When you're traveling abroad, taking money out of an ATM is a convenient way to exchange currency. Unfortunately, depending on your bank, using this method to access local currency could also be an expensive option if you're charged additional fees, like an ATM fee and a foreign transaction fee.
The good news is, some banks won't make you pay to use an ATM in a foreign country — and others provide reimbursement for ATM transaction fees. If you're a jet setter and looking for a bank that won’t charge you fees when you use your debit card outside of the United States, this list will help you find the financial institution that's right for you.
Banks with no international ATM fees
- Charles Schwab
- Capital One
- Alliant Credit Union
- First Republic Bank
The Schwab Bank high-yield investor checking account is an ideal choice for frequent travelers who want to save on ATM fees. With the investor checking account, you won’t be charged for using an ATM abroad and Charles Schwab will reimburse you whatever the local bank charges. You also won't pay any foreign transaction fees when you use your debit card abroad.
In addition to these great benefits, this Charles Schwab bank account also offers:
- No monthly maintenance fees or minimum balance requirements as long as you've linked your account to a Schwab One brokerage account
- An annual percentage yield (APY) of .03% (as of Aug. 21, 2020)
- Travel notices so you'll have uninterrupted access to your money during your trip
- A full-featured mobile app that enables you to deposit and transfer funds from your phone
If you open an Aspiration Spend & Save Account and choose the Aspiration Plus level of service, then you'll be in luck. Aspiration provides fee reimbursement that makes it possible to use ATMs worldwide. Aspiration credits you $4 for every ATM fee. If your fees end up higher, you can contact their customer support for the appropriate fee credit. You won't be reimbursed for fees charged by Mastercard though.
Other features of an Aspiration Plus account include:
- No monthly fees, no minimum monthly deposit, and no minimum monthly balance requirements
- Aspiration donates 10% of its earnings to charities
- An annual percentage yield of 1.00% (as of Aug. 21, 2020)
- No overdraft or stop payment fees
- Earn cash back rewards - up to 10% - when you spend with your debit card
- Get $100 bonus when you spend $1000 in the first 60 days
- Up to 1.00% APY interest (up to 25 times higher than Big Banks)
- Unlimited fee-free withdrawals at 55,000+ ATMs
- Deposits are FDIC insured
You can use your Betterment Checking account debit card at any ATM worldwide where Visa cards are accepted, and Betterment will reimburse any associated fees. It will even reimburse the 1% currency conversion fee from Visa that applies to foreign transactions, purchases, and ATM transactions. That means you can get free ATM access anywhere you travel.
Other features of a Betterment Checking account include:
- A robust mobile app that lets you manage all aspects of your account
- Contactless payment
- No minimum deposit required to open an account
Capital One's 360 Checking Account allows you to use your debit card at more than 39,000 Capital One or Allpoint ATMs without paying ATM fees. This includes ATMs outside of the U.S. With this account, you won’t be charged foreign transaction fees on debit card purchases either.
In addition to these perks for travelers, account holders also benefit from:
- No monthly maintenance fees or account minimums
- One free checkbook
- A top-rated, full-featured mobile app to enable you to manage accounts and deposit checks
- An APY of 0.1% (as of Aug. 21, 2020)
Alliant Credit Union
Alliant credit union members with an Alliant Checking or Teen Checking account can make fee-free cash withdrawals at more than 80,000 ATMs worldwide. Plus, account holders are also eligible for a rebate on ATM fees. This rebate maxes out at $20 per month, but it covers withdrawals at foreign ATMs. You will still be charged a 1% Visa foreign transaction fee if you use your debit card to make a withdrawal outside of the U.S., though.
Debit cardholder benefits vary depending on the kind of Alliant checking account you open. The $20 ATM rebate is available on Alliant's high-rate checking account, which also offers:
- No monthly maintenance fee or minimum balance requirements
- An APY of 0.25% (as of Aug. 21, 2020)
- A free Visa debit card and one free box of checks upon account opening
- Alliant's mobile banking app, which includes mobile deposit
- Free overdraft protection if you have a linked Alliant savings account
First Republic Bank
First Republic's ATM Rebate Checking offers a rebate for withdrawal fees charged by other banks, so you can use your debit card to take money out anywhere without worrying about ATM fees. And you won't have to pay foreign transaction fees either, though you aren't reimbursed for foreign currency conversion charges.
There are some other fees you could potentially be hit with though, as well as some benefits for account holders:
- The minimum opening balance is $500
- You must maintain a $3,500 average balance or will incur a $25 monthly service fee
- You'll get your first order of checks for free
Fidelity's Cash Management Account comes with ATM reimbursement, as do Fidelity brokerage accounts. As an account holder, you can withdraw money from more than 1 million ATMs worldwide with your debit card, as long as the ATM has a Visa, Plus, or Star logo. And ATM reimbursement is available no matter where in the world you make your ATM withdrawal. You will owe a 1% foreign transaction fee for foreign transactions, though.
Fidelity's debit card also offers:
- The ability to use Apple Pay
- EMV chip technology for enhanced security
- Travel and emergency assistance
- Worldwide travel accident insurance
- Auto rental collision damage waiver
- An extended warranty for the first 90 days from the time you make a purchase
USAA's Classic Checking account is open only to eligible members of the military, veterans, and their families.If you qualify for an account, you can get access to 60,000 USAA-preferred ATMs worldwide with your debit card, and you won’t incur any fees. If you are charged fees at a foreign ATM, you'll be refunded for up to $15 per month. However, you will owe a 1% foreign transaction fee for withdrawals made abroad. A $25 initial deposit is required to open an account.
Other features of USAA's Classic Checking account include:
- No monthly service fees and no minimum balance requirement
- Overdraft protection when you link your account to a USAA savings account or credit card
- Access to USAA Money Manager to help you track your spending
FAQs about international ATM fees
How can you avoid international ATM fees?
If you want to avoid paying international ATM fees, you have a couple of options. Those that appreciate the convenience of being able to withdraw money from an ATM may benefit from opening an account that offers free worldwide ATM access or reimbursement for ATM fees. Alternatively, you can exchange currency before you travel and use a credit card that offers no foreign transaction fees for the bulk of your spending abroad.
Which bank card is best to use abroad?
The best bank card to use abroad is one that offers easily accessible ATMs and few to no fees for withdrawing money or making purchases. Some accounts with ATM or debit cards that may be convenient and inexpensive to use abroad include:
- Schwab Bank High-Yield Investor Checking
- Aspiration Plus
- Betterment Checking
- Capital One 360 Checking
- Alliant Checking
- First Republic ATM Rebate Checking
- Fidelity Cash Management Account
- USAA Classic Checking
Can I use my debit card internationally?
Whether or not you can use your debit card internationally depends on certain factors, like where you'll be traveling and whether your bank's network is compatible with ATMs abroad. If you have a Visa or Mastercard-branded debit card, chances are you'll likely be able to use it abroad.
Before your trip, be sure to call your bank and let them know you'll be traveling. Ask about ATM usage abroad and any fees you might need to pay if you use your debit card during your trip. Taking this step will offer you some peace of mind and allow you to account for ATM or foreign transaction fees in your travel budget.
The final word on international ATM fees
International ATM fees can really add up, especially if you travel often and pay as much as $5 per ATM withdrawal. But with the accounts listed above, you won't have to worry about wasting your money on international ATM fees just to withdraw cash while you travel. So instead of spending your vacation dollars on ATM withdrawal fees, you can spend that extra couple of bucks of U.S. dollars on something fun to make your trip even more memorable.