Unnecessary bank fees are every traveler’s nightmare especially when you have already spent a lot travelling around the world. A debit card used abroad attracts a foreign transaction fee usually in the sights of 3% by the bank. When you want to spend $200, you’ll actually spend $206 plus the transaction fees.
Withdrawing the cash at an ATM is not a better option either. You will end up being charged double fees for the withdrawal because of the bank withdrawal fee and sometimes the ATM also charges a fee for your withdrawal. The withdrawal and transaction fees might seem to be small amounts from the onset. However, after you have transacted for a long time, a quick count of the money lost to transaction fees could reveal the hundreds of dollars that have been wasted on bank charges.
International banking is a complex maze for the average person. It is common that a person goes to a bank, opens an account and then calls it a day with no knowledge of the inherent international charges. These bank charges will be the reason for the dent in your wallet. Some banks, however, are considerate and serve their customers from all over the world well. Such banks are the most suitable for international travelers.
The Best accounts for International travelers from the US
American travelers are spoiled for choice when it comes to selecting the best bank account to open. International American travelers can pick from either of the following outlined banks.
Charles Schwab High Yield Checking
Free to open, no minimum balance requirement, no foreign transaction fees and no monthly or annual fees. There is also no ATM fee for transactions everywhere in the world. Regardless of where you are, you won’t pay an ATM fee, if you do, the bank will refund you at the end of each month. American travelers love and like this bank because there is no other that provides such unique services.
Capital One 360 savings
This is an online bank with low overhead fees which means they offer checking and savings accounts with no minimum balance or fees. The bank also has an interest rate of 1% which is fair when compared to banks of the same features. You can link this account to an actual bank account and transfer money between the two.
This account brings a new dynamic to the banking business. It is available for everybody around the world. This account is most suitable for people who constantly change currencies. You can literally receive payments from anywhere in the world with zero transaction fees. You can convert more than 40 different currencies using this account. The currency conversion fees are also extremely low between 0.35% and 2%. You can withdraw up to $275 free per month. A flat rate of 2% is charged for additional withdrawals.
Bank accounts for international travelers from the UK
Banking in the UK is in a transition phase and some new trends that are suitable for travelers from the UK.
Starling Bank Personal Account
No ATM fees or foreign transaction fees. Starling allows withdrawals of up to $300 daily which helps suit your emergency needs. This account is very convenient for travelers as it is a mobile-only account. Real-time notifications of transactions are provided for on your phone. Furthermore, monthly spending reports are sent to you so you keep an eye on exactly what you are using your money on.
Revolut personal account
It is an app based account only available for UK travelers. It gives you a current account with the UK and a Euro IBAN account for free. This account offers free international money transfers in over 120 countries. Revolut offers free withdrawals from ATMs anywhere around the world. There are two types of accounts for Revolut, a paid one, and a free one. Each of them has different features and limits. Revolut also allows you to exchange and buy Bitcoins, Litecoin and Ether. If you lose a bank card, it is easy to deactivate your account by simply pressing a button.
This is also an online-only bank which implies reduced overhead costs and free transactions when abroad whether online or in person. This account makes use of the Mastercard exchange rates for all transactions. Monzo offers free ATM withdrawals for up to 200 pounds. A 3% charge is imposed on all your withdrawals. The app also provides you with spending reports which enable you to track you’re spending over the month. Should you lose your card, you can easily freeze the card within the app.
Every time we want to travel, we get caught up in packing and the excitement makes us forget the actual costs we will incur when we travel. It is imperative that we be more concerned about our spending when planning for travel. The best way we can observe out spending and cut it down is through avoiding bank charges and fees. Travelers should choose their bank accounts wisely so as to have tons of money that would otherwise be used as banking fees.