Money Can Be Everywhere!
There is an ATM machine in Japan which is built into the side of a building and is surrounded by a giant replica of a cell phone. The image is poignant, eye catching and practical for attracting new business. However, it highlights the convenience that personal banking has taken on in regards to its mobility. There are a lot of online and mobile device applications which allow people to conduct transfers, bill payments and even alerts from practically anywhere in the world. This is a huge boon for individuals who travel often for business purposes and need to monitor the state of their financial affairs even when across the world.
The other benefit for these individuals is the fact that an ATM machine in Japan tends to work in a similar manner as one in Europe or the United States. As such, if they find out from their mobile device that they need to transfer funds or withdraw currency, then they are able to do so with a local ATM machine. Since ATM machines are often networked through an agency which monitors the activities of the equipment and the requests that are entered into it, these machines are often current on the exchange rates between different types of currencies.
As such, even if a business man decides to use the telephone ATM kiosk in Japan, he can access local currency even if his original banking is conducted in euros or dollars. Additionally, if the questions and prompts on the ATM machine begin in a foreign language, the characters or letters can be looked up online on the mobile device at hand in order to conduct the transaction accurately and as desired. The convenience which these devices offer travelers is a great asset, especially when traveling overseas to new regions. When these types of services are compared to other aspects of traveling such as airport security or electrical appliance compatibility, the ease with which banking can be maintained seems ideal.
There is a drawback to the entire process however. Due to the added difficulty of providing services overseas, there are additional foreign transaction fees that are applied to transactions conducted out of the country. This is partially due to the fact that it does require currency conversion to complete the customer requests, but there are additional servicing measures that have to be done to network and maintain the equipment. In conjunction, such transactions are also often considered to be cash advances, which commonly have a higher interest rate.
If travelers are unaware and accrues more overseas transactions than they expected, then the fees associated with the services can add up quickly. Unlike the fees normally placed on a credit card, overseas withdrawals are treated differently. The normal thirty day repayment period does not typically apply and the interest starts to accrue as soon as the transaction is conducted. To help avoid this, the use of a credit card in an ATM machine can be balanced with debit cards and travelers checks which do not necessarily have the same interest rates and fee application procedures.
Knowing these requirements ahead of time allows travelers to make better financial decisions that fit the circumstances of their travels and the availability of ATM machines. For those who do not travel often, it is also important to call and notify the credit card company before attempting to use the card overseas. If this is not a normal habit, these transactions can automatically be declined as a fraud prevention technique. If the card has only been used domestically and then appears on a foreign ATM machine, then it appears as if the card has been stolen.
With as much convenience as these services provide, they offer great benefits to travelers. However, it is important to know what the policies are and how best to use the services in order to be fiscally smart and financially prepared to meet the necessities which may arise amidst the travels.