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Tips for using ATM Machines and Credit Cards

... tips to using ATM machines and credit cards when travelling overseas ...

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We recommend travellers to use their ATM cards to get cash when in a foreign country, because more often than not it is the most efficient, fastest and least costly way of obtaining the foreign currency you need.

Using your ATM card and credit cards does have risks, not just in Asia but the world over, and travellers should always be very wary when using them to avoid unwanted problems.

 There are things to look out for when using your cards to ensure you do not become a victim:

 - Never ever give out your security number on the phone, unless you are 100% certain who you are talking to. If someone calls you and claims to be from your bank or credit card company, ring them back on their general number (not the number the caller gives you) to make sure they really are who they say they are before you give out any details.

- Make sure your bank, or the bank you are using, is not the one ripping you off. In Thailand for example, the bank you are using charges THB 150 per withdrawal. You can get around this only by using AEON bank ATM machines that do not charge.

- When using an ATM machine, always make sure there is nobody loitering around suspiciously, if there is, use another ATM machine. If you feel someone is standing too close to you while you type in your PIN number - even a friend, ask them to step back, and always make sure you try and hide as best you can the number you are entering. We heard of one story where a gang had actually set up a telescope from an elevated position across the street so they could read the ATM number as it was being typed in.

- Always check the ATM machine carefully before you use it. If there is anything about the ATM machine which seems a little strange don't use it, use another. This includes carefully checking the slot where you insert the card, and making sure there are no hidden cameras anywhere.

One ATM scam going around the world at the moment is where people add what is known as a skimmer to the front of the ATM machine where you insert the card, they then stay near by and the details you enter into the machine are electronically transmitted to them, at the same time, a wireless camera is disguised to look like a leaflet holder and is mounted in a position to view your ATM PIN number. Once the process is complete they simply need to make a card with the information they gained and they can then use it at any ATM machine just as you would.

Another is where people put a clear plastic sleeve into the card slot. Unsuspecting users then insert their card but the machine is unable to read the strip (because of the sleeve) and so the machine keeps asking the user to renter the password, after a while the user gives up thinking the machine has swalllowed the card. What has actually happened is the ATM card is inside the sleeve and someone has managed to see the number you entered, from there they simply remove the card from the sleeve and use your account! The way to avoid this happening to you is to run your finger along the slot, if you feel any prongs or bumps don't use that machine.

 These stories of using your credit cards and ATM cards are not meant to  scare you from using them we hope they encourage you to use them more carefully. Read continued story: Tips on using Credit Cards Safely.

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