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Old 12-09-2014, 16:24   #1
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Money, money money.. and Banks

Hi All,

We are almost ready to embark on our adventure together and are sorting out the finer details of living in the USA for a season of time before setting off into the Blue.
We are Kiwi's, have our US Visa (B1B2) but are needing a little bit of information/help around the "How too's" of setting up a Bank Account in the USA, Who with, Why them, ease of access to banks/atms whilst travelling down the Coast and sailing in the Caribbean???
Also, is it best to open an Account when we get to the USA? (We are going to be based out of Florida for the most part) Or open one whilst we are still here in NZ??
I have looked at a few banks (HSBC, US Bank, Schwab) but it looks as though it maybe easier to 'walk in' once we get there..

Any advice, help or knowledge of 'what you did' would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks all
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Old 12-09-2014, 16:31   #2
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Re: Money, money money.. and Banks

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tortz View Post
Hi All,

We are almost ready to embark on our adventure together and are sorting out the finer details of living in the USA for a season of time before setting off into the Blue.
We are Kiwi's, have our US Visa (B1B2) but are needing a little bit of information/help around the "How too's" of setting up a Bank Account in the USA, Who with, Why them, ease of access to banks/atms whilst travelling down the Coast and sailing in the Caribbean???
Also, is it best to open an Account when we get to the USA? (We are going to be based out of Florida for the most part) Or open one whilst we are still here in NZ??
I have looked at a few banks (HSBC, US Bank, Schwab) but it looks as though it maybe easier to 'walk in' once we get there..

Any advice, help or knowledge of 'what you did' would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks all
First of all, welcome to the forum.

I am Canadian who spends half my time in Florida with my boat.

I found it very easy to open an account with Bank of America, and have had exceptional service. As example, last year after my almost 7 month absence from the branch, I walked in, and the manager not only recognized me (I'm 6'4" so that part is not so surprising), but he also greeted me by name... my last name which is not an easy one to remember.

I've had no problems depositing or obtain bank services like a certified or cashiers check at other branches. Actually, now you just take a picture of your check with your smartphone, and they deposit it automatically. They have branches all over the place.

Seeing I had no US credit rating, I originally got a fully secured credit card. After one year, they sent my security deposit back, and substantially raised my credit limit.

I would recommend them.
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Old 12-09-2014, 18:07   #3
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Re: Money, money money.. and Banks

Thank you so much AVB3 for this information. First hand experiences certainly go a long way in making wise decisions and I very much appreciate the welcome and valuable advice offered.
I will go and look into now..

Tortz
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Old 12-09-2014, 18:41   #4
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Re: Money, money money.. and Banks

Also, has anyone set up a 'virtual' postal address in the USA for all personal Mail and Packages to be sent to?
If so, which company did you go with and why?

Thanks again!
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Old 12-09-2014, 19:47   #5
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Re: Money, money money.. and Banks

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Originally Posted by Tortz View Post
Also, has anyone set up a 'virtual' postal address in the USA for all personal Mail and Packages to be sent to?
If so, which company did you go with and why?

Thanks again!
St Brendan's Isle in Green Cove Springs Florida. They have been in the business for many years, used by many forum members and so far I have never heard a complaint.
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Old 13-09-2014, 00:54   #6
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Re: Money, money money.. and Banks

Probably telling you how to suck eggs but if you try and send funds through the banks they will screw you big time ( don't ask how I know this).
I was advised to use an outfit called ozforex ( www.ozforex.com.au ) for transfers from Oz to NZ. Not sure how you will get on using it out of NZ.
Very happy... a rate within 1% of the 'middle rate' and a cost per trade of $15 (between $1k and $10k) and no fee above that.
Hope this is of help.
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Old 13-09-2014, 01:36   #7
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Re: Money, money money.. and Banks

Yes ozforex is good. They also have a travel Visa card that you an use and top up at better rates than bank transfers. Definitely use ozforex for the purchase transfer
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Old 13-09-2014, 01:41   #8
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Re: Money, money money.. and Banks

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Yes ozforex is good. They also have a travel Visa card that you an use and top up at better rates than bank transfers. Definitely use ozforex for the purchase transfer
Must look further into their Visa card.

I do know that the saving on a 10k transfer was better than $300
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Old 13-09-2014, 04:43   #9
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Re: Money, money money.. and Banks

Why does one even need a "local" bank? It isn't like most people ever even go to the physical bank now days.
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Old 13-09-2014, 05:15   #10
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Re: Money, money money.. and Banks

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Why does one even need a "local" bank? It isn't like most people ever even go to the physical bank now days.
If you are staying in one country for any reasonable length of time, it can save you a lot of money. You can get cash out of an ATM and/or buy things with EFTPOS without currency exchange fees and conversion losses.

(You can get much better rates by doing a decent sized interbank transfer occasionally as opposed to MC/Visa exchange rates and "cash advance fees").
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Old 13-09-2014, 05:19   #11
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pirate Re: Money, money money.. and Banks

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St Brendan's Isle in Green Cove Springs Florida. They have been in the business for many years, used by many forum members and so far I have never heard a complaint.
There must be others but this is the only one I've ever heard of. In addition, I use Bank of America because they are everywhere, and I've had the same service as mentioned above without being 6'4". I am real good-looking though. I guess that's it.
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Old 13-09-2014, 05:33   #12
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Re: Money, money money.. and Banks

For the mailing address, many RV places offer that type of service.
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Old 13-09-2014, 08:16   #13
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Re: Money, money money.. and Banks

Depending where you home address is located, ie. if you use Bank America with a US mail address, look for a credit card that does not have the 3% foreign transaction fee, most credit cards do charge the foreign fee when used outside the US.

Bank America is good, you can have your income direct deposited and then pay all your bills on line, paperless and done via computer.

One credit card with no fee is the Visa Card available at the US based, "Pentagon Federal Credit Union" and I believe AmEx also has no fee but check this.

Fair Winds...........
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Old 13-09-2014, 08:40   #14
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Re: Money, money money.. and Banks

Of all the things we have done in preparation to sail away signing up with St. Brendan's has been the easiest. While I don't like Bank of America because as a whole I think they are corrupt, we are going to leave money in a BofA account because they are quite huge and have tentacles everywhere. Good luck
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Old 13-09-2014, 08:43   #15
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Re: Money, money money.. and Banks

I second the credit union idea if you can find one convenient to your base. Credit unions have to have a "reason" for you to be a member, but they have been finding more and more ways to stretch those, so you can usually find one nearby that works.

My credit union refunds all ATM fees anywhere in the world, doesn't charge a transaction fee on foreign withdrawals or POS sales, and gives pretty darn good rates on the foreign exchange. And if I want to make a transfer to a foreign account it's $15, no other fees or costs. Almost sounds too good to be true for a "bank" as I write it, but it's real and they do a great job for me. YMMV.
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