For years I traveled internationally with the bank account that I grew up with, just a standard national US bank. While traveling internationally I would get locked out of my account countless times and have to spend forever on hold trying to get access to my account again. The bank account had crazy high bank fees for trying to withdrawal money internationally and did not even reimburse me for the ATM fee. I was spending a ton of money to just have access to my money abroad.
While I was planning my most recent, big international trip, I decided I had enough of trying to deal with the nonsense and switched to Charles Schwab. This is hands-down the best bank there is for travelers. Since changing banks, I have had zero problems internationally!
To be exact, I have a Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking® Account through Charles Schwab. This is what I use for my debit/checking account when traveling. It is perfect for using an ATM while abroad to have local currency.
Charles Schwab hosts free banking on their online platform. They only have a few physical locations around the US, but what they lack in physical branches they make up with great online platforms. I’ve found I can do pretty much anything at a normal bank that I can do online with Charles Schwab.
Since switching banks, I have not gotten locked out of my card, never have to pay to use an ATM and never have any monthly fees no matter the balance in my account. Such an improvement!
Now, at the end of every month, I get a refund of however much ATMs charged me to use them. Last month, that totaled $14.41 USD from two ATMS I used while traveling in Thailand. I also receive the interest from my account balance at the end of each month.
- Unlimited ATM fee rebates worldwide
- No monthly fees or account minimums
- 0.31% APY on your account balance
- Zero foreign transaction fees
- Nicely designed and user friendly mobile app
- Can deposit checks on mobile app
- Easy to set-up travel notifications
- Cannot deposit cash at bank branches
- Cannot request for international currency
How to Sign Up for Charles Schwab
Go to Schwab.com and sign up for a Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking® Account. When you open your High Yield Investor Checking account, you’ll be opening a brokerage account at the same time and will receive a separate account number for each. Currently, I only use the checking account at this time. From there I just set up my direct deposit at work to go into my checking account. You will receive checks and your debit card in the mail.
Happy International Banking
In the end, my Charles Schwab checking account has been a lifesaver while traveling and the benefits from switching have been absolutely worth it. I highly recommend this bank for anyone who travels internationally often!