Seattle – Bank Account
I opened a bank account with Bank Of America. They were taking $9 a month from my account and I didn’t know why – so I visited the bank. They fixed it and gave me my money back. I don’t pay any fees except for international transactions (3% of the transaction amount), which is customary. Overall I’m satisfied with the bank. Since I’m from Europe, I use Skype (free) to call them when I need something.
Unless you wish to stay in America and build up your credit score, avoid credit cards. Request a debit card only. It is very likely that you will have some money left overseas after your return from the US. The best way to take money out in your country from the USA is from a VISA/MASTERCARD compatible ATM with a debit card. You will be charged a lot more for taking out money abroad with a credit card, for specifics you are going to have to ask your bank.
When I use an ATM in my country, I pay $5 per withdrawal +3% from the withdrawal amount. My withdrawal amount is limited to $1000. It is not as terrible as it sounds as the visa exchange rate is really good. When I pay by debit card outside the US, I pay 3% per transaction. But be careful, you want to pay in dollars! If you pay in your local currency, the seller will decide the currency exchange, which is usually much worse than the visa exchange. For example when I pay with Pay Pal they offer me two options:
- Pay Pal exchange rate (worse) – they show you the amount you pay before making the transaction.
- The other option is the visa/bank exchange rate (much better), where you will see the amount you paid after making the transaction on your online banking.
Staying in US is not your intention? You should be interested in the following:
- Charges for taking out money from an ATM abroad
- Online transfer of money (local and international); I cannot transfer money to any other US account, but at the same time I don’t pay anything for running the account.
- How easy it is to cancle your bank account if you decide not to come back to US. I did it over the phone from Europe.
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