Banking for Nomads

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Barefootgirl
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Banking for Nomads

Post by Barefootgirl » Fri Jul 05, 2019 11:57 am

In the near future, I'll be mostly mobile, up and down the east coast, with some other travel to the west coast and abroad.

I've not been too crazy about the Cap One online interface, having problems with it and sometimes challenged to find ATMs.

I have an account with Alliant FCU that does have have branches in airports, but I have yet to start using it much.

I am mostly interested in no fee ATMs and a bank that is reliable and not difficult to deal with.

If you are a mobile person, do you have a banking recommendation?
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anon_investor
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Re: Banking for Nomads

Post by anon_investor » Fri Jul 05, 2019 11:59 am

Look for an online bank that reimburses for ATM fees, a lot of them do. I think Ally Bank reimburses up to $10 worth of fees a month. I can't think of any others off the top of my head.

ohai
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Re: Banking for Nomads

Post by ohai » Fri Jul 05, 2019 12:01 pm

I'd imagine any of the big banks with a lot of ATMs is fine. Usually, these banks interface are somewhat similar to one another. WF refunds my ATM fees too, and I suspect other banks have similar terms. On top of that, if you have a lot of assets, normally they give you some kind of perks for coming aboard.

CFM300
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Re: Banking for Nomads

Post by CFM300 » Fri Jul 05, 2019 12:05 pm

Why not go with one of the major banks that has tons of branches and ATMs?

a_movable_life
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Re: Banking for Nomads

Post by a_movable_life » Fri Jul 05, 2019 12:40 pm

Hello:

Nomadic for two years now. Have been to Alaska, Canadian Maritime Provinces, and Southern Mexico.

Since you are on here I suggest either CS or Fido for your main account. No ATM fees anywhere. I probably saved 100-200 in the last two years alone with that feature.

I also suggest you get a second account with an ATM card and that is not in your wallet. In case you lose your wallet, get mugged, etc. You can still access cash.

I had a Santander account for Mexico (no ATM fees at their ATM's in Mexico), now I am with BOA for the CC bonus, but recently I learned on here that Credit Unions have it so that many of them you can conduct transactions at sister institutions. I need a brick and mortar branch infrequently.

quantAndHold
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Re: Banking for Nomads

Post by quantAndHold » Fri Jul 05, 2019 12:46 pm

We’re mobile about four months per year. We’ve been fine with Cap One. But if you have a credit union account, if your credit union is in the COOP network, you can use ATM’s at any 7-Eleven, and a lot of other credit unions across the country.

Regardless, we find we don’t need nearly as much cash as we used to. If we withdraw $200 at a time, we can go months without needing an ATM.

flyingcows
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Re: Banking for Nomads

Post by flyingcows » Fri Jul 05, 2019 12:47 pm

I've been using Schwab Bank "High Yield Investor Checking" as my primary banking solution for the past 10 years. I also hold my taxable and roths accounts with Schwab. As an added bonus, their customer service has always been really good. Aside from Schwab, I also have an account with Bank of America in case I need access to a physical bank branch, which so far over the past 10 years has only been a few times when I needed to process large check deposits that exceeded the online deposit limits (house/car sales).

With the Schwab checking account, I can withdraw cash from any ATM with no fees, the way this works is that Schwab credits your account for all ATM fees incurred each month. This includes international ATM, there are also no foreign transaction fees.

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tfb
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Re: Banking for Nomads

Post by tfb » Fri Jul 05, 2019 12:52 pm

Barefootgirl wrote:
Fri Jul 05, 2019 11:57 am
I have an account with Alliant FCU that does have have branches in airports, but I have yet to start using it much.

I am mostly interested in no fee ATMs and a bank that is reliable and not difficult to deal with.
You already have it. No fee to use Alliant card at many credit union ATMs all over the country. Alliant's mobile app shows you where those are. Alliant CU also reimburses ATM fees up to $20 per month. It's reliable and easy to deal with.
Harry Sit, taking a break from the forums.

MotoTrojan
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Re: Banking for Nomads

Post by MotoTrojan » Fri Jul 05, 2019 12:55 pm

anon_investor wrote:
Fri Jul 05, 2019 11:59 am
Look for an online bank that reimburses for ATM fees, a lot of them do. I think Ally Bank reimburses up to $10 worth of fees a month. I can't think of any others off the top of my head.
Fidelity CMA does, international too. I link mine to a brokerage so my direct deposits automatically go into SPAXX, a reasonably good MM yield. No brick and mortar though so I have a Wells Fargo for cash deposits or odd withdrawals (forex, small bills).

It’s very convenient to use ANY ATM, even high priced casino, liquor store, etc.

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Tamarind
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Re: Banking for Nomads

Post by Tamarind » Fri Jul 05, 2019 12:56 pm

Ally has a lot of fee-free ATMs, reimburses $10/cycle of fees, and more importantly for me has an extremely good app/website and very good customer service by phone.

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yangtui
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Re: Banking for Nomads

Post by yangtui » Fri Jul 05, 2019 1:09 pm

I am currently transitioning into an international nomadic role with my company that will put me overseas in random countries about 60% of the time. Charles Schwab has been great so far for pulling local currency out of any ATM fee free at a really good exchange rate. I am still using BOA as well in case I need access to B&M services.

7eight9
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Re: Banking for Nomads

Post by 7eight9 » Fri Jul 05, 2019 1:40 pm

As mentioned above - Charles Schwab High Yield Investor Checking® will rebate your ATM fees. You might also want to consider HSBC. I believe their Advance Account rebates 4 ATM fees per month.
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TravelGeek
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Re: Banking for Nomads

Post by TravelGeek » Fri Jul 05, 2019 1:51 pm

money_bunny wrote:
Fri Jul 05, 2019 12:40 pm
I also suggest you get a second account with an ATM card and that is not in your wallet. In case you lose your wallet, get mugged, etc. You can still access cash.
Second this. Redundancy is important. I have a credit union account and an Ally account. The cards are in two separate wallets if I travel

jimkinny
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Re: Banking for Nomads

Post by jimkinny » Fri Jul 05, 2019 4:08 pm

Ally
ATM's widely available nationwide. I don't know if the ATM's are in every Walgreen's but so far when traveling I have found them in five. Google Ally ATM.Ally apparently contract's with a company that has rents space.

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Barefootgirl
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Re: Banking for Nomads

Post by Barefootgirl » Fri Jul 05, 2019 4:12 pm

Why not go with one of the major banks that has tons of branches and ATMs?

That's what I am attempting, that's why I asked for recommended banks. The personal experiences of others is a good gauge of customer service.
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halfnine
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Re: Banking for Nomads

Post by halfnine » Fri Jul 05, 2019 4:39 pm

Barefootgirl wrote:
Fri Jul 05, 2019 4:12 pm
Why not go with one of the major banks that has tons of branches and ATMs?

That's what I am attempting, that's why I asked for recommended banks. The personal experiences of others is a good gauge of customer service.
As an expat I have geared toward the direction of non-customer service. Banks are increasingly more problematic to deal with if you have a non-physical address. Having a bank that has limited interaction with customer service generally comes with less ills in this regards as keeping my accounts open is priority number 1.

Sorry, I can't really help with recommendations. I have bank accounts in other countries now and rarely use my US accounts for ATM usage so my knowledge is outdated. But, definitely, have redundancy in your accounts in case you run into issues you don't become bank less.

HawkeyePierce
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Re: Banking for Nomads

Post by HawkeyePierce » Fri Jul 05, 2019 4:59 pm

I'm an American citizen who just moved to New Zealand and I travel abroad frequently.

1) Charles Schwab. I've been using their debit card for at least seven years and it's excellent. Competitive exchange rates and unlimited ATM fee reimbursements.

2) A couple of credit cards. I carry cards from four major American banks—Chase, Citi, Barclays and Amex. My Citi Premier card sees the most use as it's a Mastercard and MC typically has slightly better exchange rates than Visa.

I also have debit and credit cards from First Tech FCU. They're one of the few US institutions offering true chip-and-PIN cards. I don't use the debit card, I only have it as a backup account in case I ever run into trouble with Schwab.

3) Transferwise. I use this to move large amounts of money across countries. They offer a "borderless" account which lets you hold money in a variety of currencies and convert at will. They have very competitive exchange rates. You can hold money in their account or use them for just-in-time transfers from traditional banks to anyone you like, recipients don't need to have a Transferwise account. Your account is assigned account numbers in the US, Britain, EU, Australia and New Zealand.

Very useful if you're getting paid in multiple countries. The only downside is it's not a full bank account—you can't give out those account numbers for debit purposes, only to receive money. So if you want to sign up for e.g. a gym membership in another country Transferwise can't help.

aristotelian
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Re: Banking for Nomads

Post by aristotelian » Fri Jul 05, 2019 6:30 pm

+1 for Schwab. No worries about finding an ATM in network. Just pick the most convenient machine and let Schwab pick up the fee.

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kramer
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Re: Banking for Nomads

Post by kramer » Fri Jul 05, 2019 10:44 pm

TravelGeek wrote:
Fri Jul 05, 2019 1:51 pm
money_bunny wrote:
Fri Jul 05, 2019 12:40 pm
I also suggest you get a second account with an ATM card and that is not in your wallet. In case you lose your wallet, get mugged, etc. You can still access cash.
Second this. Redundancy is important. I have a credit union account and an Ally account. The cards are in two separate wallets if I travel
Same here. For true nomads, I don't even think two accounts are enough. Often you will be on extended travel when a card expires, your main card is eaten/damaged/defrauded/stolen/lost etc. Also, on my several bank accounts, the terms have changed drastically over the last decade (some good accounts becoming bad and vice versa). The good thing is, for true backup accounts, the terms don't matter much ... as they are more for emergencies. Finally, as you become more nomadic, even opening a new bank account can become difficult.

sfnerd
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Re: Banking for Nomads

Post by sfnerd » Fri Jul 05, 2019 10:52 pm

I agree with kramer, multiple accounts is very, very important.

I live in Thailand, but I travel a ton for work and fun, and I use Schwab as my main roaming bank, because they rebate ATM fees globally. They also don't mess with international banks travelers / expats / nomads like other banks do.

As a back up I have capital one 360, Fidelity, and others. I don't really mess with brick and mortar banks, but I do have a brick and mortar bank in Thailand, but not by choice.

Realistically though, when I'm not in Thailand I use Schwab for all of my cash needs, and it has yet to fail me.

Independent George
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Re: Banking for Nomads

Post by Independent George » Sat Jul 06, 2019 12:06 am

I will echo the recommendation for Schwab. I originally joined because their investor checking account paid 1% interest; I stayed because they refund ATM fees (even though I rarely use cash anymore, it's still nice to be able to withdraw anywhere without thinking about fees).

Blue456
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Re: Banking for Nomads

Post by Blue456 » Sat Jul 06, 2019 6:02 am

Barefootgirl wrote:
Fri Jul 05, 2019 11:57 am
In the near future, I'll be mostly mobile, up and down the east coast, with some other travel to the west coast and abroad.

I've not been too crazy about the Cap One online interface, having problems with it and sometimes challenged to find ATMs.

I have an account with Alliant FCU that does have have branches in airports, but I have yet to start using it much.

I am mostly interested in no fee ATMs and a bank that is reliable and not difficult to deal with.

If you are a mobile person, do you have a banking recommendation?
Is is important to know why you don't like Alliant before we can recommend you a bank. Alliant has more ATMs than any national bank in the country, refunds $15 in non Alliant ATM use and has 24 hours customers service. These 3 are hard to beat by anything else than another online bank such as Ally. The advantage of Ally is their superior bill pay. Otherwise it is all the same. Again why you don't like Alliant?

Topic Author
Barefootgirl
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Re: Banking for Nomads

Post by Barefootgirl » Sat Jul 06, 2019 8:30 am

Nothing in my original post indicates that I do not like Alliant. All I said was that I have yet to use them much.

Again, just seeking to know about the experiences of others - which banks they have come to rely on while being mobile.

Thanks
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a_movable_life
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Re: Banking for Nomads

Post by a_movable_life » Sat Jul 06, 2019 9:20 am

kramer wrote:
Fri Jul 05, 2019 10:44 pm
TravelGeek wrote:
Fri Jul 05, 2019 1:51 pm
money_bunny wrote:
Fri Jul 05, 2019 12:40 pm
I also suggest you get a second account with an ATM card and that is not in your wallet. In case you lose your wallet, get mugged, etc. You can still access cash.
Second this. Redundancy is important. I have a credit union account and an Ally account. The cards are in two separate wallets if I travel
Same here. For true nomads, I don't even think two accounts are enough. Often you will be on extended travel when a card expires, your main card is eaten/damaged/defrauded/stolen/lost etc. Also, on my several bank accounts, the terms have changed drastically over the last decade (some good accounts becoming bad and vice versa). The good thing is, for true backup accounts, the terms don't matter much ... as they are more for emergencies. Finally, as you become more nomadic, even opening a new bank account can become difficult.
Then you can take a cash advance on a CC for emergency money, rent a room at an econolodge and wait for Charles Schwab to overnight the new ATM card to you.

btenny
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Re: Banking for Nomads

Post by btenny » Sat Jul 06, 2019 10:24 am

I am a snowbird and constant traveler and have been for 19 years. I am a very long term Wells Fargo client who uses all their services. I have used their services all over the US and the world. I have never paid a ATM fee even when I travel out of the country and make withdrawals at foreign ATMs. They even credited out my currency transaction fees on my Wells credit card. I have two checking accounts and two investment accounts and various credit and debit cards with them. The investments are WellsDirect self managed no cost accounts and hold mostly Vanguard funds and ETFs. I can do all my banking and investment management from my computer. So we are 100% mobile. I can also walk into the brick and mortar stores all over the US and get cash or do any banking stuff. For security reasons I will not go into detail how good and easy things work but it is nice. I think they are great.

Good Luck.

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willthrill81
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Re: Banking for Nomads

Post by willthrill81 » Sat Jul 06, 2019 10:32 am

Barefootgirl wrote:
Fri Jul 05, 2019 11:57 am
I am mostly interested in no fee ATMs and a bank that is reliable and not difficult to deal with.
Do you need an ATM primarily to make cash withdrawals? You can do that at many major retailers by paying with a debit card and requesting cash back.

But these days, I don't really see the need for frequent cash withdrawals, though I always carry a fair amount of cash for emergencies. We've been traveling through Canada for almost two weeks, and we only needed cash one time for a very small, very discretionary purchase. Everyone takes credit cards up here, including food trucks.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings

HawkeyePierce
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Re: Banking for Nomads

Post by HawkeyePierce » Sat Jul 06, 2019 5:06 pm

Another tip for getting large amounts of cash is to go into any bank and request a cash advance against your debit card. No fees and unlike ATM withdrawals, the only limit is your daily purchase limit.

I recently did this to pay a mover and get the cash discount. I was easily able to withdraw $1000 in cash from my Schwab account at an unrelated bank.

Topic Author
Barefootgirl
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Re: Banking for Nomads

Post by Barefootgirl » Fri Jul 19, 2019 5:54 am

Thank you all for the input. Looks like a gathering of consensus around Wells, Alliant, Ally and Schwab.

I have 2 of those 4 already...so it's a head start. Again, thank you.

What prompted this thread was an inability of get Cap One to refund an ATM fee...after years of being a customer with large balances...I started thinking there had to be banks out there better suited for me.

Again, thank you.
How many retired people does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Only one, but he takes all day.

thewizzer
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Re: Banking for Nomads

Post by thewizzer » Fri Jul 19, 2019 6:21 am

I bank with two local banks. One of them refunds all ATM fees nationwide, no questions asked and no waiting for the end of the month. The other refunds all ATM fees if I use the debit card 12 times a month.

Don’t forget the smaller banks. Customer service is typically better as well, imho.

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