La Ronda is just around the corner

Friday, May 18, 2012

US banking while living in Ecuador as a resident. May 2012.

Part one

We bank with Wells Fargo and recently, WF changed their checking accounts game. Names of the checking accounts changed and WF implemented checking account fees. Starting in June if you don't meet some requirements, you have to pay a monthly fee for the privilege of using a WF checking account and I don't like to pay fees to the banks (who does?).
My task on hand was to close one of our checking accounts and to figure out how to avoid service fee on another checking account. We married in 2008 and each of us had WF bank accounts (checking and savings). We just put each other's name on all of them and kept these accounts, since they were free. The checking accounts were called "Complete Advantage" and "Custom Management". I used "Custom Management" for my Minneapolis condo expenses: association dues were withdrawn monthly from it.
So, my goal in May was to re-direct association dues withdrawn monthly from "Custom Management" to "Complete Advantage". I completed this task using Skype and email - it took me few weeks since I had to make sure the monthly withdrawal for the current month went thru the right account.

Next assignment was to close the "Custom Management" account and rename the other one - it called now "Way2Save Checking" (the account number stayed the same). With that type of checking account we meet WF  " Ways to waive the monthly service fees on your Way2Save Checking Package".  I called WF customer service by Skype and it was done in less than 30 minutes.

A few more points: bring your checkbook with you to Ecuador. You can deposit your US based bank's checks to your Ecuadorian Bank account. It will take you hour(s) standing in line and it takes 10-20 days for funds to be deposited to your Ecuadorian Bank account - but it is free versus the cost of international repetitive wire transfers ($40 at WF) and the Ecuadorian bank will charge you $6 (and more) for accepting your wire transfer from abroad.
You do have to have a billing address and phone number in the USA for banking and credit cards. It helps when you have dedicated friends and/or trusted family members still living in USA - you can use their address and phone number.

Part two

Part three