A Scotiabank Account Can Save International Travelers a Lot of Money

Withdrawal fees sure add up when I’m traveling outside of Canada. In addition to CIBC’s $5 charge, I have to pay the other institution money, too. I wanted to rein in that expense this year, and since there are Scotiabanks in Mexico, that was the logical place to start. As it turns out Scotiabank is part of the Global ATM Alliance network and an account with them means free withdrawals at banks all over the world, including Scotiabank in Mexico and Bank of America in the U.S.

After 25+ happy years at CIBC, I had no desire to start over with another bank, but I thought that getting a very basic Scotiabank account made sense. It would be $3.95 a month for up to 12 transactions and would mean that I would gain the following:

-up to 12 free withdrawals per month

-being able to take out smaller amounts more frequently and not having to carry a ton of cash on me

-not having my main bank card on me when out and about

Transfers between banks are now easy thanks to Interac e-transfers, so I could transfer my allowance from my CIBC account to my Scotiabank account at no cost and with no significant delay. There is also the possibility that I could link this account to my PayPal account in addition to my CIBC one, but I have to double check that.

I confirmed all of this during a chat session with a rep and then booked an appointment for 10:30 this morning to open an account at my nearest Scotiabank branch, which is in Moose Jaw (another reason I don’t want it to be my main bank!).

I convinced my neighbour Caroline to turn today into a girls’ day out. We took off around 8:30 this morning. She had errands to run around the Scotiabank, so she did that while I went in and did my thing.

Opening the account was quick and painless. The rep who assisted me did not attempt to upsell me or get me to switch from CIBC. It was strictly do what the customer, who appears very knowledgeable, wants, and absolutely nothing else. I had been told to present two pieces of ID, but ended up having to show four for some reason. Finally, I had to make a token deposit to cover at least a month’s fees. That was it!

Scotiabank isn’t super convenient in Maz, unless I can find the one that is supposed to be on Aquiles Serdán in Centró, but there is one near the big Waldo/big Ley and also, of course, by the Soriana on Rafael Buelna. So it’ll be fine. It’s not like I have to go to the back end of nowhere that I otherwise have no reason to be.

Caroline was coming into the bank as I was going out, talk about good timing! We got back in the truck, went to Kal Tire to have my truck tires re-torqued, and then headed to the north end of town. Bulk Barn was our first stop, where I loaded up on spices to take down with me.

Then, we went to Walmart, where I decided to price a burr coffee grinder so I can grind my own beans this winter. I have a grinder, but I also do spices with it and there’s starting to be cross contamination. It is also very difficult to make a coarse enough grind for a French press with that grinder. Walmart had what I wanted, Black and Decker brand, for $36.95 and I decided to get it. even though that wasn’t cheap! Well, it rang up at $16.95… I believe in karma, so I spoke up. The teller said, “Are you happy with the price that came up?” I said yes. “Then that’s the price!” WOW.

We then made a stop at Superstore, a store that just makes me cranky… I ran a couple of quick errands and then sat in my truck with my phone while Caroline stocked up for the apocalypse.

Then, it was beyond time for lunch. She was game to try DK Sushi, so we went there and both came out pretty stuffed! She had some cooked sushi as well as vegetarian, plus tempura and beef teriyaki. I had my usual spicy tuna and eel, with bites of some of her vegetarian rolls, plus dumplings. It was really nice to linger over a long meal with her and we ordered in two rounds since our first orders weren’t quite enough.

I drove us home into a slowly setting sun, helped her get all her purchases in house, then collapsed with a glass of wine and some pet cuddles before dragging myself back to my feet and heading home.

It’s been a great day! I shouldn’t have to go to town again before leaving on Friday so now I can focus on closing up the property and packing!

14 thoughts on “A Scotiabank Account Can Save International Travelers a Lot of Money

    • Even at $2.50 a transfer, it would totally be worth it for me. I’ll be transferring my allowance a month so the monthly cost would be:

      $3.95 account fee
      $2.50 transfer fee
      Total for up to 12 transactions: $6.45 per month.

      That is less than one withdrawal is currently costing me through CIBC.

      • I guess if you make multiple withdrawals it is worth. We use the ATM 3 to 4 times at most over the winter. Good thinking on your part though.

        • I was making at least two withdrawals a month last winter because my daily withdrawal limit is only 7000CAD a day. So I needed to take out my rent and my allowance on separate days. When my allowance increased, I got a third withdrawal.

          I’ve been wanting to get a non-CIBC account for stashing some money for ages, so that’s a bonus perk.

          • You mean $700.00CAD per day? You can ask your bank to increase your limit to $1000.00 per day due to ATM’s and Mexico, etc.

            • Yes, I know I can increase the limit, but it would be foolish to do so. If I get mugged and taken to an ATM, all the mugger can get is $700, not the entire contents of my bank account. I actually asked for a much lower limit than that on my Scotiabank card.

              Again, the card will save me big bucks on withdrawals in not just MX, but also the U.S., Europe, and the rest of the world. It makes sense for where my life is heading. I’m also building a history with Scotiabank, so if I ever need to add to the services they provide me, it’ll be easier.

  1. Hi Rae, Last year when we went looking for the Scotiaback on Aquiles Serdan we found it had closed. The year before we used it often…but who knows maybe this year another one will have opened in that general area. That is the fun of returning to Mazatlan each year to see what is now gone and what is new…..some good some bad for us.

    Traveling mercies for you on your long trip.

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