The best debit card for travellers

Imagine that you have finally prepared everything to take a few days off and let your hair down. You have bought all the things, collected all the documents, planned your schedule and so on. What about money now?

It is really important to take care of how you are going to pay when abroad. If you travel overseas things are not as simple as using your card at the nearby ATM. So, it is a good idea to know more about which debit card is the most beneficial for you.

Is Debit Card Good Choice for a Traveler?

best debit card
best debit card

Many people wonder can they use a debit card abroad? Physically it is possible. All the major services such as Visa or MasterCard do operate in any region. However, there are several details to think about in advance in order to travel safely.

First of all, you should inform your bank about your destination. The problem is that sometimes cafés and shops decline cards used «far from home». For example, this is a common case with Starbucks. There are cases when banks freeze cards, if you shop in Calcutta.


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Of course you can inform your bank by calling but there is an easier way. Most banks and processors use your GPS location which indicates where you are. If you download the App of your bank, this information will be provided automatically. However, if you are not sure whether your bank’s application functions in a right way, contact your bank then.

Extra Fees?

It is a common case that fees which banks impose can vary. Even if your bank makes it easy to shop abroad, you can be charged on the back end. Certain banks can charge you ruthlessly when you are several blocks away from home. This is why you need to make sure that your bank will not charge you when you are away.

ATMs withdrawal out of U.S. work the same way. They range from $2 to $5. In addition, you are charged around 3% of the total withdrawal amount. In most cases the fees are various and you do need to check it out before you set out on a journey.

Using a debit card for this purpose is going to cost you a small fortune, if you do not choose the right bank.

Not Popular Banks Win

In fact, services of the major banks are a waste of money in this case. You will spend a lot more. Fortunately, there are some banks which are less «gluttonous».

These are:

  • Ally Bank (the lowest fee percentage)
  • Capital One (no ATM charges)
  • Chime (no foreign transaction fees)
  • Citizens Bank (2% fee)
  • Schwab Bank (no foreign transaction fees)

Alternative Ways of Payment when Traveling

If you want to save some money on paying fees, there is a way out. Use alternative ways to pay besides using your debit card. One of them is traveler’s checks. They are absolutely safe, plus they are backed by major financial companies. They have a lot of exchange locations all over the world.

The disadvantage is that they are quite inconvenient nowadays. In addition, you have to pay a commission fee for the initial purchase and a percentage when you make the exchange. Another disadvantage is that some cafés and restaurants do not accept them as a paying method.

One more way to save some money is to use gift cards or prepaid cards. With them you can easily move your finances abroad. Their price is low, they are anonymous, you can obtain and use them everywhere. Unfortunately, they have limits on the amount of money loaded. Good news is that you can buy several cards at once.

As you understand not only travelers enjoy such level of financial freedom. For example, drug dealers too. This is why the use of the cards is restricted and they will not work outside the States.

Fortunately, you can obtain a prepaid Visa or MasterCard. They are less anonymous because they require your name and ID. It is easy to get one of them at any bank which you find convenient.

Such cards work almost the same way as any debit or credit card. You can shop, make purchases or cash withdrawals. The only drawback is that their exchange rate is significantly higher than the actual exchange rate. The sum of the money lost as a result is high enough. It makes using these cards quite expensive.

Exchanging Money at an Airport

In one of our previous articles we have explained every detail why you should and why you should not use airport kiosks to exchange money. This is a very convenient way to exchange rates, plus they are easily accessible and you can get the right services at any airport. It is really convenient. You can swap your money for any currency which you are interested in.

One of the most terrible drawbacks is that the price of such services is way too high. In addition, you are going to carry large sums of cash in an unfamiliar country which is not very sensible to do. Exchange rates at airports are the highest and you are going to spend a small fortune.

The advantage of a debit card is that you can easily replace it and restore it in case of a loss.

How to Find Your Perfect Card

When comparing which debit card is the best for you to choose there are several options to think about. Not all of them are about money. For example, you need to find out which security services your bank offers. Try to inquire about fraud protection and safety procedures.

Now that you know how to choose the best debit card for travelling you can be well prepared for your vacation. Enjoy.