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best US bank to use that is great for overseas in Europe

I would like to know what US bank offers the best services for banking over seas....Ireland London Germany? I am concerned about ATM fees and fees for wiring money. I would certainly appreciate any input.

Posted by
15578 posts

Just about any credit union will charge no more than 1% for ATM withdrawals. CapitalOne 360 has no fees. Charles Schwab will even reimburse ATM fees. i don't know why you would mess with wiring money.

Posted by
4690 posts

European ATMs generally don't charge any fee to use (except a few non-bank owned ATMs and maybe some in Spain). It's your credit union or bank you need to worry about.

Recommendation: Andrews Federal Credit Union (in Maryland - you don't need to visit a physical branch to join). Debit card with $0 per use fee, 0% currency conversion fee. You can also get a no-fee chip and PIN visa with no foreign transaction fee from Andrews. You can use an Andrews debit card at any ATM in Europe.

To join Andrews (credit unions have weird eligibility requirements sometimes), you may need to join the American Consumer Council ($5 one-time fee for a year). Worth it, to me.

Posted by
2518 posts

My credit card and ATM card are both through CapitalOne because they do not charge foreign exchange fees or transaction fees. I've never had a problem either charging something or using my debit card to withdraw funds from my bank account. No bank is a bargain when you wish to wire funds abroad. For them it's another $20-$30 profit center. If you need to transfer money, use Transferwise.com - either their website or app.

Posted by
2963 posts

I have had excellent service and results with Charles Schwab investor checking, as have many other posters on this forum. Any ATM fees charged by any cash machine world wide are reimbursed by Charles Schwab. There are no foreign transaction fees ever.

I too am curious why you would need to wire money. It is easy to do electronic transfers into your checking account and then remove the cash from an ATM machine. I would think that the only time you might need to wire money would be if you were intending a very large purchase such as buying property. At that point, the fee for wiring is inconsequential compared to the total cost of the transaction.

Posted by
20638 posts

Generally it is local credit unions. Big banks, B of Am, US Bank, etc., tend to charge fees for withdraw and currency conversion.

Posted by
5320 posts

Just got the August issue of Kiplinger's Personal Finance today and their choice for best bank for frequent travelers is Charles Schwab, followed by Capital One 360.

Posted by
11154 posts

I use TD Bank. If you get their Convenience Checking ($100 minimum balance required to avoid fees), you are charged $3 per foreign ATM withdrawal, but no other fees. If you get Premier Checking ($2500 minimum balance required to avoid fees), you are not charged anything for foreign ATM withdrawals.

I have no connection with them except as a satisfied customer. They are only in certain areas, but if one is near you, another plus is that when you open an account, you walk out with a permanent ATM card (they have a machine to make the card in each branch - no temporary card, no waiting for one to be mailed to you). The card is flat rather than embossed, if that matters (some have had trouble with car rentals with flat cards, but this is a debit rather than a credit card, so few are likely to use it for car rentals).

Here's their branch locator: https://www.tdbank.com/net/absearch/

I know nothing about wired money, except that fees for this are often high. Transferwise has been recommended by several posters here, as a service that can wire money and has much lower fees than banks.

Posted by
1075 posts

An international bank wire will cost far more than any ATM fees, bank wires are usually used for large sums of money, $250,000 and up

Posted by
3322 posts

I use Capital One 360 and have been very happy with their service for nearly 15 years. You can open and maintain your account online and never have set foot in a branch. Zero fees for ATM transactions anywhere in the world. They even eat the 1% network fee that MasterCard charges on international transactions. (The Debit card you get is a MasterCard Debit.) Capital One also offers multiple Credit cards that charge zero fees for international transactions as well.

With Capital One 360, you can move money in and out of your account to other bank accounts you might have through the ACH system (like wires, but a little slower) also at no charge. This way you can fund the account from your main account at any bank as needed and keep this account as your travel account for example.

If you really need to wire money (and you should really never do that unless the destination is a person or company you have done business with in the past and are certain it is the correct destination as wire are not reversible!), Capital One 360 does allow for that at prices similar to what other banks charge.

Posted by
2 posts

My Fidelity Cash Account is free to open, has no minimum or maximum balance, comes with a debit card and free checks. There is a 1% transaction fee, per transaction at ATMs (Ricksteves.com sells really good money belts for cheap) to minimize fees), reimbursement for all ATM fees within 24 hours, and it's easy to electronically transfer money to your account using apps, apple pay, for free and Wire money for free, at least to and from Fidelity (your other bank may charge a fee, so it may not be from your other bank, though).
I withdraw the maximum in Euros and British Pounds, that I can, per transaction, until I have enough to pay for my hotel, meals, souvenirs, entrance fees to museums, and everything else, and keep it in a money-belt, under my clothes, worn at all times, even while sleeping, (except for the shower) as Rick Steves teaches. ALWAYS keep your big bills in a money belt, and keep cash you can afford to lose in your pocket, and cash you want to hang on to in an inner-zippered pocket.