paying bills while overseas

Old Dec 16th, 2007, 08:17 AM
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paying bills while overseas

How do you all handle bills while traveling? I won't be traveling with a laptop and am leery of doing financial transactions in internet cafes/public computers, esp since some of the places I'll be traveling are known for CC fraud.
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Old Dec 16th, 2007, 08:42 AM
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Personally, I have never had any problems using internet banking from internet cafes. I always make sure I log off the site completely AND clear the history before closing down the browser. Alternatively, I use telephone banking, which with my particular bank is very efficient.
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Old Dec 16th, 2007, 09:20 AM
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We had a laptop with us this time, which was helpful.

When I have to use a public computer, I do as crellston says and I delete history plus cookies and temporary internet files as well when I am finished.
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Old Dec 16th, 2007, 09:39 AM
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A word of warning about deleting history and cookies - if you're on a foreign language browser it's not always apparent how to do this (speaking from experience!).

If you've got the funds, you can always pay your bills in advance, i.e. send the phone company double plus a little more than your monthly bill, or keep track of your credit card spending and send them a check even before you get your statement. Also, online banking (at least mine, Citibank) lets you set up your payments for future dates, so you can do that from home before you leave.
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Old Dec 16th, 2007, 09:45 AM
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Many utilities such as the telephone, gas & electric, cable TV, and similar offer automatic payment via your checking account or credit card.
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Old Dec 16th, 2007, 10:04 AM
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Thanks, very helpful.
I have automatic bill pay for the bills that are fixed. It's the ones that aren't, i.e., credit card, that I am worried about.
Good to know about possible difficulties deleting cookies on foreign machines.

Don't want to take a laptop due to security and weight concerns. I will be staying in very small inns and doing things where a laptop could easy be destroyed or stolen.
Anyone done internet banking using a PDA and wifi? Is it a problem picking up a signal/getting online?
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Old Dec 16th, 2007, 10:36 AM
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Interesting, Nutella, we've never had any problems deleting history, cookies and temp files even on foreign language browsers. Can you say where it was that it was difficult?
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Old Dec 16th, 2007, 11:50 AM
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In China, I had no idea of what I was clicking on, it was all characters so I couldn't recognize the correct menu options. Maybe it was just me and I was confused
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Old Dec 16th, 2007, 12:47 PM
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Maybe I'm overly suspicious but I would never use a public computer to log onto my banking site, or any other financial site for that matter. Even with the precautions of clearing history and cache, how can you be sure there is no spyware on the computer, such as a keylogger? If a program like that is present, you can clear everything and it won't matter a whit.
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Old Dec 16th, 2007, 01:17 PM
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Laurie, you can also look to see what programs are running on a computer. If you find something you don't recognize, search for it on google and you'll be able to tell what it is. If you find a key-logger, don't use that computer.
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Old Dec 16th, 2007, 01:26 PM
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Kathie, according to the computer magazines I read, many keyloggers are stealth and won't show up in the list of running programs, even when hitting alt ctrl delete. They are meant not to be found.
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Old Dec 16th, 2007, 01:28 PM
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Also, most (Windows) computers have loads of programs running, many which are unrecognizable. I'd be sitting there all day looking them up!
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Old Dec 16th, 2007, 01:30 PM
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The only bills I have that aren't on automatic draft either from my checking account or my credit card are my lawn service and my credit cards. I either pay them ahead for short trips, or leave signed blank checks with the friend to whom my mail is forwarded. I do occasionally check my accounts online, but I'm careful about which computers I use for that.
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Old Dec 16th, 2007, 08:07 PM
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I never access my financial accounts using someone else's computer. I never know if there is a password grabber running in the background.

I either prepay the bills or overestimate future bills and schedule them into my online bill pay system. I keep track of all past bill arrival and due dates as well as the charge histories. The historical data along with an estimate based on current bill cycle actual charges, I can get a very good estimate of the future bill due dates and the amounts to be paid.

I use a different checking account to pay bills from the one I use for my trip so that even if my debit card is stolen and the money taken out, at least the bill payments continue without overdrafting my account.
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Old Dec 17th, 2007, 08:33 AM
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My on-line bank bill paying service allows me to set up payments in advance and to specify the date to be paid. When we were away for 5 weeks, I pre-set payments for the important bills. It was pretty easy to figure out how much to pay based on previous monthly statements. For credit cards, I just checked the balance a couple days before we departed and set that as our payment while away. While it wasn't the total amount, it was enough to satisfy the minimum payment and avoid a penalty. I then "caught up" when we returned.
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Old Dec 17th, 2007, 08:23 PM
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One thing about using a laptop. Just be aware that if you connect to an unsecured wireless access point (as in most hotels), without much effort, anybody in the vicinity can access the transmitted data incl. passwords etc.
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Old Dec 17th, 2007, 10:46 PM
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Like TC - I can arrange for payments on my credit cards in advance. I just specify the amount to be paid and the date I want it paid. Done.
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Old Dec 18th, 2007, 02:57 AM
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I wouldn't trust internet cafes. It may be safe to use the business centre of an upscale hotel. I schedule all my payments beforehand.
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Old Dec 18th, 2007, 02:44 PM
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A Priority Services fraud specialist at Fidelity told me they do not allow access to their website from Thailand servers due to extreme amount of fraud. He warned me about internet cafes & spyware in the computers that count key strokes. I don't care how you clear the cookies/history, so NOT go on to your banking or financial websites on public computers.

BTW, call your CC & ATM companies/banks & tell them when you will be in what countries, so they don't shut your CC or ATM down thinking it's 'fraud'.

Citibank is particularly (wonderfully) vigilant about this, so if you have a Citibank CC be sure to call them & let them know... when you will be in Asia.

My bank also told me to call their 800 number to let them know when we would be in Asia, to avoid them freezing the ATM card...
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Old Dec 18th, 2007, 03:24 PM
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>Citibank CC
They did this 3 times to me. Trying to reach me on my home phone number afterwards. The reason was supposedly that the hotel put a $1 charge on my card, to see if it was valid when I made my reservation.
CB otoh told me that when someone requests such a small amount, they suspect internet fraud an block the card.
Never had a problem with another card.
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