If I’m not mistaken, I’ve had a debit card issued by UnionBank of the Philippines (UBP) since 2009. I’ve replaced it twice, once when it expired and once for some newfangled ATM chip.
That debit card doesn’t work for me in the United States. I didn’t try to use it the last time I was here, 2013 and 2014. I tried to use it twice while traveling this time and neither place accepted it.
The day after I arrived in Florida and the day before I wrote about my trip, I opened an account at USAA. That was Friday and I expect to receive my new debit card in the mail on Wednesday or Thursday.
After I received the routing number and account number, I set up a financial allotment at MyPay. Most of my monthly direct deposit payments will come to me here. I’m leaving a little each month to keep my BDO account in the Philippines active. Obviously, I intend to eventually return to the Philippines.
I’m planning to use what’s left in the account to pay for web hosting for a few months and then let the bank account close. They charge me 350 pesos (around $6.50 USD at the current foreign currency exchange rate) as an annual fee I don’t need to be paying anyway.
I have two children living in the United States and I’m staying with one of them now. When it comes time for a new debit card from USAA, I can have one of them mail it to me in the Philippines (unless I’m still here in the United States). Since regular mail in the Philippines is horrible, I’ll probably have it sent by FedEx or something. I may not even do that.
If the debit card has to be activated, I can have one of my children do it for me. I only need the information for online purchases from the debit card itself. Then, he can destroy it for all I care. It all depends on what needs to be done to activate it.
I was briefly tempted to switch my direct deposit account to USAA. That was until I realized I wouldn’t get free ATM withdrawals outside the United States. Even though going to the bank every month is a pain, BDO only charges me a $5.00 USD remittance fee every month. That’s still cheaper than a bunch of ATM fees.