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]


56 Responses to Best Debit Cards For International ATM Cash Withdrawals

  1. Brian says:

    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.

    • Matt says:

      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 says:

      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).

    • Miz says:

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

      • CtownBin says:

        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 says:

        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 says:

      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:

  2. avi says:

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

  3. Diamond Vargas says:

    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 $$.

  4. savemesf says:

    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.

  5. thegazelle says:

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

  6. AdamH says:

    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.

  7. Fiby says:

    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 says:

      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 says:

        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.

  8. mileswhip says:

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

  9. Ben says:

    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 says:

      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 says:

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

  10. S Nack says:

    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.

  11. David says:

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

  12. Jeremy says:

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

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

  14. PeaceandPost says:

    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%.

  15. shaky02dd says:

    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 says:

      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.

  16. jnrfalcon says:

    The daily limits are also worth mentioning

  17. Paul says:

    Schwab all the way everyday.

  18. bn says:

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

  19. Dave says:

    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 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.

  20. J. Grant says:

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

  21. Justin says:

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

  22. Mark says:

    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.

  23. Jason says:

    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

  24. dizzy says:

    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).

  25. chop says:

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

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  27. Patrick says:

    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. 🙂

  28. Jake Poysti says:

    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

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  30. John D says:

    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.

  31. Harsh says:

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

    • Fiby says:

      I was reading the terms here 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 says:

        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 says:

          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.

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