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Financial Tips for Keeping Vacations on Track

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Lawton, Oklahoma (March 12, 2013) — Spring is in the air, and students and families everywhere are preparing to take spring break vacations. Unfortunately, there are several financial missteps that could quickly put a damper on a vacation for consumers who are not prepared. Luckily, there are many precautions consumers can take to help protect themselves when planning for time away.

Read 'Spring Break: Tips for Keeping Your Vacation on Track'

With all of the technological advances in fraud detection, banks have more and more ways of keeping track of consumer's transactions and accounts. This protection is great for day-to-day activities, but can work against people if they forget to tell their bank about travel plans. This is especially true if someone is crossing state lines, leaving the country, or is going to be in multiple cities over a short period of time. All of these can lead to accounts being temporarily shut down by a bank's fraud detection program. When consumers alert their bank to their travel plans, they avoid having cards and accounts being flagged and suspended for suspicious activity. Most financial institutions can place an alert on accounts that will let the fraud alert team know that travel-related transactions are valid.

Many consumers don't think about needing copies of their financial information while they are away until it is too late. Be sure to keep copies of the front and back of your debit and credit cards in a safe place. If a card is stolen, these copies can be used to cancel the card(s) immediately using your card number and the telephone number on the back of the card. It is also a good idea to keep your receipts and check your statement closely when you return from vacation. If you see anything suspicious contact your bank immediately.

While traveling, do not leave wallets or purses unattended, especially in places where it could be seen, like a vehicle. Thieves often target vacationers at amusement and water parks, so only take the necessities and keep an eye on belongings. Consumers should always know where their debit or credit card is. If you cannot keep your card with you at all times, watch for suspicious activity when handing your card to a cashier. When your card is returned, always check to make sure the card you get back is your card.

Even when a vacation goes smoothly, with no fraud or theft incidences, the cost and pressure to stick to a budget can be stressful. Trips can be costly and, as with any major purchase, the ideal scenario is to save the necessary amount of money before the time to buy comes.  Any bank or financial planner can help you figure out how much you should be saving each month in order to reach a desired savings goal, and can help you account for income tax rates and interest rates that will affect your savings goal.

Many families set a spending limit when on vacation, but a budget can be hard to stick to once the fun starts. One option while traveling is to put spending money on a pre-paid card, such as an Arvest Spending Card or Visa gift card.  With these cards, consumers can load the amount of their vacation budget on the card and then use it with the certainty they will not overspend.  Just as with debit and credit cards, the card number and information should be kept in a separate, safe place.

"We want to help our customers have the best travel experiences they possibly can," said Gloria Martinez, Sales Manager, "Whether that means providing a pre-paid spending card or ensuring their account won't be shut down while they are away, we are here to help in any way we can."

About Arvest Bank

For three years in a row, Arvest Bank ranks "Highest Customer Satisfaction with Retail Banking in the Southwest Region" according to the recently released J.D. Power and Associates 2012 Retail Banking Satisfaction Study.  Arvest Bank operates more than 240 bank branches in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Kansas through a network of 16 locally managed banks, each with its own board of directors and management team. These banks serve customers in 90 communities with 12-hour weekday banking at most locations. Arvest also provides a wide range of banking services including loans, deposits, treasury management, asset and wealth management, life insurance, credit cards, mortgage loans and mortgage servicing. Arvest operates a mortgage company, asset management company, insurance division and mortgage servicing company. Arvest is an equal housing lender and member FDIC.

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