Check List: Before You Travel

checkbox Credit Card:

Before you go overseas, make sure to speak with your credit card issuer about their foreign transaction fees charges. On average, most credit card carriers charge at least 1% for foreign transactions. If you don’t already have an SDFCU credit card, we suggest that you get one. We offer chip-enabled technology, low rates and all of our cards have no foreign transaction fees.

checkbox Overdraft protection:

Remember to apply for overdraft protection to safeguard your finances and provide you with extra coverage.

checkbox Savings Account:

Make sure that your savings account has three to six months of salary. In case of some of life’s challenges, it is always good to have an emergency fund. When you join SDFCU you automatically get a savings account!

checkbox Check your credit report:

Always check your credit report before you leave the country. You can check your current credit score by logging into Online Banking or the Mobile App.

checkbox Set up direct deposit:

Arrange for direct deposit so your salary and other forms of income can be placed quickly and hassle-free into the account of your choice. If you are an SDFCU member, visit your payroll office and give them our ABA routing number 2560-7534-2 and your full account number (you can find this on the bottom of your checks).

checkbox Set up bill pay:

As you know, mail can be delayed while you are on post overseas. To alleviate the chances of paying bills late, visit Online Banking and set up Bill Pay for your recurring bills, renewal of membership subscriptions, or any frequent payments.

Access to your money

checkbox Foreign Currency:

You should check currency exchange rates and then buy foreign currency or set up a reminder to purchase currency when the time comes. Visit EZForex to get started.

Buy Foreign Currency Today

checkbox Travelers Cheques:

Travelers Cheques are a much safer alternative to carrying cash as they can typically be replaced if lost or stolen (as long as you have your receipt/serial number of check). Travelers Cheques are fixed amount checks and a great thing to use when traveling. Travelers Cheques are available in all SDFCU Branches.

Home and auto

checkbox Selling your home:

If you are considering selling your home before you leave, Home Advantage can help. Home Advantage provides real estate services, along with access to database listings of neighborhood demographics, school listings etc. Also, you can earn cash rewards when you sell your home through Home Advantage.

Other items to consider

checkbox Purchase a safe deposit box:

Important papers (deeds, car titles, certificates of marriage, birth certificates, and insurance policies) should be kept in a Safe Deposit Box. We offer several sizes of boxes at our Alexandria and State Department branch locations.

Annual Rental Fees






$27.00 per year

$55.00 per year

$37.00 per year

$65.00 per year

$125.00 per year

Replacement Key

$5.00 per request

Drilling Fee

minimum $150.00 per request

checkbox Power of Attorney:

Remember to set up a power of attorney so someone can act legally on your behalf (lawyer, friend, relative) if you have not already done so. If you’ve already designated Power of Attorney, review it to ensure it hasn’t expired and that the person designated is still the one you want acting on your behalf. Visit an any of our branch locations or call us at 703.706.5000 for more information.

checkbox Change your address:

Remember to change your address with all of the financial institutions you do business with. You can change your address with us in Online Banking.

Programs to Help you While You Are Away

  • Bill Pay and 24-Hour Banking:

While you are away, remember to use Online Banking to transfer money, view your account history, and more. We also offer several Digital Banking services to help you monitor your spending.

Need to send money, a wire transfer might be a great option for you. The fee for foreign currency and international wire transfers is only $30. A Wire Transfer Request Form must be signed and completed before an outgoing wire can be initiated. You can also initiate a wire transfer by completing and submitting a Wire Transfer Request Form through Online Banking. For additional details visit our Banking Services section.

  • You Can Purchase A Car:

If you find a vehicle that you love while you are overseas, you don’t have to turn the other way. We are one of a few financial institutions that can help you with low rate auto financing while you are overseas.

If you have already financed your vehicle with us, we let you keep the title if you decide to ship your vehicle overseas.

  • Home Buying Options:

If you find the home of your dreams stateside while you are away, you don’t have to wait until you return to buy it. We have special financing options created just for you, which will allow you to claim the home as a primary residence. For details about this exclusive option, call 703.739.3092. or 800.296.8882 ext 3092 or email us.

Check List: Returning Home

checkbox Update Your Address:

Before you head stateside, remember to update the address for all of the financial institutions you do business with.

checkbox Power of Attorney:

Remember to revoke your Power of Attorney.

checkbox Purchasing a Home:

Before you return home, check out our flexible mortgage options tailored to fit your needs. Plus, earn cash rewards when you buy or sell a home through Home Advantage, our partnered realty service.

checkbox Temporary Housing:

If you will be in need of temporary housing, do consider Oakwood Apartments. Oakwood is a proud housing provider for the U.S. Department of State. Oakwood offers our Federal government travelers the next generation of convenience and comfort.