Missionaries need to answer some simple banking questions before heading abroad. You’ll find those answers here. But once you’re living and serving outside the US, how can your banking practices help you wisely steward your finances? Here are five best practices, plus some accounts and services that can help you implement them.
Make security a priority. No matter where you live, identity theft is a real risk. If someone gets certain information, it’s like having a key to your piggy bank. So be intentional about security. For example, never send sensitive information via insecure channels like email, and keep your passwords private. The Federal Trade Commission provides many helpful resources here. And ECCU has stringent security measures to protect missionary members’ funds. Learn about them here.
Know where you can get cash. ATMs are your most ready source of cash, but be wise when you use them. “When taking out cash from the ATM, always choose the local currency rather than U.S. dollars,” says Spencer Tierney in the Nerdwallet article “Foreign Transaction Fees: What It Costs to Use a Debit Card Abroad.” You’ll get a better exchange rate. And use a card that waives fees. ECCU member missionaries can get free access to over a million ATMs worldwide.
Know when to use which bank card. You’ll want to have both debit and credit cards. The best ones, like ECCU’s Visa® Gold Check Card and Visa® Gold Everyday Cashback Credit Card, waive international transaction fees and employ EMV chip technology. An advantage of using a credit card is the fraud protection that comes with it. ECCU members have $0 liability for unauthorized charges on their ECCU credit card.
Take advantage of online access. Banking from outside the US used to be snail mail slow with security risks to match. Today there’s a long list of benefits to online and mobile banking for people living abroad. You can quickly, easily and securely move funds between accounts, deposit checks, pay bills, transfer funds, and so much more. Learn about online and mobile banking with ECCU here.
Minimize fees. Whether inside or outside the US, banking fees can mount up quickly. Tierney, for example, says to “double-check the fees with your institution to make sure you understand the most economical way to use your debit card.” ECCU helps missionary members save up to $600 annually by reducing or eliminating many common banking fees*.
You’ve probably noticed a few themes in these best practices: Strive to make your banking secure, speedy and economical. ECCU’s accounts for missionary members are designed to help with features like secure messaging and free* incoming wire transfers when you have a missionary checking account. Accounts and services like these are why large sending agencies like Wycliffe trust ECCU to be their banking resource.
*Missionary Checking Accounts Only