All Bell Bank locations and offices will be closed Monday, January 18, in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. With the federal holiday, transactions after close of branch on Friday, January 15, will be processed on Tuesday, January 19.
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Nick Stenzel, an assistant branch manager in Bell Bank’s main Fargo location, is an avid traveler, having visited more than 20 countries on 5 continents. Along the way, he’s learned some helpful hints for keeping his money secure when traveling abroad. Here are his top tips for managing your money when traveling outside the country.
Make sure you have more than one form of financing available, such as a debit card, credit card, travel card and cash. That way if one method of payment is lost or stolen, or if one of your cards doesn’t work, you have other options. (Nick says traveler’s checks are pretty antiquated and not universally accepted, so go ahead and leave home without them.)
If you plan on leaving the country, let the bank know at least one day ahead of time, so we can “unblock” your debit card for that country. Otherwise, as a safety feature, our fraud system may flag your card and decline the transactions.
Pay attention to how much your debit or credit card charges in international transaction fees. Many charge 3 percent, which can really add up. Bell’s Visa® Bonus Rewards PLUS Card does not charge international transaction fees. Our Bell debit card charges up to 1.1 percent.
Download the Bell Bank and CardValet® * apps on your phone. You can use them to monitor your spending. With CardValet, you receive alerts whenever your debit card is used, and you can instantly turn the card off when you’re not using it – or if you think it’s been lost or stolen – to help keep it even more secure.
* CardValet is a registered trademark of Fiserv, Inc.
Keep your bank and credit card customer service numbers handy, so your cards can be cancelled right away if they’re lost or stolen. Bell’s customer service number is 1-800-450-8949. We’re open seven days a week, from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays and 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends.
You can order almost any currency from our Bell Bank branches. Make sure you do this at least a few days before you plan to leave. The exchange rate is comparable to what you would find at the airport or in the country you plan to visit. The fee is only $5 if you order at least $300 worth of currency.
Familiarize yourself with the country’s exchange rate before you go. Have at least a general idea of what $10 or $20 equals in that country’s currency.
Read more tips on worry-free travel with your debit/credit card.