Wednesday, September 16, 2015
Banking on the road
Just before hitting the road I contacted the two different banks that I have debit cards from. Well, I learned some things at the last minute that I probably should have known earlier.
One bank had changed their security policies. Before you go traveling, most banks want to know where you expect to be going. I tell them all over the United States. If you don't you are likely to discover your debit card shut off when you try to buy gas at 2 a. m.. While I was aware that my bank did that I didn't know that the notifications are now only good for 60 days.
They need a separate notification if you going to leave the United States -unless you go to Canada. Apparently they don't think Canada is a foreign country.
The debit card from the second bank had never been used, but it's actually a better card to travel with as they reimburse debit fees. My problem is that I forgot the pin number. That's where it got interesting. While I could activate the card on the phone, pin numbers had to be changed in person. Don't worry they said, you can change it at any branch. Great, except they only have branches in New England. That does me little good in Florida.
On our way out of town I stopped in at the bank to get the pin changed. As part of the process I had to do an ATM withdrawal but only after 20 minutes and no later than 24 hours. Believe me, I used the card soon after to make sure the activation really happened.
Sounds complicated, but it's impractical to carry enough cash to for months of travel. Not only that, if for some reason police search your car and find big wads of cash they will confiscate it. Carrying large amounts of cash is considered a suspicious activity. Good luck on getting that money back. Even with that in mind, I do carry some cash as everyone takes cash.