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Keeping money safe when travelling overseas

Heading overseas? Protect your wallet from unwanted attention with these tips to help keep your money out of harm’s reach.

Keep your money hidden


  • Yes, it’s nice to relax on holiday, but make sure you don’t let your guard down in public, particularly when there are other people around you. If you’re out seeing the sights, shopping or getting some lunch, don’t pull out large wads of cash– it could draw unwanted attention.
  • Sort out what money you need for the day before heading out and keep the rest safely stashed where you’re staying
  • Although they may not win any awards as a must-have fashion accessory any time soon, a money belt can be a safe and inconspicuous way to keep your money hidden and reduce the risk of theft. A good money belt can sit comfortably around your stomach or waist and not only are they an ideal place to hide your cash, they can also be used to store credit cards and important documents such as your passport.

Stick to ATMs in safer areas


  • Whenever using an ATM, always be aware of your surroundings. Try and avoid ATMs in secluded areas and if you can, get your money out during the day (avoid night time or early morning).
  • Make sure that anyone waiting behind you can’t see you enter your PIN number
  • Some scams aim to distract people at ATMS just as the money is issued– make sure you keep your wits about you
  • Take your receipt with you
  • Don’t count your cash while standing at the ATM (or rummage through your personal belongings)
  • Be aware that the ATM keypad may be laid out differently – if you punch your PIN in on autopilot you could run the risk of entering the wrong number and having your card swallowed up
  • Some ATMs overseas issue the cash before your card is returned - if this is the case, remember to take your card with you.

Use cards when you can

  • It’s important to have some local currency. It could be safer to pay by card instead – whether it’s your debit card, credit card or travel money card. That’s because if your card gets stolen, you can block it (if you’re a Westpac customer you can block it in an instant using the Westpac banking app1).
  • If you’re travelling with more than one card, don’t take them all out with you. Perhaps take one with you when you need to head out and keep the other one back at your accommodation (preferably in a hotel safe).
  • When using your card to make a payment, make sure you never let your card out of your sight. If someone is going to try and use your card fraudulently, generally they’ll need to separate you from it, even if just for a brief moment.

Let us know you’re going away


  • Always let us know when you’re travelling overseas and where you’re going. That way we’ll be able to keep an eye out for suspicious activity. You can update your details by: 
    • Signing into the Westpac App
    • Signing into Westpac Online Banking
    • Contacting us by calling the number on the back of your card, or
    • Visiting your nearest branch.
If you’re unable to access your Australian mobile number but you have a temporary overseas mobile number, let us know by calling the number on the back of your card.

Our Westpac Added Online Security Service protects you when you’re shopping online and you may need to receive a ‘One Time Password’ via SMS in order to verify your online transaction. This SMS can be received using your temporary overseas mobile number.

PIN's the best way to pay


  • Westpac credit cards are protected by CardShield™, which includes fraud detection, Online Protection and CHIP security features. Where possible, use a PIN instead of your signature to verify credit card purchases.

Report your card lost or stolen immediately


  • If your card gets lost or stolen, block it immediately via the Westpac Banking app (if you are a Westpac customer) and then report it immediately to your bank.2

Protect your online security


  • Not only is it important to protect your PIN, it’s also important to protect any passwords on your phone or laptop – that’s because if they get stolen they’ll likely have your personal information on them. Make sure all your devices are password protected and that they auto-lock after just a minute or two of not being used.
Things you should know

1. Available on personal credit and Mastercard® debit cards only. Cards to which a temporary lock can be applied will be listed when you sign in to Mobile Banking or Online Banking and visit Lock a card temporarily under Cards services. Daily and weekly limits apply.

See Westpac Emergency CashTM and Westpac Get CashTM Terms and conditions for details.


2. If you do not have Online or Mobile Banking, you can call our Cards Customer Service Call Centre:  1300 651 089 8am – 8pm Sydney time. Overseas - Call +61 2 9155 7700 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week).
Please note that calls made from mobile phones, public telephones or hotel rooms may attract additional charges.