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Old 08-07-2012, 16:21   #1
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Credit Card alternatives

What do you do if you need repairs, a service, supplies, etc. and you can't use a credit card? What alternatives do you have and what has been your experience with these alternatives?

I pose this question with the assumption that one can't wait for the money to arrive via snail mail in the form of a cashier's check or bank draft yet a credit card won't suffice. You may be away on a cruise in a remote location that doesn't have credit card machines. You may be just down the coast but the Internet goes down, the credit card machines aren't working, and you need a part sent via overnight delivery. Another reason may be the repair costs are more than the limit on your card (ouch, that's going to hurt!).

Does anyone still use letters of credit? Is a limited power of attorney sufficient to get money wired? Cash is king but how does one safely carry sufficient amounts (James Bond kept gold sovereigns hidden in his attache case)? Are they any issues with money laundering laws?

Hopefully I'll never need to use any other methods. Hopefully I'll never need the flares, PFDs, and life rafts but I still carry them. I'm not losing any sleep over this but as they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
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Old 08-07-2012, 16:37   #2
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Re: Credit Card alternatives

Travelers checks are usually accepted, if not by the work shop they could be cashed at a nearby bank. They are available in large denominations so you don't have to carry too large a wad. Buy them before you leave and you can cash unused ones if any left at the end of the trip
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Old 08-07-2012, 16:43   #3
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Re: Credit Card alternatives

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Travelers checks are usually accepted, if not by the work shop they could be cashed at a nearby bank. They are available in large denominations so you don't have to carry too large a wad. Buy them before you leave and you can cash unused ones if any left at the end of the trip
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Thanks for the quick reply. That is something I have forgotten about. It has been a long time since I've seen Karl Malden pushing those! While it is true they can be lost or stolen they are quickly replaced by American Express if purchased through them. The only downside I can think of is that they are purchased in a particular denomination. This may not be an issue but one may need to exchange them for a local currency in some cases. Also, you need to carry enough for a large repair as opposed to having money safe (Do I dare use that word in today's economy?) in a bank. Still, thanks for the good suggestion.
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Old 08-07-2012, 16:52   #4
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Re: Credit Card alternatives

Can nowadays get pre-loaded Credit Cards - basically Travellers Cheques in the shape of a plastic card.
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Old 08-07-2012, 16:54   #5
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Re: Credit Card alternatives

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Thanks for the quick reply. That is something I have forgotten about. It has been a long time since I've seen Karl Malden pushing those! While it is true they can be lost or stolen they are quickly replaced by American Express if purchased through them. The only downside I can think of is that they are purchased in a particular denomination. This may not be an issue but one may need to exchange them for a local currency in some cases. Also, you need to carry enough for a large repair as opposed to having money safe (Do I dare use that word in today's economy?) in a bank. Still, thanks for the good suggestion.
I should also that many places don't accept them especially in Europe and Asia. I have read about complaints in cashing them even at the facilities that issued them. Often they must be cashed at a bank however this would be sufficient in a case where there is no Internet nor credit card usage and faster and easier than arranging for a wire transfer. Are there any other alternatives? Has anyone had this problem?
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Old 08-07-2012, 17:00   #6
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Re: Credit Card alternatives

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Can nowadays get pre-loaded Credit Cards - basically Travellers Cheques in the shape of a plastic card.
I have seen these but if the Internet is down or they don't take credit cards, am I in the same boat? On the other hand, if I can go to a bank and cash it them that may work. It might be easier than trying to arrange a wire transfer.

Does it use a PIN? If so, that should reduce the theft risk. Thanks for the suggestion.
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Old 08-07-2012, 17:10   #7
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Re: Credit Card alternatives

travelers checks (american express), and $100 bills U.S.
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Old 08-07-2012, 21:03   #8
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eBay has taught people not to trust travelers checks. One exception is a travelers check from the post office. Those are the most trusted these days.

Another way to send cash is Walmart to Walmart. Takes a couple minutes, the fee is tiny (American express will eat you alive)
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Old 08-07-2012, 21:13   #9
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Re: Credit Card alternatives

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Originally Posted by ArmyDaveNY View Post
I have seen these but if the Internet is down or they don't take credit cards, am I in the same boat? On the other hand, if I can go to a bank and cash it them that may work. It might be easier than trying to arrange a wire transfer.

Does it use a PIN? If so, that should reduce the theft risk. Thanks for the suggestion.
Walmart has a decent prepaid card. It's available all over the planet, as well as walmart stores to load it from cash, or cash a check etc..

If the internet is down, pretty good chance the entire planet is under attack from aliens. In that case, money won't matter anymore.

If the particular store is having troubles, you might have to travel a few hundred miles to the nearest walmart. It's either that or wire transfer.

problem with walmart cards is the don't allow you to transfer money out of the bank anymore (they used to). The new American Express cards are much better (no fees, transfer either direction, etc..) But, there isn't an American express store in every country.

BOTH cards can be loaded (cash deposit) with a Greendot card, which are available in almost every country on the planet.

Also, you can load paypal with a greendot card. Then transfer it to you're preferred bank (or preferred pre-paid card).
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Old 08-07-2012, 21:28   #10
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Re: Credit Card alternatives

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Originally Posted by GaryMayo View Post
eBay has taught people not to trust travelers checks. One exception is a travelers check from the post office. Those are the most trusted these days.

Another way to send cash is Walmart to Walmart. Takes a couple minutes, the fee is tiny (American express will eat you alive)
Thank you very much. I wasn't aware of Walmart did this. I will look into this and see what the details are. I was familiar with traveler's checks but had forgotten about them. There are some limitations but will check with my bank to see about any possible issues with cashing them at a bank if necessary.
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Old 08-07-2012, 21:39   #11
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Re: Credit Card alternatives

Gold Coins easy to hide and saleable anywhere. worked for us for many years, when credit or debit cards wont work! just an Idea that works for us
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Old 08-07-2012, 21:47   #12
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Re: Credit Card alternatives

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Walmart has a decent prepaid card. It's available all over the planet, as well as walmart stores to load it from cash, or cash a check etc..

If the internet is down, pretty good chance the entire planet is under attack from aliens. In that case, money won't matter anymore.

If the particular store is having troubles, you might have to travel a few hundred miles to the nearest walmart. It's either that or wire transfer.

problem with walmart cards is the don't allow you to transfer money out of the bank anymore (they used to). The new American Express cards are much better (no fees, transfer either direction, etc..) But, there isn't an American express store in every country.

BOTH cards can be loaded (cash deposit) with a Greendot card, which are available in almost every country on the planet.

Also, you can load paypal with a greendot card. Then transfer it to you're preferred bank (or preferred pre-paid card).
Thank you for your suggestions. I hadn't thought of PayPal or Walmart and will look into those possibilities.

I worked in the voice and data field for ten years and I can assure you that the Internet does go down more than we care to admit. Not often, but usually at an awkward time (too often on a Friday right before happy hour!) My question about options was thinking more in terms of a local outage or in the case of remote areas, lack of Internet. Additionally, in some cases credit cards may not be accepted. For a local outage of the Internet, it can happen due to a pole being hit, a backhoe hitting a cable, loss of power locally, etc.

My concern isn't when this happens under normal cruising. In that case I will head to the nearest pub or have a few libations with others in the adjacent slips. I am thinking more in terms of time being an issue. Perhaps I need a repair three days before a long weekend or before the mechanic goes away on a holiday. Perhaps I need parts shipped overnight so I don't miss a weather window. Perhaps the repair I need is larger than the limit on my card (ouch). Perhaps the shop or mechanic doesn't take credit cards or perhaps there is a big discount for cash.

Thanks for your suggestions. They have been helpful and good food for thought.
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Old 08-07-2012, 21:51   #13
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Re: Credit Card alternatives

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Gold Coins easy to hide and saleable anywhere. worked for us for many years, when credit or debit cards wont work! just an Idea that works for us
I was thinking of that and my comment in the original post about 007 was only half in jest. I am a big fan of real money (gold, silver, etc.) as opposed to fiat money. Your comments about easy to hide answered one of my questions. Additionally, it simplifies the currency exchange issue. Cash is king! Thanks for your thoughts.
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Old 08-07-2012, 22:11   #14
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Re: Credit Card alternatives

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Originally Posted by ArmyDaveNY View Post
Thank you for your suggestions. I hadn't thought of PayPal or Walmart and will look into those possibilities.

I worked in the voice and data field for ten years and I can assure you that the Internet does go down more than we care to admit. Not often, but usually at an awkward time (too often on a Friday right before happy hour!) My question about options was thinking more in terms of a local outage or in the case of remote areas, lack of Internet. Additionally, in some cases credit cards may not be accepted. For a local outage of the Internet, it can happen due to a pole being hit, a backhoe hitting a cable, loss of power locally, etc.

My concern isn't when this happens under normal cruising. In that case I will head to the nearest pub or have a few libations with others in the adjacent slips. I am thinking more in terms of time being an issue. Perhaps I need a repair three days before a long weekend or before the mechanic goes away on a holiday. Perhaps I need parts shipped overnight so I don't miss a weather window. Perhaps the repair I need is larger than the limit on my card (ouch). Perhaps the shop or mechanic doesn't take credit cards or perhaps there is a big discount for cash.

Thanks for your suggestions. They have been helpful and good food for thought.
My comment on the internet going down was a joke. I would assume that any 'internet' failure would be localized and you would have some type of alternative, be it another wifi connection, another computer, another city, etc...

Let me try to explain a bit more clearly...

The idea is that you have multiple means of accessing your money and turning it into cash, correct?

So, say you have a single bank account. But, you put some 'spending money' on your greendot card via a wire transfer done online (be it walmart, AMEX, paypal, greendot, etc... they are all the same greendot affiliation)....

Now you have a secondary means of accessing cash if you loose your primary bank card, or it becomes somehow unavailable. You can walk into any retailer (that accepts credit/debit cards) and get cash off the card just the same as you would any debit/credit card or an ATM.

Obviously if the whole "ATM" system is down, you're out of luck, but with a secondary card, you can have either AMEX or VISA to choose from. If the store simply doesn't take plastic, you're on your own (go to the next store to get cash and come back)

You can deposit cash onto the card either buy walking into a walmart and giving them cash at the register, or by walking into any other storefront that serves greendot (which is 1000's of stores worldwide) and purchasing a greendot moneypak. That cash can be 'loaded' onto either your pre-paid card or paypal. Then later transferred to your preferred bank account.

You can transfer money between paypal, bank accounts, and pre-paid cards, online, at any time (except for the actual walmart card, which doesn't allow outgoing transfers anymore, but other greendot affiliated cards do).

All of this is done with a single greendot (affiliated) card.

Basically, it's a very good secondary card to have on hand.

PS: I understand you're question is about what to do when cards fail. I'm just saying this is a good way to have an alternative card, visa vs. amex... but the only real answer is to have cash (or gold, etc..) on hand.


I hope that make sense. It kinda confuses me....

AMEX prepaid card

Greendot Card

Walmart Card (NOTE: the only advantage to the walmart card is the ability to walk into walmart and conduct transactions)
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Old 08-07-2012, 22:20   #15
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Re: Credit Card alternatives

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My comment on the internet going down was a joke. I would assume that any 'internet' failure would be localized and you would have some type of alternative, be it another wifi connection, another computer, another city, etc...

Let me try to explain a bit more clearly...

The idea is that you have multiple means of accessing your money and turning it into cash, correct?

So, say you have a single bank account. But, you put some 'spending money' on your greendot card via a wire transfer done online (be it walmart, AMEX, paypal, greendot, etc... they are all the same greendot affiliation)....

Now you have a secondary means of accessing cash if you loose your primary bank card, or it becomes somehow unavailable. You can walk into any retailer (that accepts credit/debit cards) and get cash off the card just the same as you would any debit/credit card or an ATM.

Obviously if the whole "ATM" system is down, you're out of luck, but with a secondary card, you can have either AMEX or VISA to choose from. If the store simply doesn't take plastic, you're on your own (go to the next store to get cash and come back)

You can deposit cash onto the card either buy walking into a walmart and giving them cash at the register, or by walking into any other storefront that serves greendot (which is 1000's of stores worldwide) and purchasing a greendot moneypak. That cash can be 'loaded' onto either your pre-paid card or paypal. Then later transferred to your preferred bank account.

You can transfer money between paypal, bank accounts, and pre-paid cards, online, at any time (except for the actual walmart card, which doesn't allow outgoing transfers anymore, but other greendot affiliated cards do).

All of this is done with a single greendot (affiliated) card.

Basically, it's a very good secondary card to have on hand.

PS: I understand you're question is about what to do when cards fail. I'm just saying this is a good way to have an alternative card, visa vs. amex... but the only real answer is to have cash (or gold, etc..) on hand.
Sorry for missing the joke. I guess I'm more tired than I realized! You are indeed thinking along the same lines as I was. This is an excellent idea. I had indeed spoken to my bank about getting a replacement card in a hurry if mine was lost, worn, damaged, etc. This is a very good solution for that while I await a replacement. I wasn't familiar with Greendot and looked it up right after I read your original comment.

I should add something about the Interent. Around five years ago I had a network engineer who decided to make a major UNTESTED change to our primary core server in the middle of the day on a weekday! As you can well imagine, it didn't go over too well with our customers or the other empoyees. Interestingly, he was an alien, from eastern Europe though, not a little green man. Actually, after his chewing out he was a bit red!

Thanks again for your suggestions and I will inquire further about Greendot cards.
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