Compare the best debit cards for international travel | finder.com

The best debit card for traveling overseas

Save money on international transaction and foreign ATM fees.

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Editor's pick: TransferWise Borderless Account

  • Lower conversion fees
  • No monthly fee
  • No foreign transaction fee

Editor's pick: TransferWise Borderless Account

Send and receive 40+ currencies right from your phone, but with a better exchange rate and low fees.

  • Free ATM withdrawals up to $250 every 30 days
  • Hold multiple currencies in one account
  • Send money overseas

Compare debit cards

Name Product Monthly fee ATMs ATM transaction fee Out-of-network ATM fee ATM fee rebates Foreign transaction fee
$0
Free at any ATM in the world
$0
$0
You can withdraw $250 every 30 days with no fees
0%
Send and receive 40+ currencies right from your phone, but with a better exchange rate and low fees.
$0
38,000 fee-free ATMs nationwide
$0
$2.50
0%
Linked checking and savings accounts from a mobile-first bank that’s light on fees.
$0
Free to use anywhere worldwide
$0
$0
1%
A spend and save combo account with no monthly service fees, free access to every ATM in the world, unlimited cash back rewards and deposits insured by the FDIC. The Aspiration Spend & Save Account is a cash management account offering of Aspiration Financial, LLC, an SEC-registered broker-dealer. Aspiration is not a chartered bank.
$0
1,000 fee-free ATMs across the country
$0
$3
For $5 a month, you can get up to four ATM fee rebates
3%
Pay a $0 monthly service charge and get free access to BBVA ATMs.
$25 per month
Access to 16,000 ATMs and nearly 5,000 branches nationwide
$2.50
$5
First four non-Chase ATM transactions per statement period
3%
Get a $300 signup bonus as a new Chase checking customer when you open a Chase Premier Plus Checking account and set up direct deposit.

Compare up to 4 providers

Best debit cards for overseas travel

Best for getting cash at foreign ATMs: Aspiration Spend & Save Account

When you’re hoping to withdraw cash abroad without paying your bank every time you use an ATM, an account with Aspiration may be the solution. Aspiration offers free ATM access worldwide.

Note that the network and the bank the ATM belongs to can still charge a fee.

Best for foreign purchase fees: NBKC Personal Account

For making purchases abroad, you may want to look into an NBKC Personal Account, which offers a 0% foreign transaction fee. You’ll also benefit from no fees at over 32,000 Moneypass ATMs, and up to $12 refunded per month for fees from any other ATMs.

Best for currency conversion fees: Charles Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking Account

Use your Schwab Bank Visa Platinum Debit Card to make purchases abroad and withdrawals from overseas ATMs without worrying about foreign transaction fees. Your account gets charged the US dollar equivalent, typically as calculated by the bank or network the transaction is with.

While Charles Schwab doesn’t charge a currency conversion fee, the network or bank still might.

How did we choose the best cards?

In determining our picks for the best debit cards to use while traveling outside the US, a number of debit cards were primarily evaluated based on currency conversion, foreign transaction fees and branch or ATM access. Secondary factors that were considered include monthly fees, minimum balance requirements, customer service and interest rates.

What happens when you use your debit card overseas

When you use your debit card oversea, or while shopping at an overseas store, you’ll generally be charged extra fees.

For purchases

Your checking account will usually charge a foreign transaction fee when you purchase something in a foreign currency. You may also have to pay a margin on the exchange rate, which means that your bank sells you foreign currency at a higher price than you’d pay elsewhere.

Debit card readers in stores and hotels can often detect that you’re using a card from another country, and they may ask to debit the purchase in US dollars rather than the local currency. While this can help you save on foreign transactions fees, it often means you’ll pay a significantly worse exchange rate, and is generally the more expensive option.

For ATM withdrawals

Your normal bank account will usually charge the following fees: Foreign ATM fee, foreign transaction fee, exchange rate markup and, in most cases, the ATM itself will charge a third-party fee. These fees can make withdrawing money at a foreign ATM very expensive.

Debit cards for overseas travel

Your debit card is linked to a checking account, and choosing a bank that offers both card and account features for travelers can help you save.

Look for an account that offers a Mastercard or Visa debit card, which are accepted worldwide. You’ll also want to choose a bank that belongs to a strong ATM partner network to cut down on ATM fees while you’re traveling — and that has reasonable foreign ATM fees for when you’re not able to use an in-network machine.

The best checking accounts for international travel offer fee-free foreign transactions, so look for an account that offers low or no foreign transaction fees.

What are the features of a debit card?

The features that come with your debit card will vary from card to card, but here’s some of the standards you expect:

Access your own funds and not worry about interest

Using a debit card will allow you to access your own funds while traveling overseas. Unlike a line of credit, spending your own money can help curb your spending and keep your budget in check.

Easy account management

You can manage your account and keep track of your travel budget using online account management. Most banks offer online banking and mobile phone apps, so you should have no trouble managing your funds on the go.

Easy to apply

Getting a debit card is easier than getting a credit card because you don’t have to meet minimum income or age requirements. You simply need to have a checking or savings account.

World-class security and fraud protection

Most debit cards have microchip technology, which provides increased protection against fraud when compared to cards that rely on magnetic strips. Both Visa and Mastercard have online security programs in place to offer extra peace of mind when your personal information is in the online world.

Zero liability

Always notify your bank when you plan on leaving the country. This way your bank or credit card can expect purchases from abroad. Visa and Mastercard have zero liability policies in place, so when you use your card overseas, your card provider does not hold you liable in the case of fraudulent and suspicious transactions.

Are you searching for travel cards instead?

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What are the benefits and drawbacks of using debit card while traveling?

The benefits

  • Access your funds anytime, anywhere. A debit card with the Visa or Mastercard logo gives you instant access to money in your bank account, no matter where you are.
  • Avoid fees if you use the right ATM. If you use a partner ATM, you don’t have to pay any additional fees.
  • Avoid international transaction fees. Just about every US debit card will require that you pay currency conversion fees every time you use your card overseas. Though, some cards will waive the international fee.
  • Safe way to spend your money with fraud protection. Debit cards give you a safe and secure way to access money when traveling overseas, given that multiple security layers work in keeping your information secure.

The drawbacks

  • Getting your card replaced overseas is difficult. Replacing a lost or stolen debit card when you’re traveling overseas can take up to 10 business days, and can be costly.

What else should I consider when choosing a new account?

Before you open a new travel-friendly checking account with a debit card, consider the following:

Is your card part of the Global ATM Alliance?

The Global ATM Alliance is a group of major international banks that allow their customers to use international ATMs without charging additional fees. Bank of America debit cardholders, for example, can access ATMs across Europe for free.

Does the card come with linked travel insurance?

Some debit cards come with complimentary travel insurance. Depending what you’re eligible for, you could find that these come in handy if you lose or misplace your luggage or find yourself confronted by a medical emergency or flight cancellation.

Are there any international Visa and Mastercard benefits?

Visa and Mastercard debit cards give cardholders access to a range of special global offers and promotions.

What happens if I think my account has been scammed overseas?

If you think you’ve been a victim of fraud, contact your bank or card issuer immediately to cancel the card and begin the process of recouping any lost funds.

How do I send funds to someone overseas?

Check what options the account has for transferring money overseas — and how high the fees are.

How do I link a debit card to a PayPal account?

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Alternative travel money options

Many travelers like to have more than one way to access their money while overseas. Other popular options include:

  • Credit cards. Using a credit card overseas makes sense if you need access to credit, and in such a scenario you should look for a card that charges little or no foreign transaction fees. Plus, a credit card can come in handy if you need more funds than expected in the case of an emergency. However, avoid overspending and keep in mind that everything you buy will need to be paid back, usually with interest.
  • Prepaid travel cards. A prepaid travel card can be a good way to load multiple currencies on one card. Plus, you can avoid the negative impact of fluctuating exchange rates by locking the rate in at the time of loading. Keep in mind though that loading and reloading your card can incur a fee and it can take up to a few days for the funds to appear on your card.
  • Traveler’s checks. These used to be one of the most popular options, but they’re quickly fading from favor. While each check comes with a unique number and is not difficult to replace if lost, the bulkiness of carrying around multiple checks does not work in their favor. In addition, you have to cash these checks before you get access to funds.

Should I use a debit card or a travel card?

Which option is best for you depends on whether you favor affordability or convenience — and whether your checking account and linked debit card are travel-friendly.

You can continue to access your regular account with a debit card without having to pre-plan or convert any cash beforehand. The drawback is that depending on the account you have, withdrawals, transactions and currency conversions could attract fees which can all add up. If your account has low or no foreign transactions fees, this tends to be the best option.

A travel card is a prepaid card that can be loaded with multiple currencies. This can be useful if you are traveling to multiple places in one trip. The card can be reloaded, but it can incur a fee. These cards are useful for people who have checking accounts with unreasonably high foreign transaction fees.

Bottom line

Use a globally accepted debit card to gain access to your money without the temptation of overspending. The fees and rates that come with using your card will vary from card to card, so compare your options to ensure the cost doesn’t outweigh the benefits.

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16 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    JulieJanuary 24, 2019

    I’m about to obtain and load a Debit Card (Master Card Cash Passport) ready to travel from Australia to india. Can I just load it up with AUD or should I be putting in USD.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      ValJanuary 28, 2019Staff

      Hi Julie,

      Thank you for leaving a question. For the MasterCard Cash Passport – you may lock in exchange rates each time you load and reload. Load up to 11 different currencies on one card: USD, EUR, GBP, NZD, THB, CAD, HKD, SGD, JPY, AED and AUD.

      For your question, you may either load AUD or USD whichever is more convenient.

      Hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Val

  2. Default Gravatar
    RAJANovember 11, 2018

    I a m planing to travell to Singapore. Will I be able to use easyshopPlatinum Debit master card of HDFC Bank for purchases And payment towards food ch and taxi fairs or I need to arrange for forex card only

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      nikkiangcoNovember 22, 2018Staff

      Hi Raja,

      Thanks for your inquiry and for visiting our page. You may certainly use the easyshop Platinum Debit Mastercard of HDFC Bank for purchases and payment for food, taxi fairs and etc. when you go to Singapore. Call HDFC that you will be travelling to Singapore and inform them of your travel dates so they can activate your card for international transactions. Hope this was helpful. Don’t hesitate to message us back if you have more questions.

      Best,
      Nikki

  3. Default Gravatar
    SizweOctober 29, 2018

    Can i withdraw money from any ATM using my South African Standard bank debit card in USA?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JhezOctober 29, 2018Staff

      Hello Sizwe,

      Thank you for your comment.

      According to Standard Bank (South Africa), your card is accepted at over 30 million merchants worldwide. You may use to withdraw from ATM’s overseas, however, please note that fees may apply. Please note that you need to notify the bank in advance if you’re planning to use your card overseas so they won’t need to disturb your trip with a phone call to authenticate your purchases. You can also activate your card for overseas travel in the mobile banking app by letting the bank know your travel dates before you leave.

      To be sure, best to bring with you back up cards and cash.

      Should you wish to have real-time answers to your questions, try our chat box on the lower right corner of our page.

      Regards,
      Jhezelyn

  4. Default Gravatar
    ninaOctober 2, 2018

    How much will fees cost if I withdraw from my asb debit card in Australia

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      johnbasanesOctober 3, 2018Staff

      Hi Nina,

      Thank you for leaving a question.

      The ASB Bank Limited NZ has an overseas ATM withdrawal fee of $7.50. Hope this helps!

      Cheers,
      Reggie

  5. Default Gravatar
    GeneOctober 2, 2018

    I have a child in the Philippines. I am there for a month every 6 months. WesternUnion fees are reasonable but is there a cash or debit card I can load here in the USA for my baby’s mom to use anywhere in the Philippines without those fees? And can she get cash from an ATM without paying fees? Lastly, are there common banks in both the USA and the Philippines?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JhezOctober 5, 2018Staff

      Hello Gene,

      Thank you for your comment.

      Since you’re looking for a prepaid cash card or debit card, you may want to take a look at the prepaid travel money cards and debit cards for travel.

      These are the cards that you can load up, designed when travelling, and can be used in different countries. I have not confirmed that this can be used in the Philippines, however, please do note that most Visa, Mastercard, Discover and Amex can be used in the said country. You can also withdraw cash through an ATM. Please do note that fees when withdrawing money will still depend on the card. The local ATM fees may apply.

      Alternatively, you may also want to take a look at the ways to send money to the Philippines here. You can use the page as a guide.

      Should you wish to have real-time answers to your questions, try our chat box on the lower right corner of our page.

      Regards,
      Jhezelyn

  6. Default Gravatar
    rehmanJuly 23, 2018

    i want to know if am going to any country should load the currency of that country in my Visa card or i can use USD or euro to use there?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      nikkiangcoJuly 24, 2018Staff

      Hi Rehman!

      Thanks for getting in touch!

      Yes, you should load the currency of the country you’re going to in your Visa Travel Card to save money on foreign exchange fees. Depending on where you’re going, it’s always good to use the local currency if paying in cash.

      Hope this helps!

      Nikki

  7. Default Gravatar
    FrancisApril 25, 2018

    Why can’t shops except my travel card when I have sufficient funds, or is the card only to use in ATM machine.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      RichApril 25, 2018Staff

      Hello Francis,

      Thanks for posting your comment here.

      As an added protection for cardholders, transactions from overseas are closely monitored and flagged by the system if it looks suspicious. This is one of the reasons why credit card companies require customers to notify them of their dates of travel. This way, their system can mark the transaction as an authorized one.

      If you have sufficient funds and you are able to withdraw from the ATM but you are unable to make purchases, then it’s best to call to have it checked.

      Check out this article on Finder and look for Zero Liability.

      Cheers!

      Rich

  8. Default Gravatar
    KKNovember 22, 2017

    I wish to have money equivalent to 100 u s dollar during my forthcoming trip to Sri Lanka for a week.I have hdfc bank debit card (Master Card) & pnb Global credit card (VISA) with me with sufficient balance in it.Do I still need to carry the exchange money in cash for Sri Lanka.If yes,then how much,so as not to face any scarcity of funds at any stage during the trip. Thanks.
    K.K.Kaul

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      RenchNovember 22, 2017Staff

      Hi KK,

      Thanks for reaching out to us. Please note that we are not affiliated with any company we feature on our site and so we can only offer you general advice.

      The official currency of Sri Lanka is the Rupee (LKR). The Sri Lankan government has tight control over the national currency and there are strict limits on the amount of rupees you can bring in and out of the country (up to 5,000 LKR). Because the Sri Lankan rupee isn’t an international currency, you’ll need to change your US dollars or withdraw rupees from an ATM when you arrive.

      You can get more helpful information on this page and compare your options travel money cards that you can apply for.

      Best regards,
      Rench

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