I’ve received a couple of requests from blog readers to share some information about banking while traveling around the country in an RV. Hopefully I can offer some useful insight into the topic.
In my seminars for new RVers, I always suggest that while they may have a good relationship with their hometown bank, if it does not have nationwide branches, it may not be able to serve their needs as fulltime RVers. I have always suggested getting an account with one of the big nationwide banks such as Wells Fargo and Bank of America, which have branches in many different states.
For Terry and myself, operating a business on the road, getting access to our money is never a problem – there are ATM machines in every grocery and discount store in America, and we can get cash back at Wal-Mart, most grocery stores, and even at the post office. Our problem is sometimes getting money into the bank! If we are not in a location where our bank has a branch office, sometimes we have to mail in a deposit, which can be problematic.
Things have gotten easier over the years as technology has improved, but I remember once years ago when we had a successful vending experience at an RV rally and mailed a batch of checks to our bank in Arizona for deposit. The bank officer we worked with was on vacation, so the Priority Mail envelope with our deposit sat unopened on her desk for two weeks until she returned. We actually mailed the deposit from Biloxi, Mississippi and traveled all the way to Phoenix before the deposit was entered into our account! These days our bank has a central mail deposit address we can use, which has simplified things greatly.
A great option for RVers is to join a credit union which belongs to the nationwide Shared Network. This is a network of independent credit unions that work together to serve customers who belong to any member credit union. So if your home credit union is in San Diego, California, for example, you can still transact business at a Shared Network member credit union in Elkhart, Indiana, just as if you were at your own branch back home. With over 3,000 locations nationwide in the Shared Network program, it’s pretty easy to find a member branch anywhere you are traveling.
Membership requirements for credit unions have eased over the years, and it’s not hard to qualify. In fact, if you are a member of the Escapees RV Club, you qualify to join the Community Resource Credit Union in Texas, and can join online. Another benefit of credit union membership is that they are often easier to work with than traditional banks, and because they are there to serve their members, not make a profit, their auto and RV loan rates are usually lower.
These days, with direct deposit, online bill paying, and online banking options to check your balances and transfer money around, and other new technology, many people find that they seldom actually have to go into a bank to transact their financial business. For RVers, that makes like much easier.
Thought For The Day – We could learn a lot from crayons: Some are sharp, some are pretty, some are dull, some have weird names, and they’re all different colors…. But they all have to learn to live in the same box.