My brother is heading to Ireland for his delayed honeymoon. He and his wife are going on a driving tour with overnight stops in castles along with the always necessary stop at the Guinness brewery so they can learn the art of the perfect pour.
As the overprotective older sister, I quickly pointed out the excellent exchange rate he will enjoy against the euro. I also warned against using credit cards and his bank card overseas due to the heavy fees as well as the growing threat of hackers eager to steal his identity and money.
“Well, Joce,” he said, sounding more than a little exasperated at this point. “That’s not much different than at home. What do you want me to do? Carry around a big wad of euros the entire time?”
No, little brother. I have an expert that I would like you to meet who has the perfect solution for how to protect your money while traveling…
Whether for work or play, popping off to a foreign country has become easier and in many ways cheaper than ever before. Unfortunately, accessing your money while overseas hasn’t. The mix of international fees and security concerns has made it a complicated endeavor. But it doesn’t have to be.
Today, I’ve invited world traveler and financial guru Erika Nolan to provide us with some great tips on accessing your wealth safely while overseas.
Jocelynn: Welcome, Erika. During your 16 years as the former Executive Publisher of The Sovereign Society, you and Jeff Opdyke traveled the globe, researching both great investment opportunities and unique asset protection strategies that allow investors to grow their wealth outside the meddling reach of Washington. Can you give a quick list of some of your favorite destinations of the past few years?
Erika: I’m grateful to have been to over 78 countries. I always find a favorite “something” about each place. However, I do have a few favorites. The coastline from Punta del Este, Uruguay to the Brazilian border is a rustic, charming area of the world. It’s quiet and relaxed but with first-class food, amenities and a welcoming feel no matter how far you wander off the beaten path. The vibrant city of Phnom Penh, Cambodia is also on my list. While Jeff and I were there nearly three years ago — for no more than 72 hours — the organized chaos of the city won me over. As did the genuine warmth of the people we met — from the tuk tuk driver to the expats at a small Irish bar. Another special place for me is Prague, Czech Republic. My daughter was unexpectedly born in Prague in 2004 while we were on a short vacation. Spending nearly four months there while my daughter was in the NICU allowed me to appreciate the historic beauty, easy transportation, wonderful restaurants and most importantly, the good medical system.
Jocelynn: Now it was on one of your trips to Asia in 2014 that you uncovered i-Account, correct?
Erika: Jeff and I were introduced to the i-Account through a good friend in Switzerland. We were excited by the solution the i-Account offered and we went to Shanghai last April to meet the owners and see the operation first hand.
Jocelynn: How does an i-Account work?
Erika: The i-Account is the future of money. It’s not a traditional bank account … the account is a transaction facility that allows you to hold your cash in any of 10 currencies and use that cash anywhere in the world either at point-of-sale machines or via ATMs. It’s like a global version of PayPal but with many more benefits. You can easily add an i-Card to your account and get a pre-paid MasterCard card that you can top up with as much or as little money as you wish. And you can easily switch between currencies too.
Jocelynn: We are constantly hearing stories of people stealing your information with just a swipe of your card. Does the i-Card have the same vulnerabilities as the credit cards that we’re carrying around now?
Erika: The i-Card offers the standard pin-and-chip technology most of the world — sans the U.S. — uses. So to make any purchases you must enter you pin code to authorize the transaction. This adds a much needed layer of safety that is lacking in most cards.
Jocelynn: What if I decide to take an extended vacation in Europe, traveling from London to Paris to Geneva to Milan? Am I going to be able to easily access other currencies or am I stuck in American dollars because that’s what I deposited?
Erika: If you are country hopping, it’s simple to switch the currencies on your card. You can simply log into the i-Account website (which can be done anywhere in the world), access your account and issue instructions for the amount of cash you’d like to load onto the i-Card and in which currency. So if you have euros on the card and need Swiss francs, you can easily make the switch. Best of all, the i-Account is extremely affordable. It has no account minimums and very low fees.
Jocelynn: Who would the i-Account be best suited for since not everyone is a global traveler?
Erika: I look at the i-Account and the i-Card as a passport for you. It’s the cheapest and simplest way that I know of to place some assets outside the U.S. and outside the U.S. dollar. Having even a small account and using the card when needed is great insurance in the event we have a situation in the U.S. where bank accounts are frozen, our financial network is seriously disrupted or another such unforeseen event occurs.
Jocelynn: Thanks for joining us, Erika. i-Account is a great way to get some of your wealth outside the United States and provides easy access while you’re traveling. For more information about i-Account and the i-Card, please click here.
Sr. Managing Editor, Sovereign Investor Daily