I was wondering if these cards, in addition to not having foreign currency transaction fees, also guarantee the “real” exchange rate when you make a purchase (that is, the exchange rate you would see if you looked at google in the same instance you make the purchase). If not, then just “not having fees” might not be enough if they have a very bad (for us, good for them) exchange rate.
Regarding your daily withdrawal limit: many machines set a daily limit so even though your Schwab account may offer up to $1K withdrawals, the ATM itself may not. Sometimes they tell you the limit (I see $500-600 fairly often) though other times you’re left guessing. You can work around this by making a second withdrawal at a different ATM, something simple to do in Macau but potentially a downside in remote areas that might not have a second machine nearby.
Regarding your daily withdrawal limit: many machines set a daily limit so even though your Schwab account may offer up to $1K withdrawals, the ATM itself may not. Sometimes they tell you the limit (I see $500-600 fairly often) though other times you’re left guessing. You can work around this by making a second withdrawal at a different ATM, something simple to do in Macau but potentially a downside in remote areas that might not have a second machine nearby.
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We’ll always post the current fees for sending money to friends and family on this page, and we will disclose the fees to you in advance each time you initiate a transaction to send money to a friend or family member. These fees may change from time to time, and most changes to these fees will be deemed effective at the time and date of posting. If these fees ever increase, we will provide you 30 days advance notice on our Policy Updates page. You must have or open a PayPal account to send or receive money.
11. Wells Fargo: Though Wells Fargo will charge most of their customers $5 for foreign withdrawals, per their debit card FAQ page, customers with PMA Package accounts will receive a total of up to 2 free non-Wells Fargo ATM withdrawal transactions (combined U.S. and International) per statement cycle; and the fees are all waived if PMA qualifying balance is $250,000 or more.
I was wondering if these cards, in addition to not having foreign currency transaction fees, also guarantee the “real” exchange rate when you make a purchase (that is, the exchange rate you would see if you looked at google in the same instance you make the purchase). If not, then just “not having fees” might not be enough if they have a very bad (for us, good for them) exchange rate.
Currency exchange booths at airports and banks can be convenient, but a lot of your money goes towards exchange fees (e.g. $10 per exchange) and hidden commissions padded into poor exchange rates (especially the booths advertising “no commissions”). With a bit of research and planning, you can save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in fees over the long-term!
Card terminals at shops and hotels will often detect that your card is from another country and offer to bill you in your home currency. Never choose this option – always pay in the foreign currency! The exchange rate offered will be inflated by the card terminal, so if you’re using one of the credit cards recommended above, you will receive a much better exchange rate.
Air NZ OneSmart (NZD, AUD, SGD, HKD, JPY, GBP, EUR, CAD, USD— New Zealand): This innovative prepaid card offer 3 free international ATM withdrawals per calendar month, and can hold a variety of different currencies. If you are in a country with one of the supported currencies, this card can be a good option. If you need to use the card for transactions in unsupported currencies, there is a 2.5% fee. There is now also a $1 monthly fee.
1. Unlimited ATM fee rebates apply to cash withdrawals using your Visa debit card wherever it is accepted. ATM fee rebates do not apply to any fees other than those assessed for using an ATM to withdraw cash from your Schwab Bank account. Schwab Bank makes its best effort to identify those ATM fees eligible for rebate, based on information it receives from Visa and ATM operators. In the event that you have not received a rebate for a fee that you believe is eligible, please call a Schwab Bank Client Service Specialist for assistance at 888-403-9000. Schwab Bank reserves the right to modify or discontinue the ATM fee rebate at any time.
Credit and debit cards are frequently being monitored by security departments for suspicious activity. If you’re from the U.S. and you make an ATM withdrawal in Thailand when they don’t know you’re overseas, this could appear suspicious to your bank, and your card might be locked the next time you withdraw. Give your bank or credit card provider a call and let them know when and where you’ll be travelling. Take it from us – you do not want to be stuck without cash and a useless card!

Restrictions apply: The standard online $4.95 commission does not apply to foreign stock transactions, large block trading transactions requiring special handling, or restricted stock transactions. All broker-assisted and automated phone trades are subject to service charges. See the Charles Schwab Pricing Guide for details. Employee equity compensation transactions are subject to separate commission schedules.
9. USAA: Strictly speaking, you do get charged a fee for withdrawing money from your USAA account, but I wanted to include it here because it is pretty low. According to USAA’s Secure Checking Accounts page, “USAA Bank refunds up to $15 in other banks’ ATM usage fees each month and does not charge a fee for the first 10 ATM withdrawals. Subsequent transactions will be charged $2.00 each. A 1% foreign transaction fee applies to withdrawals outside the United States.” So if you are just making a few withdrawals, you’ll just be paying that 1% charge.
1. Unlimited ATM fee rebates apply to cash withdrawals using your Visa debit card wherever it is accepted. ATM fee rebates do not apply to any fees other than those assessed for using an ATM to withdraw cash from your Schwab Bank account. Schwab Bank makes its best effort to identify those ATM fees eligible for rebate, based on information it receives from Visa and ATM operators. In the event that you have not received a rebate for a fee that you believe is eligible, please call a Schwab Bank Client Service Specialist for assistance at 888-403-9000. Schwab Bank reserves the right to modify or discontinue the ATM fee rebate at any time.

Any time you spend money in another country you’re going to pay something for converting U.S. dollars into the local currency. This is true whether you exchange cash at a money changer, withdraw local currency at an ATM, or make purchases with your credit card. Sometimes, you don’t even realize it because the bank simply gives you a less favorable exchange rate and pockets the difference. Other times, they charge you a percentage of the money changed in addition to the hidden profit they earn on the exchange rate.
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