A big thank you to our Featured Writer Elena for this fantastic piece!
An Inconvenient Truth
No, this isn’t about climate change. But it is about the NEXT best thing! ATM fees! And I mean, who doesn’t LOVE those ATM fees, right? Like, what experience in life is more satisfying than strolling up to a foreign ATM, navigating the often confusing set of screens and then having to pay sometimes upwards of US$5 to withdraw your OWN hard earned money!
I surely cannot think of a better way to spend my money!
And to top that…Who doesn’t love the feeling of having to pay the ATM fee a second or third time because you weren’t quite adjusted to the local prices and misjudged how much money you would need or you simply didn’t want to withdraw such a large lump sum all at once?!?
If you like wasting your money, stop reading now and go find an ATM fee to pay! If you’re a bit more thrifty, and you’re keen to NOT waste your hard earned dollars on valueless things, such as ATM fees, read on…We’ve got a few tips that will definitely save you a few bucks!
Cash is King but ATM Fees SUCK!
If you NEVER want to pay an ATM fee, that’s right, NEVER, open up an Investor Checking account with Charles Schwab. Don’t worry, though they are primarily a brokerage house, they are a bank too! This card is accepted by all global ATMs and all of the fees are waived. Some of the fees are reimbursed immediately and some are reimbursed in a lump sum at the end of the month (I’m not sure what determines the reimbursement method, but either way, it’s GREAT to get the ATM fee back!).
Here’s my reimbursement from one month! And, if a US$43.97 reimbursement doesn’t phase you, please send me some money 😉
For more information on the Charles Schwab Bank Investor Checking Account, click here!
Reward Credit Cards! Bank Of America Travel Rewards
Beyond avoiding ATM fees, another way to save your money, or even earn some valuable rewards is with rewards credit cards! The first place to look for a reward credit card should be your current bank. Having a credit card linked to your bank account makes paying the bill super easy, and if the rewards program at your own bank is good, voila!
Now, what’s a good rewards program? For me, the answer to that question is the BOA (Bank of America) Travel Rewards Card.
With the BOA credit card, you earn 1.5 points on ALL purchases and your points NEVER expire. You can receive money back for all travel expenses, hostels, hotels, trains, buses, flights, even certain attractions! Another bonus is that points can be used for any flight, on any airline, through any website. The card starts with a $0 annual fee and 0% APR for the first year.
An example here:
For more information and to see if you qualify for a BOA Travel Rewards card, click here!
Safeguard Your Money
While it’s all good and well to avoid ATM fees and earn points on any credit card purchase you make, it’s even more important to make sure that your money is safe when you travel. More specifically, it’s important to make sure that, God forbid you get robbed or your cards get lost or stolen, that there isn’t too much money in your card’s account.
To keep myself safe while traveling, I used a two card system. In my Charles Schwab debit card account (the one that reimburses all those ATM fees), I kept about US$300. While loosing US$300 would have sucked, it wouldn’t have ended my trip. When I needed more money, I would transfer money from my main bank, Bank of America to my Schwab account. For security reasons, I never carried my BOA debit card with me, as BOA is my main bank and holds my larger balance.
Start now! If you’re planning on traveling, get your cards set up ASAP. Every purchase you make with your rewards credit card can help earn you rewards! By the time you leave your points will help you reduce the cost of your departing flight leaving you more funds for the fun stuff!
What do you use?
We’re eager to know what cards you use when you travel! Leave a comment below, and let’s make a comprehensive list together!
And if you’re looking for your next travel destination, check out some of the places we suggest in our destinations section!
This is Elena. She has a desire to explore her roots and to leave the commercial-materialism of the U.S behind. She embarked on a travel idea that turned into a continent-jumping journey. Elena spent a year backpacking in Europe, South Africa, Morocco, and South East Asia. She likes to write about time and money saving tips, guides to her favorite places, and insights into how to be a conscious traveler.