BEST OF

5 Best Banks for International Travel

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Using the right bank can save you money when traveling abroad. When researching the best banks for international travel, features we considered included:

  • Low wire transfer charges.

  • Decent currency conversion rates.

  • International ATM fee reimbursement.

  • Foreign currency delivery to your home.

Here are our favorite banks for international travel.

  • Charles Schwab Bank: Best for using ATMs.

  • Capital One 360: Best on foreign transaction fees.

  • HSBC Bank: Best for expats with high balances.

  • Citibank: Best for wiring money.

  • Revolut: Best for nonbank multicurrency account.

Why you can trust NerdWallet: Our writers and editors follow strict editorial guidelines to make sure our coverage is fair and accurate, so you can choose the financial accounts that work best for you. See our criteria for evaluating banks and credit unions.

Best Banks for International Travel

Our pick for

Using ATMs

Schwab Bank

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
Schwab Bank

Why we like it

Schwab Bank customers who use the High Yield Investor Checking Account get fees refunded from any ATM in the world. That kind of perk is usually only available for premium checking accounts at other banks.

Plus, the bank doesn't charge foreign transaction fees.

Pros: - Refunds on all ATM fees worldwide. - No foreign transaction fees. - Account earns interest. - No minimum balance requirement and no monthly fee. - Free travel and emergency assistance services, including emergency messaging, medical and legal referrals, emergency translation and lost luggage location.

Cons: - Checking account must be linked to a Schwab One brokerage account (but the account doesn’t have a minimum balance requirement).

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Our pick for

Foreign transaction fees

Capital One

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Capital One

Why we like it

Though it’s not the only bank that doesn’t ding you for international purchases, Capital One 360 is a NerdWallet favorite because its fees are low across the board.

Capital One 360 doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee for using your debit card outside the U.S. or for any transactions made in a foreign currency. If you want to use cash, the bank won’t charge you a fee for taking money out at an ATM (but it also won’t refund you if the ATM owner charges you a fee).

In comparison, many banks charge special fees when you make purchases abroad, or even if you buy something online from a retailer based outside the U.S.

Pros: - No foreign transaction fees. - No ATM fees. - No monthly maintenance fees.

Cons: - No refunds for fees charged by ATM owner.

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Our pick for

Expats with high balances

HSBC
Learn more

at HSBC, Member FDIC

HSBC

3.0

NerdWallet rating 
HSBC
Learn more

at HSBC, Member FDIC


Why we like it

In the U.S., HSBC only offers premium accounts that require a high balance to open. But for those who can swing the balance, this bank can be handy while living abroad. A few features make this bank handy for expats or frequent globetrotters: the bank doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees on debit card purchases; it lets depositors monitor and move money between HSBC accounts in multiple countries; and if you lose your wallet while traveling, you can access up to $10,000 in emergency cash.

Pros: - Can access up to $10,000 in emergency cash in U.S. dollars or local currency if you lose your wallet while traveling. - No foreign transaction fee on debit card purchases. - Account holders can receive international wire transfers for free.

Cons: - In the U.S., HSBC only offers premium accounts with high minimum balance requirements. - Outgoing international wire transfers may come with a fee if the receiving account is not also an HSBC Premier account holder. - Mobile apps are poorly rated.

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Our pick for

Wiring money

Citibank, N.A.

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
Citibank, N.A.

Why we like it

While many banks offer customers a way to send remittances directly without going through a third-party wire transfer service, few do it as elegantly as Citibank, which offers free international transfers to other Citi accounts through the Citibank Global Transfers service.

Plus, if you need cash while you’re abroad, Citibank offers free withdrawals at its ATMs in more than 20 countries. And if you often find yourself in a hurry before a trip with too much to do, the bank will deliver foreign currency by the next business day to a Citibank branch, your home or office.

Pros: - Foreign currency delivery before a trip. - Free international transfers to other Citi accounts. - Citibank ATMs available in more than 20 countries.

Cons: - Non-premium accounts are subject to out-of-network ATM fees from the ATM owner. - If you need to wire money internationally to someone who doesn’t have a Citibank account, the fee could be as high as $35.

Read Full Review

Our pick for

Nonbank multicurrency account

Revolut

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
Revolut

Why we like it

The Revolut account lets you hold and send money in more than 30 currencies. It also uses the real exchange rate when you need to exchange currency within its app (as opposed to an exchange rate plus a markup fee). So if you need to pay with your card or get cash in a currency you don’t hold in your Revolut account, you can use your card to pay or make a cash withdrawal and you’ll get the real exchange rate. One catch is that the real exchange rate is only available Monday through Friday – Revolut will charge a markup fee for transactions on the weekends.

Pros: - Can withdraw up to $1,200 fee-free per month at out-of-network ATMs. - Can hold and send money in more than 30 currencies. - 10 free international money transfers per month. - Account earns interest.

Cons: - Foreign currency exchanges made on the weekends incur a fee. - Only money held in Savings Vaults is FDIC-insured. - Premium accounts have a monthly fee of about $10-$17, which can’t be waived.

Read Full Review

More top choices for best banks for international travel

  • BECU: No foreign transaction fee (read full review).

  • Axos Bank: ATM foreign currency conversion fee reimbursements with World Checking account (read full review).

  • Navy Federal Credit Union: Branches in nine foreign countries (read full review).

  • Varo: No foreign transaction fee (read full review).

  • Wise (formerly TransferWise): Multicurrency account with a debit card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees (read full review).

More strategies to keep banking costs down while traveling

Using money abroad can incur costs, but switching banks isn’t your only way to avoid them. Here’s a breakdown of different approaches and accounts to consider:

When spending money abroad:

When dealing with cash abroad:

When sending money abroad:

  • Consider nonbank money transfers: If you're sending a wire overseas while still in the U.S., companies such as Wise and OFX offer stand-alone transfers internationally that have competitive rates and low to no fees.

When managing wealth abroad:

  • Look into private banking: Private banking offers a personalized experience for high-net-worth individuals, which can include overseas considerations.

  • Open an offshore bank account: If you need help managing international business or investments, or if you'll be traveling long term, consider the merits of an offshore bank account.

Last updated on August 19, 2022

Methodology

Methodology for Best Banks for International Travel

We took a close look at over 80 financial institutions and financial service providers, including the largest U.S. banks based on assets, internet search traffic and other factors; the nation’s largest credit unions, based on assets and membership; and other notable and/or emerging players in the industry. We rated them on criteria including annual percentage yields, minimum balances, fees, digital experience and more.

To recap our selections...

NerdWallet's Best Banks for International Travel

Frequently asked questions