When you work on board, the company deposits your salary to your bank accounts that are locally based in your home country. You have ways to receive it but the capacity to check and manage your allotments can be challenging.
We do have various methods of doing that while in the middle of the ocean. It’s when during the end or start of the month that we frantically call home, chat with the office, or message the crew on another vessel to see if our hundreds or thousand dollar salaries arrive in our bank accounts.
But I always believe that there’s a better way and you’re gonna find out everything about it here! But first…
Why do we need to check or manage our allotment?
Imagine this, if we just leave our allotments alone in our bank accounts and check it a week before we end our contract, would it be very exciting!
How much are we able to make during the whole 9 months? Do I really have this much in my name? I’m finally freakin’ rich! Ohh the things that I could buy.
At one time, this was my mindset when it comes to that. There were days when we had no phone or internet coverage (or like in the pre-internet era) and a one-time big-time balance check is like winning the lotto.
But as I learned from my fellow sailors and my personal experience as well, if you check and manage your allotments every month gives you more upside. Here are the reasons why:
- During a heavy storm or bad weather, checking your allotment can help conquer seasickness. The inspiration it brings gives you more courage to weather the storm.
- Hearing someone informing you that the allotment has arrived and the exchange rate is bigger than the previous month adds extra strength.
- There could be an error made by the office in your allotment allocation, especially on the first month so checking them will help identify that.
- You could be in a shady shipping agency and they are not processing your allotment at all.
- If you’re actively saving, investing, allocating, and managing your allotment, checking them regularly is a must
- Knowing that your salary arrives on time gives you peace of mind.
Most Common Methods Seafarers Use in Checking and Managing Their Allotments
Most likely, you’re one of the seafarers below. We can always relate to that relieving crew who’s about to enter the tank and proudly shouts,
“Our allotment is now in our bank account. It arrived an hour ago!”
I’m on a tanker ship and this is the usual scene every end of the month wherever we are working on the vessel.
Here are the most common ways how we check our allotments while working onboard and manage them as well.
1. By messaging wife
The most common and convenient. Since we don’t have any ATMs on board, we leave our ATM cards to our wives and give them the pleasure of checking and managing our accounts.
When we “feel” that our allotment must be somewhere close, we constantly bug them every hour to check if it’s already in our bank accounts.
Sometimes, they can be early and surprise us that they already received the money and they just finished shopping and eating out.
2. By other people
This could be your parents, siblings, close friends, or anybody whom you trust. Usually, this scenario applies to single seamen who got busted 5 years ago by his ultimate crush that he’s giving his allotment ATM to his parents. A noble deed, indeed!
However, if you leave your ATM card to other people, this leaves you the risk of losing all your money. We always see trust issues left and right and you surely don’t want to be the next viral seafarer.
Don’t worry. The last tip will blow your mind away since it is very convenient and you have full control.
Managing your allotment? Of course not. A source of information if our salary has arrived? Big check!
Some seafarers just want to be the bearer of good news in the challenging world of seafaring. They’ll be the first to know if you’re going home next port, whether we have a piracy bonus, or if our allotment is delivered to our bank accounts.
I trust these people in matters like these and they are the best source of intel. I can focus on other things and they will be very happy bringing me the good news while I’m painting on deck.
3. Office intel
Speaking of intel, this is next-level information gathering. You can actually message or call the accountant (or anyone) in the office to ask if the allotment is already sent to your bank accounts.
Additionally, you can also inform them that it’s been a week late since its usual arrival and ask if there’s something wrong on their part.
I’m telling you that this is next-level info-gathering and you will learn a lot of insider secrets. However, you have to be brave enough to contact them. Or just be friendly to them and it gives the same benefits.
4. Calling the bank
Another method I learned a long time ago on how to check if your allotment has arrived is to call the bank. They will answer you but it costs a lot of money.
During the time when their customer support staffs were still humans (many of them are bots now), I had the opportunity to call them and ask for my balance. But this happened due to a crazy overthinking on my part.
When I was a cadet, I was peacefully drying the cargo tank with Bosun when it suddenly occurred to me that maybe my account was fully closed (another tanker term) or suspended. It was 5 months since my last transaction and this came out of the blue.
So I hurriedly call their international hotline number and spoke to a woman. She asked a few security questions and confirmed that my account was as active as my ex-gf and that gave me peace of mind.
5. Using the nearest ATMs you can find abroad
Your ATM card should work even abroad. Check if it has the logo of Visa, Mastercard, American Express, etc., and also check the ATM if it has the same. If so, you can use your card the way you use your ATM card back home.
However, this can be risky. If for some reason your card gets captured, there’s a bad chance that you won’t have enough time to retrieve it due to the ship’s sailing schedule. If this is the case, maybe the agent can help.
I’ll rate this method 3 out of 10.
6. Mobile banking
Hands down this is the easiest, most convenient, and safest method. But hold your horses if you are alarmed when I say it’s the “safest”.
I usually check my allotment and manage my account using mobile banking, either thru an app or website. But I suggest using an app as this is safer.
Most account hacks come from breaches made by the user when they click phishing sites and enter their personal details. If we are more careful about such links, we should be able to avoid these hackers and keep our accounts safe.
Here are some of the ways that I use mobile banking in my seafaring life when I manage my allotment:
- Check Allotments
- Pay Bills
- Manage Multiple Accounts
- Run Budgets
- Fund Investments
- Send Allowances
- Receive Payments
- Transfer Funds
- Pay for Merchants
- Subscribe to Investments
- Redeem Investments
- And a whole lot more
I understand that many of you are still wary of using it. In fact, one of my seaman friends has a lot of doubt about its security. He cited that it’s too risky. Well, getting stabbed by a hold-upper after withdrawing a huge sum in an ATM is a million times riskier.
By implementing cyber hygiene, mobile banking can be the quickest and safest way to check & manage your allotment.
May the winds be in your favor.