I don’t really carry cash. When I’m at home, I try to put all of my purchases on credit cards so I can earn more points and miles to help fund my travels. When I am traveling, in many cases, I can apply the same strategies to earn points abroad, mainly by making sure that I am using a credit card that has no foreign transaction fees. Sometimes, however, cash is king. Usually while traveling I carry some small amount of cash on me that I can have exchanged into local currency, and if I need more I bite the bullet and pay the ATM fee to withdraw money from my checking account.
Thanks to my friend The Flying Consultant, I now have a better solution.
Charles Schwab Bank has a High Yield Investor Checking Account with a $0 minimum, and a $0 monthly service fee, that provides unlimited fee rebates from any ATM worldwide! You must also open a linked Schwab One Brokerage Account, but this account also has no fees and no minimums.
You will receive an ATM card in the mail after you have deposited any amount of money into your account. I wanted to link this checking account with my primary one, and that is the most annoying part of the whole process… It can’t be done online. You have to fill out a few things on a form and mail it in to them. But with the payout of no more ATM fees, especially abroad, it is a small annoyance that is more than worth it to me!
A Word of Caution: If you are using MoneyLink to transfer money, be careful of the 3 business day hold on your funds, especially around national holidays! You don’t want to end up in Beijing with very little money like I did.