Debit Cards for International Travel: If you often travel internationally, then you must make sure you have everything you need before you leave. One of the biggest thing to check out for before you embark on your trip is of course, money.
You need to be able to get to your funds ready if you need them. Of more importance, you will want to avoid paying too much money to exchange your currency or for paying foreign transaction fees.
Most credit cards charge high fees for using foreign ATMs, exchanging currency, or for accessing your money abroad. However, Some debit cards, are best suited to a jet-setting lifestyle. in fact, some even offer benefits and rewards when you travel with them.
Things to consider when making payments overseas
Most people are now using a mix of cash and credit cards abroad— close to how they pay for home purchases.
International retailers may collect credit card payments from Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover, but acceptance may be limited in some countries compared to in the U.S.
Try using a credit card that has no foreign transaction fee to save money. Otherwise, for purchases in another currency, you can pay an extra 3 percent or so.
If the merchant does not accept a credit card or you have another reason to want to use cash, the local currency is likely to be needed.
Airports usually have currency exchange centers where cash can be converted and dollars can be traded at a local bank. But it can be risky to walk around with a lot of cash.
What the Best International Travel Debit Cards Should Have
Before choosing a debit card, look at the features and benefits it offers in relation to what you need while traveling. Does this come with benefits for hotels or airlines? What about the characteristics of security?
Also, international travelers are more vulnerable to fraud and theft, so you’ll want to make sure that the card you choose not only has strong security features, but duty-bound customer service staff to assist you if you’re missing your debit card.
You’ll also want to check for a reputable organization issued ticket. Subpar service is the last challenge you’d like to see abroad, so make sure your card issuing bank is set up and stable and has great customer reviews.
Check the rates as well. Many cards do not have foreign transaction fees, or ATM fees, even if you use the card outside the U.S. They may also have lower conversion fees for currency.
Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking Account
- Annual percentage yield (APY) of 0.40%
- No fees
The Schwab High Yield Investor Checking Account does not require a minimum balance if the account is connected to an investment account of Schwab One. It does not pay any fees, irrespective of where you use your debit card in the country. There are no requirements for opening an account, which means that anyone can access this card.
Capital One 360
- APY of 0.20% up to $50,000, with higher rates between $50,000 and $99,999 and $100,000+
- No fees
The Capital One 360 account is an online check that has no opening conditions or charges, so it’s good for international travel. Many nations have no ATM fees, including the Us, Puerto Rico, Canada, Mexico, and Australia.
Chime Spending Account
- 0% APY for checking
- No fees
The Chime Spending account is an offer from an online bank that even when abroad has no transaction fees. You can use a direct deposit, external debit card or wire transfer to fund the account. A $2.50 fee will be charged to foreign ATMs, but all Moneypass ATMs are free to use.
Chime’s automatic savings plan can also help you save for your next trip by rounding up your debit card transactions to the nearest dollar or automatically transferring up to 10% of your direct paycheck.
- 0.10%–0.60% APY on daily checking accounts and 0.90%–1.00% APY on money market accounts
- $10 in ATM reimbursement every month plus 1% foreign transaction fee
Another digital bank, Ally provides 24/7 banking, savings and investment. The checking account has the lowest percentage charges for foreign transactions— just up to 1% of the payment compared to 3%.
Citizens Bank Platinum
- Prime-rate variable APY • Monthly fee of $25, unless you hold more than $25,000 in all bank-related accounts
- All foreign transaction and currency exchange fees are waived
The Citizens Bank Platinum Checking Account is a high-end account for Northeast U.S. customers with $25,000 or more total bank-related assets. This account waives all fees and customers can use the debit card in any place of the world without having issues whatsoever.
Potential debit card fees when traveling outside the U.S.
Generally, you won’t have any trouble using an ATM abroad as long as you make your bank know where and when you’ll be traveling. You can do this online or by calling your bank through the phone.
However, depending on your type of account and the ATM’s operator, you might have to pay additional fees.
- Nonbank usage fee.Each time you use an ATM that is not run by that bank to check a balance or make a withdrawal or transfer, your bank can charge you a fee. This can also apply in the U.S.
- Withdrawals from non-ATM. You may have to pay a flat fee or a percentage of the amount you withdraw if you withdraw money from a teller at another bank.
- Charges for purchases overseas. Similar to some credit card fees, if you use your debit card for purchases, your bank may pay a foreign transaction or foreign exchange fee equal to a percentage of the amount you withdraw or spend.
- Fees for the ATM-operator. You that charge a conversion fee to the ATM operator instead of paying your bank to convert the currency.
For frequent international travelers looking for the best foreign travel debit card, it is important to choose a card with advantages that you can use and an account that will meet your needs.
The above options vary from budget traveler to platinum status. It takes a bit of research to find the best one for you and see which brand can save you the most money.