This post originally appeared on January 23, 2008. It explains how I’ve managed my American student loan payments as an expatriate in France. Note that this is a unique solution, and won’t work for everyone!
Two bills moved with me when I moved to France: my American Visa and my student loans. I have paid off my credit card, although the account remains open, so I no longer have monthly payments. My student loans are another story.
As an American living abroad I no longer have a US checking account. I had one during the first few years that I lived here, but it was very difficult to transfer money into the account*. Without American checks, paying my two American bills was a major hassle. I have to admit that, for a while, it was too much of a hassle and so I didn’t pay them.
National Bank of Dad often stepped up to the plate for the monthly payments, but the interest rates were high, involving lots of grumbling on the banker’s part about adult children living independently and responsibly and within their means.
Then it finally hit me- my father owns a store, and has the ability to charge credit cards for purchases. So I gave my father my debit card number, and now he charges my loan payment every month and sends in a check. I try to keep this as simple as possible, so I round up the number a little bit to an even amount.
I also always express my heartfelt thanks, because, without this solution I know I’d have those student loan collectors beating down my door. This isn’t a solution that will work for everyone obviously, and I often wonder how people in my situation manage their overseas bills.
*Transferring money out didn’t seem to pose as big a problem!