Wouldn’t you know it, just a few weeks after intentionally overdrawing our bank account we had another mini financial crisis:
We needed a massive amount of cash in a foreign country in a very short period of time.
First, we signed a lease and paid a security deposit, 1st/Last month’s rent, and an agent’s fee.
Then we enrolled Jr in school and paid a full semester of tuition.
How do you transfer that much cash overseas without paying crazy fees and stupid exchange rates?
With the International ATM Bonanza, of course.
International ATM Bonanza
Over 10 days or so I visited the ATM just a few times and withdrew ~$15,000 at market exchange rates with no ATM fees.
No ATM fees? Nope. We get reimbursed 100% for any/all fees.
No Foreign Transaction Fees? None.
No weird currency exchange fees or commissions or terrible bid/ask spreads? No sir.
What is this madness!?
No Fee International ATM Cards
The not so unknown secret of course is a no fee bank that reimburses ATM fees.
Or banks, with an s.
Expats and travelers seem to fall into 2 camps, one which says Fidelity is the best and the other which prefers Schwab.
I say, “Why not both?”
Both banks have no fees* and reimburse ATM fees. Fidelity has a $500 daily withdrawal limit, and Schwab has $1,000 (but can be increased, which I may do in the future. Note to self: Call Schwab tomorrow.)
Both banks reset their daily limit at midnight EST. If you go to the ATM at 11:55, you can do double withdrawals – 2 transactions 10 minutes apart. This works well for getting a lot of cash in 1 day, or reducing the number of ATM visits required to build up