Banking Abroad: Money Saving Tips

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After returning from our trip to England in February we were shocked by all the fees we were charged by our bank. We had to withdraw cash at two different times on our trip from the ATM.  The fees were over $10 just to withdraw our money from the ATM, then a 3% foreign transaction fee was added on top of that!  We ended up paying out around $30 just to access our money on our trip.

When we decided to make the commitment to our trip abroad, I spent countless hours researching the best banks for US citizens overseas.  Clearly, if we stay with the same bank we would be wasting a significant amount of money each month, just in fees.

The best banking choice overseas

The best banking offer we found was through Charles Schwab.  Currently Charles Schwab offers a free checking and savings account.  The accounts are attached to a brokerage account, but the brokerage account does not have to be active.  The best part of the account:

  • No ATM fees
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Full reimbursement if the bank ATM you use charges fees
  • Free online banking

An added bonus, when I set up our account the customer service was AMAZING!  I was able to speak to the exact same person every time I called with a question.  And they walked me through everything I had to do online.  They were kind, considerate and professional.  And for those of you that hate getting call centers in India, every time I called I spoke with someone in the US.  Not sure if that is all the time, but it was true when I called.

Even if you are just traveling abroad for a week or two, find out what your bank fees are internationally, they add up quickly!

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