Why I Bring 5 Bank Cards
Imagine your on a small island in Thailand at the end of a trip. You got to take cash out, and the ATM spits out your card with no explination, other than Thai text that fills the screen.
There are no banks, only ATM’s on the island, and none of the banks are Canadian anyways, so it wouldn’t matter.
It’s a 6 hour boat ride, and a 8 hour bus ride to the nearest bank. Not that it matters because you don’t have enough physical cash for that trip. You’ve been traveling for 8 months, and after being in Bali for 6 months, 2 of your bank cards are completely locked by your bank because they’ve been compromised by fraudulent ATM card scanners and are in danger of being completely drained at any given moment. You don’t keep cash in those accounts anymore.
The one remaining card you brought has a block on it, but it’s still working because you can call your bank, have them temporarily remove the block for an hour, you pray the hackers don’t notice or choose that exact moment to try to take out cash, you do your transaction and then the bank locks it again.
But that card isn’t working today. Even unlocked, NONE of the ATM’s will even register that it’s in the machine or take your pin, never mind actually give you cash. Maybe the ATM is out of cash, maybe the gods hate you, but it’s more likely it’s your card.
Your bank certainly won’t mail your card to Thailand, and your new cards will take 3+ weeks to make it to the nearest big city (which you still can’t get to without the cash you need)
Also, it’s almost dinner time, and you and your kid are hungry.
What do you do?
You ask at the local co-working space if anyone is Canadian, when you find them, you approach them to ask an awkward favour. Can you help me get money out? Can I send you $400 CAD via etransfer, and you can take it out of the ATM for me?
You have to trust that this stranger will keep their word, get you your money, and you’ll be okay.
Don’t get caught out like this. Make sure your bank knows you’re traveling (or they might lock your card)
Bring extra cards incase yours gets locked and it takes you 2-30 days to figure it out with your bank in Canada.
ALWAYS GET MORE CASH 5-10 DAYS BEFORE YOU ACTUALLY NEED IT.
The best extra card is one with no foreign bank fees. I love Koho because they are a company that wants to change the face of banking. You can even open it online. https://app.koho.ca/referral/5D8S470L
If you’re traveling in Mexico, I recommend Scotiabank, as they also have branches here, and you can avoid fees by using their ATM/Banks.