We appreciate Rudy’s effort at welcoming new customers, but we expect more from our bank!
We learned the hard way that ATM and foreign transaction fees can really take a bite out of your travel budget. In fact, during our two month trip throughout Ecuador, we wasted over $175 by paying unnecessary bank fees. We could have used that money to buy more than 60 lunch meals in Ecuador. Lesson learned!
Check out your bank’s fees in regard to ATM withdrawals (domestic vs. international). If the fees are too high, you do have alternatives.
Our bank charged us $5 for each international ATM withdrawal. Plus, we paid service fees to the bank with the ATM. And, because it was common for the ATM’s in Ecuador to either run out of money or impose a $200 maximum withdrawal allowance, we often needed to make multiple withdrawals. Cha-ching $
We now bank with Charles Schwab (available to people with a US address). They refund all of our ATM fees, whether international or national, at the end of each month.
Foreign Transaction Fees
Visa, MasterCard, and many banks often charge 1-4% (based on the amount of your transaction) for converting foreign charges into your home currency. This was the case with our former bank and credit cards. Now we no longer pay those foreign transaction fees (thanks again to Charles Schwab).
I owe these savings to a blog post I read by Marcelo of The Wandering Trader. His post is worth a read as Marcelo provides a great list of international banks and credit card companies that offer low fees. Check it out!