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kirstindally 10-18-2006 09:56 PM

bank account help please
Hi there,
We are getting ready to depart for sailing adventures in the Caribbean, mexico and beyond. As newbees to the cruising world, there are loads of things to get "sorted". One such thing is finding a suitable way to manage our limited cruising kity.
I was thinking about opening an offshore bank account in US dollars. Does anyone have any recommendations?
I looked at HSBC and they do an offshore account, however it requires a minimum balance of 10k. We are very likely to dip below this while we are cruising.
Does anyone know of an account with an ATM or visa card that has a set yearly fee and minimal balance requirement?
Also, being able to set this up in New Zealand would be a bonus, as would acceptance of the atm/visa card in many countries is a must.

BlueWaterMD 10-18-2006 10:56 PM

What is your reason for needing an "offshore" account?

I have a checking account with Wachovia here in the US. No annual fees. No minimum balance. I lived in the Caribbean for 2 years and this was the only bank account I had. I have used my ATM/ VISA Check Card throughout much of the Caribbean as well as in Europe without ever having a problem. The only problem is that you get charged a bank fee of $1.50 for using at a bank other than wachovia.

kirstindally 10-18-2006 11:29 PM

We are from New Zealand. Not sure if we can open a bank account in the US very easily. Still lokking into it.
Thanks for the question.

JakeLevi 11-01-2006 06:27 PM

Barclays is about the most international boat that I know of, I know they are in OZ so probably your home grounds too.

I have been able to use my atm debit card all over Europe and Israel, there are dedicated atms for international cards all over now. The far east I dont know, but I suspect for sure in Japan, S Korea and Philippines. Contact Barclays on their web site.

rireefguy 01-27-2007 10:02 PM

What about something like ING? Do you have to be a US citizen to open one of these?

k1vsk 01-27-2007 10:23 PM

ING in auckland was willing to do so for us and works fine in NZ for us as US citizens or residents. Not sure if you are already in US except there are branches of ING here as well who may know. Go All Black!

hellosailor 01-28-2007 01:59 PM

ING is a Dutch-based global company (the N is for Netherlands) and while the rules may vary in each locality, I'd expect any global group like ING, HSBC, etc. to be a good start if you want to access funds globally. At least, a better start than some "local" bank with more limited resources.

In the US there are no requirements that you must be a citizen to open a bank account, but you will need to provide multiple IDs in any case. Not having a US Social Security number (banks are required to make reports and withholdings based on that) may complicate things, you might want to check with a bank.

ClubOrlov 03-14-2007 04:25 PM

I use Digital Credit Union (DCU). I initially got my DCU membership through an employer, but more recently they allow individuals to join. It's a non-profit, so there are hardly any fees, deposits are federally insured similarly to commercial banks, they have a good "pc branch" web site for paying bills and managing money remotely, and they are generally professional and pleasant to deal with.

Waymar83 03-14-2007 08:32 PM

If in the Caribbean you may want to try Bank of Nova Scotia. (Not sure if they have branches in NZ...). They sure have branches all across the Caribbean...

camaraderie 03-14-2007 11:19 PM

How about Citibank...they're pretty international and they even let illegal aliens open accounts here!
Used them all over the US and Caribe without a problem. They have a GREAT on-line banking service that lets you look at all your accounts including brokerage and move money around as well as write electronic checks to anywhere for free.

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