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Hi I did a search on Banks and didn't come up with a solid answer.
What major banks are there that I can access on the mainland and on St. Croix? I will be moving there for a year and need a bank that I can use for direct deposit for my job in NY and access to use the ATM and bank on on St. Croix?
Get an E*trade checking account as well and transfer funds out of it into your VI bank, that's if you even need a VI Bank. You can direct deposit into Etrade, and use any ATM and they refund the fees. I pay all my bills from them as well, very easy website to use. Also when you leave VI, you won't have to change banks again. I have used them for 15 years and they are excellent to deal with. I only keep a local bank in case I need a certified check or other immediate issue, but keep very little in it.
FirstBank works relatively well for my needs. They also have branches in Fl i believe. Not sure if First has a branch on Stx.
The problem with Etrade or Chwab account is that if you need cash to purchase a car you will not be able to get it out of ATM.
Overal banking is more difficult here then on mainland. Seems most users here do not trust the banking esthablisment, don't use direct deposit, electronic banking. Rudimentary business is done in person (check deposit, get $60 cash, pay wapa bill). ATMs are often out of cash or out of service.
It took 3 hours of my time to open checking account and at the end I was asked to type in all my info into banks computer database. I thought I would have to order pizza to the branch.
Hmm glad you mentioned buying a car because I will be doing that there. Yes so big withdrawals would be for paying rent (if they want it in cash) and buying a car. So are there none of the major banks like Citi or Chase, etc.? I do have a direct deposit for my job currently at Bank of America so I need a bank for that that I hoped I could also bank with on the island.
You should look into the minimums or whatever its called. I remember wanting a VI bank when I moved here but they wanted like 2K at all times or something ridiculous. Many of my friends complain about the local banks so I just never got one.
Been here 3.5 years and never got a VI bank. I use stateside banks - One a credit union, one Chase (joint account) and my fiancé uses BOA. They all have mobile check deposits now anyways and if you call will up your withdrawal amount for big purchases. Some people don't "like" stateside checks - like landlords but I always pay a week early so that it clears (takes more time for stateside checks) on the day the rent is due. Ive never had anyone turn away a stateside check. Bought two cars here also. One I just put on my credit card which gets paid off from stateside bank anyways. Plus you get the points -
I wonder if you even need a VI bank account to buy a house here?
*** The views and opinions expressed in my posts are soley those of A&A2VI and other like minded islanders. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the majority or any/all contributors to this site. Have a GREAT DAY!
Since you are already banking with BoA, you may want to consider that they have a relationship with ScotiaBank that allows you to withdraw money from ScotiaBank's ATMs with no fees in St Croix and other Caribbean locations including STT and BVI. Here is the link: https://locators.bankofamerica.com/international.html#
It seems that ScotiaBank has one center in St Croix: http://intl.scotiabank.com/en-vi/locator/Map.aspx?q=SUNNY%20ISLE&t=both&sa=true
Additionally, you could pay bills from your BoA account with no fees if you know the phone number or email of the recipient. Check this link https://secure.bankofamerica.com/login/sign-in/signOnV2Screen.go?requestFrom=search&reason=transfer&searchText=transfer[]by[]phone
(it requires you t sign into your BoA account to see the information).
Or you could use BoA Pay Bill service to send them a paper check (although the mail could take long time to come from the mainland.
Alternatively, you can keep your BoA account and open a local bank account. Usually, the transfers between these two accounts are free.
Hope this helps. Have a great time in St. Croix!
Before the rise of photo deposits, having a local bank account was essential. Nowadays, if you already have a stateside bank account with this feature, I would advise any newcomer to hang onto it and see whether you even need a local bank account.
As AandA said, local banks usually have fairly high minimum account balance requirements if you want to avoid paying a fee, unlike stateside banks, which usually offer free checking. I don't know of any local bank offering a free checking account option with no minimum balance.
When I need cash above a certain $ amount, I cash one of my paychecks at the local bank on which the check is drawn. If that weren't an option, as with your direct deposit, the math is still such that what I would need to pay in ATM fees would be less than what I would pay monthly to have a local checking account. I haven't looked into the E*Trade option myself because I've used another online bank for so long, but it sounds like a good approach.
I'll never forget when I first moved here -- I cleaned out one of my stateside bank accounts and took that money in the form of a cashier's check so I could quickly have access to my funds in my (already set up) FirstBank account. That was how I learned that FirstBank treats cashier's checks, which in any stateside bank are just like cash, as regular personal checks and subjects them to the same 5-business-day hold!
Local banks do not work like stateside banks in many ways, so as long as you don't expect them to, you'll do fine.
I wonder if you even need a VI bank account to buy a house here?
No. I certainly didn't. But if you want to get a mortgage it will have to be with a local bank.
Realizing this is slightly off topic as the OP is only here for a year, but we purchased a house on STT from a stateside bank. Flagstar. Merrill Lynch and others will also write a mortgage, with stateside terms. I believe Ditech also does.
Re banking, we also use Bank of America with no problems at all. Do it all online and cash from Scotia ATM.
Have fun on St. Croix!