No, not saying goodbye to everyone for my trip just yet. That’ll be in two weeks and three days*. That goodbye will be with mixed emotions: excited for the adventure that awaits, but sad to leave my friends and family for so long.

This goodbye is not sad, it’s a good thing. Today, I said goodbye to Wells Fargo. That’s right, today I officially exited the corporate banking world.

This has been a long process, with the trip to Argentina as the catalyst for the change. But first, the reasons for leaving.

Reason number one: Using my debit card overseas was going to cost me $5 per ATM withdrawal. And that didn’t count the ATM’s fee, PLUS a 2% conversion fee. I did the math, rather I estimated the math. If I had $2,000 to spend in Argentina, and I made all my transactions via ATM in $200 incriments, that would have COST me over $200 dollars in banking fees.

Reason number two: I won’t have an income while in S.A.  To avoid ‘service fees’ I would have had to set up a web of automatic transfers from my checking accounts to my savings, and then back again. It would have looked like this:

This would have been a pain to make sure that the minimum amount of money was in each account at all times. It would also have been stressful considering that the automatic transfers left me with only one more online transfer for each month form Savings to either checking.

If these automatic transfers from Checking to Savings did not happen, it would have been a total of $35 per checking account.

Reason number three: Wells Fargo might, might not, might? start charging more fees. There’s been rumors online of debit card fees. The personal banker today told me that the bank is considering having mandatory service fees for having an account.  Not good!

So, when I checked out a local Credit Union my decision was a no-brainier. A five dollar upfront membership fee was all it was going to cost me to open an account. There are no ‘service fees’ if money is not automatically transferred from Checking to Savings. They will charge only 1% in conversion fees for transactions overseas.

Sure, the website is not as user friendly. And they don’t have mobile banking. But I don’t have a mobile device to do such a thing. I can use any ATM for free that’s in their co-op network, and I can visit their co-op partners across the US to cash checks, etc.

So goodbye corporate banks, hello local, friendly, fee-free credit union!

*Yes, panic now.


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