Well, after repeated assurances from Associated Bank that our card will work in ATMs here, there's still no cash action on this end. I think it's because Associated doesn't play well internationally. On the front of our check card, we've got a Mastercard symbol, which makes it seem as if we'll have no trouble using the card worldwide. Looks are deceiving, of course. On the back of the card, we've got symbols for the Pulse and Star networks. Here, all I can see are machines on the Cirrus and Plus networks.
Belle, the super-helpful admin assistant, called up a bunch of banks for me today and discovered that the Plus sign/network is pretty darn important viz a viz using a card internationally.
Of course, my credit card DOES have the Cirrus symbol on its back, and I've had absolutely no trouble using the card all over the malls we've been exploring, and in the nice supermarket we've checked out. I suppose that I could just get cash advances on the credit card, in a pinch, and pay them off toot sweet. It might make more sense, though, to see if Butch would hook us up again. (Jeez, it feels like I'm 20 something again, and can't drive. Wait. I really can't drive here.)
Looks like we'll have to start working on Plan B: opening an account here, and wire transferring funds to it. We'll be like those poor Filipinos left here who get remittances from their away-working family members in Saudi Arabia, Japan, and the US.
In the meantime, if any of you are planning to travel abroad, you should probably check out the networks on the back of your bank card (if you're planning to use that method of cash access) before you go. Look for that all important Plus sign.
Also, I think there's a direct correlation, at least with my body, between cash stress (perhaps it's the idea that if you can't access your considerable funds, you're less than a person, as if you've been partially beamed to your current planet) and body stress. As soon as my card didn't work, my guts began to boil and my rear end tightened into a walnut fist. The only (semi) positive side effect is that while Lizzie was up for a 10 AM ice cream cone snack, I couldn't face it.
Yes, believe it or not: bank card failure equals ice cream anorexia for Laurie Mac.
At 7 PM, or so, I had no trouble downing a Belgium Chocolate Chocolate Hagen Dazs ice cream. Delicious! (We were at yet another mall, this one about 5 stories, with Cynch and her husband. We watched a free French film, Home, an eco-didactic film which made us feel guilty for our rampant first-world consumerism, but didn't prevent us from having dinner out and ice cream to follow.)