When moving overseas, most people think of only the most common things they need to adapt to a new environment. How do I get around? What’s the food like? How much money will I be spending on living expenses? Many expats tend to forget, or overlook how simply changing their geographical location will affect their ability to work, play and socialize online. Websites and services are censored or blocked, and online banking becomes difficult or impossible. To get around this, many expats opt to use a virtual private network when they connect to theinternet. With this in mind, here are the top five reasons an expat needs a VPN.
Banking and financial records: While living outside your home country, most people still need access to online banking, credit cards use and financial accounts such as PayPal and Moneybookers/Skrill. Thankfully, accessing these accounts from a new location is trivial with a VPN. This is more important than most expats realize at first. Major providers typically notice when a person logs in from a foreign IP address. Upon noticing this, some financial service providers will attempt to block the new IP address or put in place security locks, forcing the customer to spend hours on emails and expensive international calls in an effort to fix the situation. Fortunately, with a VPN, a client can reach his or her banks with ease and without raising any red flags.
Online shopping: Thanks to the global nature of the internet, you can shop online from anywhere in the world… if your credit/debit card doesn’t trigger alarm bells! Most of the major e-commerce sites track the IP address of customers. Using a card from a different country of origin than the IP address, will throw up red flags and the e-commerce site is, at minimum, likely to delay the order, and at worst, completely block your card. It’s nice to know they’re looking out for your well being, but getting around the issue is as simple as using a VPN.
Social media: In some countries, freedom of speech and expression may not be quite what you’re used to, and access to sites and services such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social media outlets may be censored. When you need to unblock websites overseas and communicate with family members and friends, a reliable VPN is an absolute necessity.
Streaming media: While overseas, most people still want to keep up with their favorite television shows using Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Instant Video and other streaming services. Others want to listen to streaming music via services like Pandora and Spotify. Once again, a VPN proves invaluable in this situation. Though not always the primary reason expats opt for a VPN, this is a major benefit for a anyone who wants to take a little bit of home with them.
Security: More and more people are beginning to realize that the internet is not as safe or private as they once thought. When expats conduct online transactions and deal with sensitive data such as medical records, information may not be transmitted securely, (particularly when that data is sent over a WiFi network) and hackers and criminals can exploit this information quickly. However, with a VPN, all data is first encrypted, before being via secure servers.