What’s the Best Checking Account for International Travel?

A good checking account is essential to international travel. We’ve looked at three top providers to determine the best one for those on the move.

Credit cards get all the attention when it comes to international banking, but what about checking accounts? When you’re faced with cash-based economies, ATM fees and withdrawal limits, you’ll quickly realize why a good card is important.

Read my rant here: The Very Real Currency Struggle for International Travelers

We’ve selected three of the top cards for international travel: Capital One 360, Charles Schwab High Yield Investor Checking Account, and Fidelity Cash Management Account. These accounts will minimize – or eliminate – all penalties while traveling oversees.

Cards are available to U.S. citizens traveling to all countries except high-risk (federally regulated).


Capital One
360
Charles Schwab
High Yield Investor
Checking Account
Fidelity Cash
Management Account
Type of Account
Checking Checking Cash holding with option to invest
Type of Card
Mastercard Visa Visa
Annual Fee
$0.00 $0.00 $0.00
Minimum Monthly Balance
$0.00 $0.00 $0.00
APY (Annual Interest)
$0-$49.9K: 0.20%
$50K-$99.9K: 0.75%
$100K or more: 0.90%
0.13% 0.07%
Foreign Transaction Fee
$0.00 $0.00 1%
ATM Network
38K ATMs in US, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, UK, and Australia 95% of all ATMs worldwide 1M ATMs worldwide
ATM Fee (from Bank)
$0.00 $0.00 $0.00
ATM Fee (from ATM)
Free for ATMs marked Capital One or Allpoint
0% reimbursement for others
100% reimbursement for all ATMs Free for ATMs marked Visa, Plus, or Star
0% reimbursement for others
Fraud Coverage
YES YES YES
FDIC Insured
$250,000 $250,000 $1,250,000
Rewards
NONE NONE NONE
Online and Mobile Banking
YES YES YES
Shipment of Card
Domestic Only Domestic or International Domestic Only
More Information
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Winner

Charles Schwab wins by a landslide! With a 95% worldwide ATM network, 100% fee reimbursement and generous APY, Charles Schwab is the easy choice for extended international travel.

Consider Fidelity if you want to invest, or Capital One if you want higher interests, but neither beat Charles Schwab oversees.

But wait! Before we get too excited – I hope you’re reading this post from the U.S. Getting the card if already oversees is tricky. Banks take fraud seriously, so if you’re applying from a foreign IP, you’re likely to get flagged (and I wouldn’t risk a VPN). I was able to enlist some help at my domestic address to get the card shipped oversees (thanks mom!), but you’ll need to talk with you banker to see what’s right for you.

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