Knowing how to pick a good bank for international travels can save you time, money, and be stress-free.
Charges like bank fees, ATM fees, foreign transaction fees, and exchange rates can cost a huge chunk of our wallet when we have better spending choice for all those money we’ve earned. For each dollar saved is another chance for travels, food, and other activities.
Since bank terms and conditions are always changing, let’s focus on the basics so that next time you hunt for a bank, you know if they will fit your needs or not. Some of the most important things to look for in travel-friendly bank:
✓ No ATM withdraw fees
✓ No foreign transaction fees
✓ No monthly fee
✓ No currency exchange markup
Here are some best practices when traveling abroad:
● Ensure your funds are not in only one account so that if something happens, you have other funds available and you won’t have to sell your kidney.
● Separate personal checking and travel checking account.
● Have 2 ATM cards for traveling.
● Use banks with no monthly fee (Wells Fargo you are out)
● You can pick a bank from Global ATM Network for banks that partners with other banks and allows you to withdraw money with no international ATM access fees. Notice Bank of America in the list, although they have the most ATM access around the world, non-BOA ATM withdraws is $5 per transaction, quite expensive.
Here’s some of the best banks for international travel:
Everyone knows, it’s best to withdraw money from the ATM when traveling abroad. This way, you don’t have to carry tons of cash or traveler’s cheque, and you can save more without having to check currency exchange rates at private money exchange booth.
Since debit card becomes the main source for cash, it’s best to find one that is fee-free to withdraw money and have no monthly fees. The below banks are my recommendations when traveling abroad.
Charles Schwab High Yield Investor Checking Account
With friendly reimbursable ATM fees on all ATMs worldwide, Charles Schwab is FDIC insured and has been top bank account choice for travelers. There is no account minimum, no monthly service fee and the best part is that they reimburse ALL ATM withdraw fees at the end of the month (can I get a hallelujah please).
I used their ATM card throughout my travels and never had a problem. They have superb customer service as they pay very close attention to customer’s needs. They’d call periodically to see if everything is okay even if the customer didn’t ask. I still get voice mail till this day asking “Ms. Chen, just want to call to see if everything is ok?” Yes, I’m fine, don’t worry…relax Charles. With reimbursable ATM fee and no foreign transaction fees, they are top choice for travelers.
ING Direct Capital One 360 Checking
ING Direct is an online bank that allows you to withdraw cash $0 fee at all 38,000 access Allpoint ATM and 2,000 Capital One ATM. 360 Checking account (referral link) have interest rate, checks can be deposited digitally, and can transfer fee-free. Using the debit card abroad doesn’t charge you international fees or any kind of fees, but you may have to pay service fee from the ATM of the other bank. I use their ATM cards as my second alternative when I travel. They have excellent customer service, great credit card products, and allows you to check your FICO score for free.
HSBC international bank is another good alternative for withdrawing money. They have locations worldwide and charge a low fee of $2.50 USD per ATM transaction when you use non-HSBC ATMs. Unlike Capital One bank, I’ve seen lots of HSBC banks in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, US etc, so it makes it easier for customers to find brick and mortar location if face-to-face assistance is needed.
Citibank is also another international bank with more than 4,000 locations around 40 countries. Open account requires some fees. There is $2 fee plus the 3% international transaction charge for non-US Citibank ATM withdrawals, and the fees will be waived for Citigold members. This bank is pretty well known and widely use at Taiwan, along with HSBC. I don’t use them because there are fees involved, but they have pretty attractive banking accounts and credit cards that I use. I recommend Citi Thank You Premier credit card, which can earn you 50,000 bonus points after $3,000 purchase minimum has met.
Travel-friendly Savings Account:
American Express High-Yield Savings Account
AMX high-yield savings account currently have 0.90% APY interest rate, their no fees and no minimum balance is very good account to stash away your money. I have this account for a long while, never had any problems.
So there you have it, the recommended travel-friendly bank accounts for those who can’t sit still.
Sort out your finances so that you can spend less and enjoy more.
Now, go tell them banks,’Bitch better have my money! (without the fees)’