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Old 09-15-2006, 11:25 PM   #1
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 5
Default Banking for cruisers

As LloydsTSB of UK have now caused me serious problems for a third time and I have still not yet received a letter from them to explain the situation and to send me an International Money Mover form, after two months, I am looking for a decent bank. Does anyone have a recommendation ? My requirements are the normal long distance cruiser ones, I suspect - normally, withdraw moderate amount of cash for living expenses, occasionally to withdraw more, either in one go or in several goes on successive days, to pay bills in cash for marina or parts. Occasionally, to pay the big bills by Money Mover or Direct Debit ( though here in Thailand, not many organisations seem to be able to accept Direct Debit).

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Old 09-16-2006, 12:12 AM   #2
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Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 437


We never had any problems using an ATM card in Phuket (or anywhere else in the world, for that matter) for getting cash from our US based checking accounts. We were limited by the daily ammount but wasn't too much of a problem in Paradise.

Our accounts were in Bank of America and Bank of Guam. Just don't loose the cards and keep 'em away from magnets!


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Old 09-18-2006, 01:38 AM   #3
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 2,098

We use Merrill Lynch. The second year we were cruising I found myself given the runaround by the bank we had then, and we were almost without any funds over a long weekend in Venezuela. I was so angry with the hassles that we immediately started looking for a new way to handle our money. In 1987 ATMs were relatively new, and outside the US things were a lot more complicated. However, the switch to Merrill Lynch was a great idea then, and is still a great idea now.

We have a VISA card through Merrill Lynch, and once a month ML automatically pays the credit card balance off. We do not receive a paper bill, we never have late fees or interest, at the end of the year we receive a printout of every transaction, credit card, check, or wire transfer, that has occurred during the year. Our financial adviser is extremely helpful but not pushy, and will monitor our money if we ask her to. For example, we tell her we are traveling in the Caribbean for 6 months, and she will question any charge on the account that is not from where we are in the Caribbean (except for those payments that are recurring and usual, such as our phone bill, etc.).

We do not get our statements emailed - I understand that is a risky proposition. Instead, once a month I go to their secure website and download our statement onto my own laptop. They have a bill payment service (for those who have landside mortgages, etc.)

I understand that Merrill Lynch has offices in the UK, NZ, and perhaps other places as well, though I cannot speak for the services those offices offer. You do have to spend some time interviewing them in order to be sure it will suit your needs. There is a Merrill Lynch in Thailand, in Bangkok.

This has worked without a hitch for 18 or 19 years.
In 1986 we went cruising for a few years. After 20 years and 50+ countries and several oceans, we are STILL "cruising for a few years".

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