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Old 08-07-2012, 22:34   #16
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Re: Credit Card alternatives

If you're in a place that cannot validate a credit card, I wouldn't think they would be willing to accept foreign traveler's checks either.

US Currency is very widely accepted - if there is a place that doesn't take it, I have never heard of it.

$100 bills are the most widely counterfeited bills in the world. $20 bills will cause less trouble, I think. Spread the money around in different hiding places in case you get robbed.

In all cases, there is a fundamental issue of AMOUNT. How large of an expense do you need to be prepared for? $500? $5000? That's a lot of cash to be carrying in a pocket.

If you can get to a WalMart, wouldn't you also be able to get to a bank which will give you a cash advance on your credit card? I think it is safe to rely primarily on your plastic with a small cash backup. Surely, banks

I would definitely keep several cards with different banks/networks, though. Banks are always disabling credit cards just when you need them the most! You should have cards from both MasterCard and Visa since, in some places, only one or the other is accepted (unlike here in the US where they are almost always accepted together), along with Amex or whatever other card network is popular where you will be traveling.
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Old 08-07-2012, 22:47   #17
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Re: Credit Card alternatives

Quote:
Originally Posted by ArtM View Post
If you're in a place that cannot validate a credit card, I wouldn't think they would be willing to accept foreign traveler's checks either.

US Currency is very widely accepted - if there is a place that doesn't take it, I have never heard of it.

$100 bills are the most widely counterfeited bills in the world. $20 bills will cause less trouble, I think. Spread the money around in different hiding places in case you get robbed.

In all cases, there is a fundamental issue of AMOUNT. How large of an expense do you need to be prepared for? $500? $5000? That's a lot of cash to be carrying in a pocket.

If you can get to a WalMart, wouldn't you also be able to get to a bank which will give you a cash advance on your credit card? I think it is safe to rely primarily on your plastic with a small cash backup. Surely, banks

I would definitely keep several cards with different banks/networks, though. Banks are always disabling credit cards just when you need them the most! You should have cards from both MasterCard and Visa since, in some places, only one or the other is accepted (unlike here in the US where they are almost always accepted together), along with Amex or whatever other card network is popular where you will be traveling.
(no offence) This is a little contradictory... If you can get to a walmart surely you can access your main bank. BUT, you need several different cards?

I mistakenly posted AMEX vs. VISA, but you can get greendot cards in either AMEX, VISA, oR Mastercard! All three, without opening a second bank account.

I think the main idea is to have secondary/tertiary plastic. You can do this through your primary bank if they allow it, or you can do it through pre-paid cards if they don't. I like prepaid cards because they are separate from your bank account yet they are "linked" through online transfers. So you get a significant amount of security through obscurity.... It makes sense to ONLY carry around your prepaid card with 'spending money' loaded on it. It would totally suck to have your primary bank account card stolen.

This way, you can have a primary bank account that 'feeds' your little secondary/tertiary prepaid cards for spending/carry money.

But the second idea (as far as I can tell) is to have cash on hand. This is completely irrelevant to which cards you use/carry. BUT, having secondary/tertiary cards can make cash available where a single card/bank can't. So, you get a little redundancy without too much complications. Ultimately, having a bunch of $1 bills on hand is the best solution, but who has that big of a boat?
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Old 08-07-2012, 23:43   #18
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Re: Credit Card alternatives

I have never been to a town large enough to have boat work done in Central America, the Caribbean, or the Bahamas, that didn't have a bank. They will honor credit or debit cards, all with ATM's. Sometimes you would need to write a paper check for cash(gasp!). Once, with a large repair, I wire transfered an amount to their account.
Sometimes you'd need to use internet cafes. Once at a small bank I was invited to use the banks computer to send e-mails, as there was no WiFi and no internet cafe.
By not having internet on my boat and without TV I manged to miss the whole George W thing.

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Old 09-07-2012, 09:57   #19
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Re: Credit Card alternatives

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Originally Posted by callmecrazy View Post
(no offence) This is a little contradictory... If you can get to a walmart surely you can access your main bank. BUT, you need several different cards?

I mistakenly posted AMEX vs. VISA, but you can get greendot cards in either AMEX, VISA, oR Mastercard! All three, without opening a second bank account.
Hi crazy, I don't think I mentioned "your main bank", but rather "a bank". Any bank, in my experience, can get you a cash advance on a credit card. It is costly for everyday transactions, but in a pinch you can get cash, and a lot of it if you have a high limit card with high cash advance privileges.

Also, credit cards don't need to be with "your" bank, they can be from any bank.

Ideally, I would carry one Visa, one MC, and one AMEX, each from a different issuer. This may seem excessive, but I often find that I am down to only one usable method of payment until I get a chance to call the bank, and that is just here in the U.S.

I'm not familar with GreenDot, but if it's popular in your area then that could be one of my three cards.

Also, I'm referring ONLY to credit cards. I don't use debit cards (except when all my credit cards have stopped working for various reasons, or have been misplaced, or have not yet been forwarded to me by my somewhat unreliable mail forwarding "service")
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Old 09-07-2012, 10:08   #20
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Re: Credit Card alternatives

CASH!! Never met anyone that refused to take cash. Best travelling currency is US$. The credit card I use (sparingly) when cruising was compromised a few years ago, took two months to get a replacement that was supposed to take a week. Luckily I carry cash. Also lots of places will give a discount for cash, especially on high ticket items like a new outboard motor.
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Old 09-07-2012, 10:20   #21
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Re: Credit Card alternatives

I've had good luck with Amex travelers checks. With a bank check they dont know what to look for on the check to see if it's counterfeit I guess. They do with Amex. I've even cashed them on the street (be careful!) in places like the DR. My preference is still cash or a card though... so I hold them in reserve. If you nee more than the $200 the cash machine allows for an engine repair etc, they can be handy.
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Old 09-07-2012, 10:36   #22
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Re: Credit Card alternatives

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I've had good luck with Amex travelers checks. With a bank check they dont know what to look for on the check to see if it's counterfeit I guess. They do with Amex. I've even cashed them on the street (be careful!) in places like the DR. My preference is still cash or a card though... so I hold them in reserve. If you nee more than the $200 the cash machine allows for an engine repair etc, they can be handy.
I gave up on travelers checks many years ago when Florida banks would not cash more than $100 at a time.
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Old 09-07-2012, 11:03   #23
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Re: Credit Card alternatives

Yeah, FL is definitely a third world country! While there two years ago, I had the same problem I would have in the DR. I needed more than the cash machine would give me for engine repairs. Inside the bank, (been with BOA for over 20 years) they had no record of my bank account even though I had a check and a Gold Visa from them in hand. Not on their computer. If I had traveler's checks it would have been easy. As it was I had to wait a few days to get money from the cash machine every day!
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Old 21-05-2013, 09:05   #24
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Re: Credit Card alternatives

A very large and growing segment for cash transfer is via "m-pesa" and equivalent. Its mostly in Africa right now but growing fast.

The servers are in germany and you connect through your local telecom provider over your phone. You hook you phone to your bank account via the servers in germany. Then you transfer money to another individual using the same service. They get it on their phone and viola - money sent. Pretty much everyone in Africa uses this instead of a traditional bank.

Great way of getting local currencies as well.

Here is one for the Pacific...

http://www.digicelmobilemoney.com/help/how.aspx
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