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.

Hi! There’s something else going on when you are purchasing internationally. When you swipe your card in another country or even online for a purchase in another currency, you are at the vendors’ mercy. Your credit or even debit card may not charge you a fee for foreign transactions, but they aren’t exchanging the rate for you either. So one shop may say the currency rate from Euro to USD is $1.67 while another may say $1.25. The really crazy part is that even though that’s what they are charging as vendors to convert your money, the exchange rate could be closer to $1.07 that day. Best to pay with cash.
I have been using the Schwab debit card for years and am very satisfied. You also get this card if you open a brokerage acct with them. When I was in Colombia, it was the *only* card that would work to get money from at ATM there… and I had 4 ATM cards from various banks. Wells, BofA, Etrade… none of them worked. I know that Schwab refunds the fee from the ATM, but I try to only use ATMs that don’t charge fees because I don’t want Schwab to discontinue this feature.
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1. Ally: Strictly speaking, Ally does charge a 1% fee, but because it’s low, I thought it was worth mentioning. Per their FAQ page, “If you use an ATM in a foreign country, you may be charged a fee of up to 1% of the transaction amount for the currency conversion and/or cross border transaction. Ally only reimburses ATM fees charged by other banks if the ATM is in the US.”
SmartCrowd (formerly known as VirtualBee) – VirtualBee is a reputable company that constantly recruits home-based workers to complete data entry projects for their clients. If you meet the qualification, they will accept your application and allow you to work from home doing data entry. You just log on to the Virtual Bee system and start working on available data entry projects. The average pay is $5-$6 per hour. You are paid weekly by check once you reach $30, the minimum payout. If you are a fast and accurate typist, this is the company where you can find easy data entry work to do from home.
#28 – Leapforce – Read Review – If you work for this company, you will be an independent contractor. They hire for Search Engine Evaluators and there is an evaluation exam taken in two parts before you can begin working for them. The pay ranges from $13 to $15 per hour. People from the following countries are open to apply; Denmark, Canada, Belgium, Norway, Brazil and the USA. They do not charge a fee.
When all else fails, U.S. dollars are the closest thing to a global currency that we have today. It’s the most commonly accepted currency, not only at exchange booths, but even at shops and restaurants in other countries. If there are no ATMs in sight or your cards have been stolen, an emergency backup of U.S. dollars will get you out an emergency situation.
7. PNC: Though PNC does not have international partners and will charge you a $5 fee per transaction plus 3% of the transaction amount, if you are a Performance and Performance Select customer, these fees are waived. You can get a complete overview of the fees by inputting your zip code here. Per their terms page on service charges, the fee for the first two domestic or international non-PNC Bank ATM transactions made on your Spend, Reserve or Growth accounts during a statement period will be reimbursed to your Spend account at the end of the statement period. Fees in excess of two per statement period will not be reimbursed, and remember this might not include the fees the foreign bank charges you for withdrawals – so if you are taking money out, be sure to do it in two big withdrawals rather than lots of little ones and you might be able to dodge the fees.
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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!
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