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Old 04-11-2011, 15:44   #1
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Banking While Cruising

Ok, this has now gotten out of hand, and I'm fed up.

I'm Canadian, and I bank with the Royal Bank of Canada. My banker assured me that all I had to do to avoid the multiple "cross border transaction" fees was to upgrade my account to "VIP banking" and give them another $30/month. Given that the fees were adding up to $50/month or more, it seemed like a necessary evil. I paid, and got a nice new ATM card in the mail confirming my "VIP banking" status.

Well, not only have the charges not stopped, there's a whole new slew of stupid rules around it - if I want my joint checking account (with my cruising partner/girlfriend) to be immune from extra fees I have to both make that my primary account, pay *another* monthly fee, and still I'm seeing regular $3/transaction fees.

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?
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Old 04-11-2011, 15:48   #2
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Re: Banking While Cruising

Give me all your money, then your banking worries should disappear.
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Old 04-11-2011, 15:53   #3
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You might try a credit card that doesn't charge additional fees, then pay it automatically from you checking/savings account. That's what I do now, but will have to switch credit cards from bofa to capital one (bofa adds a premium to foreign transactions and capital one doesn't, at least to the best of my knowledge).

Very interested in this topic as I'm heading south now myself.
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Old 04-11-2011, 15:57   #4
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Re: Banking While Cruising

Quote:
Originally Posted by nv5l View Post
You might try a credit card that doesn't charge additional fees, then pay it automatically from you checking/savings account. That's what I do now, but will have to switch credit cards from bofa to capital one (bofa adds a premium to foreign transactions and capital one doesn't, at least to the best of my knowledge).

Very interested in this topic as I'm heading south now myself.
This was my plan, but it was pointed out that as soon as you leave 'civilization' credit cards tend to get less acceptable... Canada is pretty quick to adopt new payment and banking technologies, I haven't regularly carried cash since the 90's!
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Old 04-11-2011, 16:02   #5
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I always have some cash, but try to use the card as often as I can. Hope someone has a good solution both of us can use...
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Old 04-11-2011, 16:41   #6
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Re: Banking While Cruising

I also use Royal Bank, abet the USA version. I also have a Canadian flavor with them. When in the US (home) I use the home version. When I head to the Bahamas, I transfer the funds to the Canadian account.
I can do this on the move, with online banking. I can even take advantage of waiting for favorable exchange rates and make a few bucks out of the arrangement, but I don't suggest putting your retirement hopes on making much this route.
Then I don't have the foreign transaction issues as I use RBC in the Bahamas for local banking needs.
Of course, with my stately aged veneer, I avoid a lot of the fees you are probably seeing with your account. The one advantage to growing old.
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Old 04-11-2011, 19:38   #7
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Re: Banking While Cruising

How about Scotia Bank? They are scattered all over the Caribbean and I have found them to be reputable. Supposedly their "home" is in Canada.
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Old 04-11-2011, 19:48   #8
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Re: Banking While Cruising

I have just opened a CITIBANK Plus a/c in Australia.

It allows me no charge payments to other CitiBank accounts worldwide and to chane currency a minimal costs. Will be advantagous for me travelling in States and purchasing a vessel in the Americas.

Perhaps worth a look.

Seems Canadian banks are similar to the Australian using fees and charges to give them ever increasing record profits and making up for reduced profits during the recent financial crisis due to their mistakes not their customers. never mind some more fees andd charges.
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Old 04-11-2011, 20:02   #9
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Re: Banking While Cruising

G'day, Mate. Check out Schwab Bank. No ATM fees worldwide and no transaction fees on their debit card. Bummer, they no longer offer a credit card. Cheers.
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Old 04-11-2011, 20:03   #10
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Re: Banking While Cruising

When I travel, I have been lucky in using my ATM card without any fees to get cash. I have a feeling that might not last, and it might not be possible in different countries.

Maybe there is an on-line only bank that works in any country (since they are probably based in the Caymans or something).
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Old 04-11-2011, 20:06   #11
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Re: Banking While Cruising

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Old 05-11-2011, 09:10   #12
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Re: Banking While Cruising

Quote:
Originally Posted by downunder View Post
I have just opened a CITIBANK Plus a/c in Australia.
It allows me no charge payments to other CitiBank accounts worldwide and to chane currency a minimal costs. . .
Be wary of the phrase "at minimal costs" - exactly what are they charging for currency changes? Great is Zero costs; Good is 1% of the transaction; Normal is 3% of the transaction. Anything else is bad . . .

- - - As far as being able to use "credit cards" internationally - if you have a "Visa" or "Mastercard" they are easily usable most everywhere in the world that has reasonable telephone access.
- - The only problems you might expect (and I have seen) is when the telephone system of the country goes down. All "plastic" these days has those little machines that telephone your bank to make sure the card is legitimate before "authorizing" the transaction. In the Caribbean I have had ATM and other cards refused by an ATM or seller because they cannot get a telephone connection to verify the card. Going back an hour or so later and everything is okay and the transactions processes normally.
- - In areas without telephone connections, good old local cash is how things are done unless you have lots of "beads, trinkets, etc."

- - - Remember that there are 2 charges associated with ATM transactions. First is whether your bank charges you for using your ATM/Debit card. Second, is whether the local bank/machine that you use has a "service fee" for cards that are not from their bank. These fees vary from $0 to $3 depending upon the local bank/ATM owner.
- - Your "bank" where you keep your money will sometimes "refund" your external "service fee" that was imposed by the ATM/bank that you used. That is good otherwise you could be hit with both fees, that is bad.
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Old 05-11-2011, 09:51   #13
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Re: Banking While Cruising

Also I would suggest that having "credit cards" - one Visa, one MasterCard - is just about mandatory as "insurance" against emergency situations. For instance, a quick trip home for family emergency or your own medical emergency means you need a credit card to book and buy the "cheap fares" versus the airport full fares. Also an emergency repair to the boat or a part that must be purchased and shipped down can be done on a credit card and then paid off over a period of time rather than "bankrupting" your cash account.
- - The reason for 2 credit cards is 2-fold. One, some places do not accept one brand or the other. And second, if you lose one or it gets stolen/used by a thief, you have the other to use until a new card can be sent to you which takes, on average, about a month or two.
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Old 05-11-2011, 20:42   #14
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Re: Banking While Cruising

[QUOTE=osirissail;811176]Be wary of the phrase "at minimal costs" - exactly what are they charging for currency changes? Great is Zero costs; Good is 1% of the transaction; Normal is 3% of the transaction. Anything else is bad . . .

- -QUOTE]

less than 1% so that is good.
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Old 06-11-2011, 02:19   #15
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Re: Banking While Cruising

IME you have to assume that your banking arrangement will go wrong (eventually)........so a backup plan already in place is not only useful in practice, but also a re-assurance.

I've worked in / dealt with many of the big name banks over the last 25 years or so, and my experiance is that overall as good / useless as each other...........and for "Help" it really is a crap shoot.

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.

Obviously the second bank account should not be at something like the "The Bank of Wyoming", with branches only in the 5 major town highstreets.

Plan C on the backup was someone who could wire out some "get me outta Dodge" money.......(my money or theirs).

FWIW after a good few years of no problems with Lloyds bank (a centuries old dull bank that went broke from meddling in things it didn't understand - anything complicated ).......... what started out as simply having lost a transfer between 2 bank accounts (same branch ) has become a struggle to find out who can sort the problem - hell, I have not even narrowed down the country yet Apparently the remitting account having internet access means SFA to do with the branch, despite the fact I can walk in and withdraw cash ........and that the Account is meant to be "offshore" (nothing dodgy - it's where I live) - not located somewhere on the internet.

The frustration is dealing with folk who know SFA about banking and are feeding me BS, which they beleive (and I don't).....not helped by having met more switched on employees at McD's - during a special needs convention

But I is not surprised, years back worked for one arm of Lloyds a couple of times - they were staffed full of useless f#ckers back then

It's good to vent
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