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Old 03-02-2021, 09:45 AM   #1
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Banking on the road

Early May we are hitting the road until the travel budget runs out or Aug 1 rolls around, which ever comes first.

I have not had a bank account for 40 years. I use a local CU that only has about a dozen branches, all within about 40 miles of the house.

Most of my bills are an automatic debit, the few that are not, I will pay in advance.

I feel like I need a nationwide bank in case I need more cash than I can draw out of my debit card.

We are leaving without a TOAD, but we may end up out West and decide we need one. No wants a check, they want cash.

Any recommendations on a bank that has nationwide branches and offers good service, or do I just throw a dart and pick one?
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Old 03-02-2021, 09:57 AM   #2
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I've been with my bank for so many years that I hate the thought of trusting anyone else with my money--what little I do have. We've moved a couple times and now have to drive to reach the nearest branch but I still prefer doing that.
To prepare for the need for emergency funds on the road, or whatever, I have a wire transfer agreement with my bank. (Has to be set up in advance and takes a week or so). Once set up, I can call them from wherever and have them wire needed funds. Usually takes a couple of hours for it to happen and there is a fee but it keeps things simple. And available.
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Old 03-02-2021, 10:12 AM   #3
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Before 2020, we spent several months a year away from our Brick & mortar home and have had to address this problem. We have had direct deposit of payroll & now SS & pension finds into a nationwide bank and had relied on checks and ATM cash withdrawals to pay for things but out-of-town/state checks are not universally accepted and ATMs for the bank are not always available. We decided to open an account at another bank and maintain a small balance and get a debit card for that account. The strategy is that debit cards are universally accepted and any loss due to ID theft wouldn't cripple us. In investigating which institution to use, I found CUs to be very attractive because some have access to nationwide ATM systems.

A recent modification to this strategy is to load the app for the bank/CU onto my cell phone so that I can deposit checks into the account using the APP. I just enter the amount of a check, take images of both sides of the check and it shows up in the account in a couple of days. Using the app, it doesn't matter if the bank/CU is just down the road from us or across the country.
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Old 03-02-2021, 10:16 AM   #4
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You might want to check your Credit Union, I belong to a small credit union and Its tied into a nation wide teller banking system, that I can with draw from any where there a Star ATM.
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Old 03-02-2021, 11:36 AM   #5
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I don't use a debit card but I do believe that our CU is tied into a nationwide web of ATMs. I'd be surprised if the OP's isn't as well. Being able to use the debit card nationwide, along with being able to manage his credit union account online, should cover what the OP is concerned about.

Imo though, using a credit card is the best way to go. Whether at home or on the road, ours gets used for 99% of all purchases. We pay the balance off every month (via the CU online) and also get a cash back bonus that adds up quickly.

I don't and won't use a debit card myself, but a person could always fall back on it if there was ever an issue with the credit card. One thing's for sure, I would not depend solely on one option. For us, it's a credit card in my wallet, a different credit card in my wife's purse, and some stashed cash.
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Old 03-02-2021, 11:59 AM   #6
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We use our credit card for almost all purchases. We use our Costco CC for fuel purchases along with Costco purchases. We don't have a debit card on our main checking account, but I have one on my account at the same regional bank. If we were to need emergency cash, we can transfer to my account. Our bank is a part of the Star network.
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Old 03-02-2021, 12:03 PM   #7
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My CU has what they call "sharebranch", but the services I can use and the amount of cash I can withdrawal is limited.

We also use a CC whenever possible.

If I want or need a sum of cash, I want to be able to access it.

I thought that with a nationwide bank I could deposit 10k at the start of our trip and if I need it, its there, if I dont need it I will put it into a 9 mo CD when we get home. When the CD matures, it will be time to be back on the road for the summer.
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Old 03-02-2021, 12:11 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mudfrog View Post
I don't use a debit card but I do believe that our CU is tied into a nationwide web of ATMs.



Imo though, using a credit card is the best way to go. Whether at home or on the road, ours gets used for 99% of all purchases. We pay the balance off every month (via the CU online) and also get a cash back bonus that adds up quickly.

I don't and won't use a debit card myself. . .



That is my approach as well.
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Old 03-02-2021, 12:18 PM   #9
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I would not advise carrying a lot of cash. We use a credit card for absolutely everything except for perhaps 6 or so checks a year. We don't use a debit card. Put everything you can on AutoPay. That makes it so easy.

If you want to open a small acct. for extra cash as you travel, Wells Fargo is everywhere, especially in the West. There's no charge if you keep a $300 balance. Perhaps any extra cash you were thinking of carrying in the RV could be deposited into this account instead so it's safer. ATMs are all over to withdraw cash.

Again, use a money back credit card for everything and you won't need to carry much cash. Plus, you'll build up cash back after a while which is nice. We pay it off every month. Never any interest.

We do keep one card for all our AutoPays. A different card is used for all purchases, restaurants, etc. That way if the card is compromised our AutoPays aren't affected. A new replacement card could be sent to you overnight or in a day or so. Plus, you're not liable for any purchases made on a compromised card. That said, we only had our daily use card compromised one time in the past and we were notified right away by the credit card company. You can set notifications on the card for this purpose. I go to a store or purchase fuel and within minutes we get a notification that the card was used.
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Old 03-02-2021, 12:46 PM   #10
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So is your concern to have the ability for largers sums of cash then you can get out of an ATM???

Check with your CU and see how you might be able to do electronic funds transfer. Or, on line account to account transfer. Maybe all you need to do is open an account in the town you want to do business and transfers the funds. But this could take 3-4 business days.

Otherwise pick a big bank in the area you are going. Or, one of the big national banks like Chase or Citi.
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Old 03-02-2021, 01:11 PM   #11
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I have used my local Credit Union since 1970 and nothing else. We have traveled from the east coast to the west coast either by airplane of pulling our 5'ers. I carry nothing but the credit union Visa charge card and the debit card. Plus a charge card from Sam's club. I pay no interest on these cards at all since they are paid in full every month from the checking account.

Since the credit union is used for the checking account you need a savings account to open up a checking account first. Any overdrafts can be covered from the savings account funds.

I can also go to a bank any pull funds from my Visa charge card as needed with the PIN number provided by the charge card company. Which I have done in the past if I run out of cash.
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Old 03-02-2021, 10:44 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by twogypsies View Post
I would not advise carrying a lot of cash. We use a credit card for absolutely everything except for perhaps 6 or so checks a year. We don't use a debit card. Put everything you can on AutoPay. That makes it so easy.

If you want to open a small acct. for extra cash as you travel, Wells Fargo is everywhere, especially in the West. There's no charge if you keep a $300 balance. Perhaps any extra cash you were thinking of carrying in the RV could be deposited into this account instead so it's safer. ATMs are all over to withdraw cash.

Again, use a money back credit card for everything and you won't need to carry much cash. Plus, you'll build up cash back after a while which is nice. We pay it off every month. Never any interest.

We do keep one card for all our AutoPays. A different card is used for all purchases, restaurants, etc. That way if the card is compromised our AutoPays aren't affected. A new replacement card could be sent to you overnight or in a day or so. Plus, you're not liable for any purchases made on a compromised card. That said, we only had our daily use card compromised one time in the past and we were notified right away by the credit card company. You can set notifications on the card for this purpose. I go to a store or purchase fuel and within minutes we get a notification that the card was used.
Yes, everything you said.

I set notifications to alert every time we fuel up and every time something is bought online. I also have it set to alert for all other transactions that exceed a certain amount. The alerts come in very quickly, usually before I have time to put my credit card back in my wallet.
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Old 03-02-2021, 11:28 PM   #13
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I would not advise carrying a lot of cash.
Oh, I carry, but not cash.................
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Old 03-03-2021, 05:24 AM   #14
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I use a prepaid debit card that I can add to from my other accounts whenever I need to. If lost or stolen, I'm only out a few bucks, not my entire bank account like with a regular debit card. I can get cash back from purchases but seldom, if ever, do.
We got out some cash for emergencies but find that we can get by quite well on the prepaid card and a credit card.
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