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  • good internet banking, which works on any browser
  • phone banking
  • accounts in multiple currencies (USD and EUR are a must - others would be nice to have)
  • can convert from one currency to another without going through a third one
  • card which works everywhere - ATM, POS, internet shopping
  • different cards for accounts in different currencies - very useful if - say - I keep both USD and EUR and want to have the choice of which account to spend from without having to convert before spending
  • low fees for withdrawals from any ATM
  • if card, pin, etc is lost, they can send it to me anywhere in the world
  • credit card

Possibly other points that you think are important for a "travel-friendly" bank.

So far I didn't meet any bank that is good enough for my travel needs, but I'm probably not looking in the right place.

I don't care where the bank is located - even whether it has a physical address or is online-only.

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  • 3
    The question is to broad. Please specify the country you are in, and the countries you expect most travel. Also the currencies that you are interst in. Regulations in certain countries will come into effect. Suggest to make this at little narrow to get relevant answers.
    – Dheer
    Commented May 25, 2011 at 10:31
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    Agree it's a bit broad. But that's what I'm looking for - banks that are traveler friendly. Now if - say - I get some replies about US banks and I can't use them as an EU citizen, that's fine - the answers might still be useful for others.
    – ibz
    Commented May 26, 2011 at 2:45
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    As to where I travel - I'm particularly interested in Asia, as this is where I live and travel most of the time. But again - if there is a bank which is very friendly for EU/US travelers, please mention it, as it might be useful to others.
    – ibz
    Commented May 26, 2011 at 2:53

2 Answers 2

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Beware of the hidden cost of currency conversion. Typically it's not just the fees that add up, but the margin they charge when converting your currency. Look at the currency rates and the official forex conversion rate.

For example, look at the ANZ banks currency conversion rates:

http://www.anz.com/aus/RateFee/fxrates/fxpopup.asp

The Forex current exchange rate between the US and AUD is AUD$1 = USD $1.068. But the ANZ bank buy rate is AUD $1 = USD$1.0356

That means for every $1000 AUD you get, you SHOULD get US$1068 but if you use their card, you only get US1035.60

Every thousand dollars you lose USD$32.40 and that is before all of the other fees they stack on top of it.

[Please note the above example will be out of date, but you can go to that site and google "AUD USD" to get the latest rates for comparison]

To answer your question, if you're in Australia, get the 28Degrees card:

http://28degreescard.com.au/

Like the example above, Australian banks are notorious for ripping consumers off when it comes to retail currency trade.

With this card though, I've used it for online purchasing and the exchange rate they use is barely any different to the Forex exchange rate. Also, they charge no monthly fees or fees to use overseas ATMs.

It's a credit card, but before your trip if you put money into it so you have a positive balance, then it essentially becomes a debit card with no interest.

EDIT -

Might just want to add that there has been a change to the policy of this card. They have added a Cash Advance Fee (http://www.28degreescard.com.au/cash-advance-fee.html) so if you plan to withdraw money from ATMs while you're overseas, it's going to cost you 3% more.

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low fees for withdrawals from any ATM

I'll do you one better: not "low fees" but 0 fees.

And some credit unions literally give money to your account if you get charged a fee by an ATM operator (atm rebates up to some amount per month, usually enough to cover ~3 atm withdrawls).

  1. Connexus Credit Union
  2. SF Fire Credit Union
  3. Lake Michigan Credit Union
  4. First Republic Bank
  5. Bangor Savings Bank
  6. Mechanics Bank

So far I didn't meet any bank that is good enough for my travel needs, but I'm probably not looking in the right place.

Probably because you're searching for "banks" -- try searching for "credit unions" instead ;)

Because credit unions are non-profits that are owned by their members, they usually don't charge foreign currency conversion fees or have other hidden fees.

See also

  1. https://web.archive.org/web/20180620083055/http://flyerguide.com/index.php/Credit/Debit/ATM_Cards_and_Foreign_Exchange
  2. https://twocents.lifehacker.com/the-best-banks-that-refund-atm-fees-1642528621

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