The Best International Debit Cards to Choose From in 2021

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Travel more. Spend less. The best international debit card options in 2021

Not all debit cards are created equal, and that’s especially true when it comes to traveling outside of the United States. 

International debit cards can save you money while traveling abroad by eliminating the need for currency exchange fees. But with so many options out there, how do you know which card is right for your needs? 

In this guide, we’ll highlight some of the best international debit cards on the market today, highlighting their pros and cons to help you find one that suits your specific needs!

What makes a great international card? 

There are several things to consider when selecting an international debit card, but the two most important aspects of any travel-related purchase are safety and efficiency. 

When it comes to deciding which is best for you, think about how much cash access you need while on your trip. If all you’re doing is withdrawing cash from ATMs along your route, consider an ATM card instead. If you’re planning to use your debit card for all of your purchases while traveling abroad, keep reading!

What are the five best international debit cards? 

When it comes to selecting an international debit card, there are many options available. Some of our favorites are listed below: 

Schwab High Yield Investor Checking Account

The Charles Schwab High Yield Investor Checking Account is a fantastic choice for those who need quick access to cash anywhere in the world. 

It’s a free account with unlimited ATM withdrawals and no currency exchange costs, making it one of our top international debit card choices.

  • Service Fee: $0 
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 0% 
  • Sign-Up Bonus: No
  • ATM fee: $0.03 
  • International fees: 0% 
  • Our Rating: 4.6/5

The pros: The Charles Schwab Investor Checking Account is an excellent choice for those who need quick access to cash while traveling abroad. It’s also one of the few debit cards that allow for unlimited ATM withdrawals, making it considerably easier to keep track of your spending when traveling.

The cons: This debit card doesn’t come with a sign-up bonus, which is its biggest downfall. 

If you’re looking to explore more than just Europe, consider applying for both the Charles Schwab Investor Checking account and the Charles Schwab Bank International debit card. 

This will give you access to your US dollars, Euros, British Pounds, Japanese Yen, Australian Dollars, and Canadian Dollars from any ATM around the world without incurring a single currency exchange fee.

HSBC Premier Platinum Debit Card

The HSBC Premier Platinum debit card is an excellent option for those who want to earn cashback on all of their purchases.

It comes with a high interest rate, offers unlimited ATM withdrawals, and earns you up to 0.35% cashback depending on your spending habits!

  • Service Fee: $75/year  
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 0% 
  • Sign-Up Bonus: No 
  • ATM fee: $0.00 or $0.50 in some countries, depending on the ATM operator 
  • International fees: 0% 
  • Our Rating: 4/5

The pros: Because this debit card gives a high-interest rate on rewards, it is ideal for people who plan to make several purchases throughout their travel. It also has no annual fee or foreign transaction fees, and it is one of the few cards that does not impose ATM withdrawal fees when used at an HSBC bank in Europe!

The cons: It doesn’t come with a sign-up bonus, and the interest rate isn’t as high as most cashback cards. 

Although the HSBC Premier Platinum debit card can be used to withdraw up to $700 per day at any HSBC ATM around Europe without incurring an additional fee, it’s important to note that there are some countries in which HSBC doesn’t have any ATMs at all.

Capital One 360 debit card

The Capital One 360 debit card is an excellent choice for those who want a low-fee account with no minimums. The standard monthly fee of $0 and the lack of foreign transaction fees make it one of our top recommendations for international debit cards.

  • Service Fee: $0/month 
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 0% 
  • Sign-Up Bonus: No
  • ATM fee: None when using an ATM located in the US. When outside, there is a maximum withdrawal amount ($400) after which Capital One will charge either $0.50 or $20, depending on the ATM operator 
  • International fees: 0% 
  • Our Rating: 4.2/5

The pros: Because there are no minimums and no monthly fees, the Capital One 360 checking account is one of our top suggestions for people looking for a low-fee account with no strings attached.

The cons: There is no sign-up bonus with this card, and the ATM withdrawal fee is high if you withdraw more than $400 from an ATM outside the United States. 

Capital One also has a terrific cashback program that allows you to earn up to 2% back on all debit card purchases. The Capital One 360 debit card is a terrific choice for saving money on purchases while traveling overseas!

Fidelity Cash Management Account 

A Fidelity Cash Management Account is an excellent choice for those looking for a low-maintenance account. There are no monthly fees or minimums, making it one of the most affordable options on this list!

  • Service Fee: $0/month 
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 0% 
  • Sign-Up Bonus: No
  • ATM fee: $0.00 or $20, depending on the ATM operator 
  • International fees: None! (Fidelity will refund all transaction fees up to $12 per month)

*Please note that only US citizens can apply for a Fidelity Cash Management Account.

  • Our Rating: 4.4/5

The Pros: With no monthly fees and a modest $20 ATM withdrawal fee, the Fidelity cash management account is one of our top picks for anyone looking to save money on foreign debit card usage while traveling abroad. Furthermore, there are no foreign transaction costs, and Fidelity will refund any ATM fees for domestic transactions!

The Cons: This account doesn’t come with a sign-up bonus, and those who aren’t US citizens won’t be able to apply. 

If you’re looking to earn cashback on your purchases while traveling abroad, we recommend opening up a checking account with a bank that offers a high-interest cashback program!

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Prepaid debit card

For those who aren’t looking for any cash access or ATM withdrawals during their trip, it might be worth enrolling in a prepaid travel card instead. 

This will allow you to lock in the exchange rate before your trip, which will save you from any unfavorable fluctuations. In addition to that, a prepaid debit card comes with plenty of other benefits: 

  • No monthly fee: A prepaid travel card doesn’t charge a monthly fee as most international bank accounts do. This makes it one of our top recommendations for those on a budget!
  • No background check: International bank accounts and regular debit cards require a background check before you’re able to open an account. With prepaid travel cards, however, there is no background check needed.
  • Safer than cash: Traveling with large amounts of money isn’t always the safest option. A prepaid travel card comes in handy as theft protection against lost or stolen cards.
  • No need to plan ahead: Since a prepaid travel card is pre-loaded with foreign currency, you don’t have to worry about having the right amount of cash on hand at all times while traveling abroad.

Which countries can I use a prepaid debit card in? 

The great thing about most prepaid debit cards is that they’re accepted worldwide. You can use them in whichever country you visit!

However, before applying for a card, you should do your homework. Some prepaid debit cards don’t cover specific nations or regions within a country, so be sure to read the fine print before you commit!

What are some common fees associated with using a prepaid debit card? 

Like most bank accounts, there are a few fees that come with using a prepaid debit card. While these vary from one issuer to the next, here’s an overview of some common fees associated with travel cards: 

  • Transaction fee: It’s common to pay a transaction fee with prepaid debit cards — especially those issued by banks outside of your home country. This is typically around $0.50 per purchase made abroad.
  • Loading fee: Prepaid travel cards usually come with a loading fee, which is paid every time you add money to your card. This means that if you plan on using the same prepaid debit card for an extended period while traveling abroad, it’s best to load up the card before leaving.
  • Withdrawal fee: Most prepaid debit cards have a withdrawal fee, which is usually around $0.50-$0.75 per ATM transaction. However, some banks do waive this fee for their own ATMs — so check with your issuer and bank location before using an ATM!

Prepaid travel cards might be beneficial to anyone who wants to save money on international transactions while going overseas. 

They are, however, not the ideal option for everyone! Before applying, make sure you understand all of the expenses associated with these cards so you don’t end up paying extra fees on your trip.

Meet Aspiration Zero, an international credit card with a conscience

One of the many perks your Aspiration Zero credit card offers is a carbon offset program. 

When you purchase an item with your credit card, Aspiration will help fund projects that have been verified as being environmentally friendly and beneficial to society. You’ll also be earning points for every dollar spent which can then be redeemed for rewards like gift cards or travel packages at hotels around the world.

High interest

The best part? There are no limits on how much you earn so there’s plenty of opportunities to customize this reward strategy based on what matters most to you! 

Interested in Aspiration Zero? Apply now to get started today!

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