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Yet another ATM question

I see lots of recommendations for taking two ATM\debit cards attached to two separate accounts so that one has a backup and to increase the daily withdrawal limit. Is it enough to have the two separate accounts with the same bank or is it better to have the two accounts at different banks? Are there U.S. banks that are better than others for this purpose? Thanks!

Posted by
525 posts

I'd take two cards from different accounts. If one account gets frozen or a fraud alert put on (by mistake) you would have another card to use. I take two in case the strip doesn't work and I can't get into the one account. It isn't about if you can a higher daily withdrawal, it is to make sure you have two "working" cards.
If you are traveling with another person and has the same card, make sure both of you take the card as one year I did not take a card and the strip on my husband's card didn't work. oops!!! Also have enough money in your money belt in case your card doesn't work - especially if you are out in the country and trying to get gas! If you are in a non-English speaking country it can be rather frustrating trying to get someone to help you out AND on a Sunday. :-)
And, where are you going on holiday?

Posted by
521 posts

Hey George,

As long as they are separate accounts that are not linked together (so not like where you have a chequing/savings option) then it should be separate limits (unless you have some strange setup for the accounts).

The only reason why you might want to consider a separate bank is that sometimes (although very, very rare) one bank's debit processing system goes down temporarily. If that is the case, you would not be able to access funds from any accounts with that bank... whereas if you have an account with two separate banks, the chance of this happening to you becomes even more remote.

Posted by
1358 posts

I see no reason for having your second account in another bank. Two separate accounts is sufficient.

Posted by
7737 posts

I'd go with two separate banks in case one freezes your account. I suggest setting up a Capital One money market account with no international fees and no ATM fees. They're GREAT and can be done online!

Posted by
411 posts

I'd go with a separate bank if possible. For some reason my "main" atm card wouldn't work in the machines in Orvieto but my backup card from US Bank did work there.

Posted by
23472 posts

You are getting conflicting advice about two accounts so there is not a firm answer. I suppose two separate banks would provide the max flexibility. We have always carried four cards on two separate checking accounts at the same bank. The second account is an inactive business account that I have maintained just for this purpose. In 300+ days of travel we have never had a problem with the primary account or the primary cards. I will withdrawn from the backup account every fourth or fifth time just to be sure that it is still working. Maybe we have been lucky but we have never had any problems using ATMs.

Years ago when we were on our first trip totally dependent on ATMs, the card did not work. That did raise the panic level quite a bit but it worked fine in the next machine and we had no problems after that. However, that was a stand alone machine and since then I have followed a personal policy of only using ATMs attached to banks during open hours. Haven't had a problem since.