You are heading off on the trip of a lifetime and there are so many exciting things to think about. All the things you plan to do, the flights, maybe your travel partner. The last thing on your mind is what your credit score will look like when you return home.
Some simple steps taken now can make your travel and your return a much happier event!
Your mum will tell you she used to pay off all her bills before she left and then use cash when she travelled. But cards are part of life now and no-one wants an unexpected card rejection.
The #1 thing that drives your credit score is, do you pay your bills on time? So be sure to pay everything before you leave. It is also worth getting a free copy of your credit report to check all is well before you leave, there is more about this at CreditSmart.
If you have a good bank balance and you want to forget it all, you can set up auto-payment of your credit card while you travel.
Wouldn’t that be nice? OK, for the rest of us a monthly reminder on our phones is a good substitute. And you really don’t want your 6-day jungle trek interrupted by a reminder to pay today, so be sure to allow some extra time.
Are you planning to travel for a long time – 6 months, a year, more? Part of what drives your credit score nowadays is your positive history of credit payments. For most people this is good, the banks nowadays can see all the occasions you paid on time, not just the one time you forgot. But if you are going “off grid” for a long period then your credit score may ebb away. A continuing set of on-time payments will keep the positive messages flowing into the credit reporting system and help keep your credit score up.
The other thing to think about is theft of your card details or, worse, your identity. A friend of mine posted all the pictures from her trip online each day of her holiday, they were viewed by thieves who broke into her house and spent time assembling her details so they could apply for loans in her name. There is a strong argument for taking care and staying in touch with your bank account and credit card in particular.