5 Best Bank Accounts For Travel to Save You Money

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There are tons of options for banking out there and these 5 are some of the best bank accounts for travel to save you money.

Banking while traveling is so different than banking while at home. These bank accounts cover all the bases to ensure you have the best banking experience even while halfway around the world.

Over the past 2 years, we have tested out our fair share of bank accounts and found the best ones for travel purposes. After spending hundreds on silly fees and minimums, these bank accounts will be sure to save you money.

We’ll cover the best bank accounts for travel, XX, and more!

This post is all about the best bank accounts for travel.

Best Bank Accounts for Travel

Best Checking Accounts for Travel

Your checking account will be the most used bank account you have while traveling. This allows you to withdraw money from ATMs all around the world. It likely will be your only access to cash so having a checking account that helps you instead of hurting you (i.e. charging you money for everything) will come in handy.

Pro Tip: Always travel with more than one debit card and keep them in separate places (one in your wallet and one at the hotel). In case one gets stolen or lost, you will still have access to money while you are traveling!

>> Sign up for our Weekly Travel Tip Tuesday Newsletter to get even more pro tips on all things travel!

Charles Schwab High Yield Investor Checking Account

charles schwab
Courtesy of Charles Schwab

The Charles Schwab checking account is relatively new for us, but has come in so handy! This is our #1 go-to checking account for withdrawing money around the world. There are actually quite a few benefits to this checking account as they don’t charge an out-of-network ATM fee AND they reimburse you for ATM fees charged by the ATM itself! This means you can pull out money just about anywhere in the world with no extra charges. There are no minimums or additional fees for this account, making it an all-around great pick for a checking account for international travel. Plus, they offer a 0.03% interest rate on your checking account balance (most checking accounts don’t offer interest).

>> Sign up for a Charles Schwab High Yield Investor Checking Account

  • Out-of-Network ATM Fee: $0.00
  • ATM Fee Reimbursement: Yes; unlimited
  • Maximum Daily Withdrawal: $1,000.00
  • Interest Rate: 0.03%
  • Minimum Balance: None
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: 0.00%
  • Card Locking: Yes; in-app or online

Capital One 360

capital one 360
Courtesy of Capital One

This is our main account for holding our money. Since the Capital One 360 account doesn’t reimburse for ATM fees (although they don’t charge for out-of-network ATMs), we try to leave this as our last resort for withdrawing money at ATMs. However, they do have a great mobile app making it easy to pay bills, Zelle money to other accounts, and lock our card in case we lose it or it gets stolen. They have no minimum requirements and don’t charge any fees. And the best part, they have a “high” interest rate of 0.10% (relatively high for checking accounts). You can also start a Capital One 360 savings account with a 0.XX% interest rate and make transfers between the two a breeze.

>> Start banking with Capital One 360 today!

  • Out-of-Network ATM Fee: $0.00
  • ATM Fee Reimbursement: No
  • Maximum Daily Withdrawal: $1,000.00
  • Interest Rate: 0.10%
  • Minimum Balance: None
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: 0.00%
  • Card Locking: Yes; in-app or online
  • Additional Benefits: No overdraft fees

>> Check out our favorite travel credit cards!

Betterment Checking Account

betterment
Courtesy of Betterment

As a checking account used for purely pulling out money abroad, the Betterment Checking Account is perfect. They have no fees for setting up or using the account and no minimums required. Betterment also doesn’t charge for out-of-network ATMs and reimburse for any ATM fees acquired. They don’t have any interest rate though so it’s not the best way to hold your money before spending.

Pro Tip: Use a debit card to an account that has a low balance in it. Since most checking accounts don’t protect against fraudulent charges or withdrawals (like most credit cards do), it’s best to have as little as possible in the account in the unfortunate event that something happens.

We keep all of our money in a separate checking account and transfer money to the accounts we use our debit card on when needed. Also, we never use the debit card for our most used account.

>> Sign up for your Betterment Checking Account now!

  • Out-of-Network ATM Fee: $0.00
  • ATM Fee Reimbursement: Yes
  • Maximum Daily Withdrawal: $510.00
  • Interest Rate: 0.00%
  • Minimum Balance: No
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: 0.00%
  • Additional Benefits: No overdraft fees; cashback rewards

Best Savings Accounts for Travel

Checking accounts are definitely the more thought of bank accounts for traveling, but you can also optimize your savings accounts to get the most for travel. These savings accounts focus on ease of use and best interest rates so you can get the most for your money and travel even more!

Synchrony Bank High Yield Savings Account

synchrony bank
Courtesy of Synchrony Bank

One online savings account with a great interest rate is the Synchrony High Yield Savings Account. You can earn 0.60% interest and the account has no additional fees or minimums. This account has been our go-to since it does have a higher interest rate.

>> Get your Synchrony Bank Savings Account today!

  • Interest Rate: 0.60%
  • Minimum Balance: None
  • Additional Fees: None

American Express High Yield Savings Account

american express
Courtesy of American Express

The American Express High Yield Savings Account is a great savings account to earn interest and all your travel savings. This account has no minimum balance, deposits, or fees making it a great resource to get started saving money. It also has a 0.50% interest rate, one of the higher in the market to help you save even more. You can easily access your account through your Amex account and send money between more accessible accounts.

>> Start saving with your American Express High Yield Savings Account

  • Interest Rate: 0.50%
  • Minimum Balance: None
  • Additional Fees: None

Criteria for the Best Bank Accounts for Travel

bank account for travel
Courtesy of Charles Schwab

No matter, if you decide to sign up for one of the accounts we recommend above, or not, there are certain criteria that will help you save money on your travel bank accounts. We’ll outline all the criteria you should look for to find the best bank accounts for travel for you.

Out-of-Network ATM Fees

If you are planning on traveling internationally, this is key to ensuring you save money. Since US-based banks usually don’t have ATMs worldwide, the fees add up fast. We first started traveling with a Wells Fargo debit card and were charged $5.00 every time we had to pull out money. Those fees add up so finding a bank that doesn’t charge to use any ATM is perfect. These are usually going to be online banks or credit unions.

ATM Reimbursement

This is an added bonus and a relatively new feature for checking accounts. Be sure to find a checking account that will cover all those pesky ATM fees. Many ATMs around the world will charge anywhere from $1 – $12 per transaction so getting that refund is definitely beneficial!

Foreign Transaction Fees

Even if you don’t use your debit card for purchases and only for ATM withdrawals (like we recommend), the foreign transaction fee can still get you. If your card does charge for foreign transactions, then you can get charged for pulling out foreign currency while abroad. All of our recommendations above have no foreign transactions fees, leaving more money in your pockets.

Minimum Balance

You should find a checking and savings account that has no minimum balance requirements. These fees require you to have a minimum amount in the account at all times and will charge you a fee ($5-$15 per month). These add up and can happen unexpectedly, especially if you are traveling and have no access to the internet to check your balances. They can also show up as a minimum required deposit.

Interest Rate

If you want to make the most of your money, finding a bank account for travel with a good interest rate will help. Although no accounts have an interest rate as high as inflation (3% average), some interest is better than none. You’ll want to search for “high yield” accounts. Savings accounts will have a higher interest rate than checking accounts.

Ease of Use

While traveling, you’ll want an account that is easy to use. This means they have a mobile app (that works) that shows you your balance, allows you to transfer money easily, and has a quick way to lock your card in an emergency. The actual look and feel are up to personal preference, but find something you can figure out and like to use.

Maximum Daily Withdrawal

Knowing the maximum daily withdrawal limit for your accounts will help when traveling. Although using cash for payment in the US is now mostly a personal preference, there are many places around the world that only accept cash. In some cases, you’ll need to pay for accommodations, transportation, or excursions with cash and need to pull out large sums of money. Or maybe you’re heading to an island for a week with no ATMs! With a lower maximum daily withdrawal limit, you will need to plan ahead and pull out money over multiple days (and potentially multiple fees).

This post was all about the best bank accounts for travel. Do you have any that you love to use while traveling? Share them below in the comments!

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We’re Alicia & Nate! We sold everything & quit our jobs to travel full time. On the road since 2020, we are traveling the world one bucket list item at a time. Join us on our epic journey!

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