Using a virtual private network (VPN) has a lot of advantages. It can keep your data safe, your online activity anonymous, and let you access geo-restricted websites and social media. However, did you know that using a VPN can also help you save a lot of money? Here’s how!
Travel: Always get the best rates
Traveling can be an expensive endeavor when you account for plane tickets, hotel bookings, car rentals, local tours, and more. Luckily, you can reduce the strain on your wallet with a couple of simple VPN tricks!
There are a few tricks you can try to ensure you get the best rates for all your travel expenses:
Clear the cookie jar
You may have noticed flight and hotel prices going up the more you search on the same site. Clearing cookies is a well-known tip for resetting these price hikes. A VPN also allows you to change your IP address to make it look like you are a new user.
Move across the map
You can try switching to another country to get better rates, particularly low-income countries. You might find the flight, hotel, and car rentals you see in the U.S. have different prices in France or India for the same bookings. Use your VPN to switch to different countries and see if any rates change.
An extensive report by TheBestVPN shows us exactly how much of a saving you can make using a VPN. In the first image above, a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Los Angeles could cost almost $1000 less when making the booking from Poland or Canada as compared to the U.S. There are also significant savings available when making a car rental booking from a country like India when compared to the U.S.
Something to keep in mind though is that while a VPN makes it easier to spoof your IP address and location as needed, it doesn’t guarantee you a better price. It takes a lot of trial and error to find the right location or site for the best rates, so you’ll definitely have to put the work in. The folks over at TheBestVPN ran the test using different VPN services and multiple locations to get the best results and you may not be able to replicate the results you see in the images right away.
Unless it’s a huge difference in price, in most cases, changing currency conversion rates, related bank charges, and other fees will likely result in the cost being around the same most of the time. That said, I’ve personally had this work quite well with hotel bookings and international flights. Don’t expect major differences for domestic flights though.
Different website versions
Try using international versions of travel websites. Most websites will have international versions with different domain names like co.uk (for the U.K.) .in or co.in (India), .fr (France) as examples. Keep in mind that without a VPN, you might be redirected to the local version of the site regardless of which domain name you use. In this case, use a VPN to connect to the other country, and then access the travel site.
Streaming: Unblock services for your region
We know a VPN can give you access to streaming services in countries where they are either restricted or unavailable. Netflix has different catalogs for different countries — the U.S. catalog has a lot more, and different, shows and movies available than say, Netflix India. A VPN can get you access to all that content.
This saves you money by saving you from paying more for geo-restricted content. A movie in Netflix’s U.S. catalog that isn’t available on Netflix India might be available in India elsewhere. Using a VPN means you won’t have to buy or rent it or even subscribe to another streaming service that may not offer anything else you actually want.
Another way a VPN can help you save money is when it comes to time-limited content. Some sites let you stream videos for a short amount of time only before you either need to wait a certain period of time or pay for the service. These sites use your IP address to set up this restriction. A VPN allows you to change your IP address multiple times as needed so you can continue to enjoy the video for free.
Apart from saving money, a VPN lets you access the content you want when you are away from your home country as well. A lot of regional streaming services, like Hotstar in India, aren’t available in other regions. Connecting to a server located in your home country using a VPN lets you watch the content you want from your favorite regional streaming services.
Software subscriptions: Take advantage of regional pricing
As we saw with flight and hotel bookings, regional pricing exists for software subscriptions as well. A yearly subscription to Office 365 is priced $40 to $50 cheaper in India or Russia than in the U.S. or U.K., as is a one-time purchase. The same likely holds true for any other software you may need to buy. Find the region that offers the lowest subscription price using a VPN.
Many VPNs recommend this method as a great way to save money. However, something to keep in mind is location locks on licensing keys. Make sure that your VPN is connected to the correct location before attempting to activate the software license.
Theft and fraud prevention: Keep your data safer than a bank
A VPN can help you avoid losing a lot of money to identity theft or banking and credit card fraud. There are actually some pretty scary statistics on how big a problem theft and fraud have become recently.
- According to the Identity Theft Resource Center’s 2017 Data Breach Report, 1,579 data breaches exposed almost 179 million records in 2017. Over 14 million credit card numbers and close to 158 million social security numbers were exposed as a result of these data breaches.
- These data breaches led to numerous cases of identity theft. According to an FTC report, credit card fraud was the most common form of identity theft, with over 133,000 reported cases. This was followed by more than 82,000 cases of employment and tax fraud and close to 51,000 cases of bank fraud in 2017. There were losses of over $900 million because of identity theft and fraud.
- Imposter scams are another huge issue. one in five people victim to such scams lost money, resulting in a total loss of close to $330 million. Imposter scams have grown even more because of social media accounts being hacked. Scammers then message others acting as a trusted person to ask for money.
These are just a broad overview of key identity theft statistics, and it’s definitely worth checking out the reports linked above. There are a number of ways a person can gain access to sensitive information like bank usernames and passwords, credit card numbers, and your social security number, particularly on unsecured networks like free public Wi-Fi. Using a VPN ensures your online activity is protected on unsecure networks and keeps key information safe.
Keep in mind this is different from malware or virus protection, which is another way that someone can get access to important information. Some VPNs — like PureVPN — come with anti-malware and anti-virus capabilities, but you should also have a good anti-virus program to keep yourself safe from malicious attacks.
There you have it. These are just some of the ways a VPN can help you save money. If we’ve convinced you to give a VPN a try, we recommend ExpressVPN over all the other options thanks to its overall well-rounded performance.
Be sure to check out our guide on how to use a VPN and the best VPN apps. Don’t forget to also check out our comprehensive reviews of IPVanish, PureVPN, SaferVPN, ExpressVPN, and NordVPN, and stay tuned for many more detailed VPN reviews in the coming months.