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We have seen a positive trend lately from newly launched credit card products choosing to eliminate those pesky foreign transaction fees which are generally a small percentage for using a card outside the US. The same can’t be said for debit card products.
For years I have been using a no-fee ING Direct Electric Orange checking account as my primary checking account which includes the ability to mail checks electronically and an ING Direct debit MasterCard. I don’t have the same motivation to jump around checking accounts for promotions and signup bonuses as I do with credit cards because of the higher switching costs (time!) involved. ING Direct has been good to me so I stick with them.
As part of a restructuring agreement of the Dutch financial behemoth ING Group, the company was forced to sell off ING Direct which was picked up by Capital One 360 Checking / Savings Account (Earn $50 through my referral link). One of the very first changes Capital One announced to its customers was that as of November 1st, the ING Direct Electric Orange debit card would no longer charge any Foreign Transaction Fees. This used to be around 3% charge so for me this is an nice savings.
As I mentioned before I am headed to Japan this week. Japan, like most other countries outside the US is a ‘cash society’ where it is nearly impossible to find any restaurant or store that will take a credit card except in high buck purchases, which obviously doesn’t apply to me. As a result, when you visit you will need to take money out of an ATM abroad for purchases. In the past, I have written before about the Global ATM Alliance which allows 100% free withdrawals from my Bank of America secondary checking account though Japan does not have a participating member bank. The elimination of foreign transaction fees on the debit card means ING Direct won’t charge me a percentage of the total I take out of the ATM in Japan though the ATM itself may issue a surcharge which is generally a flat fee.
If you are in the market for a No Foreign Transaction Fee debit card, the Electric Orange checking account is currently offering a 50 USD signup bonus and my 20 USD referral link is here. All you other ING Direct members out there feel free to post your own link in the comments.