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Money Matters

Money matters when travelling are somewhat more complex and need organizing. You need to have easy access to both your money and your company’s (even if it is your own company)! This is being a professional. Even if you have your own business, this will make money matters for both yourself and your business much simpler. If you work for

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Money matters when travelling are somewhat more complex and need organizing. You need to have easy access to both your money and your company’s (even if it is your own company)! This is being a professional. Even if you have your own business, this will make money matters for both yourself and your business much simpler. If you work for a company with a travel policy make sure you have read the policy. Be familiar with the detail. It will be highly embarrassing if you need to explain expenses that the company does not cover that you have spent money on. Likewise you will be disappointed if you find out 6 months later that you could have claimed something that you have not.

While every company has a different system for how to report expenses, it is a good idea to record details as you go. Write on the back of each invoice the date, what the expense was for and if it is in another currency what the currency is. Sometimes this is not clearly stated on the front as only the amount may appear or you will see $ but is it $US or $A or $S?. If you are entertaining customers you will also want to write the names of the customers and other employees who attended. This way you will have all the details that will most likely be required when you complete your expense claim. After 2 weeks international travel, the key contacts will be easy but remembering the 6 other Spanish or Chinese customers’ names may not be so simple!!

If you work for yourself, these will be the kind of details your financier or accountant will require. They will need this information to manage your business accounts. Remember that in some countries there are tax laws which you will need to be familiar with around what and how expenses need to be claimed. These will be incorporated into the travel policy if you work for a major company.

If you work for a major company, get your expense claim in on time even if you are traveling internationally. If the regular date for completing this is while you are away, take a copy of the expense claim form with you (it is probably available electronically) and complete it. Worse case, you can scan and email the form and let your manager and the appropriate person in the finance department know that you will give them the receipts when you return. In some companies expenses are completed online but there will always be a need to submit receipts.

Some companies and the taxation departments of some countries also require that you keep a log while you are overseas. This may incorporate a daily diary of your meetings, who they were with and where you stayed. This is quite easy these days with electronic diary systems but be familiar with the requirements. They will also be covered in the travel policy. It is much easy to do this as you travel, than try to figure it out when you return.

Hot Tip:

Make sure that your Travel File (see Your Infrastructure) has the most updated phone number and address details on it. You may move house, your company may move offices or you may move to a different office of the same company. In all these cases, the address will change and the phone number may change.

Make sure if any of these details change that you or your assistant has notified the bank/credit/charge card company.

Hot Tip:

Keeping your personal expenses separate to your business expenses will make managing the expenses much simpler.

Especially when you are traveling internationally it is critical that your business and personal expenses are separately managed as you will often have the added complexity of dealing in more than one currency.

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    International Travel – always have some cash on hand

    While most businesses take credit cards these days there will always be times when you need some cash. Taxis in some countries and cities take credit cards but in some you still need to pay cash. Tipping is prevalent in some countries, a custom in some and mandatory in others and unless it is a restaurant where you can add

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    While most businesses take credit cards these days there will always be times when you need some cash. Taxis in some countries and cities take credit cards but in some you still need to pay cash. Tipping is prevalent in some countries, a custom in some and mandatory in others and unless it is a restaurant where you can add it onto the credit card charge, you will need cash – eg barmen and porters.

    Also, having a small amount of cash in an unfamiliar country will make you feel comfortable that you can get your way through any situation that may arise – even a cup of coffee.

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      Cash ATM Machines

      Cash atm machines are very common in all countries now. It is highly unlikely that you will need traveler’s cheques these days. If you are going to a very remote part of a very remote country it may be wise to acquire some traveler’s cheques. However in all the major business cities of the world, ATMs of the major banks

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      Cash atm machines are very common in all countries now. It is highly unlikely that you will need traveler’s cheques these days. If you are going to a very remote part of a very remote country it may be wise to acquire some traveler’s cheques. However in all the major business cities of the world, ATMs of the major banks work on an international system, branded Cirrus or Maestro or Visa. If you card has one of these logos, cash is readily accessible.

      ATM (known as Bancomats in some countries) machines operate in all countries. Make sure you have an ATM card which has the logo Cirrus and/or Maestro and/or Visa on it. This will tell you that the card can be used internationally. Your local bank may not be represented in the country you are going to but an ATM card with one of these logos printed on it (sometimes on the reverse side) will be readily accepted at all ATM machines.

      If you do not have one of these logos on your card, be sure to call your bank before you leave home to sort this out. Make sure your personal cash account (savings or cheque account) is attached to this card and your credit card. This way you will have access to your cash and credit and in an emergency you can get a cash advance on your credit card.

      Up to date exchange rates are printed in daily newspapers globally, and are available online at any major bank or financial institution’s website. The hotel reception will also be able to tell you the local exchange rate to all the major currencies.

      The banks, credit and charge companies are very conscientious and diligent when it comes to international credit card fraud. Managing accounts for customers who are traveling internationally when an anomaly situations arise. All banks have tracking mechanisms on their cards and situations arise where in order to protect their customers, they will suspend the account. This is much more prevalent when you (the bank’s customer) are traveling internationally.

      Examples of when this may occur are if you use the card in more than one country on one day. For example, you may fly from Shanghai to Hong Kong in the morning for a meeting and purchase something or buy lunch. Then you may fly Hong Kong to Singapore for dinner and a hotel. This is not a common occurrence and the bank’s anti-fraud system may pick this up and suspend the account. Another example would be if an ATM machine was used on more than two occasions in one day. Sometimes banks have withdrawal limits. If you spend more than this limit in one day, the bank’s anti fraud mechanisms can be triggered and you need to call the bank to regain access to your account. They will sms, email or call you to inform you that the anti fraud trigger has been activated.

      The bank or credit/charge card company will contact you on the phone number which you nominated on your account file. They may ask you to verify that you used the card that day. They may ask you questions like in what countries you used the card, at what stores and hotels, if you have the card in your possession, what your pin (personal identity) or CTCV number is and what your billing address details are. Once the card and details are verified, they will re-activate the card.

      If you lose your credit card or it is stolen, it will easily be replaced. Firstly and immediately, call the bank or credit card company to suspend you card. All the major credit card companies have offices in all major cities and most guarantee turnaround of a new card within 3 working days even in foreign countries. For international cards like American Express, Visa and Mastercard, the turnaround is usually achieved in less than 2 working days. Your hotel concierge or your host will be able to assist in finding the telephone number for the appropriate credit card company if you are abroad.

      Signatures on credit cards are increasingly not used, rather the PIN number is the preferred option. This is especially if the credit card/charge card is a smart card. You can see this because it has a visible chip on it, usually gold or silver.

      Charges on credit cards are high. Usually the exchange rate used by the bank for credit cards is higher than their published general rate or they use the published banking rate but charge up to 3% extra on every purchase as an international credit card fee. Also in some countries, when you make a charge on a credit card, you will be asked if you want that charged in the local currency or your home currency. You need to know what the exchange rates are of both your home bank and the local bank that the merchant is using to really know which will be cheaper. But in general, the exchange rate being charged in the international location that the merchant is using will be lower. This is because the bank in the country in which you are making the purchase knows that your local bank at home is charging up to 3% for international purchases so they can take the opportunity to earn that money rather than you home bank and to attract you to this option, they will charge it in at a slightly lower rate (say 2.8%). In all it will cost you less.

      Hot Tip:

      It is a good idea to carry two ATM cards from different banks with both cash and credit access on them under the Cirrus and/or Maestro system.

      There are a few reasons why you may experience your card not working. Your card may not work if your local bank at home’s system goes down, they suspend access to your account for a time or the magnetic strip on your card may become not readable by the telling machine. If this occurs, you can easily use the other account and be sure not to ever get into a situation where you do not have access to cash.

      Hot Tip:

      While most businesses take credit cards these days there will always be times when you need some cash. Taxis in some countries and cities take credit cards but in some you still need to pay cash. Tipping is prevalent in some countries, a custom in some and mandatory in others and unless it is a restaurant where you can add it onto the credit card charge, you will need cash – eg barmen and porters.

      Also, having a small amount of cash in an unfamiliar country will make you feel comfortable that you can get your way through any situation that may arise – even a cup of coffee.

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        Travel Cards

        Travel cards are increasingly common in place of traveler’s checks. Travel cards look like credit cards. They are organized at your local bank at home and you chose how much cash to put on them and in what currency or currencies. When you go to a store on your international trip you can use this card like a debit card.

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        Travel cards are increasingly common in place of traveler’s checks. Travel cards look like credit cards. They are organized at your local bank at home and you chose how much cash to put on them and in what currency or currencies. When you go to a store on your international trip you can use this card like a debit card.

        The advantage is that the exchange rate which is used for the money on the card is determined when you put the money on the card at your local bank. So you lock in the exchange rate before you depart. This way you know exactly what the exchange rate is. Even if there are fluctuations in the exchange rate while you are travelling, you are not impacted by this. This of course can work for or against you depending on which direction the exchange rate moves. If you know you are going to a country where the exchange rate is likely to increase, then this is a good risk management approach.

        You can reload these cards from your bank account online while you are travelling. You can check balances on line and of course you can use the cards at home as well as abroad. If there is cash on the card when you return, you can still use this. Keep it for next trip.

        If you are going to several countries, you can load up multiple currencies on the card. Then use the appropriate one depending on the country you are in.

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          Traveler’s Checks

          Traveller’s checks are not used very often anymore except if you are travelling to remote locations. Especially if you are going to a remote part of the world, your company may issue traveller’s checks. These can be used as cash if they are issued in the currency of the country that you are traveling to. You can also use them

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          Traveller’s checks are not used very often anymore except if you are travelling to remote locations. Especially if you are going to a remote part of the world, your company may issue traveller’s checks. These can be used as cash if they are issued in the currency of the country that you are traveling to. You can also use them in stores, airlines, hotels as the equivalent of cash. All you need is your passport for identification. Or, if you are in a country that does not require a passport to enter (eg European Union when travelling on European passport) an internationally recognized photo ID (eg Euro card, driver’s license).

          Your company may issue you with traveler’s cheques in $US or Euro or ₤ to cover most countries. With these currencies, you can easily use them on subsequent trips if you do not use them all. Otherwise they need canceling which is administratively time consuming.

          You can also cash them in when you get to your international destination. This can be done at a bank, foreign currency exchange booth (at all international airports and at major tourist attractions) or at the hotel. The best exchange rate will be at a bank. Once again, you will need your passport for identification. Or another internationally recognized photo ID can be used in a country that does not require a passport to enter. For example, European countries when you are traveling on a European passport.

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            Public Transport Card

            If you travel to the same city regularly and they have a good public transport system, a public transport card is highly recommended. If there is a train operating from the airport to the city, public transport will be the fastest and cheapest route to the downtown area. In some cities, the airport line is a dedicated line to the

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            If you travel to the same city regularly and they have a good public transport system, a public transport card is highly recommended. If there is a train operating from the airport to the city, public transport will be the fastest and cheapest route to the downtown area. In some cities, the airport line is a dedicated line to the downtown area with perhaps 3 or 4 stops at key locations on the way. These trains are usually set up for passengers with luggage racks, wifi and often entertainment. The downtown location where the train stops will be at a major train station. You will be able to connect with other train lines and destinations here. In other cities the train line from the airport is on a regular train line and connects with the city wide transport system.

            All cities use the same public transport card for all public transport. This means if you are in Sydney you will be able to catch train, light rail, bus and ferries with the same card. If you are in Hong Kong, you will be able to use the card on trains, trams, buses and ferries around the city. Also in some cities, like Hong Kong, you can also use the public transport card in the stores you find in train stations. For example, 7Eleven, McDonald’s, Starbucks and Pret a Manger all accept the public transport card for payment. This is a very convenient way to travel. The cards can be initially purchased at the airport train station. Sometimes there is a booth as you come through immigration and customs. They can be topped up with more money at any train station (and sometimes online). So you keep the card for next time you are in town and continue to use it.

            Remember to get a receipt for your top ups to claim the expense from your company or business.

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