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Old 06-26-2013, 08:52 AM   #1
Two Moto Kiwis OP
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Other Bank Options Other Than WellsFugwits?

Good morning all, they are stinging us monthly fees and withdrawal fees, commissions, offshore margins and other bank fees...it is really adding up now!!

It is ridiculous so we want to look at better options if possible, any input would be great.

Many thanks Andi
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Old 06-26-2013, 03:24 PM   #2
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if you're talking about an alternate US bank, you can just about forget about it. our banks are all thieves, even the small local ones have become dirtbags and charge for everything--even toilet tissue in their bathrooms if they let you use one!

checkout bankrate.com to get an idea about how crappy our banks are here.
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Old 06-26-2013, 03:47 PM   #3
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Also, I can't say for sure, but I'd say the chances of non-US citizens being able to open a bank account at a US bank without physically being there are just about zero, so unless you're planning another trip to the US I'd say it's a moot point. For what it's worth I'm with Wells Fargo, and though I hate them, I don't really like any of my other choices any better. Just curious, why did you choose to bank with Wells Fargo instead of whatever Kiwi bank you use at home?
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Old 06-26-2013, 03:56 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TeeVee View Post
if you're talking about an alternate US bank, you can just about forget about it. our banks are all thieves, even the small local ones have become dirtbags and charge for everything--even toilet tissue in their bathrooms if they let you use one!

checkout bankrate.com to get an idea about how crappy our banks are here.
Argh ok, might be frying pan t fire by the sounds of that.

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Also, I can't say for sure, but I'd say the chances of non-US citizens being able to open a bank account at a US bank without physically being there are just about zero, so unless you're planning another trip to the US I'd say it's a moot point. For what it's worth I'm with Wells Fargo, and though I hate them, I don't really like any of my other choices any better. Just curious, why did you choose to bank with Wells Fargo instead of whatever Kiwi bank you use at home?
Well the international transactions fees were really bad, Wellsfargo was a reasonable option while in the US but now we might actually be better off to get raped by New Zealand banks instead.

I think you will be right, the chances of jumping ship without being there are slim to none.

There does not seem to be any reasonable way to not get slammed heavily while travelling unfortunately.
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Old 06-26-2013, 04:08 PM   #5
AndyT
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Scotiabank has branches in most Latin American countries, so you may be able to visit one of them to open an account. Whether they are better or worse, I can't say.
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Old 06-26-2013, 04:41 PM   #6
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There are US banks which exist largely on-line--you don't need to be physically present at any point, although you might need a working US address and/or phone number. I use Capital One, which has recently swallowed one of the other ones I use as well. They offer a variety of credit, check and debit options--look for a debit card with no transaction fees overseas and see if the account requirements suit you.
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Old 06-26-2013, 05:18 PM   #7
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Scotiabank has branches in most Latin American countries, so you may be able to visit one of them to open an account. Whether they are better or worse, I can't say.
Interetsing option, will explore it.

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There are US banks which exist largely on-line--you don't need to be physically present at any point, although you might need a working US address and/or phone number. I use Capital One, which has recently swallowed one of the other ones I use as well. They offer a variety of credit, check and debit options--look for a debit card with no transaction fees overseas and see if the account requirements suit you.
Thanks Mark, when we used our debit cards in the USA it was no worries but now due to transaction fees that has gone down the tube.

Will check out Capital One site, can easily get a US addy that would be easy as long as I don't have to stand in front of them.
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Old 06-26-2013, 06:46 PM   #8
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i travel internationally quite a bit, though not by bike. on one trip to nica in january, i racked up $200 in fees on my mastercard. nearly shat myself.

my credit has not been good enough to get a credit card with no intl fees. i've never heard of a debit card that doesn't charge intl fees of some sort. certainly not any US based banks.

i would keep the card utilization to a minimum and stick with cash. although that will mean using ATM's and incurring fees there. also, if you stay at any nicer hotels that can be booked online, often you can pre-pay on hotels.com through their NZ site and avoid foreign fees.
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Old 06-26-2013, 09:27 PM   #9
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i would keep the card utilization to a minimum and stick with cash. although
That is what we have been doing, get the max out we can to reduce the fees but in Guate we can only draw 300 US or 2500 Q at a time so it mounts up real quick and it has!!
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Old 06-27-2013, 04:37 AM   #10
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I´ve been looking into opening an account for exactly the same reasons. I tried the UK (I am a UK citizen), USA and Switzerland all of them said no. I looked into an off shore account from UK Banks, the only one that seemed willing was Barclays but be prepared to jump through a lot of hoops and then you may end up with the same charges. Apparently since 9/11 it is much harder to open an account unless you live in the country and have proof of address in your name.
I finally gave up and will stick with my Mexican bank.
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Old 06-27-2013, 04:41 AM   #11
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one way to do it is to set up an offshore corporation and get an account with a card. the problem is, setting up the company will cost $$$$ as will the annual fees for the company. generally though, the offshore banks do not charge hefty fees. still, the costs would be pretty high. however, if you are on a multi-year RTW trip, it "may" be worthwhile.

the best bet is a credit card. to get a card from an issuer that doesn't charge foreign fees, you will. at least in my experience, have to have a pretty outstanding credit score. at least one citibank CC doesn't have foreign transaction fees.
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Old 06-27-2013, 06:38 AM   #12
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I feel your pain. We left the states over 2 years ago with an account that refunded all ATM fees. It was fantastic! But short lived - they changed their policies to the now normal, gouging ways of US-based banks. Since then, we've been using ATM's as wisely as possible, and spending too much time to mention looking for the ATM with the lowest local fees (some have been free to use - excluding our bank fees - in almost every country, and it can vary from ATM to ATM, not always by sponsoring bank on the ATM).

See this link for better options:
http://travelsort.com/blog/no-atm-fe...efund-atm-fees

I had heard about the Schwab account but only recently, and now that we're in Argentina we're not using ATM's anyways, so not much help for us. Hopefully it is for you...
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