The 13 Best Checking Accounts To Avoid International ATM Withdrawal Fees
No one enjoys being charged fees to withdraw cash while abroad, and this can sting particularly when you’re hit with not just a withdrawal fee from the issuing ATM, but also your bank.
With international ATM withdrawal fees usually around $3-5 per use, plus a percentage-based foreign transaction fee, the cost of accessing your own money when traveling can seriously add up.
Fortunately, there are banks out there that don’t charge foreign transaction fees, that will reimburse you for any fees incurred, or that charge lower fees in comparison to other banks.
Here’s a list of great checking accounts or banks to consider that help you avoid those international withdrawal fees.
The Best Checking Accounts to Avoid International ATM Withdrawal Fees
1) Chase Bank
In general, Chase charges $5 for international cash withdrawals plus a 3% foreign transaction fee. For Chase Premier Plus Checking℠ customers, the $5 withdrawal fee will be refunded for up to 4 withdrawals within a statement period, but this does not include a rebate for any fees incurred from the ATM issuer.
Chase Sapphire Checking customers do not incur any fees, including foreign transaction fees, for withdrawing cash from an ATM abroad. Chase attempts to identify and refund any charges from ATM issuers, but can also be contacted to request a refund if they didn’t identify these fees initially.
Chase’s popular “Sapphire Checking” account doesn’t charge any international fees if you withdraw from an ATM abroad. Image Credit: Tooykrub via Shutterstock
Hot Tip: If you’re also in the market for a business checking account, there are multiple great Chase business checking accounts that you should consider.
2) Ally Bank® – Interest Checking Account
When withdrawing cash from an international ATM, the Ally Interest Checking Account charges a very reasonable rate of 1%, with the standard being 3%. If withdrawing from an AllPoint® ATM, then no ATM surcharge would apply.
Sometimes a surcharge will still display on the ATM screen. However, Ally recommends that customers should proceed with the transaction and the surcharge will not be issued, or it will be refunded within 2 days.
The Ally Interest Checking Account does not require a minimum opening balance and there are no monthly maintenance fees.
3) Aspiration – Plus Account
With the Aspiration Plus online checking account, you receive one monthly reimbursement of international ATM fees charged when using both network and non-network ATMs, even traveling worldwide.
Aspiration’s fine print does state that a 1% foreign transaction fee is applicable; however, it’s not clear whether this is applicable to ATM withdrawals or for debit card transactions. For any ATM issuer fees incurred, these fees are reimbursed within 2-3 days of the withdrawal.
To open an account, there is a $10 minimum opening balance and a $7 monthly maintenance fee.
Hot Tip:Also avoid paying fee’s when using your cards abroad! See our in-depth article on the best credit cards that have no foreign transaction fees.
4) Capital One 360 Checking Account
If you have a Capital One 360 Checking® account, then you will benefit from no transaction fees for withdrawing cash abroad.
This is only applicable to Capital One 360 customers who set up a checking account online. If you set up a regular account with a physical branch, then you would incur foreign transaction fees on ATM withdrawals. There are no monthly service fees or minimum account balance requirements. You may still incur a flat usage fee from the issuing bank’s ATM, but for some customers, Capital One may reimburse up to $15 per statement month.
If you want to ensure you avoid ATM usage fees, then you can use your Capital One debit card at an AllPoint® ATM, available in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Puerto Rico, Australia, and Mexico.
5) Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking Account
With the Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking® account, you receive unlimited rebates for withdrawing cash from international ATMs when using the Schwab Bank Visa® Platinum Debit Card. You can use any bank or ATM network, so this saves the hassle of tracking down a particular ATM when you’re traveling.
The bank will issue a rebate at the end of the month for any ATM fees incurred relating to cash withdrawals, and if you believe a fee is eligible but wasn’t identified by the bank, then you can have Schwab review the charge by calling a Client Service Specialist at 1-888‐403‐9000.
There are no monthly fees or minimum balances required to open the checking account and your account will be linked to a Schwab One® brokerage account, but again, no fees are incurred for this account.
Citibank has an international ATM network spanning 40 countries where Citibank customers can withdraw cash without incurring any foreign transaction or withdrawal fees. Withdrawals must be made from Citibank branded ATMs.
However, for any non-network withdrawals, any fees incurred will be reimbursed to Citigold® customers maintaining an average of $200,000 in eligible linked deposit, investment, and retirement accounts.
Citigold® customers with high average balances ($200k+) won’t be charged any ATM withdrawal fees when abroad, even if the ATM is outside of Citi’s network. Image Credit: Nils Versemann via Shutterstock
7) Discover Bank
Discover Bank does not charge any foreign transaction fees when using international ATMs. However, the bank has limited ATM coverage outside of the U.S..
Debit cards are accepted at ATMs displaying the Discover, Pulse, or Diners Club International logos. Unfortunately, most international ATMs are not part of the surcharge-free network, so a usage fee would be incurred from the ATM issuer.
8) Fidelity Cash Management Account
The Fidelity® Cash Management Account gives customers free ATM withdrawals worldwide, even reimbursing any ATM issuing fees at the end of the statement month.
Fidelity’s website is a little misleading as a disclaimer states that a 1% transaction fee is chargeable; however, actual users have experienced that this applies only to debit card transactions, not ATM withdrawals.
No minimum opening balances or monthly service fees apply to a Fidelity Cash Management account.
9) First Republic Bank’s ATM Rebate Checking Account
First Republic Bank’s popular ATM Rebate Checking account gives customers access to over 800,000 fee-free ATMs worldwide. There is no limit to the number of monthly withdrawals, and First Republic will also reimburse customers if they do incur any usage fees when withdrawing cash abroad.
The account requires a $500 opening balance and a $3,500 minimum average must be maintained; otherwise, a $25 monthly fee will be charged.
10) HSBC Bank
HSBC customers benefit from the bank’s expansive global network with branches and ATMs located worldwide. When using most HSBC-branded ATMs internationally, all customers are not charged ATM withdrawal fees; however, a foreign transaction fee of 3% would apply.
This 3% transaction fee is waived for HSBC Premier checking account customers, with eligibility being a $100,000 maintained balance in combined deposit accounts and investments, or a qualifying commercial balance. If the requirements are not met, then a $50 monthly service fee would apply.
11) PNC Bank
PNC Bank charges a $5 fee for foreign ATM withdrawals and $3 for withdrawals in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, plus a 3% transaction fee of the amount withdrawn. These fees are waived for some customers.
For Performance Spend customers, fees will be reimbursed for 4 withdrawals and up to $10 per statement period on ATM surcharges incurred by other financial institutions. This account requires a $25 opening deposit plus a $10,000 average monthly balance across all PNC linked accounts or $2,000 in qualifying direct deposits. Failing that, then a monthly fee of $15 applies.
For Performance Select customers, transaction fees will be reimbursed for unlimited withdrawals and up to $20 per statement period on ATM surcharges incurred by other financial institutions. There is no minimum opening deposit is required if the account is opened online ($25 required otherwise.) Monthly linked account balances must average $25,000 or $5,000 in qualifying direct deposits, or a $25 monthly fee will be charged.
12) TD Bank
TD Bank charges a standard $3.00 fee for withdrawing cash from non-TD ATMs plus a 3% foreign exchange fee. The ATM issuing the cash may still impose a usage fee for withdrawals or balance checks, and these may be reimbursed for some customers. TD branded ATMs can be found in the U.S. and Canada.
With a USAA® checking account, you will be charged a $2 non-network fee plus a 1% transaction fee for withdrawing cash at an international ATM.
Although there are no waived options for specific account holders, these fees are quite low in comparison to other charging banks. Please note that a USAA account is limited to U.S. military members and their eligible family members.
14) Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo charges a flat $5 fee for withdrawing cash from international ATMs; however, this fee is waived for Portfolio by Wells Fargo® checking account holders with unlimited non-network ATM withdrawals. The monthly service fee for this account is $30 unless $25,000 is maintained across linked checking, savings, time accounts/CDs, or FDIC-insured IRA accounts. Alternatively, $50,000 must be maintained in qualifying linked bank, brokerage, and credit balances.
Preferred Checking account holders benefit from 1 fee-free withdrawal per statement period with subsequent withdrawals incurring the $5 fee.
Both of these accounts require a $25 minimum opening deposit.
5 Tips to Avoid ATM Withdrawal Fees
A bit of research and planning will save you from paying unnecessary international ATM charges. Consider how often, and for how long, you are likely to travel every month. If you travel each month, but for short periods, then you may be satisfied with an account that reimburses you for fees up to a certain amount for each statement month.
Flat-fees Versus Percentage Fees
If you’re traveling for longer periods or are planning to withdraw large amounts of cash, then you may want to choose a bank with a flat fee rather than a percentage transaction fee. For example, if you’re looking to withdraw $500, then a flat $2.50 flat fee with TD Bank is far more beneficial than a 3% transaction fee, which would be $15.
On the other hand, if you only plan to withdraw small amounts of cash, then the percentage fee could be more cost-effective for you.
Worldwide ATM Coverage
If you regularly travel to a particular country, then before you open a checking account, research which banks have ATM availability there. Some banks may offer international ATM coverage, so by planning ahead, you get to avoid any nasty surprises for ATM surcharges.
Use an ATM Locator
Use an ATM locator to familiarize yourself with your nearest surcharge-free ATM. This will save you time searching for compatible ATMs when on your travels and avoid having to use a high-fee ATM for urgent cash.
Credit Cards Versus Debit Cards
Never use a credit card for cash withdrawals from an ATM as these will always incur higher withdrawal fees than your debit card.
Dynamic Currency Conversion Fees
Always withdraw cash in the local currency as you’ll avoid dynamic currency conversion fees from your bank. Choosing to process the transaction in your home currency, rather than the local currency, means your bank can use an unfavorable rate rather than the general rate of exchange.
Bottom Line:Think about how much you travel, where you travel, and how much you think you’d be withdrawing regularly when deciding on which account is best for you.
The best checking account for you will depend on your financial circumstances; example being whether you have a large enough balance to qualify for a premium account that will carry international ATM reimbursement, in addition to various other benefits.
If you’re looking to open a checking account purely for international ATM purposes, then a Capital One 360 or Schwab Bank account makes the most sense with no monthly fees or minimum account balance requirements. A Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking® account comes with the additional benefit of being able to withdraw fee-free at any non-network ATM