One of our older posts on how to take out money free internationally using a Bank of America debit card with the Global ATM Alliance has received a flurry of comments lately from readers across the globe sharing that they are now being charged a 3% on all transactions.
Interestingly the Global ATM Alliance wiki page has always stated the Bank of America debit card would incur a 3% fee on international transactions when using ATMs from banks in the Global ATM Alliance though for years that was never the case. I used my card around the globe never once incurring a 3% fee.
Unfortunately it appears that has ended. Readers are reporting that as of November 8th, 2013 the 3% fee will apply to all transactions at ATM’s within the Global ATM Alliance. The only ‘savings’ you now receive is the 5 USD non Bank of America ATM fee. How generous.
The Global ATM Alliance fee waiver was the only reason I held on to this debit product. I don’t see any benefit to maintaining this debit card product going forward. Previously I had recommended this card as one of the best three debit products for international travelers. Now my list is shortened to two products.
Capital One 360 Checking (Formerly ING Direct Electric Orange)
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 (and now Capital One 360 Checking / Savings Account) 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. One of the very first changes Capital One announced to its customers was that as of November 1st, 2012, the Capital One 360 debit card no longer charges any Foreign Transaction Fees. This used to be around 3% charge so for me this is a nice savings. The elimination of foreign transaction fees on the debit card means Capital One won’t charge a percentage of the total a customer takes out of the ATM abroad 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 360 Checking account is currently offering a 50 USD signup bonus and my 20 USD referral link is here.
The Schwab checking account advertises unlimited fee rebates from any ATM worldwide and no foreign transaction fees. There are no minimums on the account but does require a link to a Schwab investment account which also does not currently have minimums. I am not a consumer of this product as I am the other above so I can’t vouch for the product itself but it sounds like a great option for international travelers.