Steve is off work today, so this morning we had an appointment at the bank. For anyone who’s interested, here’s how we’ve decided to deal with banking while we travel.
We both currently bank with First Direct which provides an excellent service. Steve does his banking over the phone and I do mine online. Steve is going to start doing his online soon, which will obviously make it easier to deal with when we’re away.
Now, when you are taking money out of cashpoints abroad, almost every bank in the world charges extortionate charges. But not Nationwide. So this morning we opened a joint current account with Nationwide, which will be our day to day account when travelling. We will now start transferring our savings and avoid the temptation to spend it.
When we are travelling, we will transfer money from First Direct to Nationwide in smallish amounts over the internet on a regular basis. This means that if our Nationwide cards get stolen, most of our money will be safe, and importantly, still accessible via our First Direct cards. The thought of being stuck in Luang Prabang without the ability to access any money for even a day, is not a happy one.
Another reason to have two accounts, is that we hear many tales of cards being stopped randomly, or not working well in some countries. More cards means more options. We will keep our First Direct cards in a safe place (if I told you where, I’d have to kill you) and only use them in emergencies. One thing we will need to do is regularly remind both banks that we are travelling, at least every time we go to a new country. Otherwise they will consider our behaviour suspicious and stop our cards every three weeks, which would be very tiresome indeed.
If you have read to the bottom of this post and are still awake, congratulations! You are the proud winner of a Nationwide spot the difference magazine and crayon set. Leave a comment and I’ll put it in the post.