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Old 29-04-2013, 11:06   #16
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Re: Banking While Cruising

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......... 'told that our cards had been closed! Even though we do not owe them any money (in fact they owe us) and we continue to receive statements. When I asked why I was told because we are living abroad. ........................
Robyn, Is this harsh policy an action of your bank or an action of the card services? I suspect the bank and I would research a change, although I'm not familiar with policies in Canada.

We've had our accounts with the same credit union since 1970 even though the credit union has changed it's name a few times over the years. We've been living aboard since 1972 and have used our cards while owning nothing that is not on our boat in every continent except Antarctica. We do inform our credit union and cardholder services with our itinerary and they are very protective screening any possible improper use of our cards. I also depend on their well encrypted service and my own care not to do any online banking without some protection. It must be a specific backward policy of your bank. I'm sure there are carefree Canadians traveling about by all modes of transportation.
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Old 29-04-2013, 12:48   #17
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Re: Banking While Cruising

Well after firing off a few good explicatives, I got on the net and did a little research. It seems that other people have had the same problem. Its Visa not the bank. Apparently they will cancel your card if you haven't used it in awhile or if they get knowlege that you are living abroad (this includes "extended sailing vacations".) Unfortunately we try not to use our credit cards and to only use cash.

So the lesson here is use your visa every so often and NEVER tell any Visa representative that you are not currently living at your home country.

Robyn
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Old 29-04-2013, 14:11   #18
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Re: Banking While Cruising

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.............................So the lesson here is use your visa every so often and NEVER tell any Visa representative that you are not currently living at your home country.
Robyn
Thanks, 'Good to know! It seems that I will continue to be taking frequent trips away from "Home", but I will continue to reside in that big cruiser's commune at St. Brendan's Isle in Green Cove Springs, Florida! Actually, except for the Bahamas, we're usually on the US East Coast from here in Florida up to Maine. We charter and take passage at many far away places, but we're "cockpit potatoes" on our own boat,- 'leaving tuesday for a two month trip from Florida to the Chesapeake. You heard that right, ...languishing at many anchorages, we will take eight weeks for 800 miles!
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Old 29-04-2013, 14:27   #19
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Re: Banking While Cruising

We use a bank in the US but learned after the fact that almost all US banks charge 3% to change money - they just never had to reveal that fact in the past.

We cruise in Mexico and use cash strictly. You can't change money with bank tellers here without an account, so most cruisers change money at bank ATM machines with a debit card.

Apparently a new US law was passed in the last year or so forcing US banks to reveal the 3% currency exchange fee as a line item in the bank statement, so after 2 years of thinking we only had to pay the ATM fees to change money we were shocked to see we'd been paying so much more and not knowing it.

Capital One has a checking account (and credit card) with a written a policy NOT to charge an exchange fee... so I'd get accounts with them...
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Old 29-04-2013, 16:09   #20
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Re: Banking While Cruising

Canada may be different from the US, because we didn't have any such problems. During the two years we were cruising and the six years we lived offshore, we kept our credit card companies (including Visa), two banks , our investment management company, Social Security, and the IRS happy by simply maintaining a Personal Mailbox (PMB) in Florida. We handled all bill-paying and account management over the Internet. None of them seemed to care where we actually were as long as we had a permanent US address.
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Old 29-04-2013, 17:02   #21
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Re: Banking While Cruising

Get an American Express Gold card. They are awesome. Visa and MC are just bean counters.
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Old 30-04-2013, 04:29   #22
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Re: Banking While Cruising

I think Canada is different than other countries. And it COULD be our TD Canada Trust bank. I will look into that and I'd love to hear from other Canadians on the subject. The Visa respresentative that I spoke to on the phone was completely indignant. You CAN'T have a Canadian Visa card and live somewhere else! I explained that we are travelling and she challeneged me with when was the last time I was in Canada. YOU are living abroad!

Its stoopid. But we'll have to live with it for now.

We do use mainly cash but if we ever need a big withdrawl, then Visa was a good option.

CaptForce, have a great cruise. You travel at our speed.
Robyn
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Old 30-04-2013, 04:45   #23
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Re: Banking While Cruising

Manny, interesting problem that you have run into. I noticed a couple of years ago you mentioned making an arrangement with your bank to use email. Perhaps it helped to establish too clearly that you are an ex-pat (why that matters is a different question)? We are also Canadians and our bank only knows that we travel a lot. We also have a place in Toronto and seem to be back in Canada about once a year or 18 months. Also we have a very high Visa limit $27k which better do the trick in the case of a big emergency.
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Old 30-04-2013, 04:55   #24
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Re: Banking While Cruising

Yes the email connection was great. And we only ever said that we travel alot. But recently we couldn't get ahold of the bank rep by email and when I phoned the bank I found out that their have been staff changes. That started a whole new ball game which ended up with the call to Visa.

We did manage to iron out a few other kinks though and now have better online banking options. That should be a big help.

We have a permanent address in Toronto too. We also had a good limit on our card for emergencies. Never had Visa debts. I just don't get the problem that Visa has with us being abroad.
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Old 30-04-2013, 07:28   #25
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Re: Banking While Cruising

We have been cruising since Sep 2010 and have had no problems using a US Banks, online banking and VISA cards.

We do all our banking on line and use ATM's for local currency. We both have ATM cards, which doubles your daily withdrawl limit. We only use local Bank ATM's, never the ones on the side of the road or in conveniance stores. These can be problematic, especially in Thrid World Countries, and have frequently been found to be logging Account Numbers and PINS.

It just takes some planning when you know you are going to remote places, to take some extra cash... The US Dollar and Euro are accepted in Mexico and Central America, if needed, but local currency gets you better exchange rates

As far as credit cards you need to explore this a little... Cards like American Express charge a 3% foreign transaction charge (Go figure!).

We found Captiol One VISA and our bank, Navy Federal Credit Union (NFCU) charge no foreign transaction fees on their VISA cards

The last piece of advice is once you are underway, contact you credit card company every 90-180 days and notifiy them wwhere you are or are going to be. They will shut the cards down if you don't, thinking they have been stolen and being used in a foreign country.
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Old 30-04-2013, 08:48   #26
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Re: banking while cruising

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An international bank like HSBC or CitiBank with branch around the world is your best bet. I've been using HSBC for several years now and they've been great. I use their Premier MasterCard whenever I can for the added protection of being able to dispute a charge later if there is a problem. Also, they don't charge a foreign transaction fee which can really add up.
That's a biggie if you are out of the country for a while. Some of those charges have to be seen to be believed.
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Old 30-04-2013, 13:16   #27
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Re: Banking While Cruising

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The last piece of advice is once you are underway, contact you credit card company every 90-180 days and notifiy them wwhere you are or are going to be. They will shut the cards down if you don't, thinking they have been stolen and being used in a foreign country.
You see in our experience that caused a big problem. Visa shut down our card BECAUSE I told them we were abroad. I won't be doing that again.

But your advice to have 2 ATM cards is good.
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Old 30-04-2013, 15:43   #28
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Re: Banking While Cruising

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You see in our experience that caused a big problem. Visa shut down our card BECAUSE I told them we were abroad. I won't be doing that again.

But your advice to have 2 ATM cards is good.
They got me at Staniel Cay. I had just filled my boat up wtih diesel, gave them my card, and then had them come back and say it's been denied.

They were good sports about it while I got it turned back on as they said they have seen it happen so many times they almost expect it.
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Old 01-05-2013, 04:33   #29
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Re: Banking While Cruising

How did you get your card turned on again? We were told by the Visa rep that we'd have to fly to Cananda and reapply for a Visa card in person.
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Old 01-05-2013, 06:57   #30
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Re: Banking While Cruising

Our card was temporarily turned off... A call to the credit card company with the standard security questions got it turned back on.
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