Save the ATM fees abroad

For most people ATM fees are an accepted inconvenience and cost that we think little about. But it doesn’t have to be this way!

When I graduated and moved to New York I realized I had to get a new bank account. The local bank I used only had one branch and it was going to be hundreds of miles away from me. That meant that everytime I needed cash I would have to pay an absurd ATM fee. I spent hours searching before I finally found the perfect bank account for me.

Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking

No More ATM Fees…Worldwide

As I waded through the options, there were always concessions to be made: a minimum balance, an anual service fee, no interest rate, etc. Then I found Schwab. The first thing that lured me in was their offer of unlimited fee rebates from any ATM worldwide. No dreaded ATM fees ever again. No limit like some other accounts, no complicated qualifying stipulations, and it was WORLDWIDE!

Look, you shouldn’t be carrying around pockets full of cash. It’s unsafe, especially for travelers.  If you’re mugged or your money is stolen from your hostel room, you really have no remedy. The money is gone forever. That’s why you should do your best to always carry your money on a credit or debit card.

ATM Fees are a pain in the ass but they also can get pretty damn expensive. You can pay Domestic ATM Fees of $1.50-$4.00 and International ATM Fees are even worse, ranging from $4.00 – $7.00. That’s a lot of dough your wasting getting your own money!  Those fees can really add up if you always need to access your money (which is your right)… and they’re better spent on food and enjoying memorable experiences.

No Service Fees, Minimum Balance, and Interest!

This sounded too good to be true. But when I looked a little closer, it only got better. Not only was there no service fees and no minimum balance, you also earned interest on your balance. True, it isn’t a lot (0.15% APY) but the offer alone is higher than most competitors, most who offer no interest at all. A nice touch.

No International Transaction Fees

When I had studied abroad, many of my friends not only had to pay the exorbitant ATM fees but also an exchange fee on every transaction. I was lucky enough that my bank did not do this but I found this to be extremely inconvenient and borderline sneaky. So I called to confirm this was not the case with Schwab. It was confirmed for me that “Schwab Bank does not have any foreign currency or international transaction fees for the use of the Schwab Bank Platinum Visa Debit Card overseas.”

Another problem I had when abroad in Sydney, Australia was getting in contact with my bank’s customer service. The time difference made it extremely hard for me to catch them during business hours and the calls were super expensive. Without even asking, the Schwab customer service rep I spoke to assured me that they could assist with an international toll-free number for my use.  Not only would it be free to call but it was 24/7. 

An interesting alternative is for german people the Deutsche Kreditbank (DKB). They offer free services – worldwide.