I am not a huge fan of Bank of America (or any giant bank for that matter).
BofA caused my loan to default after almost a decade of no late payments due to someone leaving who was handling my refinance. Their internal processes were broken. In the middle of the process, they sold my home loan to another bank.
But, I still have personal banking with them. The reason I am still with them is the same reason for which I chose them. They are everywhere. They have reciprocal agreements with many international banks as part of the Global ATM Alliance which saves me some fees while traveling.
While traveling in Nicaragua Bank of America cut off my card due to precautions from 3rd party fraud. Fortunately, I had a backup card. Though it was my business card that I had as a backup, and my accounting was affected slightly, I would have been in big trouble had I no card at all.
BofA offered to send me a new card. But, getting mail in Nicaragua is an experience in itself. It may never arrive. Also, my address was something like: 2 doors down from San Miguel store, up the hill, left into Finca las Nubes.
With online banking I was able to move money from one account into the other. My accounting was a little off but more imporantly I wasn’t stranded.
This was 5 years ago. But the same is true now. The only reason I haven’t switched is because of the hassle and because the benefits still outweigh some of the cons.
Managing your banking while traveling internationally:
- choose a bank that has ATMs worldwide or reciprocal ATM agreements with several major banks
- always carry a backup card, or two, ideally from different banks or different credit card services
- make sure to have access to online banking
- always set a travel alert so that your card does not unexpectedly stop working… at the most inconvenient time
- look into travel-protected credit cards like American Express
- always choose a card that gives you travel points – airline miles and/or hotel points
I am watching to see which banks will become the most digital nomad friendly. But, here are a few I might recommend (not in any particular order):
- Bank of America + Online Banking + American Express
- Capital One + 360 Online Banking
- Chase + Chase Sapphire Visa
- Wells Fargo + Online Banking
Any suggestions? Where do you bank? What cards do you carry? Have you ever had any bad banking experiences while abroad and how did you make it through?