July 22

Banking Frustrations


You know what they say, love makes the world go round.  Well, in my case (as in many), money helps too.

I've been in Honolulu for 18 months, nearly 19 months and in that time, I've managed my money very carefully. When I came over, I had a Travel Money card from CommBank. It worked really well - for the most part. I could put funds on the card in the currency I needed and just use. 

No fees, no exchange rate fees (as there are on my business account), I just have to accept whatever exchange rate the bank deems. 

I say for the most part - not everywhere accepts International credit cards. I know right? Weird. A credit card is a credit card, right? Well, no. The fees to process transactions on International cards are higher and not every processor turns them on as standard.

The things you learn.

My travel cards expired in January 2021. This wasn't a problem - I was going to be home by May, then July, then October, then December .... oh dear. So I rang the bank in late November to find out what to do.

"Oh, just give us a call when you need the new ones sent. We'll mail them internationally, no worries. But don't do it till you need them, because we'll cancel your ones when we issue the new ones.  You'll have allow 3 to 4 week because of the International post." 

Sounds good! I put a note in my calendar to call a few days before they expired to request new ones. Made sure I had some ready funds available because I knew the cross over would be awkward and .... waited.

... and waited

... and waited.

End of February arrived and still no cards. Hmmm. So another phone call was made. "Oh, that's strange. Let me send them again."

Aaaaaalright. I waited again.

... and waited.

... and waited.

Mid March arrives and no cards. So.... I call again. "Hmmm, that's very unusual, I can see we're sending them out. Let me send them again."  THIS TIME, I asked for them to be sent to my home address, where my daughter would receive them and forward them to me.  She'd been getting mail to me in a week!

... and we waited.

... and waited

Till mid April when I made another phone call in which I was a little strident in voicing my displeasure.  I will point out that by this time, I was using my business account and taking the exchange rate hit PLUS the fee the bank charged to convert the currency.  For one or transactions, it's barely acceptable. For several - well, let's just say a couple of times I got hit with overdraw fees because I miscalculated and payments didn't arrive when they were expected.

It was expensive.

This time, it took to July 9 to get the cards. But they did arrive. Eventually.

Now, I've been extended here again and I want to transfer cash to offset some of the messing around I've been doing. The banks charge for transfers. My bank charges a flat fee, then the receiving bank(s) on this end charge their fees for processing the transfer.  I generally pay between $40 and $50 in fees just to transfer funds. 

Looking to avoid this, I found XE.COM had a program with what looked like more acceptable fees. So I applied. Today, I get a notice:

"We're sorry, we can't approve your account because you are not physically in Australia."

I am Australian.

I am a resident Australian.

I pay taxes in Australia.

I have an address in Australia.

But ... for whatever reasons, because I'm outside the country, they won't give me an account.  I'm sure they have good reason for it - like fraud or something. Not that it really helps those of us who are in this situation.

Whatever. I'll find another way. 

What's that saying? Oh yeah - life wasn't meant to be easy.


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