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Old 06-11-2011, 06:02   #16
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Re: Banking While Cruising

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Originally Posted by David_Old_Jersey View Post
. . . For that (in addition to any Credit Cards) it's simply a second bank account (at a different bank!), indeed for travelling I never had any serious money in the day to day account (if someone empties it won't be a disaster) nor connected to any cards I used. . .
Two excellent points - what with identity theft and stolen ATM/credit cards these days - arranging your main bank's accounts so that your automatic/direct deposits go into a savings account or other account rather than your "checking/cash account" is a good idea.

- - You keep your "checking/cash" account at a minimal level to handle a week's worth of money. Thieves can drain your account via a stolen credit/ATM/Debit card but the bulk of your money is in the "savings/other" account that the thief cannot access. Remember credit card account theft does not require that the thief have your credit card. They use sequential number computers to click though the 16 digits on a credit card testing each one with a small telephone transaction. When they get a "live" account number then they do a series of small charges from overseas locations.

- - You replenish the checking/cash" account from your "savings/other" account via Internet access to your bank whenever you need.

- - Having a totally separate bank and a credit card from that separate bank is the ultimate protection. In case of a full court raid on your primary bank account you can live off your second bank's account until the problem is fixed. Unfortunately, when cruising overseas, this can take months what with having to deal with "snail-mail" to get new cards, etc.

- - I use a "Credit Union" type bank for my second bank with their credit card. Since the money in that bank is in "shares" of the credit union, it earns interest while it just sits there waiting for me to have a financial crisis.
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Old 06-11-2011, 06:33   #17
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Re: Banking While Cruising

Contrary to popular opinion I have found it far better to use small, local hometown banks and credit unions because they are staffed by real people who will remember your name and you can call up and get some assistance once in awhile. For some strange reason I have found the fees and general nonsense much, much lower at small hometown banks and credit unions. It's ideal to also have some trusted person in that town be a cosigner so that they can take care of things at the bank if you need them to in an emergency. I find that it is very rare to need to go into a physical bank anyplace these days, except to use the ATM to get cash, and every bank uses the same international systems so it really doesn't matter what bank you have. Always only use ATMs that are in the most frequented spots. I have never (knock on wood) had a problem using ATMs located in big, busy supermarkets, for example. I think the owners of the supermarket would hear about it fast if there was a scam operating. Always have at least two different ATM cards, from two different banks--often one or the other won't work for some reason, while the other one will. The next day it will be reversed which one works. Always have two or more different credit cards--VISA is the most widely accepted so I carry at least several VISA cards, but some places MasterCard works too.
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Old 06-11-2011, 06:44   #18
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Re: Banking While Cruising

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Originally Posted by osirissail View Post
Two excellent points - what with identity theft and stolen ATM/credit cards these days - arranging your main bank's accounts so that your automatic/direct deposits go into a savings account or other account rather than your "checking/cash account" is a good idea.

- - You keep your "checking/cash" account at a minimal level to handle a week's worth of money. Thieves can drain your account via a stolen credit/ATM/Debit card but the bulk of your money is in the "savings/other" account that the thief cannot access. Remember credit card account theft does not require that the thief have your credit card. They use sequential number computers to click though the 16 digits on a credit card testing each one with a small telephone transaction. When they get a "live" account number then they do a series of small charges from overseas locations.

- - You replenish the checking/cash" account from your "savings/other" account via Internet access to your bank whenever you need.

- - Having a totally separate bank and a credit card from that separate bank is the ultimate protection. In case of a full court raid on your primary bank account you can live off your second bank's account until the problem is fixed. Unfortunately, when cruising overseas, this can take months what with having to deal with "snail-mail" to get new cards, etc.

- - I use a "Credit Union" type bank for my second bank with their credit card. Since the money in that bank is in "shares" of the credit union, it earns interest while it just sits there waiting for me to have a financial crisis.
How about using "identity theft insurance"? I pay only $7.99/month for mine and it would supposedly cover these sort of thefts. Seems a lot simpler.
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Old 06-11-2011, 06:51   #19
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Re: Banking While Cruising

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How about using "identity theft insurance"? I pay only $7.99/month for mine and it would supposedly cover these sort of thefts. Seems a lot simpler.
Do they also cover Alien adbduction?
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Old 06-11-2011, 07:07   #20
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Re: Banking While Cruising

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Do they also cover Alien adbduction?
Not sure but filing the claim might be a problem.
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Old 06-11-2011, 07:24   #21
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Re: Banking While Cruising

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Originally Posted by Doodles View Post
How about using "identity theft insurance"? I pay only $7.99/month for mine and it would supposedly cover these sort of thefts. Seems a lot simpler.
"Supposedly" is the operative word. Maybe it will, maybe it won't. And does "identity theft insurance" put the -maybe - thousand(s) dollar back into your bank account after the thief drains your account? You are still required to monitor your accounts and report illegal activity - there are time limits on reporting illegal activity. Identity theft is different than credit/ATM card theft. It is a serious nightmare involving all your credit accounts, credit reporting, social security, IRS, etc. - so taking precautions and monitoring your bank accounts is step one to avoid that catastrophe. There are excellent YouTube videos on spotting and avoiding ATM scams and also credit card thefts. For instance, letting a waiter/server take your credit card to charge your bill is an invitation to having them double run your card or copy it using a pocket scanner. Good videos on that also.

- - When you take personal control of your accounts you can use that $96 per year for better things like rum or beer.

- - The bank accounts, with proper shopping around, will cost you nothing but your time to check them a couple of times each month to catch illegal activity.

- - Like "Kettlewell" mentioned using banks where there are actually live humans to service your needs goes a long way to helping prevent thieves accessing your money.
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Old 06-11-2011, 10:32   #22
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Re: Banking While Cruising

Banks!!!

But I thought we were all supposed to take our money out of the evil banks yesterday, and put it in credit unions? I may open an account at a small local bank wherever I end up. On the other hand, considering the GREAT interest rates these days, maybe I'll just cash out of everything and stuff it under the mattress in the master berth.
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Old 06-11-2011, 10:59   #23
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Re: Banking While Cruising

I support the concept of having an account at a small, local credit union where they actually know your name and recognize your voice on the phone. In the last year I can think of a couple of times where that has been invaluable. The big issue for me as a Canadian who often travels in the US is how to deal with clients that insist on paying by cheque. I can get the cheques forwarded to wherever I am but then I'm stuck with either holding onto them until we get back into Canada or mailing them to my bank. I'd really like to find some method that would let me make deposits when I'm out of the country. In addition to the small credit union account I also have an account at a chartered bank (RBC) which apparently now has some US branches so perhaps that is the solution to my problem. Of course then the issue is getting the money transferred between the Canadian chartered banking system and the Canadian Credit Union system which - surprise surprise - is not simple either.
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Old 06-11-2011, 17:58   #24
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Re: Banking While Cruising

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. . . The big issue for me as a Canadian who often travels in the US is how to deal with clients that insist on paying by cheque. I can get the cheques forwarded to wherever I am but then I'm stuck with either holding onto them until we get back into Canada or mailing them to my bank. I'd really like to find some method that would let me make deposits when I'm out of the country. . . .
You are in luck if your bank has "deposit at home." This is a new feature in banking for USA banks and credit unions. Under U.S. law it is no longer necessary to actually "clear" a paper check by sending it to your bank.

- - How it works is - you sign up with your bank/credit union for "deposit at home" and then attach a scanner to your computer.
- - Log onto the bank/credit union's website and activate the "deposit from home." You place the check you received first face down; and secondly back side down on the scanner when the bank/credit union's program directs.
- - They take over control of the scanner and transmit the front and back of the check into their system. That's all.
- - The check is deposited into your account and the money is available (like historically) when your bank receives confirmation that the check is good. You can keep the check as a momento or destroy it after you are sure the money has cleared and is available your account.
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Old 06-11-2011, 19:54   #25
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Re: Banking While Cruising

Drew23:
I have been looking at this situation myself as I also would like to go south from Ontario. I understand that BMO (Bank of Montreal) has a credit card that you charge up with say 2000.00 and as you use it its balance goes down, and as it gets depleated you can re-charge it through internet banking. However it is like carrying cash and if you loose it you are out of luck. You can also get a U$S dollar visa (at any Canadian bank) and pay it from your U$S dollar account in Canada. You can buy U$S dollars on those days when the exchange is favorable and transfer them to your U$S dollar bank account. Hope this is of help to you....... Bon Voyage!
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Old 07-11-2011, 03:56   #26
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Re: Banking While Cruising

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Argh. I could rant all day, but I won't. What I *will* do is ask for your recommendation of a credit union that understands the needs of a cruising sailor. Apart from pretty regular ATM use, I do ALL my banking online and would be happy to continue to do so!

What say you, cruisers?
I would recommend HSBC. If you are going to be cruising and initiating cross border or international transactions frequently then I doubt any local bank is going to satisfy your needs; however, international banks will cater to travelers and have worldwide locations. I've been using HSBC for several years and pay no fees for my accounts, no ATM fees no matter whose machine I use, and most importantly no foreign transaction fees. The only fee I pay is $30 to wire money internationally from my US accounts to a foreign bank account. If you don't need to maintain a foreign account (I do) then you can avoid that one as well.
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Old 07-11-2011, 04:10   #27
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Re: Banking While Cruising

I just keep cash, and hide it in things which you have to disassemble (like stick wads of it in the radar, or inside your wind generator) This avoids most bank hassles, but the foreign exchange rate is 3% for cash instead of 1% for wire transfer, so it seems bank fees are unavoidable. Since I spend under $200 a month it doesn't seem so bad. Just make sure to keep it dry mine got moldy and there were holes in it, and it took me 8 banks before they would exchange it.
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Old 07-11-2011, 08:16   #28
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Re: Banking While Cruising

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You are in luck if your bank has "deposit at home."
Much easier than what you described, some banks even have an iPhone app for this. Take a picture of the check, press a button, and you're done.
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Old 07-11-2011, 10:01   #29
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Re: Banking While Cruising

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Much easier than what you described, some banks even have an iPhone app for this. Take a picture of the check, press a button, and you're done.
When cruising I normally have internet access but most times no phone access. So the internet version works well including the fact that it is done over a secure SSL link. I personally don't trust sending financial information over public cell phone links.
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Old 14-11-2011, 17:51   #30
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Pay particular attention to the 3% foreign transaction fee. Really stinks when you had a haulout , expensive maintenance or put several months marina bills on credit card. Our credit union only charges 1%. American express and our Visa are 3%!!! ATM withdrawals are not treated the same as credit card charges. We pay cash in foreign currency for all day to day expenses and convert $$ by making ATM withdrawals. Eliminates exposing your credit card around town. We always use a BANK ATM.
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