether you are an expatriate, a digital nomad, or someone who simply enjoys exploring the world, managing financial responsibilities across borders can seem daunting.

However, armed with the right knowledge and tools, the process can be seamless. In this article, we will explore different methods and considerations for paying bills while you are overseas.

How to Make Payments While Travelling?

1 Autopay

Autopay offers the perfect “set it and forget it” bill-paying solution. Connect your bank account to your bills, select the withdrawal date and enjoy worry-free payment even during international travel or in areas with limited internet access.

Ensure sufficient funds are available to cover the withdrawals by or before the due date. You might find it so convenient that you’ll want to keep it year-round.

2 Use Digital Payment Systems

Payment systems can become your mobile banking on the go, which is safer and more functional than conventional banks. This is also a great way to protect online payments while travelling. A prominent representative of this category is PayPal.

You can use a safe PayPal account, which includes a range of security and bill payment automation tools.

Yes, all services have certain risks. You should also be aware of PayPal reliability concerns and take additional security precautions. Even a free trial of a good VPN will be enough to protect you on public Wi-Fi networks, but you also need to learn how to counter social attack methods.

3 Choose International Credit Cards

If you possess an International credit card, examine its fine print to determine whether there is a foreign currency transaction fee imposed. If so, seek an alternative card that does not charge such a fee.

The transaction fee depletes the funds that could be allocated towards enjoying local delicacies. Ensure that you are aware of any limitations on international transactions and plan accordingly to avoid exceeding them.

4 Prepay

Prepaying bills can be a convenient option for travellers, despite it not being a common practice. However, it is crucial to contact your financial institution to ensure that prepayments on bills such as loans (including mortgages) and credit cards are applied towards monthly interest charges, rather than just the principal amount.

5 Activate Apps Reminders

Prism and Mint are excellent mobile applications that offer a surprisingly simple way to manage your bills while travelling and all year round. These apps allow you to set reminders and make payments directly to financial institutions and service providers, eliminating the need to log into multiple accounts.

But always think about security and use at least a free version of VPN to encrypt your data and eliminate the risk of interception. Also, always pay attention to passwords, and 2FA, and beware of suspicious sites and emails.

If you prefer using your phone’s calendar, you can enter due dates and set reminders in a bill spreadsheet. You have the flexibility to schedule reminders a week ahead, a few days before, or on the day the bills are due. Choose the option that suits you best.

6 Delve into the subtleties of air travel

A lot of terms and conditions are associated with international airlines. While some airlines offer free luggage, their ticket costs are high, while others have inexpensive air tickets but charge extra for luggage. By managing your money wisely during travel, you can ensure that you don’t spend excessively on air travel. To resolve this dilemma, consider opting for a budget airline, traveling light, and only carrying baggage with you instead of checking it in at the airline counter.

7 Extensions

Occasionally, prepayment or autopay might not be available. If that happens, contact your service provider or financial institution to check if you qualify for a bill extension. Even if you have been granted extensions before, you may still be eligible for another. Don’t hesitate to enquire.

8 Inform your bank about your travel plan

Prior to commencing your trip, ensure that you notify your credit card companies regarding your travel plans, including the dates of your absence. This will prevent them from temporarily suspending your cards upon detecting any irregular activity. Additionally, remember to request the assistance hotline number to be used while traveling abroad.

Conclusion

Handling overseas bill payments may appear complicated, but you can simplify the process by adopting the right approach and leveraging available technology. By choosing online banking, international money transfers, automatic bill payments, virtual payment solutions, or a combination thereof, you can effectively manage your finances abroad.

Make sure to plan ahead, stay informed about fees and exchange rates, and prioritize security by using reputable services and safeguarding your financial information. Implementing these strategies will allow you to enjoy your international adventures without fretting about your bills back home.

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