So you’re back from your international travel. You’re perusing through your bank and credit card statements. You see your purchases listed, and after each one there is a debit in the amount of 1% to 3% of the total amount of cash that was withdrawn. And in addition, you notice your bank tacked on a flat fee of $2-5 per transaction. Not a big deal if you do one ATM transaction or buy one or two items. But beyond that, foreign transaction & withdrawal fees can really add up!
To avoid all these unnecessary costs, make sure you have your bank and credit card companies don’t charge these fees. There aren’t many of these options out there particularly for bank cards. To help you find them, below we’ve listed the best banks for their fee-free ATM/debit cards and top credit cards to consider. The info will help you avoid unfun, hidden-fee shock when you return from your fun, great travel destinations.
Top choices for banks with no withdrawal & foreign transaction fees
Capital One 360 Checking Account – There is no charge for currency conversion and no fees for using a foreign ATM network to withdrawal your money. One of the best options out there for international travel benefits. They’re also a competitive, low-fee, low-hassle banking institution overall. (Capital One 360 has different terms & benefits than its overall Capital One parent company.)
Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking Account – Charles Schwab bank is very popular for frequent international travelers. No fee using ATMs when traveling worldwide. In addition, you’ll receive unlimited reimbursements at the end of each month for ATM fees from cash withdrawals anywhere in the world regardless of the network used. And bonus, Charles Schwab doesn’t charge currency conversion fees for debit card transactions.
Citibank – You can withdraw cash at CitiBank-branded foreign ATMs with no fees – so when used for any in-network ATM transaction. But they have an extensive international presence with over 4,000 locations & 20,000 ATMs in more than 40 countries.
Top choices for credit cards with no foreign transaction fees
When it comes to credit cards, once you find those with no foreign transaction surcharges, you also want to make sure they have a rewards program where you can accumulate travel points for free travel perks and easily redeem them in a hassle-free way. In addition, you want to keep an eye out for low/reasonable annual fees or no fee at all.
Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard – This is a great card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees and allows you to earn 2x miles per $1 on all purchases and redeem miles quickly and flexibly via statement credits.
Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card – This card waives foreign transaction fees and has a straightforward, simple rewards program where cardholders earn unlimited 1.5x points per $1 for all purchases. No annual fee makes this option even more appealing. There is an $89 annual fee but waived the first year.
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card – This is a great choice not only due to lack of foreign transaction fees, but also because of its generous and easy to understand & use rewards program - earn 2x miles per $1 on all purchases. Once you make a travel purchase with Venture, redeem your miles as a statement credit toward the cost. Rewards don’t expire for the life of the account. No annual fee the first year, $95 after that. However, the card has higher rewards compared to other travel cards.
Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card – This is a good alternative to Capital One’s Venture card if you don’t want to pay an annual fee. Though no annual fee, your rewards power is less – you’ll earn unlimited 1.25 miles per dollar on every purchase.
Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card – One of the most popular travel cards, which in addition to no foreign transaction fee, let’s you earn 2x points per $1 on travel and restaurant purchases and 1 point per $1 for all other purchases. First year free, then $95/year.
[Check the respective websites for further details.]