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Compare debit cards with no foreign transaction fees
Save money when traveling or shopping at a foreign store online.
Every time you purchase something in a foreign currency, buy from an overseas merchant or withdraw money at an ATM, your bank can charge you a fee. If you make regular foreign transactions, choosing a debit card with no foreign transactions fees can help you save.
Debit cards with no foreign transaction fees
What is a foreign transaction fee?
Your bank applies a foreign transaction fee whenever a currency conversion is required. For example, if you make a payment online using your US debit card on an Australian site, your bank needs to exchange USD to AUD to process the payment, so it will charge you a fee to do this. This fee is usually around 3% of the transaction value, but it varies from bank to bank.
Your bank can also charge you even more fees when you use a foreign ATM or send an overseas transfer — plus it can mark up the cost of a foreign currency and pocket the difference. Because these fees are often charged on top of one another, they can start to add up if you make regular foreign transactions.
Our guide to foreign transaction fees
What are debit cards with no foreign transaction fees?
Debit cards with no foreign transaction fees don’t charge you to spend in a foreign currency. Some accounts will also let you use foreign ATMs without paying a fee and/or transfer money internationally fee-free.
What are the benefits of using a debit card with no foreign transaction fees?
Benefits you can expect from using a debit card with no foreign transaction fees include:
- Save money on international purchases made online. If you often buy things from overseas online, a debit card that charges no foreign transaction fees could lead to significant savings.
- Save money when using your card overseas. Depending on your card, you may be able to save on currency conversion fees, foreign ATM fees or both.
- Easily access money worldwide. If you have a Mastercard or Visa debit card you can look forward to using your card in over 200 countries and territories across the world. You can also use your card for online transactions on international websites.
- Avoid interest. Unlike a credit card, a debit card only allows you to access the cash in your checking account. This can help keep your spending in check, as you’re only spending what you actually have available in your account.
- Avoid extra steps. With the right debit card, you don’t have to worry about loading foreign currency onto a travel money card, you don’t have to exchange traveler’s checks for cash and there’s no need to apply for a special travel credit card.
How do these debit cards compare to travel money cards or credit cards?
The best option for you will depend on how often you make foreign transactions and how you use your card.
What are the pros and cons of using a debit card with no foreign transaction fees?
- Access your own money. Since you’re accessing money from your own bank account, you don’t have to worry about monthly payments, interest or overspending.
- Save on fees. If you make regular foreign transactions, you can save a significant amount of money.
- No transfers required. Since your debit card gives you direct access to money in your bank account, you don’t have to worry about transferring money from your account to another account or card.
- No conversion required. Your bank will automatically convert your money when paying in a foreign currency so you don’t have to worry about it.
- No access to extra emergency funds. You can only access funds in your bank account, so in case of an emergency a credit card could work better.
- Limited choice of providers. Many banks still charge hefty foreign transaction fees, so you’ll have fewer debit card choices.
- Conditions to meet. There may be account conditions you’re required to meet in order to enjoy no foreign transaction fees.
- Can’t lock in exchange rates. Other travel money options allow you to lock in exchange rates, which can help you save if you plan ahead.
How do I apply?
To apply for a debit card, click the Go to site button in the comparison table, which will take you through to the card provider’s online application form. The application process differs between providers, but you’ll generally need to provide the following:
- Personal details such as your name and address
- Forms of identification, such as a driver’s license and proof of address
- Financial details
- Social Security number
Debit cards are linked to checking accounts and don’t involve a line of credit, which generally means that they’re much easier to qualify for than credit cards. But you’ll generally need to be 18 and a US resident, and some banks may set additional criteria.
If you regularly travel or make foreign purchases, re-evaluating your checking account and debit card can help you save money on foreign transaction fees. If you’re ready to get started, compare checking accounts to find one with features and a debit card that fits your needs.
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