At a minimum, you are going to need a personal bank account to deposit your paychecks into. Whether you are going to withdraw money from a payment processor into your bank account or have funds direct deposited/wired to your bank account from clients, it’s essential that you have one, otherwise, you may not be able to spend/access the money you earned.
Using the physical residential address you established, you can open a bank account just about anywhere, however, I would advise a local bank in the same zip code as your address.
Losing Access To Your Funds
It’s important to keep in mind that in today’s world, banks are on high alert when it comes to fraud and have set protocols that they follow in the event of suspicious activity on a debit card.
For instance, if you are 1,000 miles away from home and your charges are consistent in your travels, you don’t have much to worry about, however, if your charging paper trail lead to Sedona, Arizona from Austin, Texas and your last charge was for gas in Sedona, if another charge happens in say, Detroit, Michigan within 1 hour of the sedona Charge, chances are, the bank will flag your card and freeze it as part of a security protocol, leaving you with no access to funds.
The kicker is that you can call the banks hotline to make sure no money was stolen, but they will still cancel your card and issue a new one that will be mailed to the address on your bank account, no exceptions.
If you have mail forwarding at that address, great, but you still have a 7 to 14 day wait to get a new card. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple for some and they have to reroute to head back to the address to pick up the card in person.
We know, because it’s happened to us more than a couple times out on the road.
Always have back-ups.
For us, we use the following back-up system:
- x1 bank with debit and ATM cards (If debit freezes we can transfer to savings for ATM withdraw)
- x1 Credit Union with debit and ATM cards (now we have x2 ATM options and a second debit option)
- Cash in a smal fire+water safe strategically hidden in the RV (Giving us a little emergency cash on the go)
- x1 or 2 gas cards (Helps in a pinch when you need fuel)
- x1 Pre-Paid visa or mastercard gift card (Emergency cash on the go)
- X1 Paypal account (For digital processing and funds transfers)
Diversification and a plan B while living a nomadic lifestyle is always a great idea. You don’t have to use all the options we do and may have some creative ones of your own I didn’t mention. However, if you don’t have a backup plan right now, I suggest you start putting one together.
The last thing you want to do is learn the hard way, like we did, and be stranded somewhere you don’t want to be because someone skimmed your card at a gas pump, copied your card info at a small town restaurant, or hacked a database to an online store you made a purchase at. We’ve had all three happen to us over the years and it can be very frustrating as a victim trying to get access to your funds again.
When you least expect it
Things like this happen to nomads when they least expect it. If you need some video reference of another full-time nomad that it’s happened to, take a look at the experience our good friend and client Eric Jacobs (aka Nomadic Fanatic) had in the following video when his debit card was frozen, through no fault of his own, but because a scammer got ahold of his card number and the bank followed policy to protect him and froze the card.
You can also open a bank account using the assumed name certificate you received from the county tax office (If applicable). This will allow you to accept payments under your “doing business as” or “Entity” name instead of your own.
Be safe, happy, and adventurous nomads
Be sure to review all our resources. Don’t skip anything we outlined there. We know it’s a lot of reading, but you’ll be thankful you read it all later.