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post #2 of Old 12-30-2002
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Bank Accounts and ATM Card access


I would recommend you consider moving away from a bank altogether and do your ''banking'' thru one of the ''one size fits all needs'' brokerage companies. I have had excellent success using T Rowe Price''s Asset Manager Account thru-out the Caribbean, which includes a variety of poor(er) countries of multiple ethnicity and weakened infrastructure PLUS a good test of any American system - it works in Departments of France. ( Your available cash plus investments can be reviewed 24/7 on the Web, their ATM card is VISA (most widely accepted, internationally), they accept collect calls from anywhere (other than a prison, I''m told) to resolve an issue, and moving money between accounts is possible. They provide checks, monthly statements (on-line and on paper) and have a charge resolution process if your VISA gets zinged unfairly. The cost is $40 U.S./year.

I''ve especially appreciated the collect call option and have had to use it multiple times. While other brokerages offer a similar plan (e.g. Merrill-Lynch''s CMA account), the TRP folks have always been easy to work with in my experience (15 years now) and they operate like Plain Vanilla vs. the ''high rolling stock broker'' style of some. Their principal business is no-load mutual funds.

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