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Beverly

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Another option, and the one I use, is to belong to a credit union.  Everything done online, no fees, other than  local ATM fees.  Mine knows and doesn't care where I live (Ajijic), although I do use my daughter's USA mailing address.  Any bills I incur in the USA I can take care of using the credit union's online bill payer service.  I agree with those above who recommend having a smallish account with one of the local banks in order to have an emergency backup ATM card in case your primary card is lost or, as has happened to me twice in the 14 years I've lived here, it gets devoured by an ATM machine.  Since it's primarily a cash economy hereabouts, you'll find that it's convenient, to say the least, to have ready access to pesos, plus the ATMs will give you the best exchange rates.  It's rally not a big deal - you'll figure  what works best for your situation in no time.  But as RV says, it would be a good idea to set up whatever you decide in advance of making the move to full-time expat status.

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22 hours ago, Beverly said:

As we research our options to retire in the Ajijic area, we are discouraged about the banking situation.  If we move, we'd liquidate everything and not keep a home in the US.  The only solution discussed is to maintain a US bank account with funds in US Dollars, is by using a relatives US address.  That just does not seem like a long term solution in today's banking and government environment - seems like sooner or later the option won't be viable.  We are in our 50's and plan to be there for life.  Our long term preference is to keep our savings in US Dollars and transfering funds to local banks on a as needed basis.  We also want to maintain our US Credit Cards along with our credit score (just in case).    Schwab International Brokerage with checking was close (no credit card option) but required Trading activity or acct would be closed. 

Do you know of any legal way to have a US bank account with a Mexican address?   And, maintain our credit history with a US credit card?   

This could be a deal breaker for our decision.  We really appreciate your help while we sort through all our questions! 

I'm confused.  Do you currently have a USA bank account at your current USA address?  Does that bank account give you a debit card?   If so, there's no reason to liquidate your bank account; you opened it with a USA address and can change your mailing address to any address you want, including having your mailing address in Mexico.  

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All of this information has been extremely helpful, thank you very much!  We currently have US bank accts, our liquidation plans only included our physical assets - house (address), cars, etc. 

I called USAA and said we were selling everything (including house), retiring and traveling.  Can I open an account without a US address?  They said no problem, you can use a PO Box or mail service once your house is sold. 

BofA said we had to maintain our primary profile with a US address, that could be "anyone's address" a family member etc.  And, you can have a mailing address that is different, say in a foriegn country. 

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3 minutes ago, Beverly said:

All of this information has been extremely helpful, thank you very much!  We currently have US bank accts, our liquidation plans only included our physical assets - house (address), cars, etc. 

I called USAA and said we were selling everything (including house), retiring and traveling.  Can I open an account without a US address?  They said no problem, you can use a PO Box or mail service once your house is sold. 

BofA said we had to maintain our primary profile with a US address, that could be "anyone's address" a family member etc.  And, you can have a mailing address that is different, say in a foriegn country. 

I also use BofA.  I opened my BofA account several years ago using a USA address.  My primary address now is at my home in Mexico City.  I have no USA address.   They know that I live here and they don't seem to care.

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There are a lot of reasons to maintain some kind of US address. Banking and especially brokerage relationships are first on the list. My broker, RBC, will not do business with me if I didn't have a US physical address. We are not of Medicare age so we depend on US health insurance. The health insurance available here is a joke. 3 years ago we both applied and went through the medical exams (at our expense). Even though my high blood pressure is under control, I was declined. My wife was approved but with her slight HBP, anything cardiac was excluded. First year premium was about $20,000p. No claims in that year. The renewal was $26,000p. We dropped it. Our Premera Blue Cross (from the exchange in WA state) can be used in emergencies at some of the best hospitals in Guadalajara. It can be used here Lakeside at Lakeside Medical Group. Anything serious, I will get on a plane or drive to Texas. When I am on Medicare, I will pay for a MediVac service.  We keep a physical address in WA, our Daughter's house, just for the insurance.

We also have the iShop mailing service with the Laredo mailing address for US purposes, including credit card renewals and when it comes to it, passport renewals.

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tomgates:  Thank you!  This is my next area to research - Insurance.  My husband and I are mid 50's, my husband is ok with just paying as you go/needed at the local clinics/doc's but I'd prefer to have some sort of major med coverage just in case.  I will investigate BC and others.  I saw a list of Mexican Med Insurance options on-line, I may call a couple of them as well.  This is very helpful, we don't have kids but would consider using my brother-in-laws address in Spokane and use BC of WA&AK (I use to work there). 

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I beg to differ with the health care and insurance here. I have health insurance here , a private policy in Mexico.  No it does not cover every single thing, no health insurance policy does,not even Medicare.  I did have the 2 year wait for pre-existing conditions, but I now have had some catastrophic illnesses and falls and they have been covered and I can never be dropped per Mexican law.

The health care is excellent  here esp. in Guadalajara.  As are the hospitals.

I do have ishop for mail and also have a US physical address, which I rarely use.  Passport renewal I do thru LCS or American Legion when consulate comes and they bring it Lakeside next month. Easy.. or go into Guadalajara and you have priority since you are out of country so like expedited. 

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You might also look at ALLY bank.  I have accounts with ALLY and Wells Fargo.  Ally gives the best rate of the two at an ATM and no ATM fee.

Last Saturday, I hit the same ATM for the same amount at the same time for both cards.  WF gave me 18.05 and charged me $5.50 ATM charge. Ally gave me 18.95 and $0 ATM charge.  That was almost $30 difference

Ally has no branches, all internet.  Check deposit is free, checks are free, bill pay is free, transfers between banks is free.

You definitely need two accounts at 2 different banks.  If you lose a card or an account gets hacked, you can wait 3 weeks to get a new card.  WF will NOT FedEX a debit card out of country.  

A lot of the customer service people that work the service desk have never dealt with anyone out of country.  Dealing with them can be a real experience.

 

 

 

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11 hours ago, MtnMama said:

We also use USAA - the best way to go IMHO. We use our Laredo forwarding address and get the credit cards there. We have had emergency cards (lost card) sent here to Mexico with no problems.

Absolutely!   USAA has experience with military and expats all over the world and they know how to provide the services they need. Few other banks, if any, can even come close.  In fact, USAA was formed by military officers, back in about 1947, because they could not get insurance & other services that they needed from other sources. It grew, and grew; now serving ex-military of all ranks, as well as their wives, ex-wives and children.

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I too have USAA. got it back in 1961 and love everything about it, Living part time up north and maybe 8 months down here, when I come down, I park my car in the condo garage and USAA considers my car in "Storage" and my already low insurance rates get even lower. I also have their homeowners insurance, Oh and RV I just went to Mr. Google and entered "USAA history" and here is I what I got. 

"1922. USAA is founded in San Antonio, Texas, when 25 Army officers come together and decide to insure each other's automobiles. The first USAA employee, Harold Dunton, is hired as a general manager."
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I just talked to USAA credit card support about the direct delivery by Fedex of cards to Mexico.     The supervisor consulted  acknowledged the software problem I described earlier but said that the problem has been resolved.        Still, for confirmation of that it would be reassuring to hear that there have been recent successful deliveries of cards from USAA to Mexico via Fedex.      It would certainly be nice to have it working since many members don't need a regular mail service and Fedex is USAA's method for sending them directly to us in MX if we don't use one.      The charge of $8 is pretty minimal.

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23 hours ago, Beverly said:

tomgates:  Thank you!  This is my next area to research - Insurance.  My husband and I are mid 50's, my husband is ok with just paying as you go/needed at the local clinics/doc's but I'd prefer to have some sort of major med coverage just in case.  I will investigate BC and others.  I saw a list of Mexican Med Insurance options on-line, I may call a couple of them as well.  This is very helpful, we don't have kids but would consider using my brother-in-laws address in Spokane and use BC of WA&AK (I use to work there). 

Excellent medical insurance available in Mexico from;  Allianz, AXA, New York Life, and others.  WAY less costly than US insurance too.

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Credit Unions can provide credit cards, ATM cards and savings accounts, among other services. Once you are a member in the US, with a US address, you are a member for life no matter where you move or where you address is as long as you have an open savings account with a minimum deposit (typically about $5 US). This is in the basic law. Shop them and look for things like the ability to wire  money internationally via phone call or web site. This has worked for me without fail for several years.

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On 6/29/2016 at 4:54 PM, Beverly said:

All of this information has been extremely helpful, thank you very much!  We currently have US bank accts, our liquidation plans only included our physical assets - house (address), cars, etc. 

I called USAA and said we were selling everything (including house), retiring and traveling.  Can I open an account without a US address?  They said no problem, you can use a PO Box or mail service once your house is sold. 

BofA said we had to maintain our primary profile with a US address, that could be "anyone's address" a family member etc.  And, you can have a mailing address that is different, say in a foriegn country. 

One comment I would like to make here is don't give out information they don't need.   Ask questions instead of giving information that is not requested at any financial or governmental organization.

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