Posted by William Charles on January 7, 2016
Travel

Published on January 7th, 2016 | by William Charles

58

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]

 



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58 Comments on "Best Debit Cards For International ATM Cash Withdrawals"

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Brian
Brian

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.

physixfan

Exactly!

Matt
Matt

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).

CtownBin
CtownBin

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 xe.com 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).

Miz
Miz

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

CtownBin
CtownBin

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.

Matt
Matt

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.

tlan2001
tlan2001

fees, both ATM (refundable for gold check card) & foreign transactions, stated on Fidelity Visa Gold Check card FAQs: https://www.fidelity.com/cash-management/faqs-payment-services and that link directs you to full disclosure page: https://www.fidelity.com/bin-public/060_www_fidelity_com/documents/PDF_Fidelity_Check_Card_Agreement.pdf

avi
avi

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

Diamond Vargas
Diamond Vargas

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 $$.

savemesf
savemesf

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.

thegazelle
thegazelle

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

AdamH
AdamH

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.

Fiby

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.

Matt
Matt

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.

Chris
Chris

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.

Miles Whip

fee free with TD Premier Checking account too I believe. Min $2500 balance tho
https://www.tdbank.com/accountguides/Premier.pdf

Ben
Ben

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.

Devon
Devon

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.

Chucks
Chucks

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

S Nack
S Nack

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.

David
David

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

Jeremy
Jeremy

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

Fiby

No that’s just for the bonus.

Win
Win

No minimum per Schwab,com:

http://www.schwab.com/public/schwab/banking_lending/checking_account

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

Flying Xplorer

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

PeaceandPost
PeaceandPost

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%.

shaky02dd
shaky02dd

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…

csdx
csdx

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.

jnrfalcon
jnrfalcon

The daily limits are also worth mentioning

Ted
Ted

$2,000 daily limit for Schwab is more handy/risky than $500 for Fidelity.

Paul
Paul

Schwab all the way everyday.

bn
bn

Lake Michigan Credit Union I believe refunds up to $15/month

Dave
Dave

I think you are right about regulatory pressure leading to suspension of withdrawal capability. I believe all international transactions will be disallowed soon as well. The issue from what I can gather is (ff)(4)(iii)(D)(2)(i) of https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/31/1010.100 which basically says that any seller of prepaid cards that allow international transactions must register as a money services business and be subject to all the regulation that entails. So if Amex wants to continue selling the cards at walmart I think they will have to remove the international transaction capabilities.

J. Grant
J. Grant

Way too many laws in USA aimed at curbing any out of ordinary activities. Truly a culture of fear…

Justin
Justin

Is Fidelity a soft pull? Also, are people saying Capital One 360 will refund the fees ATMS charge like Schwab or Fidelity?

Mark
Mark

For fun, I performed a direct comparison of a group in debit cards on a lengthy overseas trip in 2015, withdrawing the same amounts using the various cards at ATMs wherever I stayed. My ATM withdrawals were made in Europe, India, Thailand , Cambodia, and Japan. USAA and Schwab were the clear winners, with USAA consistently edging out Schwab by small amounts. I have no idea why.

Dave
Dave

USAA is a mastercard while Schwab is a visa. I find the visa rates are slightly higher than mastercard for most currency pairs.

But I am surprised at your finding. As far as I know USAA claims to charge 1% above the mastercard rate. Have you compared the rate you were getting to the rate published at https://www.mastercard.com/global/currencyconversion/ to see if they are indeed charging the extra 1%?

Mark
Mark

Thank you for the link. I did this as a lark after a debate with my wife. I’ll try to go back and systematically reconstruct what the rates were. I take the same trip every year and will be careful about how I assemble my data this year.

Dave
Dave

Thanks. I think comparing to the published mastercard rate would definitely make it easier to compare the cards going forward.

I have the Schwab checking account and I have confirmed multiple times that they charge exactly the visa rate published at https://usa.visa.com/support/consumer/travel-support/exchange-rate-calculator.html/ at 0% conversion fee.

Jason
Jason

Pnc, if you have the performance select checking, will charge no fees and reimburse all foreign atm fees. This is a newer change. Personally tested

dizzy
dizzy

CapOne360 all the way. If you don’t have serious money to deposit you can’t get a Schwab account. Almost anyone can get CapOne, they have great customer service, and almost always some sort of signup bonus. Go to bank for broke backpackers like moi.

Best case was when I had to get cash in Murghab, Tajikistan (….yeah….). The ATM listed by lonely planet hadn’t worked in years (surprise, surprise). You could get money by them running your card for a purchase. Of course they ran it twice. Not only did they sort the matter out, they, WITHOUT ME EVEN SUGGESTING, goodwilled me in advance the mistakenly withdrawn funds. Also comped me my new cards via FedEx (they mailed to parents, parents FedEx’d me abroad, got money back).

chop
chop

scottrade also has no foreign transaction fees, AND refunds atm fees worldwide. it’s a mastercard fwiw

Dave
Dave

Page 17 of https://www.scottrade.com/documents/alt/BA9300_BankApp.pdf says there is a 1% FTF. Is there a different schedule of fees that says otherwise?

Schmekel
Schmekel

Dave – You’re correct.

I just called Scottrade and cs confirmed they do not reimburse MC’s 1% FTF.
Also they may only reimburse up to $3 of a foreign ATM fee.

trackback

[…] They charge a currency conversion fee of around 1.1% (there are better products for free ATM withdrawals) […]

Patrick
Patrick

First Republic is no FTF and rebated ATM fees.

SF Fire CU is also no FTF and rebated ATM fees. They also happen to be the greatest financial institution ever. 🙂

Jake Poysti
Jake Poysti

CapitalOne 360 debit cards don’t charge any fees for ATM withdrawals abroad. Have used it in Dubai, Cancun and around Italy among other places.
However it doesn’t reimburse for fees charged by the ATM bank.

Allpoint ATMs don’t charge fees.
I believe it’s a MasterCard debit card

trackback

[…] Chase Fee at non-Chase ATMs (including international ATMs). They will also refund ATM operator fees up to five times per statement […]

John D
John D

I contacted Fidelity a few times (via different communication channels) and every time they got back to me saying that the 1% FTF applies to also overseas ATM withdrawals. One rep told me it’s the Conversion Fee. So probably this Fee is included directly in the Exchange Rate and is not charged as a separate fee, and that’s why many would think that they did not get charged the 1% fee.

I’d be interested to know if someone has done a real-life comparison between Charles Schwab High Yield Account vs Fidelity Cash Management in their ATM Withdrawal Currency Exchange Rates e.g. what is the Exchange Rate for a $10 (or whatever amount) ATM Withdrawal using both Debit Cards.

Fiby

I don’t think the 1% fee is included in the exchange rate. The consensus over on FT is that on paper they charge this fee, but in practice it’s basically never charged. Here’s a data point on what happens when it is charged – it’s a separate line item.

“Truth be told, the 1% is truly up to the bank whether it is charged or not.

Of the 5 or 6 years we use FIDO’s card, we were charge 1% only ONCE, at a BNP branch in Aix-en-Provence. I took 100 euro, and there is a 1 euro separately listed, as “Purchase”. That was the 1%. BNP in Paris does not charge that fee btw.”

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/credit-card-programs/1594601-fidelity-cash-management-debit-card-atm-forex-real-world-experience.html

Harsh
Harsh

Interesting! I thought the visa network charges the banks 1% regardless. So by not passing on that 1% fee, the banks are covering that for you and losing money in the process?

I also found this DP that Aspiration Summit doesn’t charge FTF either for international ATM withdrawals even though on paper they say they do.

https://www.doctorofcredit.com/charles-schwab-100-checking-account-bonus-no-monthly-fees-no-international-atm-withdrawal-fees-atm-fee-reimbursements/#comment-477515

Harsh
Harsh

State Farm Bank reimburses foreign ATM fees and has no FTF AFAIK.

Fiby

I was reading the terms here https://www.statefarm.com/finances/banking/resources/bank-disclosures/deposit-account-pricing-schedule and found the following clause

For International ATM Fees incurred travelling outside of the U.S., please call Us at 877-734-2265 to have your rebate applied to your account,

Do you have an account with them? Do they actually enforce these terms or does the rebate come automatically?

Harsh
Harsh

I actually don’t. But I was planning to get it. So I’m not sure.

How do banks know what the atm surcharge fees are btw? For US atms, I thought they just reimbursed the remainder after dividing the amount charged by 5. That’s why most of them say, for surcharge reimbursements greater than $5, you should submit the receipts. But for foreign atms, the calculation won’t be as simple as that because of currency conversions. It would only work if the atms itemise the charges when they submit it to your bank.

Fiby

I have one of two guesses.

1) They receive the transaction as say 500 Pesos, and they do the divide by (smallest denomination available at a bank) thing and see what’s left over, then convert that to USD.
2) They actually receive the data as a separate line item.

Either way, I’ve always been reimbursed the correct amount after converting to USD when using my Schwab and Fidelity debit cards abroad.

Outlook
Outlook

Many credit unions offer credit cards with no cash advance fee. If you make a payment and make the credit card balance go below 0 before doing a cash advance using such credit cards in a foreign country or in the US (e.g. make a payment -> balance becomes negative 20 -> withdraw 20), there should be no fee and no interest charge?

captainsave
captainsave

Charles Schwab free atm worldwide!

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