Bank shares tips on how to have a financially stress-free Christmas

December 20, 2023 - 6:03 PM
EastWest photo
(Photo from EastWest/Released)

How can you have a safe and secure holiday experience that is financially stress-free and joyful?

Filipino-owned universal bank EastWest shared tips on how the public can efficiently prepare for the forthcoming festivities without going broke or becoming penniless.

Here are their suggestions:

Establish a clear budget 

Avoid overspending while shopping for Christmas gifts by making a clear budget. The bank says this guides your purchases and keeps financial stress at bay.

Plan and shop early 

Filipinos can also become a wise shopper by doing it early. This gives them enough time to compare prices and avoid crowds and long lines as the Holidays approach.

When shopping, they can protect themselves from card fraud by signing the back of their cards and watching it when they hand it to the cashier.

For contactless transactions, they can tap their Visa card using EastWest Pay, which is the first Near Field Communication NFC technology in the Philippines.

Monitor card usage 

If shopping with debit and prepaid cards, Pinoys can check the amount on the POS (point-of-sale) terminal screen to make sure that their account will be debited for the correct amount.

For credit card holders, the bank recommends checking the charge slip first before giving their signature.

It also suggested that Pinoys can key in their PIN in POS transactions. They must also cover their hands when they do so.

They can also see if the purchase and the debited amounts match by checking the validated transaction slip.

To further verify transactions, they can review the monthly card statements that are being sent to them.

Practice safe online shopping 

The bank advised consumers to only shop on websites that start with the following on its website URL: https.

It means that the site is encrypted for security.

Other signs to look out for are a closed lock icon or a padlock symbol in the browser address window.

A green lock icon means that the website has implemented the extended validation security feature.

EastWest also advised shoppers against providing payment information through email, saying that consumers should find another merchant who transacts with encrypted technologies instead.

Regularly check transactions in accounts 

The bank recommended that the public should regularly check their bank statements and accounts to see if these have unauthorized transactions.

If they notice anything suspicious, they should contact their bank immediately.

Moreover, they should keep their cards in a safe place and never let anyone use them.

Filipinos are also advised to choose a Personal Identification Number (PIN) that is hard to guess, change it from time to time and never disclose it to anyone.

Take advantage of loyalty points and rewards 

Redeeming accumulated points or rewards from credit cards or loyalty programs can score shoppers freebies or free items.

Control, control, control

The bank advised the public to stick to a limit to avoid going overboard with their credit card spending.

They can also set purchase and withdrawal limits of their debit and prepaid cards to give them greater control of their spending and reduce the risk of fraud.

Be vigilant for scams

EastWest said that spikes in phishing emails and scam calls are often observed during the Holiday season.

It advised against providing personal or banking information to unsolicited requests and reminded shoppers to update their computer’s anti-virus and anti-spyware software and firewall.

Likewise, they can also change the default name of their wireless home router, protect it with a strong password and turn off the “remote management” features, if any.

They are also warned against using a public Wi-Fi connection for financial transactions, including online shopping and online banking.

Avoid sketchy ATMs 

To avoid unwanted incidents, consumers are advised to only use ATMs in lit areas that are not in suspicious locations or those that appear to be hidden or inaccessible.

Martin Reyes, senior vice president and head of bank marketing and corporate communication of EastWest, said that planning ahead and remaining vigilant helps Pinoys enjoy a pleasant Christmas.

“At EastWest, we are always here to assist and support our customers in every financial aspect of their lives,” he said.

“While we have numerous safeguards to provide utmost banking security, customers can also protect themselves from fraud, identity theft, and scams by taking basic precautions,” Reyes added.

Customers can call EastWest Customer Service Hotline 888-1700 in case of lost or stolen cards and unauthorized transactions.