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Americans: Bank Account Reimburses Out-of-Network ATM Fees Worldwide (Up to $4 usd)

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NorCalKid
2 hours ago, gentleman.jack.darby said:

I had no trouble opening a cash management account with Fidelity, although it has been awhile, so I expect you'll be fine

The other major U.S. brokerages offer them and large banks (Chase), whose reason to exist is 'cash management', are starting to market their investing services to folks that traditionally aren't brokerage customers. so Fidelity would be at a big disadvantage if they made it difficult for their brokerage clients to avail of cash management services

I can think of no good outcomes, and a lot of bad ones, for having a debit card tied to one's brokerage account; I mostly use my Charles Schwab account and if I need money in my 'bank' account, I manually move it from the brokerage side. Lets me sleep better at night knowing that there is a 'firewall' between my brokerage assets and my 'bank' account, from which I write the occasional check and make debit card transactions.

Speaking of a 'firewall' between the brokerage and 'bank' side at Charles Schwab, Schwab automatically enables overdraft protection on the bank side which will draw from the uninvested cash or margin on the brokerage side if needed for an overdraft.

I'm fully invested on the brokerage side, but an overdraft or more importantly, (an) unauthorized transaction(s) from a compromise of my bank debit card could turn into a very big deal very quickly if paid against my margin, so I directed Schwab Bank to turn that feature off.

Likely the other brokerages offer the same service so, depending on one's needs and practices, it's something to check and consider when using cash management services. 

 

All it takes is a phone call to disconnect your investor checking from the brokerage accounts and turn off overdraft.  I was concerned about the exact same thing with my CS account.  

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LarryDarrell

Just as an exercise I did a survey of exchange rates and withdrew 10,000 Baht from a Kasikorn Bank ATM in Central Festival.  I chose the Kasikorn ATM because they had the best posted exchange rate for cash among the banks in the mall.  I also noted some exchange rates from booths in the immediate area.  The ATM fee is 220 Baht so a total of 10,220 Baht was charged to my US account.

On the US side the amount of my withdrawal shows as $333.12.  So 10,220 / 333.12 = 30.68.  This is exactly the VISA rate I got off the internet before I went to the mall.  It wasn't padded or determined randomly to "rip me off."

It probably wouldn't have mattered which bank's ATM I used.  All of them would have used the VISA rate.

So the rate I got was not as good as the It's Me or TT booths.  Had I exchanged $333.12 at the best 30.78 rate from below, I would have received 10,253 Baht or 33 Baht more.

So in this specific example, my "convenience charge" for using an ATM is around $1.08.  This is how much more I had to pay because I didn't bring a huge wad of cash with me on my trip.

My bank will reimburse me the 220 Baht or $7.17 ATM fee.

Note that the effective rate I am getting from using an ATM and a "no international fee" debit card with ATM fee reimbursement is BETTER than what I would have received for cash at some exchange booths and definitely better than the banks.

I've been in country for almost 2 months and this is my first ATM withdrawal.  Up to now I have been burning $500 Traveler's Cheques and using credit cards.   If I had cashed a T/C at Krungthai the rate would have been 30.62 with a 153 Baht charge.  Including the charge, the effective rate is 30.31.  This isn't a great rate, but it isn't awful either considering the insurance against theft that a T/C provides.  I might have found a better rate if I had shopped all the bank's T/C rates.

I get my Traveler's Cheques for free from a bank in the US, so there is no extra cost for me to purchase them.  As long as you only use the $500 denomination and get them for free, this is another viable means to bring money to Thailand.

30.8675 XE.com rate

30.78 It's Me booth

30.77 TT booth

30.68 VISA rate from the internet.

30.67 Twelve Victory booth

30.65 Kasikorn Bank

30.61 TG booth

30.55 Krungsri Bank

30.51 Krungthai Bank (T/C 30.62)

30.44 Siam Commercial Bank

30.42 Bangkok Bank

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ChiFlyer

I also use the Charles Schwab debit card. Full ATM fee reimbursement from any bank's ATM machine anywhere in the world.

I think you do need a trading account with them to open the bank account, but the trading account can have minimal value.

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LarryDarrell

Chase is running a promo on the Sapphire Banking accounts until 9/28.  You can get $750 cash bonus if you bring $75k in new money to Chase (or JP Morgan) within 45 days of opening the account.  $75k balance is necessary to avoid a $25 monthly fee.  This account gives you full ATM fee reimbursements and no foreign transaction fees.

Good deal for anybody with 75k lying around doing nothing.

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qbanana

I used a Radius Hybrid Checking ATM card on my last trip and got all ATM fees reimbursed.

Radius deposits the refunds to your account at the end of month (so be patient).

https://radiusbank.com/personal/hybrid-checking/

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gentleman.jack.darby
On 14/08/2019 at 06:09, LarryDarrell said:

Chase is running a promo on the Sapphire Banking accounts until 9/28.  You can get $750 cash bonus if you bring $75k in new money to Chase (or JP Morgan) within 45 days of opening the account.  $75k balance is necessary to avoid a $25 monthly fee.  This account gives you full ATM fee reimbursements and no foreign transaction fees.

Good deal for anybody with 75k lying around doing nothing.

A good offer and thanks for pointing it out.

I took a look at it and one thing of which folks who might be considering it should be aware is that money in (moved to) a J P Morgan retirement account or CD doesn't count toward the minimum balance requirement, so moving one's retirement account from another institution won't help meet the USD 75K requirement.

In my view, unless one has a happy existing relationship with Chase, there is a better option:

I'd suggest opening a Charles Schwab brokerage and bank account to get the all-ATM-fees-reimbursed/no-foreign-transaction fee Charles Schwab Debit card - with Charles Schwab, there are no minimum brokerage or bank balances and no fees associated with the bank account.

Last year, my Chase banker was pestering me about upgrading my relationship with Chase, so I fell for opening one of the You Invest brokerage accounts - I did, mostly to see how it stacked up against Charles Schwab (I'm a happy Schwab client) and I was disappointed.

In my view, any brokerage account that does not allow one to buy CDs from ANY bank online and which does not have a purchased money fund for parking cash, like the Charles Schwab option SWVXX, is one to avoid. In my view, the You Invest account wasn't up to the Charles Schwab brokerage account.

With the USD 75K one might have moved to Chase, open a Bank of America Merrill Edge Cash Management Account (their fancy way of saying individual self-directed brokerage account), get a Bank of America Premium Rewards (or no-fee Travel Rewards) credit card, which gives generous rewards points, especially on travel purchases, and sign up for BofA's Preferred Rewards program

With a balance of USD 75K in a Merril Edge brokerage account, the Preferred Rewards program gives a 50% point bonus on purchase made with the card, e.g, a 2 point purchase becomes a 3 point purchase, so points add up quickly and BofA offers other bonuses with those two cards as well, such as a 1.5 point bonus for purchase made through their Travel Center. BofA offers a 25% point bonus for a balance of USD 20K -> USD 50K and a 75% point bonus for USD 100K and up. There are also other banking rewards associated with the program.

Unlike J P Morgan Chase, BofA WILL count retirement account balances and CDs toward the minimums for the Preferred Rewards programs.

I'm putting my money where my mouth is and awaiting approval of my Merrill Edge account so I can jump on this - Bof A makes it easy for me, as one who is not a 'road warrior', to earn a lot of travel rewards very quickly 

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Zim

the retirement account will count toward the chase relationship but chase wont pay the promotional bonus for a retirement  account. That's how I have chase sapphire

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LarryDarrell
On 16/08/2019 at 12:46, qbanana said:

I used a Radius Hybrid Checking ATM card on my last trip and got all ATM fees reimbursed.

Radius does reimburse foreign ATM fees but I think they charge 1.1% on all ATM pulls and debit card purchases.  Not bad for occasional use, but not optimal.

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LarryDarrell
Posted (edited)
On 17/08/2019 at 17:32, Zim said:

the retirement account will count toward the chase relationship but chase wont pay the promotional bonus for a retirement  account. That's how I have chase sapphire

I think this is correct.  There are a few specific kinds of retirement savings that are excluded but typical retirement investment accounts should qualify for the minimum balance (but not promo bonuses)

On 17/08/2019 at 05:33, gentleman.jack.darby said:

In my view, any brokerage account that does not allow one to buy CDs from ANY bank online and which does not have a purchased money fund for parking cash, like the Charles Schwab option SWVXX, is one to avoid. In my view, the You Invest account wasn't up to the Charles Schwab brokerage account.

With the USD 75K one might have moved to Chase, open a Bank of America Merrill Edge Cash Management Account (their fancy way of saying individual self-directed brokerage account), get a Bank of America Premium Rewards (or no-fee Travel Rewards) credit card, which gives generous rewards points, especially on travel purchases, and sign up for BofA's Preferred Rewards program

With a balance of USD 75K in a Merril Edge brokerage account, the Preferred Rewards program gives a 50% point bonus on purchase made with the card, e.g, a 2 point purchase becomes a 3 point purchase, so points add up quickly and BofA offers other bonuses with those two cards as well, such as a 1.5 point bonus for purchase made through their Travel Center. BofA offers a 25% point bonus for a balance of USD 20K -> USD 50K and a 75% point bonus for USD 100K and up. There are also other banking rewards associated with the program.

Unlike J P Morgan Chase, BofA WILL count retirement account balances and CDs toward the minimums for the Preferred Rewards programs.

I'm putting my money where my mouth is and awaiting approval of my Merrill Edge account so I can jump on this - Bof A makes it easy for me, as one who is not a 'road warrior', to earn a lot of travel rewards very quickly 

Schwab and Fidelity are certainly the easiest no-brainer ways to get a good international ATM card.  No doubt about that.

Please look again at Chase, as some of us think that retirement accounts DO qualify for account minimums.

Does Merrill Edge have a decent purchased money fund on par with SWVXX or SPAXX from Fidelity?

If one gets the Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card it gives 3x points for travel and gives you some airport lounge privileges.  After the $300 travel reimbursement, the $450 annual fee is effectively $150.  It might be worth it for some people.

And we can't forget that the Chase relationship gives you another good international ATM card.  The BofA relationship does not.

I'm studying the BofA offerings.  Thanks for mentioning it.  BofA is only one step above Wells Fargo IMHO so I'm a little bit apprehensive.

Edited by LarryDarrell

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gentleman.jack.darby
8 hours ago, LarryDarrell said:

I think this is correct.  There are a few specific kinds of retirement savings that are excluded but typical retirement investment accounts should qualify for the minimum balance (but not promo bonuses)

Schwab and Fidelity are certainly the easiest no-brainer ways to get a good international ATM card.  No doubt about that.

Please look again at Chase, as some of us think that retirement accounts DO qualify for account minimums.

Does Merrill Edge have a decent purchased money fund on par with SWVXX or SPAXX from Fidelity?

If one gets the Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card it gives 3x points for travel and gives you some airport lounge privileges.  After the $300 travel reimbursement, the $450 annual fee is effectively $150.  It might be worth it for some people.

And we can't forget that the Chase relationship gives you another good international ATM card.  The BofA relationship does not.

I'm studying the BofA offerings.  Thanks for mentioning it.  BofA is only one step above Wells Fargo IMHO so I'm a little bit apprehensive.

No, Merrill Edge does not have a fund along the lines of SWVXX which I find aggravating, but not surprising considering they're a tool of BofA, but the points bonus from BofA's Preferred Rewards is too juicy to just dismiss ME out-of-hand.

So I did some digging and came up with a couple of options to replace SWVXX:

MINT - a bond fund with a duration of 0.21 years (about 3 months) and a 30-day SEC yield of 2.46%

NEAR - a bond fund with a duration of 0.44 years (about 6 months) and a 30-day SEC yield of 2.45%

Those are both ETFs with low fees and and ultra-short durations of 3 and 6 months and with interest rates very likely to be lowered and zero chance of being raised for a long while (which wouldn't have much effect on the underlying NAVs given the ultra-short durations), I don't need to worry about the underlying NAVs of those funds, so with yields like that which are better than SWVXX, I'm fine with those two options at ME.

I'll also likely drop a small bit in PHYZX, a high-yield bond fund which has treated me well over the last year. It has a duration of 3.64 years, and a 30-day SEC yield of 6.14% but I don't see interest rates rising anytime soon so I am comfortable with the longer duration and, although the portfolio is mostly lower investment grade, the companies that make up the portfolio are able to service their debt.

Also, those particular funds have assets in the billions, so I don't need to worry about the risks and fees that come along with tiny 'boutique' funds

I've been wresting with upgrading my points game, but I don't spend enough money (mostly in the 'other category which is where the BofA cards shine) in a month to earn the welcome bonus on the high-end cards like the Sapphire Reserve or Amex Platinum - and I don't live high enough on the hog to cover the annual fee in future years

I've found other great international ATM cards which don't require indenturing a chunk of money - I'd suggest taking a look at USAA (if you're eligible USD 15 per month except for the 1% Visa ISA fee), Fidelity's card which reimburses all charges except for the Visa ISA fee and Alliant Federal Credit Union (USD 20 per month except for the 1% Visa ISA fee)

I know what you mean about 'studying' the offers - the banks make all their offers so confusing that the only way I could bring order to the chaos and be sure that I make a smart choice was by building a spreadsheet; luckily the banks will run out of gimmicks and fine print long before I run out of spreadsheet cells.

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