Different people handle their money differently abroad. If you’re an avid traveler, you surely have your own system. Holding large amounts of money puts you at risk for theft or loss of your entire trips funds. Travelers checks, and checks in general are outdated, a bit of a hassle to use, and will cost you money to change to cash. Withdrawing cash in the maximum daily limit increments is the best way to handle cash abroad for me, but standard ATM fees add up quick. However, by switching banks to use a Charles Schwab High Yield Investor Checking account, and using a Capital One no international fees credit card, you can save these ATM fees and additional international charges. This article refers to banks in the United States.
You may not know about Charles Schwab as a standard checking account. It’s not what they’re known for, and they don’t have any branches or ATMs like most banks do. This is an online only account, but they make it nice and easy to use. Are there any fees or minimums on the Charles Schwab checking account? Nope, there is no monthly service fee or account minimums. Theres no charges to open an account either, so it doesn’t hurt to start an account and only use it while traveling. You can deposit money by mailing in a check, direct deposit, or transferring from another account.
Capital One is the only credit card I know of that doesn’t charge you fees for using it abroad. They’re on the Visa network, so your card will be accepted worldwide. They also have some pretty good travel rebates and or cash-back options for rewards. Customer service wise, they’re not amazing. I regularly get upset with them for putting holds on my cards while I’m abroad. They remove travel notices on your account after a month, so I’ve been blocked and forced to call them to lift the hold on my account while abroad several times. This type of complaint is probably not relevant for most customers, but if you plan on traveling for longer than a month keep this in mind.
Another cool thing about the Capital One VentureOne card is that you can go back and pay off old travel expenses with your award miles. This was really nice when trying to book a flight from Mumbai to Chicago recently, but falling short by just a few thousand miles. I was able to go back and pay off old flights and hotels and then just purchase the flight on the card. There are no annual fees on this capital one credit card. If you travel a lot, this card is a must.
This is a card I haven’t personally had the chance to use yet, but came recommended by a friend. It’s essentially just a prepaid credit card, put some cash on in whatever currency, then you can use the chip and pin card around the world. Especially handy as Europe likes to use the chip and pin more so than the swipe and sign method we’re used to in the US.
You can load money onto the card online. Travelex doesn’t charge for ATM withdrawls (including in store cash back requests) or to lookup your balance. If you have money left on the card when you’re done traveling, it’s no problem. You can transfer the remaining balance back to your bank account, or request a check be mailed to you.
If you’ve used the Travelex Cash Passport card, please leave a comment below and let us know what you think of it.
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