Avoid International ATM Fees with Schwab
Thrifty Traveler reader Andrew messaged me on Facebook to ask:
“What’s the best way to avoid international ATM fees?”
If you are a frequent international traveler, there is no better option than opening an online debit/checking account through Charles Schwab. There are no ATM withdrawal fees ANYWHERE in the world. You read that right! This is a no BS solution to avoid international ATM fees. We get no commission on this post, we simply think it’s a great product.
Schwab reimburses you monthly for ATM fees charged by ALL outside vendors. The ATM reimbursement works at ATMs anywhere in the US or abroad. There are also no fees for having a Schwab checking account. No brainer right?
- Unlimited fee rebates from any ATM worldwide
- No minimum balance or monthly fees
- No foreign transaction fees on debit card purchases
- Free Standard Checks and Visa debit card
- Schwab mobile app allows you to deposit checks with your phone
You will also be required to open a Schwab brokerage account if you don’t already have one. Don’t worry it’s easy as a brokerage account is opened automatically when you open a Schwab checking account. The good news is that the brokerage account is free as well and has no minimum deposit or fees. Schwab may do a hard pull to obtain your credit report in order to be approved for an account. That is the only drawback of Schwab account, and I’ll admit it’s a minor one to get unlimited free ATM withdrawals.
Schwab is an online-only bank so keep another account at a local bank or credit union to deposit cash. After depositing locally, you can transfer the cash deposit to your Schwab account. I’ve had an online-only account for over five years and I’m a huge fan. The only thing I ever use my local bank for is to deposit cash. Paying ATM fees is absolutely unnecessary.
Other important finance travel tips:
Thrifty Tip #1: Always avoid the currency exchange counter at the airport. They exist for one reason only, to make money off you. They profit from the poor exchange, which is why they are everywhere. Always take money out of an ATM with your debit card for the best exchange rate.
Thrifty Tip #2: If you are ever asked if you want to pay for an item in US Dollars or the local currency, always choose the local currency. You will lose in the currency conversion if you pay in US Dollars.
Thrifty Tip #3: Always travel with a credit card with no foreign transaction fees.
I know this article probably sounds like a paid Schwab advertisement but it’s not. I really like the Schwab checking product, and I think it can save readers a lot of cash and confusion when using ATMs. No one should have to pay ATM fees. Travel smarter.