International travel can be expensive. Without knowing it, you could end up paying hundreds of dollars in fees. One way to save big when traveling overseas is to avoid overseas transaction fees, other debit card fees, and withdrawal fees.
Using a debit card at a foreign ATM is convenient for quick cash abroad. But before you push that card into the slot, understand the potential foreign transaction fees and bank withdrawal fees you might find yourself stuck with.
Read more: 7 secret expenses reducing your travel budget
Potential combinations of ATM card fees for international travel
The ATM may charge one or both of these withdrawal fees, depending on your bank and the foreign ATM.
- Flat rate : This is for the use of the international ATM card. These fees are similar to an off-network ATM card fee. The fees range from $ 2 to $ 5 per transaction.
- Foreign transaction fees: This is in addition to the package. These overseas conversion fees represent one percent of the amount withdrawn from the ATM and range from 1 to 3 percent.
Potential combinations of credit card charges for international travel
If you plan to spend abroad with a credit card, always check the charges first. Typically, Visa and MasterCard each charge an overseas transaction fee of 1%. In addition to these Visa and MasterCard fees, the card issuer usually adds additional fees. For example, with a Bank of America MasterCard, you will pay 3% in total: 1% allocated to MasterCard and an additional 2% to Bank of America.
A more recent strategy – which encourages additional charges – is the offer to charge for an international purchase in your own currency. When the clerk at the overseas store kindly makes this offer, don’t take the bait. There is likely an additional service or conversion fee for this convenience.
Now that you understand the pitfalls of overseas transaction fees, learn how to avoid other international credit card and ATM fees.
1. Choose the right bank
It is essential that you know the possible costs attached to the bank you use, especially when you travel abroad. It may even be a good idea for you to open an account with a new bank that won’t charge you foreign transaction fees.
The following banks do not charge ATM fees abroad:
- Capital One 360 online banking: There are no fees on withdrawals outside of the Capital One network, and the Capital One system covers fees typically charged by MasterCard. This only applies to Capital One 360 Online Banking, not physical Capital One.
- Charles Schwab: All ATM fees are refunded at the end of the month. Eligible cards and accounts are the Schwab Bank Visa Platinum Debit Card, a High Yield Investor Account, or a Maximum Rate Checking Account with a balance of at least $ 5,000.
- Citibank: As long as you opt out of a Citi-branded network ATM, you avoid fees due to its extensive international network. You can check your destination in advance in an international ATM locator. Only Citigold customers avoid all international transaction fees for out-of-network withdrawals.
- Bank of the First Republic: The Rebate Checking ATM account gives you access to over 800,000 ATMs worldwide as well as unlimited access to ATMs. International off-network ATM fees and card usage fees are reimbursed. First Republic requires a minimum opening balance of $ 500 and an average balance of $ 3,500 to bypass monthly fees.
Must Read: 9 Best Travel Apps To Get Before You Travel
2. Choose the right credit card for international travel
Sorting through travel credit card offers to find one with no overseas transaction fees is no easy task. But having the right credit card can help you avoid the fees associated with your bank or ATMs. Here is a list of current credit cards with no overseas transaction fees. Each of the cards also has various benefits, rewards, and costs.
|Capital One Venture Rewards||A capital letter||Earn 2 miles per dollar on all purchases.|
|BankAmericard Travel Rewards||Bank of America||Earn 1.5 points per dollar on all purchases.|
|Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards||A capital letter||Earn 1.5% cash back on all your purchases.|
|Discover it Miles||Discover||Earn 1.5 miles per dollar spent on all purchases.|
|Capital One Spark Cash for businesses||A capital letter||Earn 2% cash back on all your purchases.|
|Citi Merci Premier||Citi||Earn 3 points per dollar on travel and gasoline. Earn 2 points per dollar on meals and entertainment. Earn 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.|
|Favorite Chase Sapphire||chase away||Earn 2 points per dollar on travel and dining. Earn 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.|
|Chase Marriott Rewards Premier||chase away||Earn 5 points per dollar at Marriott. Earn 2 points per dollar on airline ticket purchases direct from airlines, car rental companies and restaurants. Earn 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.|
|Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier||chase away||Earn 2 points per dollar on purchases from Southwest Airlines, Rapid Rewards hotels and car rental partners. Earn 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.|
|United MileagePlus Explorer||chase away||Earn 2 miles per dollar on United tickets and 1 mile per dollar on all other purchases.|
Related: Should You Get a Travel Credit Card?
3. Use cash whenever possible
When you go to the ATM, instead of withdrawing $ 50 or $ 100, withdraw enough money to last a week or more. This is especially useful if you are using a credit card that may charge transaction fees abroad. However, adding a new card to your arsenal before your trip – one with no foreign transaction fees – could be even more beneficial.
4. Always pay in local currency
The offer to pay in your country’s currency sounds so friendly and helpful. When you buy a souvenir abroad with your credit card, the merchant may ask you if you want to pay in your home currency. While this seems like a wonderful alternative, don’t take the bait. When you pay for an item abroad in your home currency, you choose to add a currency conversion fee on top of any other fees you may already be paying.
5. Don’t exchange money at airports
When you land at a foreign airport, you might be happy to find a money changer easily, but don’t exchange your money at the airport. These foreign exchange companies tend to offer the worst exchange rates as well as many large fees. Also avoid Travelex, as this currency exchange company is known for its low conversion rates. Instead, exchange your money at your bank or at an ATM.
6. Avoid unusual ATMs
You can find these ATMs in your home country as well as abroad. These are the little ATM kiosks hidden in the corners of large hotels and convenience stores. These exclusive ATMs are known for their high fees and low conversion rates. Bypass those ATMs for an ATM instead. Be sure to research ATMs before you travel, so you know which ones you can use nearby and which ones to avoid.
7. Don’t get ripped off
All the money and travel planning in the world won’t matter if you don’t use smart international travel practices. Even if you are a seasoned traveler, it helps to remember that there are many friendly international locals out there looking to take your money.
The best way to avoid being scammed is to use reputable tour operators, not people you meet on the street. In addition to avoiding international travel costs, be careful not to divert the money saved in the hands of a scammer, either. Avoid chatting with locals in perfect English, trying to share “travel secrets” that no one else knows; they are generally not trustworthy.
Finally, when preparing for your international trip, spend some time lining up banks and a debit or credit card with no foreign transaction fees. You will have more money to spend on souvenirs instead of paying it unnecessarily to a financial company.
Editorial note: this content is not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author, and not those of the Bank Advertiser, and have not been reviewed, approved or endorsed in any way by the Bank Advertiser. This site can be remunerated through the affiliate program of the bank advertiser.