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Old 08-10-2009, 13:37   #1
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How to Get Cash While Cruising?

Hi all. I'm interested in the different ways (and cheapest ways) to get cash while cruising...

I know ATMs are widely available, but wonder about exchange rates and how well that works out (i.e. is that the cheapest way). Is it ever worth opening accounts at local banks if you're staying in one place a while?

Also, I was advised to have a person here in the states with a power of attorney to act on our behalf "just in case" something needs to be done at our financial institutions in person....has anyone ever encountered a reason to have that?

Any and all thoughts are welcome. We're leaving very soon and I want to make sure we've thought it all through.

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Old 08-10-2009, 13:46   #2
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Depends where your going but many stores do cash back. Maybe its worth checking exchange rates with your bank.

Last week I bought groceries in a supermarket in Sardinia with my bank debit card. It took the payment in Euros and converted to Sterling at the normal rate.

Remember that cash advances made on a .credit card are the most expensive, so I always use my debit card. The transaction is instant and no nasty shocks with exchange rates a month late.

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Old 08-10-2009, 13:47   #3
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We use ATM's and a debit card. I have used it from Canada to Patagonia and most places in-between. You need to make sure that all credit card companies and banks know you are travelling. My wife's has been cancelled twice by the fraud dept. for use in exotic places. This also caused all standing order payments to be suspended

You do need a bank with a bank officer who will answer the phone personally, make money transfers and extend you a pre-arranged line of credit for emergencies.

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Old 08-10-2009, 16:05   #4
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Originally Posted by Monica View Post

I know ATMs are widely available,

.....a power of attorney
Instead of a credit card you should be able to get a non-credit card from your bank, either cirus or maestro. We draw cash on that. We also have a Visa Debit card but thats just for things we need a credit card for - car rentals; hotel accom; internet purchases etc.

Power of attorney: Be very careful with that one as they can really sign you life away. They can sell your house, your boat, your shares, they can sell anything of your that you can legally... and take the money.

Have a chat to a lawyer and find out how to limit it. (Could it only be activated on news of you or your boat being missing? or with your lawyers dual signiture?)

Mine was held by my Mum till she got on a bit, and now my sister. I don't think it really could be a friend - its too dangerous.

But these days you life can be run by yourself and a laptop

Originally Posted by anjou View Post
It took the payment in Euros and converted to Sterling at the normal rate.

But charged you 2 commisions... GBP to USD; USD to EUR. They get ya
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Old 08-10-2009, 17:37   #5
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We use one of these for overseas trips, works a treat and FREE
Wizard Clear Advantage Creditcard Will Save You Lots of Money When Travelling

After doing some research I chose the Wizard Clear Advantage MasterCard because it has these 8 key benefits:
  • No ATM fees when used overseas
  • No currency conversion fees when used to buy products/services overseas eg: when on holiday
  • No fees for cash advances
  • Generally the best exchange rate available for purchases & cash advances.
  • Frequently recommended by members of Frequent Flyer forums
  • Up to 55 days interest free
  • No annual fee
  • It’s a MasterCard so it should work in ATM’s and in shops all around the world.
The trick is to load enough money onto your Wizard Clear Advantage Creditcard with BPAY before your trip. Then during your trip you can:
  • Withdraw money from ATM’s using the “Cash advance” feature with the Wizard Clear Advantage Creditcard
  • Make Wizard Clear Advantage Creditcard transactions as normal in shops
Because you’ve already put money onto the Wizard Clear Advantage creditcard so it has a +positive balance you’re using your own money for purchases/ATM withdrawals and therefore you won’t get charged any interest by Wizard.
No Bank Fees When Travelling – Wizard Clear Advantage Creditcard (review) — Rambling Thoughts Blog
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Old 08-10-2009, 17:38   #6

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Every card or bank or atm system may have its own exchange rates and terms, you need to shop your alternatives and ask each one of them what their policies and terms are.

For instance, MC and Visa used to hold all of your overseas purchases until the end of the billing period, then convert them at one conversion rate. Which could cost you dearly if rates were going up slowly but surely that year. At the same time, American Express was setling out conversions daily, on the day of the transaction. Policies in effect now may be different.

And, different banks charge different exchange rates, either based on different exchanges, or based on different points over the posted rate. Again, all you cna do is ask. If they get vague, ask them what it would cost of convert $500US to whatever currency you are looking at, on a specific date and time.

Local policies also vary. In Israel (quite some time ago) they gave substantial discounts for US checks--and surcharged credit cards. Go figure, most places wouldn't take a foreign check these days.

Couple of years ago I was in BC and the shops all would take dollars at a rate well over the official rate for the day. But, they'd take my charge card at par, and the charge card company was converting pretty much at the posted rate. So I charged everything, and the merchants paid out to the card company, which somehow kept them happier than simply giving me a better cash rate. (Not my department if that's how they want or need to do it.)
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Old 08-10-2009, 19:16   #7
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- - You really do not need a power of attorney anymore if you go with a bank that has internet access to all your accounts. I can control all my credit cards, atm cards, transfer money between accounts, send wire transfers, auto pay bills, and send secure messages with directions to this or that with my accounts. All through their internet website. Just find a bank that offers that service and go with them.
- - Pure ATM cards like Maestro only work in ATM's so if you lose it or it gets stolen it cannot be used for internet purchases or store purchases. You might have to argue with the bank to get a pure ATM card but it is worth it. You keep your Visa and Mastercard for purchases at stores, etc. and internet purchases and use the ATM card to get cash.
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Old 09-10-2009, 12:34   #8
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I always check with Lonely Planet, backpackers use it and they are tight with their money. Each country is different and sometimes individual towns can differ.
I remember getting the runaround from four different banks in Manado, Indonesia trying to cash travelers checks and ending up at a Chinese hardware store in a back room with a little old lady sitting on a crate with one of those cash counting machines, flanked by two dudes with shotguns.No passports, no I.D., no photos and a great rate.
I've gotten excellent rates on street corners and ripped by VISA.
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Old 09-10-2009, 13:30   #9
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We use a debit/atm card linked to a Fidelity Brokerage account when overseas. You need to shop around for rates--for example, there are no ATM charges at Fidelity, but Bank of America charges $5 for each withdrawal. We use the BofA when in the US, but only as a backup overseas.

We only put enough money in the easy access accounts to cover 6 months worth of expenses, and make sure that none of our other accounts can be accessed electronically.

Also make sure that you cover your hands when entering PIN numbers--some scammers install minature webcams on ATM booths.
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Old 09-10-2009, 14:20   #10
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Thanks for all of the opinions. I work for a bank so I'm pretty familiar with the fees. I was just wondering if there were some ways I wasn't aware of (like the back room in China ).

We're military so I'm familiar with limited power of attorney as we have to do that all the time. I couldn't think of a reason why it's needed, but I guess that's why you do never know. I'll put it with my brother who we both trust more than anyone else, so I think I'll be ok there.

We were in Mexico a few weeks ago and got ripped off at an ATM for $375. Luckily the bank found it as fraud so we're getting it back, but it made me stop and think a little harder about what we'll do going forward. I like the idea of only putting a certain amount in there based on how long you'll be somewhere....

Thanks again.
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Old 09-10-2009, 14:21   #11
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Bank of America charges $5 for each withdrawal.
Guess that depends on where you are or at least which bank you use for cash withdrawals. Here in Mexico I use my Bank of America debit card for withdrawals at Santander banks and pay no transaction fees. (If I use the card at other banks that don't have agreements with BoA, I pay the charges.)

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Old 10-10-2009, 05:44   #12
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A friend who is cruising mainly single handed, decided that he could make enough to cover his maintenance costs by making up standing rigging for other sailors. He bought a hand pumped press from Talurit, a load of ferrules, a lot of wire and stowed them somewhere, (a 40ft boat so I suppose he had the room).
He's since emailed me to say he's making enough to cover his boat costs and eat a little better than he expected. His budget before any income is low at £500 per month ($780).

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Old 10-10-2009, 06:26   #13
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- - There are a few cruising sailors who do work from their boats doing mechanical, engine/mechanical repair; rigging and sails. I am excluding work linked by computers to the home country such as financial, IT, consulting, literature styles of work.
- - But they are walking a dangerous tightrope if the country - whose waters they are anchored in - have competing services. It puts the cruiser in direct competition with the local citizen/business. Iif discovered by the locals it might result in penalties ranging from being asked to just leave to legal deportation. So they need to pick and choose where and when they offer such services very carefully.
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Old 10-10-2009, 06:38   #14
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I travel around Europe a lot, and have no difficulty getting money from the ATM using a mastercard, which automatically debits my bank account. I also have internet banking so I can check on bank account and credit card account whenever I want to. I hope that this will still work in less developed countries.
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Old 10-10-2009, 07:26   #15
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I can say from experience that the ATM/Debit Card with Internet banking combo works (almost) flawlessly in the eastern Caribbean islands.

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