Posted by William Charles on January 7, 2016

Published on January 7th, 2016 | by William Charles


Best Debit Cards For International ATM Cash Withdrawals

American Express announced with no notice that Serve & Bluebird cards would no longer be able to be used for ATM withdrawals internationally, I can only assume that there was regulatory/legal pressure to do so as leaving some of your cardholders stranded overseas when you’ve given them no warning isn’t a great way to build goodwill. I thought I’d look at some of the best options for withdrawing cash overseas from an ATM, since apparently some people were using these cards for that purpose even though they charged a $2.50 fee.

List Of Options

Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking Account

Direct link to account

This account has the following features:

  • No monthly fees
  • No international or domestic ATM fees
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 0.06% APY
  • Card runs on the Visa network

This looks perfect and there is also a $100 bonus attached to this account! There is a downside though, a hard pull is done on your Equifax credit report when you open this card.

Aspiration Summit

Direct link to account

This account has the following features:

  • No monthly fees
  • No ATM fees (ATMs with NYSE logo will have no fees and all other fees will be refunded at end of billing cycle)
  • Foreign transaction fee of up to 1.1%
  • 0.25% APY if your balance is below $2,500 or 1% APY if it’s above $2,500

Fidelity Visa Gold Check Card

Direct link to account

This account has the following features:

  • No monthly fees
  • All ATM fees are refunded to your cash management account
  • Foreign transaction fee of 1%
  • Card runs on the Visa network
  • Can be used on any ATM that has the following logos: Visa®, Plus®, or Star®
  • 0.07% APY

Bank of America Global ATM Alliance

Bank of America is part of something known as the Global ATM Alliance, basically the idea is that if you use a card from Bank of America to withdraw money from any of the other financial institutions in the alliance you won’t be charged a fee. This sounds great right? Wrong. They still charge you a 3% foreign transaction fee, so if you’re withdrawing any decent amount of money this will likely be much higher than the typical ATM fee.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully I’m missing an account that has no ATM or foreign transaction fees (FTF) and doesn’t require a hard pull (let me know in the comments if something should be added). If not it’ll really depend on your own circumstances if the hard pull is worth it to avoid 1% in FTF’s or not.

[Read: Low Fee & No Fee ATMs]


Leave a Reply


newest oldest
Notify of

The “Foreign transaction fee of 1%” on the Fidelity Gold Check Card is a bit misleading. For purchases, the fee is charged. For ATM withdrawals, the fee is not charged. Can confirm this as I recently used the card in French Polynesia for ATM withdrawals and was not charged a foreign transaction fee.

Just chiming in here to underline that Fidelity does not charge a FTF on ATM withdrawals. I just used the Gold Check Card over a 2.5 week period where I had to subsist almost entirely on cash. Fees were reimbursed promptly (to the tune of $55) and the rates were spot on with the published bank rates (so no hidden fees built in).

I also came to comment after reading the post, and was happy to see others had already done so! I have been using the Fidelity Gold Check Card for international ATM withdrawals for years, and have never once paid a foreign transaction fee. The amount withdrawn has always matched exactly to the spot rate on within a few pennies. It seems like by far the best option, and anyone who travels even a little bit should really have this card and account.
The Fidelity brokerage account may become even more useful in a few months, since once the Fidelity 2% AMEX switches to USBank, there is no guarantee we will be able to redeem rewards for cash at a full 1cpp without a linked Fidelity account, the way we can now with Worldpoints (albeit with a 25k point minimum).

For ATM transactions the 1% fee is included in the exchange rate that is used. For purchases it is charged separately.

I don’t think so- at least not for me. I will often check my account online to see how much I was charged immediately after making the withdrawal- and the amount will correspond almost exactly to the spot rate at that moment, with no fee built in at all.

Not in my experience.

I compared the amount charged with the amount of foreign currency withdrawn, and as another poster stated above, the amount charged was within pennies of the published exchange rate.

fees, both ATM (refundable for gold check card) & foreign transactions, stated on Fidelity Visa Gold Check card FAQs: and that link directs you to full disclosure page:

doesnt TD have a premium account that refunds atm fees worldwide ?

In my experience with Capital One 360, if you just dispute the foreign withdrawal fee (which you can do within your online account in 10 seconds) they will never question it. I even spoke with a rep who indicated they had no problem refunding these fees to customers. I’ve been in a situation multiple times where I was charged a fee that wasn’t disclosed, like at some sketchy machines in SE Asia, etc. Has saved me a bunch of $$.

Maybe Capital One 360 should be included. No international ATM or f/x fees charged by Capital One.

They also provide access to the Allpoint network of ATMs. If you can find one in the foreign country you are visiting (Canada, UK, Mexico, Australia), use of that ATM will also be free.

Ally charges 1% + ATM surcharge fee (if not Allpoint).

Schwab all the way. One of the greatest account openings I have ever done. Didn’t even get a bonus way back when.

Not only does it not have a fee but they will refund others ATM fees including international ones. Those can quickly add up over time.

You left out a critical feature of the Schwab bank account – ATM fees are refunded at the end of the month!

This makes it the best option that I’ve seen.

Fidelity refunds ATM fees as soon as the ATM transaction goes from “processing” to “posted” (typically 1-2 business days).

To me, that makes it superior to waiting until the end of the month for reimbursements.

I have Schwab, and I agree that the Fidelity policy is much superior. When I’m traveling internationally, and the fees are rolled into the withdrawl activity, I never know whether I’m *really* getting the refund at the end of the month.

If I had a 1-2 biz day turnaround, I would feel much more confident that I got the refund I’m supposed to.

fee free with TD Premier Checking account too I believe. Min $2500 balance tho

USAA (as far as I know, only available for military members and their families) does not charge ATM fees for the first 10 withdrawls per statement cycle. The foreign transaction fee for debit card purchases is 1%, however.

I believe USAA Checking and Savings accounts are available to the general public. Their insurance products and credit cards however are not available to people. A couple of years ago I travelled internationally and was not charged any fees for debit withdrawals in Italy. I even confirmed before I left that I could withdraw fee-free and the rep confirmed that they do not add fees to ATM withdrawals. Debit purchases might be different.

My understanding is that while USAA’s terms disallow reimbursements for international ATM fees, in practice USAA does reimburse international ATM fees.

Been using the Schwab checking for a while and absolutely love it, can’t believe they offer so much perks for free, no complaints so far.

I echo the capital one 360 account. No foreign fees. Refunds them too.

Looking at the schwab card, sounds like you need to keep $10,000 in the account though?

No that’s just for the bonus.

No minimum per Schwab,com:

there’s a link to account features and fees at the link above. (I am not affiliated with Schwab but have accounts with them).

You may already qualify with certain TD and Wells Fargo premium products. But Schwab handles it the best.

Bank of Internet is another good one. Almost as good as Schwab only difference is they do charge 1% FTF. But their rewards checking can earn up to 1.25%.

Is the fidelity visa gold check card the same as the fidelity cash management debit card (that comes with the cash management account)? I don’t see the word “gold” on mine…

I believe that the Visa Gold is just a type of visa, (as opposed to a Visa Signature or Visa Platinum) and not actually part of the Fidelity account. Note there’s also nothing about gold on the card shown in the link.

Back to Top ↑