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Old 04.08.2012, 04:32
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Any Bank of America (from USA) account holders out there?

Hi all,

I am coming to CH for an extended stay on Aug. 16. But I have not been able to figure out WHERE I can get money out of my account in CH. It is Bank of America.

How does one get money from a bank when they don't have an account there?

BofA says Deutsch Bank is a sister bank and I can withdraw from there. Are there any in Zurich? In the airport area?

I can also withdraw from an ATM, but limited to $1500 a day.

On my first day in CH, I need to pay my lodging bill which is over $5,000. I really don't want to carry anywhere near that amount of cash, I find that traveler's checks are old school and make the person given to have to do extra work so don't want that, and I can only pull $1500/day out.

Exchanging in Arizona USA prior to coming doesn't seem feasible. Not too many agencies have that much in SFr on hand and it would be very costly.

Suggestions? (TY for any advice.)
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Old 04.08.2012, 05:00
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Best thing for you to do is to get the account info of the place where you will be staying and do a bank transfer. You may need to do this before you leave the US from your BOA branch.
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Old 04.08.2012, 05:01
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Re: Any Bank of America (from USA) account holders out there?

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BofA says Deutsch Bank is a sister bank and I can withdraw from there. Are there any in Zurich? In the airport area?

...

Exchanging in Arizona USA prior to coming doesn't seem feasible. Not too many agencies have that much in SFr on hand and it would be very costly.
tells me that Deutsche Bank has a Zurich office ... not too sure whether they would have tellers etc (they are a "private wealth management" outfit), but your BofA branch should be able to answer that question for you.

For the immediate problem of getting CHF 5000 I have no doubt that your BofA branch could easily get the cash with your long lead time (almost two weeks). Real problems will start later, as Swiss banks are very reluctant (to put it mildly) to do business with Americans.

I am sure that when the EFers in Switzerland wake up they will have more information for you.
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Old 04.08.2012, 06:08
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Re: Any Bank of America (from USA) account holders out there?

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Best thing for you to do is to get the account info of the place where you will be staying and do a bank transfer. You may need to do this before you leave the US from your BOA branch.
A much better suggestion than mine

You can probably do the transfer online yourself from your BofA account (BofA charges more if you walk into a branch and ask them to do it for you). I suggest that you ask for SWIFT code and account number, as I have had problems with BofA and IBAN numbers.

A slightly cheaper alternative would be XE Money Transfer ... they give you both a slightly better exchange rate and a slightly lower wire fee. Setup is quite easy ... you scan or photograph your documents and email them, account set up in a day or so as I recall. XE of course have no problems with IBAN numbers, as foreign exchange is what they do for a living
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Old 04.08.2012, 07:07
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Re: Any Bank of America (from USA) account holders out there?

Other Money Transfer Operators to be considered are in the last few pages of the attached PDF. ( from page 20 )
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File Type: pdf resource_en_178519.pdf (611.3 KB, 606 views)
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Old 04.08.2012, 07:48
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Re: Any Bank of America (from USA) account holders out there?

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On my first day in CH, I need to pay my lodging bill which is over $5,000. I really don't want to carry anywhere near that amount of cash, I find that traveler's checks are old school and make the person given to have to do extra work so don't want that, and I can only pull $1500/day out.
Load your credit card up with say 10,000 CHF positive balance.

Pay everything with the credit card.

PS: 5k in your pocket is not that abnormal here - after all it's only 5 notes
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Old 04.08.2012, 08:22
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Re: Any Bank of America (from USA) account holders out there?

There are special "change machines" in Zürich as well for popular currencies, like this:

http://www.zkb.ch/de/center_worlds/e...rich/city.html
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Old 04.08.2012, 08:23
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Re: Any Bank of America (from USA) account holders out there?

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PS: 5k in your pocket is not that abnormal here - after all it's only 5 notes
That's what I hear.

I know of a Swiss gentleman who saw a BMW on the Autobahn, liked it, and paid cash for it two days later at a BMW dealer.

When he told me of it, I did not understand "in cash" meant that he actually carried the bills into the dealership.

Nice if you can get the gig. Congrats to you who have been fortunate to find the good salaries available in CH.
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Old 04.08.2012, 08:26
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Re: Any Bank of America (from USA) account holders out there?

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There are special "change machines" in Zürich as well for popular currencies, like this:

http://www.zkb.ch/de/center_worlds/e...rich/city.html
Thank you for taking the time to gather the info for me.

Thanks to all who have helped.

I have signed up for EX Trade, but wonder exactly how I will be able to send it to myself when I don't have an account in CH.

Many things to ponder....
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Old 04.08.2012, 08:52
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I know that BOA will not allow you to an online transfer to a foreign account unless you're on a US IP - a computer appearing to be located in the US. I'm assuming you're here for a few months, several weeks, but temporarily. So the simplest thing is to send money for your big expense - lodging- directly to the place you're staying. For incidental, daily expenses your 1500 limit should be ok. I would do the transfer 5 business days before you leave at least.

Call the place where you are staying and tell them you would like to pay directly via bank transfer. And ask for all of the account information, then go to your BOA branch and have them do the transfer. Or, do it yourself before you leave the US electronically.

Without a Swiss account, xe is of limited use - you'll be depositing into the account of the place you're staying.

Yes the transfer will cost you something - $30-$50, maybe more, I don't know. If it were me, I would go to the largest BOA branch I could find and tell them your predicament. I did a few transfers from BOA to my landlord's account from the US when we first moving here - that was five years ago - from a small branch in NC. But I had to do it from the US branch.
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Old 04.08.2012, 09:03
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Re: Any Bank of America (from USA) account holders out there?

I have a BofA account, and it kinda sucks for traveling in CH.

You can withdraw money from a Deutsche Bank (in Germany) or a BNP Paribas (in France). The Deutsche Bank outfit in Zurich is not for private banking, so they can't really help you, I don't think. You shouldn't have a problem withdrawing any money from any ATM, really, in a pinch. They will have higher fees, however. In general, I've found that the ATM withdrawal method is the best method to manage your money while traveling. Keep 400-500 CHF on hand at all times also.

Anyway, edot's suggestion about paying your big expense by transfer is the best. It will have a nominal fee, but it is maybe safer than carrying around 5-10 grand.

Also, you can get a large chunk of CHFs for a decent price directly from BofA if there is enough time. When I moved here, I asked for 1500 CHF from my local branch, and they had to order it from another branch (I think Miami). It arrived within a week, so maybe you have time if you're quick. The fee was low and the rate was decent.
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Old 04.08.2012, 10:06
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Re: Any Bank of America (from USA) account holders out there?

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I have a BofA account, and it kinda sucks for traveling in CH.

You can withdraw money from a Deutsche Bank (in Germany) or a BNP Paribas (in France). The Deutsche Bank outfit in Zurich is not for private banking, so they can't really help you, I don't think. You shouldn't have a problem withdrawing any money from any ATM, really, in a pinch. They will have higher fees, however. In general, I've found that the ATM withdrawal method is the best method to manage your money while traveling. Keep 400-500 CHF on hand at all times also.

Anyway, edot's suggestion about paying your big expense by transfer is the best. It will have a nominal fee, but it is maybe safer than carrying around 5-10 grand.

Also, you can get a large chunk of CHFs for a decent price directly from BofA if there is enough time. When I moved here, I asked for 1500 CHF from my local branch, and they had to order it from another branch (I think Miami). It arrived within a week, so maybe you have time if you're quick. The fee was low and the rate was decent.
TY TY TY I knew there would be someone with BofA experience and answers. I will go into my branch tomorrow and start the order for the Swiss francs.

Hope to meet you all and buy you a beverage of "Thanks." It has been indispensable help.

As you're spread all over CH, it will give me something to do.
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Old 04.08.2012, 10:39
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Re: Any Bank of America (from USA) account holders out there?

We were in the same predicament. This is what we did:

(1) We got a credit card with Capital One. It has no annual fee, no foreign exchange fee, and a pretty competitive exchange rate (within about ~0.5%). We use it for grocery shopping and big purchases.

(2) We opened an account with PostFinance and did a wire transfer from BofA about a week later. We didn't need to actually deposit any money to open the account at PostFinance. It had a zero balance for a while.

BEFORE YOU LEAVE THE U.S., go to BofA and set up full authorization for phone wire transfers. Wire transfers cost $45 a pop, if done in dollars.

Make sure you transfer dollars to dollars. If you do dollars to Swiss francs, BofA charges 5%. They will tell you there is no foreign currency exchange fee but, if you ask at what rate the money will be exchanged, you will discover the hidden cost.

PostFinance converted the dollars for us automatically. The exchange rate was about 1% from market.

To wire transfer the money you need to give BofA the SWIFT code for PostFinance. The people at BofA don't always know.what that is. (The code for PostFinance is POFICHBE.) Try to locate a big branch of BofA in a big city where they have done this type of thing before.

(3) We brought U.S. dollars with us for immediate/emergency expenses. We exchanged the money at the main train station in Zurich. Exchanging the money was easy, but it was also the most costly (3% for amounts over $3000 and 5% for under $3000).

HTH.
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