There's a long checklist of things to be sure you've covered when you're traveling out of the country—like making sure you can spend money. Before jet-setting off to your next big destination, take a few extra steps to make sure you can access your funds if you need to without paying a ton of extra fees. For example, some debit cards charge a foreign ATM fee when you use an ATM in another country. You might also have to pay additional currency conversion or foreign transaction fees on each transaction you make. The best debit cards for international travel will help you reduce, or even eliminate, those fees.
Using a debit card over a credit card can be beneficial, because it's linked to your bank account. When you swipe, the funds are taken out of your checking account. That means you won't have to worry about repaying a credit card balance.
Using a debit card for international travel is useful for withdrawing local currency from an ATM for expenses like tipping or paying merchants who don't accept credit or debit cards. You wouldn't want to use a credit card at an ATM, since the transaction would be treated as a more expensive cash advance. So which are the best debit cards for international travel? Let's take a look.
Fidelity Cash Management Account
As a customer of the Fidelity Cash Management Account, you'll receive the Fidelity Visa Gold Check Card, which is one of the best debit cards for international travel. You'll pay a low 1% foreign transaction fee on transactions completed outside the United States.
You can also access more than one million ATMs worldwide and get reimbursed for ATM fees you're charged from other ATMs. EMV technology ensures that your information is safely transmitted when you're making purchases and withdrawals from ATMs, protecting your account from future fraud.
The card doesn't just save on ATM fees, it also includes a few extra perks that may come in handy while you're traveling internationally. With the Fidelity Visa Gold Check Card, you'll also get a 90-day extended warranty, travel and emergency assistance, worldwide travel accident insurance, and an auto rental collision damage waiver.
With the Fidelity Cash Management Account, you'll pay no monthly fees. You don't have to maintain a minimum monthly balance. Your deposits will be insured up to $1.25 million, which is more than traditional checking and savings accounts at other banks.
Schwab High Yield Investor Checking Account
With the Schwab High Yield Investor Checking account, you won't pay any fees on your checking account at all. That means no ATM fees when you use an ATM in another country, and no foreign currency conversion fee if you withdraw funds in another currency. Keep in mind that when you use an ATM outside your bank's network, the ATM operator may also charge you a fee.
You can't avoid the ATM fee, but Charles Schwab will refund it with no limits on the refunds. There are also no service fees or account minimums.
You'll need to open and link a Schwab One brokerage account, which can be opened and maintained with no fees. A brokerage account offers the ability to trade stocks, mutual funds, and other financial products.
Capital One 360 Checking Account
If you don't like the sound of opening a brokerage account, consider the Capital One 360 Checking Account for a debit card for international travel. Capital One doesn't charge a foreign transaction fee on transactions made in other currencies, which means you can use your debit card for purchases without paying for the currency conversion.
If you can locate a Capital One or Allpoint ATM while you're traveling, you won't have to pay an ATM fee on cash withdrawals either. The Allpoint network includes over 55,000 ATMs all over the world. You can download an app to your smartphone to locate an Allpoint ATM near you.
You can open a Capital One 360 Checking Account with no minimum deposits and no minimum balance requirements. You can also earn 0.10% APY on your balance.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Do you need to let your bank know when you travel with your debt card?
It's always a good idea to contact your bank before you use a debit card while traveling. Banks and credit card issuers try to protect you from fraud and will block transactions that look suspicious or outside your normal patterns of behavior. If you don't notify your bank that you'll be spending money far from home, your transactions may be declined, creating unnecessary headaches on your trip.
Should you travel with a debit card?
Yes. Your debit card gives you much-needed access to cash when you're traveling, and it allows you to carry less cash at any given time. You should, of course, be careful not to lose the card—and call your bank immediately to freeze it if you do.