Another set-up adventure was setting up a local bank account. This process was a little easier than the Post Office, but still took 4 trips to complete. Here's how the process went for us:
1) visited the bank for the first time and got the scoop on what they offered and what we needed to provide in terms of documentation (one of those was a PO box)
2) wasted trip - the bank was closed - their hours are 8am - 3pm (talk about banker's hours!)
3) had all our documentation in order and opened the account. Our debit card should arrive in about 3-4 days and the credit card (see below) in about a week ... to our new PO box!!
4) After we get the cards, we need to go back to the bank to activate them and to set up online billing.
Credit Card: We can get a credit card through our bank and it's set up a bit differently than back home. Basically, you put money in an account that becomes the capital for your card and dictates your credit limit. This money then stays put as collateral for your card. Then, the credit card works as normal, but you get 3% back into your account so as long as you keep it paid off, it should be a decent account.
I'm not sure yet, but I wonder if we'll end up using cash a lot more here than in the states. For us, we put EVERYTHING on our credit card and then just paid it off each month, but I haven't seen the credit card machines all over like back home (for example, the grocery store). I'll need to pay more attention as they may be there, I just haven't noticed them.