Monday, 8 April 2019

Summer is the time to relax, let loose and have fun.

Whether you're going on a fabulous beach vacation or hanging out with friends at a music festival, nothing can ruin a good time faster than a financial fiasco like losing your wallet or having a credit card stolen.

The good news is there are some simple steps you can take — and financial tools you can use — to protect your money, your cards and your accounts while enjoying warm weather summer fun.

Limit the number of cards you carry in your wallet.

Many people have numerous credit cards, including store-specific cards. If you're going to an outdoor concert, chances are you're not going to need most of those cards. Play it safe and leave them at home. By limiting the cards you carry, you reduce the number of accounts that could be accessed if your wallet falls into the wrong hands. It'll also be much easier to call only one or two card issuers if your wallet is lost or stolen.

Also, don't carry items with valuable information — such as your Social Security Card — with you. Thieves would love to get their hands on any cards or documents related to your identity or financial accounts.

Consider using a Mobile Wallet app.

You can transform your smartphone or device into a “Mobile Wallet" with an app that securely stores your financial information on your device. Then you can use the device to make payments. There are many mobile wallet apps, and with a little research, you can find one that meets your needs.

Using a mobile wallet app eliminates the need for you to carry credit and debit cards. And because both your device and your mobile wallet app can be password-protected, your financial information remains secure, even if your device is lost or stolen. 

Use Mobile Banking and Online Banking tools.

Both mobile and online banking make it easy for you to monitor your account activity from just about anywhere. You can also set up alerts to notify you if your balance falls below a certain amount, each time a purchase is made and more. And if your card is lost or stolen, you can quickly freeze your card with mobile or online banking as well.

If you've been on an extended trip or traveled abroad, it's a good idea to carefully monitor your accounts using online or mobile banking for several weeks after you return. It's not uncommon for thieves to steal financial information and then wait to use it after you've let your guard down.

Use ATMs at banks and avoid mobile ATMs.

When you're out and about and need some cash, try to use ATMs located in a bank branch because they are typically more secure than mobile or free-standing ATMs. Also, use only secure networks — not public WiFi — for any mobile banking or electronic payments.

If you're traveling, notify your bank and credit card companies.

Banks and card issuers carefully monitor their customers' accounts for fraud. A charge on your card made several states away might send up a red flag and even cause the card issuer to temporarily freeze your card until they can confirm the charge is legitimate.

When you let card issuers know you are traveling — typically by calling their customer service number — they'll know the out-of-state charges aren't fraudulent.

Act quickly.

If you do lose your card, phone or wallet, or if you think some of your financial information has been compromised, you need to act quickly. The longer you wait, the more damage thieves can do to your finances. If you have mobile or online banking, freeze the missing cards immediately. Even after that — or if you aren't able to freeze your cards — contact your bank and credit card issuers as soon as possible so they can  turn off your cards and protect your accounts.

Fortunately, many Visa® cards — including BBVA Visa credit cards with Visa's Zero Liability Policy can help you avoid liability for fraudulent charges. Even so, it's wise to move quickly to shut down the card.

It's also a good idea to contact the three credit reporting agencies. Thieves are known for using stolen cards and information to obtain additional credit. Notifying the three agencies of the missing card or information can help protect your accounts and your credit score.

A little common sense — and some handy tech tools — can help you protect your finances, avoid fiascos and have a carefree, fun-filled summer. 

Visa's Zero Liability Policy does not apply to Visa corporate or Visa purchasing card or account transactions, or any transactions that are not processed by Visa. Cardholder must notify BBVA promptly of any unauthorized use as described in the cardholder agreement.

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