Thursday, May 23, 2013

payout

SB and I have spent years slowly and incrementally increasing our credit spending limits with HSBC.  Back when I opened my account they only gave me a limit equal to one month's salary.  It was laughable, except that it really wasn't.  SB once had to purchase some last minute plane tickets for his designers to fly from Europe to the US with his credit card and he was rejected.  Luckily I still had an old US card on my person.  After five years my limit is almost two months' salary, which was acceptable for my needs until recently when I heard that my ATM card was going to use UnionPay instead of Visa or Mastercard.

I wonder how it's going to be when I go to Paris for a couple of weeks in August with only a credit card that carries a paltry limit and whatever cash I can carry?  It seems a bit ridiculous that in the 21st century my choices are more limited than they were at the close of the 20th century.  Back then I didn't have to worry about being stranded while on vacation in a foreign country as long as I had my universally accepted check card, which allowed me to withdraw or "charge" all I wanted as long as I had money in the account.  Even banks that carry check cards are charging fees for using them these days, though.

After looking up the UnionPay website (discussion of the horror that is their amateur hour website shall be saved for another day) for locations across the world where I could withdraw money and discovering that almost all of the needed information is to be "provided soon" I thought seriously about only using my US bank but that isn't feasible because I would need to pay a transaction fee every time I made a withdrawal.  Also, my US bank, Band of America is now also charging all sorts of usage fees including account fees for the privilege of storing my money with them.  I am especially chagrined about this because I paid taxes that were used to bail Bank of America out of the mess that they had gotten themselves into.  As soon as I am back in the US I will be closing that account and finding another bank or credit union that won't be charging me a monthly fee on an account that I don't even access.  My only other criterion is that the accompanying ATM card is truly universally accepted so that I have a backup when my UnionPay doesn't back up its claims for use abroad.

2 comments:

Gweipo said...

why don't you get one of the amex cards linked to Cathay Pacific.

We had the opposite experience - our limit was increased and increased and maintained at an extraordinary high amount even after we'd left HK, were not getting income into the HK account...

I think the way to increase the limit is to always pay off the full amount each month ...

architart said...

I've never has an amex card. I'll ask SB about trying it. We have hit our limit with how ridiculous the banks are being.