There may be no worse feeling than realising you have lost your wallet, finding out your bank accounts have been compromised or knowing that you accidentally transferred funds to the wrong account. Compound this with being an international student, living in a new country, where you may not know many other people, and you are in for a world of pain if one of these things happens to your money.
As an international student, bringing money to a new country is complicated. You can’t (or shouldn’t) necessarily transport a wad of cash, for the above reasons - having it stolen, but also because many countries have limits on the amount of cash you are allowed to bring in with you. You can put your money onto your debit card, but then you face being hit with international transaction fees every time you purchase something.
So, what is the best way to keep your money safe while you are studying overseas? We have five tips for you to make sure your money stays safe while you’re abroad. Keep reading to find out.
The first thing that many people recommend in safe money practices is the act of multi-stashing. Multi-stashing is keeping your money ‘stashed’ in multiple locations. You can have your money in cash, or on a card, but if you put both of those in the same wallet and that wallet is stolen, you still will have lost all your money. By multi-stashing, you can keep your cash in a safe in your room and have your credit card or travel money card in your wallet. That way, if your wallet is stolen, you still have your cash back in your room to get you through until you can fix things up with your bank and receive a new debit/credit card.
- Keep your things in safe places
Speaking of safes, if you are lucky enough that your student accommodation or dorm room has a safe - use it! Be careful of safes that have key locks on them; you never know who in the building may also have a key to your safe. But, if it is a secure safe with a number code, divvy up at least part of your money and lock it away. There are also many travel money wallets on the market that you can buy and then wear on your person, making it much more difficult for your wallet to be stolen out of your backpack or handbag. Be warned about displaying your money wallet freely in public though; money wallets are sometimes a clear indicator that you are a tourist, and make you an easy target for pick-pocketers.
- Transfer your funds to a secure local bank account ahead of time
You can send money directly into your overseas bank account either before you leave, or if you need additional funds, you can transfer more money when you arrive. If you use a good service, this is easily the cheapest and most secure way to transfer your funds. Cohort Go provide an international money transfer service specifically designed for the international education community, and international students save a lot, with competitive foreign exchange rates and low fees. Transfer funds to pay your tuition fees and accommodation invoices, and even transfer funds to your own bank account to cover your living expenses. Check our service out here and get the most out of your money.
- Avoid exchanging money at unauthorised vendors
There are many unauthorised international money transfer services, both in your home country and destination country, that make their wage by stealing your money. Keep an eye out for people from dodgy looking kiosks down alleyways, or small stores that may be behind other stores, who tell you that their rates are far better than other, authorised vendors. Most international students won’t even know their money has been stolen until it is too late. Remember, if it feels too good to be true, it usually is.
- Use secure looking ATMs
As with unauthorised money transfer services, be on the lookout for dodgy ATMs too, or dodgy automated teller machines (ATM). This is where you insert your card and enter a pin number to and draw cash out of the machine. Only use teller machines from companies that you recognise, and even then, be on the lookout. Many ATMs look legitimate, but have been tampered with to contain a skimming device that copies your bank account information to steal your money. To avoid using an ATM that has been tampered with, look for ATMs in highly visible locations such as in hotels, shopping centres or banks.
Packing up everything you own to start an international education in a brand new country is a big decision. Make it easier by being safe with your money and not being caught out by fees or thieves. If you practice multi-stashing, be mindful of where you keep your money, transfer your money to your bank account ahead of time, avoid using unauthorised vendors and use secure ATMs, you give yourself the best chance of not losing any of your money.
Good luck on your international study journey, we wish you all the best.