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Old 03-15-2019, 09:50 AM   #1
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Best Road Bank?

As it closes more and more branches, and even ATMs, the so-called “Bank of America” becomes proportionately worthless to the fundamentally cash-based traveler like myself (not to mention the hassle of getting a replacement credit card when mine has been stopped due to shenanigans while out of BofA range — something that has happened three times while we’ve been away from home base). So it is probably time that I transfer my financial empire to another banking institution. Can anyone recommend a banking chain that will serve my purposes wherever I go, be it southern California, Colorado, Texas, the South, the midwest, upstate New York, and even up through New England — wherever the road might lead?
Thank you.
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Old 03-15-2019, 10:04 AM   #2
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I get along quite well running with a small credit union. I don't use many CU's atms for cash. Safeway/Albertsons $200, Walmart $100, cash back on debit cards. There is usually one CU that will service my CU per county, that has access to my account, not all CU's do have this special online tie in.
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Old 03-15-2019, 11:17 AM   #3
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I sympathize. Everything you mention is common with BOA.
I've had my card locked when the gas pump touch screen misread it, and spent 35 minutes on hold to speak to someone who said they unlocked it, until I got to the next place and it was declined.
The reality is BOA wants corporate accounts and individual accounts are a nuisance to them. (I remember when they'd take coins and deposit them into your account!)
The solution to BOA aggressive card actions is to go online and notify them of your travel plans.
Then, I carry Shell gas gift cards. I try to use these cards at Shell stations instead of my bank card. In addition, I'll carry an emergency cash stash, so I can pay cash for gas if I can't find a Shell station. (My grocery has Shell gift cards on sale every three weeks, $40 for a $50 gas card! Win-win!)
Next, I avoid ATM's that capture your card. If the ATM eats your card on Friday night, it doesn't matter how much is in your account. I had that happen while out of town for three days and I had only $7 on me.
I'll shop at Walmart and get $100 cash at checkout. It adds up.

I stopped using AmEx, but that's just me.
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Old 03-15-2019, 02:26 PM   #4
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Mollysdad, You have my attention. What grocery store sells $50.00 Shell gift cards for $40.00 on sale. Thats 20% off. Good deal to me. Anyone else have similar deals. Had B of A for 30 years, never again. Watching this thread for future bank.
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Old 03-15-2019, 02:35 PM   #5
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We have banked at Wells Fargo for many years. We have found that they are the most readily available all over the country.

Brian
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Old 03-15-2019, 02:50 PM   #6
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We prefer credit unions as they are "owned" by the members. Many credit unions participate in a system that's referred to as shared branch. You can download the smart phone app to see where ATM's are located as well as walk-in branches that allow access to all your normal transactions. We've used credit unions many times to make transactions when we're out of town. For example we purchased a used vehicle out-of-state and I went with the seller to the credit union of his choice to obtain a certified check for the funds.

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Originally Posted by Mollysdad View Post
... (My grocery has Shell gift cards on sale every three weeks, $40 for a $50 gas card! Win-win!) ...

You may be referring to Publix - popular in the southeast and we do shop there regularly. My sister buys enough groceries to make the gas card work out well for her. A friend of ours does the same and swears by it. When we shop there we have a difficult time paying the relatively higher prices at Publix in order to justify the 20% gas card discount. I realize everyone's situation is different but it just doesn't make sense for us. On the other hand... buying no-fee gift cards at Kroger and getting 2X or 4X fuel points that allow me to purchase reduced price gasoline makes sense for us.

I do hope the OP will give some consideration to credit unions as there is one in almost every town.
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Old 03-15-2019, 03:13 PM   #7
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Big thumbs up for credit unions. I've been with the same one since 1982. Lowest interest rates on credit cards, mortgage or car loans. Direct deposit. Free transfers between accounts. Automatic bill pay. Reimbursement for any ATM fees. A live person answering the phone. Credit and purchase monitoring. On and on.
Among all the service businesses I interact with, love my credit union the best.
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Old 03-15-2019, 06:03 PM   #8
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Since being left stranded for several days by BOA, I carry a BOA credit card and three other credit cards from different companies. I also carry a separate credit card from a fuel company. And, I carry 2 ATM cards (different from credit card), one from BOA and one from my credit union.

I'm considering what I need to do when I go to Canada, to avoid currency exchange fees.

ps:
Since we consistently have been using travel notifications when we are on the road, we have not had one issue with BOA in several years. I'm glad they are careful with my money!
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Old 03-15-2019, 06:44 PM   #9
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Check out Ally Bank. They are primarily an on-line bank with an outstanding reputation. No fees, and pay a fair rate of interest. You can use just about any ATM you can find and they will reimburse you for any fees encountered. We have been with them for about 5 years now and can't say enough good things about them.
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Old 03-15-2019, 07:46 PM   #10
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I don't post much but traveling with ATM and credit cards I've done a great deal. I have at least 6 credit cards and 3 or 4 atm cards. I was in India once and realized one of my atm cards had expired, no biggie pulled another card and on my way dealt with the expired card at my leisure.

USAA is suffering these days in its customer service but it is still an excellent ATM card. Use 3 or more banks if shut out of one for a week or so use another. All eggs in one basket is just not a good idea.

I've used AMEX all over the world and if you use it a lot they take care of you so it is my go to travel card HOWEVER have a hard time trusting any bank so I use others frequently. Some think it hurts your credit, yes and no, I've used two cards regularly and easily get an 850 credit rating but who cares once you're above 740 the banks and loan companies don't care either. That all said, always carry cash as the electric crap will fail especially in foreign countries, yes has occurred several times.

Carry expired cc cards in a spare simple wallet or your front pocket if you get confronted by guy with a knife/gun give it to him with cash and let it go.

just my 2 cents.
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Old 03-15-2019, 08:36 PM   #11
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I have traveled all though the US and southern part of Canada with my C U card never had problems. I always go in the bank to do business in person with a other person. As I travel I always contact my C U and inform them where I am and what I going to do.
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