After reading this, I realized I would definitely need a second bank account.
My biggest concern was fees. I didn’t want to pay a fee from the US bank, a fee from the foreign bank and that dreaded foreign transaction fee.
My current US bank has agreed to waive their fees until April. I had to go up the food chain for that agreed waiver. But I will still have to pay the foreign bank fee.
What I find amazing is that my primary US bank partners with several foreign banks – but none in the countries I will be traveling. I was told if I find those banks in my travels, they cannot be sure the fee will be waived as the partnerships are identified on the website for those banks in specific countries. We shall see how that works out.
Needless to say I realized I wanted to have a bank that had actual branch locations in South America. I visited many, many banks to find the right one.
I had even received a suggestion to check out Bank of China. I did and they don’t link their accounts outside of the US.
I visited Capital One, and even though they have few fees, making them a key bank for international travelers, I had heard from several people, Katie included, that their customer service from outside the US is sub-par. And customer service is huge for me.
I eventually went with Citibank. They have locations in most of the places I am going and if I lose my card (please think good thoughts that I don’t) they can issue me one at the local branch, wherever in the world I may be.
This is a huge plus as most banks will only send a new card to a US address, which would ultimately be problematic for me, since I wouldn’t be in the US.
And the guy who set my account up was super friendly, super helpful and most importantly, he answered all of my questions.
So, we’ll see. I’m hopeful.