Alright. Here’s the skinny. As some of you may or may not know, today’s my last day in The United States. I’m pretty much all packed, got my finances in order, passport is ready. I’m ready to go!
… or am I?
Here’s the thing on the finance side of things. If you’re planning on doing any type of extended travel abroad, DO NOT use Simple Bank (BBVACompass). Let me explain…
Sure, an online bank is perfect for expats and digital nomads alike, right? Not all online banks are created equal. Simple is not equipped somehow to handle long-term international travel. Unfortunately, I found out about this the hard way — ONE DAY BEFORE TAKING OFF.
Now, I let them know roughly 5-6 months in advance my travel plans. I haven’t heard anything as much as a peep from the regarding the extended travel and the inability to accommodate. I would be much less stressed and upset if they’d let me know, I don’t know, even a week before leaving? That gives me enough time to find a new bank to transfer before flying out.
Alas, they’ve said absolutely nothing all the way up until the day before the big off. Talk about a coma-inducing stress spike! They’ve single-handedly screwed me up the butt with no lubrication.
Here’s how all this went down…
Right as I was selling my car to her new owner this morning, I received a notification from Simple, saying that a new notification is in the app. So, naturally I open up the app and read the message. Here’s the message:
You have got to be kidding me. Not only have they denied me access to my money abroad, I have a finite amount of money I can take out per day via ATMs. So, on one day before leaving the country, Simple has:
I’ve previously had dealt with Wells Fargo in the past, and when I opened up my Simple account, I transferred all of my money and payment instructions from Wells Fargo to Simple about 8-9 months ago. They’ve tried to get me to keep my account open — and I really should have. Because of me leaving my day job and effectively reducing my income technically to $0 annually, they were unable to accept my application to open up a new checking account with them.
A good friend of mine has US Bank, so I thought I’d give them a shot. She seems to like them. Naturally, Murphy’s Law… when it rains, it pours. DAMN was it pouring.
I arrived at a US Bank branch. Their servers were down and everybody and their mothers were on a backup server. That slowed the process down to open up a checking account with them to over an hour of agony.
My banking rep was kind — albeit scatter-brained at my situation. I asked her all the questions I needed to ask such as “will I be able to use this temporary debit card overseas?” “How much is the daily limit on purchases and ATM withdrawals?” “How long of a process is it to mail out a permanent card to my mother’s address?” “As soon as my permanent card is shipped to my mom, can it be activated abroad or will it have to be done within the US?”
Somewhat difficult and unique questions to be asking, but when Simple shits on you this hard, you have to ask these questions, otherwise you’ll be left without any money whatsoever.
She assures me that my temp debit card will work Internationally and will have a $500/day ATM withdrawal limit and a $1000/day POS spending limit. Great! Think this is the light at the end of the tunnel.
Remember a few paragraphs ago when I said that US Bank’s servers were down and were on a backup server? Well, that ended up screwing me along with either a bold-faced lie or inaccurate information from one of US Bank’s reps.
After I finally opened up a US Bank account, I tried to tie my Simple account to it so I can transfer from Simple to US Bank… couldn’t log in to US Bank. After about an hour of trying, I finally get it working and I immediately transferred $2000 to US Bank from Simple so I had some spending money for when I go abroad.
Great! All is well — but wait, there’s more! I tried to put in travel plans through their app with my first international country — Japan. 10 hour layover in Japan, I’ll want some spending money to explore, grab some food, etc… The app continually said that they were unable to “display the information” in regards to the dates I will be in Japan. Tried, tried and tried again. Couldn’t get it to work. Their servers must still be down. So, I called. After being on hold for 15 minutes, I finally get a rep that has to put me on hold again for about 5 minutes, verifies that I just opened up the account today and places me on yet another hold for about 10 minutes. He then informs me that they are unable to put a travel notice on a temporary debit card (not what my original branch rep told me!).
Great, now even US Bank won’t work when I travel tomorrow. Thanks, Simple. You really F*CKED ME OVER.
By the time I get off the phone and I open up the Simple app to cancel the $2000 transfer, it already has left my account and is in transit to US Bank. GREAT.
Now to find yet another bank… maybe 3rd time’s the charm?
I remembered that my buddy Rezal who is already in Malaysia has a current TCF Bank account. Awesome, surely they’ll be able to help.
Located and B-Lined it to the closest TCF Bank branch and told them of my rollercoaster of a situation. Not only were they able to print off a permanent ready-to-use debit card, they were able to help setup my online banking and also setup my travel plans for me! Now, after this post, I will call TCF Bank and verify my current travel plans, knowing my luck, the TCF Bank rep screwed that up, too.
Opened up the TCF account, got everything situated in less than 30 minutes. Only caveat? TCF Bank technically does not work in Malaysia for an unknown reason. So, I’ll have to transfer funds from the TCF account to one of my credit cards that should work abroad. After all, that’s what Rezal is doing right now. How hard can it be? With my luck, this is the beginning of a nightmare abroad.