Credit Card safety at the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games

Protect yourself and your credit card while on holiday with our handy credit card safety checklist.  

Before you travel

Let Westpac know your travel plans

Please notify Westpac of your intended travel destinations, dates, and provide up to date contact telephone numbers. If Westpac notice any unusual transactions we can contact you immediately. Should you need to contact us, call 0800 888 111 (+64 9 914 8026 if calling from overseas), or refer to the back of your Westpac credit card for our contact details.

Activate your complimentary Credit Card Travel Insurance

If you have a Westpac Gold Visa, Platinum MasterCard®, Airpoints™ Platinum MasterCard®, World MasterCard®, Airpoints™ World MasterCard®, Airpoints™ Business MasterCard® or Titanium credit card account, and you use your card to pay your pre-paid travel costs, you may be eligible for complimentary Overseas Travel Insurance. Check that you are covered by completing our eligibility questionnaire.

Do your research

It’s important to have a basic understanding of local customs so you know what to expect when you arrive in Rio de Janeiro. Here are a few things to consider.

  • What’s the local Brazilian currency? 
  • What is the likely exchange rate?
  • What is the likely cost of transport and meals?
  • What places and locations should I avoid?
  • What are the local scams?
  • What is the local emergency Police telephone number?
  • Is there a New Zealand Consulate in Rio de Janeiro?

Refresh yourself with your Online Guardian Challenge questions.

Westpac’s Online Guardian is our secure fraud detection system, that:

  • continually monitors online banking for unusual activity
  • identifies unusual transactions
  • when needed, will prompt you to further authenticate your identity by using challenge questions that you’ve set up, or by sending one-time verification codes to you by text this is called the Online Guardian Challenge Service.

Online Guardian learns your normal online banking activity, and will only ask to check your identity if something changes dramatically (like logging on from a different country, if you reset your password or are making a large payment to someone you haven’t paid before). Almost all of these checks will be in the form of a ‘challenge question’, but a very small number will need a one-time verification code that we will send to your registered mobile number by text. These challenges will be fairly rare, but important.

If you’ve been using online banking for a while, you probably already have your challenge questions set up but now’s an ideal time to check your challenge questions and register your mobile if you haven’t already.

Set-up an automatic bill payment

It could be beneficial to set-up an automatic bill payment to the credit card you intend to use for your trip prior to travelling. You’ll also want to check you have sufficient funds in your debit account to cover the automatic payments.

While you're travelling

Report lost or stolen cards immediately

We recommend noting down Westpac’s contact phone number (located on the back of your Westpac MasterCard) in a handy place and to call it immediately if you lose your card.  Westpac’s contact phone number is +64 9 914 8026 if calling from overseas.

If you have just misplaced your credit card, log into Westpac One online banking to temporarily block and unblock your credit card with CardGuard®.

Secure valuables

Keep your Westpac credit card in your possession or control at all times. When completing a purchase do not let the sales person take your credit card out of your sight. Never leave your credit card, money or other valuables in your hotel room.

Avoid local scams

Local criminals often target tourists because they are more likely to be carrying valuables and less familiar with local surroundings. Only accept services from legitimate providers. Always confirm exactly how much something is before purchasing. And if you have to exchange currency, familiarise yourself with the likely exchange rates and only do so at credible locations like banks and hotels.

Using an ATM

We recommend that you only use ATM’s with the MasterCard or Visa logo’s on it or at the point of sale to ensure card payment acceptance, as not all ATM’s in Brazil are linked to Visa or MasterCard.

Carrying cash

To assist in instances where your Westpac credit card is not accepted, consider carrying a small amount of the local currency, the Brazilian Real. Always avoid carrying large amounts of cash.

Regularly review your credit card statement

Keep receipts of your credit card purchases and check them against your statements.  It is also important to review your credit card statements regularly during your travel.  If you identify a suspicious transaction, please contact Westpac on the contact numbers on the back of your credit card, or +64 9 914 8026 (if calling from overseas).

Spending and withdrawal limits

To avoid any unnecessary declines, remember to review their withdrawal and your credit limit prior to travel commencing.

PIN requirement

It is vital to have a unique and secure PIN loaded to the credit card you intended use for withdrawals and purchases in Brazil and other destinations.

Events affecting travel

Certain events such as, natural disasters, illness or accidents and delayed flights can happen and may affect your travel which is why travel insurance is highly recommended.

If you have taken out or wish to take out Westpac TravelPlus travel insurance click here.  You can also check out the Travel Alerts website for the latest updates and advice.