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Old 19-09-2014, 23:18   #1
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Banking While Away

Recently we've found that our home town bank just might not be what we want for extended cruising..
When there is a problem with our account or one of our bank cards, their responce is to " come into your branch office to get the issue taken care of"
This wont be an option if we're out of the country..
we were thinking of changing our bank to an international bank like Chase.

Any thoughts?????????????????????????????????
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Old 19-09-2014, 23:25   #2
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Re: Banking while away

I'm a Canadian who snowbirds in Florida. I found Bank of America to be excellent for my needs, both for debit and credit cards, as well as I could get a cashier check for larger purchases at any branch.
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Old 20-09-2014, 05:55   #3
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Re: Banking while away

Randy,
If you have a retirement investment account (401K, IRA, etc. in US) check to see if your investment house provides a banking account. These banks don't have branches and are used to dealing with people remotely, especially retirees travelling the world. Many of them also don't charge for currency conversion or ATM fees.

I use USAA for my banking, but that requires having served in the US military (or being from a military family). They also have a client base that is distributed around the world, and they reimburse ATM fees - but they do charge for currency conversions.

John
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Old 20-09-2014, 06:06   #4
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Re: Banking While Away

Dunno if I should talk this stuff on the open internet....

I have two banks, one very small where they virtually know me and if theres a problem I can call them and fix stuff.

My other bank is one of the biggest in Australia with branches in the US, UK, Europe, etc.

As I can suffle money between the two of them I have flexability is one becaomes a problem.

The problems I have had..
Twice while in the USA at ATMs the machine hasnt given me the money but removed it from my account. One for $600 was never returned. These 2 weve via my big bank.

In many countries the withdrawal amount is capped at something stupidly low... Like $400 in Grenada and St Martin. So trying to buy something for $1,800 cash one day I went into every bank in Grenada in the space of 2 hours and drew it out in $400 blobs... As it was 2 am in Australia the security flags fired off in the bank computer and they locked up my account. LOL too late! But I couldnt eat till they released my account agin


So my advice is to go into the home bank and tell them you need voice recognition for problems.... But also get a big international bank too. Something thats recognisable in Outerindostani.

BTW my small bank's visa card used to have a very pretty photo of the Sydney Harbour Bridge on it... Many countires didnt think it was a Visa card and wouldnt accept it!!!

Dang! One last point... Each bank has ...... i will send you this idea by PM
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Old 20-09-2014, 06:36   #5
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Re: Banking While Away

MarkJ has a good point on having two banks, especially if you are living off your ATM card (as many of us do).
I used my USAA ATM card in Portugal and Spain for over 2 years, then a few months before I returned to the states the Multibanco ATMs in Portugal would not accept my ATM card. The Multibanco machines (virtually all of the ATMs in Portugal) are an independent service from the local banks and those banks were of no help in resolving the problem. I called USAA and they were not the problem. I ordered a replacement ATM card, which arrived about 2 weeks later, but that card would not work in the ATMs as well. I never found out the source of the problem, but when I arrived in Madeira on the way back, my ATM card worked in the Multibanco machines there. In the mean time I was living off my credit cards and cash from a friend who was sailing with me.
I determined then that I would have a second (cheap) checking account and ATM card with another bank on my next extended cruise.

John
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Old 20-09-2014, 06:43   #6
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Re: Banking While Away

I think on another thread it was pointed out that having an account with a big international bank wasn't much help when you have a problem. I remember on the thread people saying they would go into the "local" international branch and it wasn't really any different than if you didn't even have an account with them. Now I'm sure some this is different between neighbor type countries (US/Canada etc).

Far as banking, I don't I've physically stepped foot into my bank in years.

I think it is probably more important to have accounts in more than 1 bank to cover problems for when there is an issue with one.
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Old 20-09-2014, 06:49   #7
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Re: Banking While Away

Two other ideas:

1) Make sure your credit card will work overseas and doesn't charge you a "foreign transaction fee" for every purchase. In my experience, most American credit cards charge these ridiculous fees every time you use the thing outside the US! There are several that don't but you have to look.

2) Always have a wad of US currency stashed on board for exigencies such as card failure. USDs are a good idea no matter which country you are coming from. Some like to keep a small amount as a "sacrifice" in an easy to find spot (in the nav station, for example) while the rest is hidden somewhere a punk thief is unlikely to look. In the Caribbean on my old Cape Dory 33 I kept cash in my Newport Dickinson heater, reasoning thieves in hot countries would not know what a heater is and may not look there. As is usual, in the end it was all good and that idea was never "tested."

Good luck.

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Old 20-09-2014, 07:01   #8
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Re: Banking While Away

We were out of the US for eight years, and did all our banking through the company that has our IRAs and other investment accounts. We had a checking account with them and used the associated ATM card all through the eastern Caribbean. Like MarkJ, I had a Caribbean bank ATM fail to give me cash, but the proceed to charge my US account for the amount. One call to my investment company account manager got the "withdrawal" reversed.

I also agree that you need at least two credit cards, preferably different brands (Visa and Mastercard, for example), and the kind with no foreign currency exchange fees. We use Bank of America Visa and Capital One Mastercard. If one gets compromised, you then have the other. Being out of the country, you'll need a US address for the issuing banks to use for their records. We used St Brendans Isle in Florida, and I can't say enough about how great they were to deal with.
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Old 20-09-2014, 08:35   #9
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Re: Banking While Away

We are from the UK so the following may not work everywhere

We only use Debit cards in ATM’s, never credit cards.

We try to never leave a balance on the debit cards and transfer only the required amount of money to the card via internet banking when we need it. The overdraft limit on all our debit cards is set to zero.

We have multiple joint current accounts with debit cards at a bank and a savings account with the same bank to be able to top up the current accounts when required

Having multiple, joint accounts give you some cover if a card break, the card expires, you lose the card etc. Our UK banks will only dispatch a new card to our UK address so if you are out of the country and want a new card expect long delay in obtaining it

Having multiple, joint accounts also allows you to be able to draw out larger amounts of cash via the ATM each day in the event of having to pay a haul out bill etc.. Around here, you pay 4 to 6% extra for using a credit card.

Final thought

We have a debit card with a Visa symbol on it and another with a Mastercard symbol.

One of the banks in Rio Dulce charges you for using the Mastercard but not for the Visa
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Old 20-09-2014, 09:07   #10
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Re: Banking While Away

Here is a pretty informative part of a blog that speaks to this:
Windtraveler: Banking for Travelers
Personally, I consider BOA the devil and avoid at all costs.
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Old 20-09-2014, 09:52   #11
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Re: Banking While Away

We just opened a Charles Schwab checking account. It's completely free, they refund all ATM fees, no foreign transaction fees, seems like the way to go for us.
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Old 20-09-2014, 10:34   #12
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Re: Banking While Away

Freedom 45 - I like your avatar. Not sure if it's more Picasso or Dali, but either way .....
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Old 20-09-2014, 10:44   #13
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Re: Banking While Away

I recommend more than one bank, more than one credit card. Debit cards are less protected than credit cards, but following the "no overdraft protection" advice above and not keeping money in the account the card is tied to gives limited exposure.

We do not have overdraft protection on any account. We would never overdraft and so the only reason it would have an overdraft would be some type of fraud or theft.

In this day of security breaches, having less in more places is helpful in more ways. Holiday shopping last year after the Target breach, Chase limited debit cards to $100, then $400 purchases. Many were embarrassed and infuriated when their purchases were declined while shopping. We have had multiple cards replaced by the bank during the past year even though we had no problem, because the bank was aware of a breach somewhere we might have been exposed.

We have found BOA's fraud detection and department more on the ball than Chase but that's simply one person's experience as is the negative BOA comment above.

And with your primary bank and branch, have a direct number to bankers you personally know in your home branch. This is for the time the phone customer service does seem unable to help you.

We are set up to quickly move money around online so that we can minimize exposure but be prepared to fund an account if needed.

If you're going to travel to a new area of the world, I'd look to set up an account with a bank with a strong presence there. For instance, if I'm headed to Europe for an extended time, maybe HSBC.

As to someone saying to carry wads of cash on board, I don't know what he considers a wad, but we don't carry what we consider a wad.
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Old 20-09-2014, 10:45   #14
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Re: Banking While Away

Quote:
Originally Posted by Freedom45 View Post
We just opened a Charles Schwab checking account. It's completely free, they refund all ATM fees, no foreign transaction fees, seems like the way to go for us.
I think much depends on where you travel. Do they have any presence outside the US?
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Old 20-09-2014, 11:28   #15
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Re: Banking While Away

We are also old fashioned as we still carry some travellers cheques for the odd occasion where ATM do not work as a backup
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