If you’ve ever felt conflicted or confused about how much money to bring with you on a trip, or how and when you’ll spend it can be a nightmare – especially with messy exchange rates. Thankfully, international travel just got a whole lot easier with the use of ATM machines. ATMs provide us with an efficient way to get cash fast and with peace of mind. However, there are still hidden ATM & bank charges everywhere. Confusion around withdrawing cash in a foreign country is not uncommon. But don’t fret, a lot of these fees can be avoided when you have a little insight.
“Own only what you can always carry with you: know languages, know countries, know people. Let your memory be your travel bag.”Alexander Solzhenitsyn
Avoid ATM & Bank Charges by Choosing the Right Bank for You
First things first, you have to find the right bank that fits your travel wants and needs. We all know that withdrawing from a different ATM will accompany fixed fees, require a % of what you are withdrawing, or even a mixture of both. Traveling in and of itself can already be a pricey endeavor, so these additional fees can really start to weigh heavy on funds.
Use Mobile Banking Apps
Present day banking has become much more accessible with the invention of online mobile banking. With these apps you can access all of your transactional data including dates and locations 24/7, freeze accounts if necessary, and so much more. However, it is worth noting that there are certain banks that are more compatible with traveler desires. Here are some US banks that might be more travel friendly:
- Charles Schwab Bank- Great for avid ATM use.
- Capital One- Great foreign transaction fees.
- HSBC- Great for people who live outside of their native country.
- Citibank- Great for wiring money
Use Bank Owned ATMs
Another useful tip includes sticking with bank-owned ATMs. You’ll usually avoid ATM & bank charges along with confusion by simply using an independently owned ATM. These types of non-bank ATMs are ironically usually located right at the heart of tourist sites. Some travelers might not understand that these conveniently located ATM spots are essentially tricking them into giving away their money. Heightened exchange rates and inflated fees are usually part of this scam. It might be a little bit more of a hassle to find those bank-owned ATMs, but trust us, it’s worth every penny.
Stick with Local Currency to Avoid ATM & Bank Charges
Last but certainly not least on our tour-de-tips, is remembering to always go with local currency. The game time decision of going with either the local or home currency can be confusing. It is always more strategic to go with the local rather than an inflated fixed rate – this fixed rate is almost always the worse option for your wallet.