Wednesday, November 28th 2018

American Bank Accounts Without International Fees

Written by

Rafael Bracho

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Avoid international fees with these banks


If you are interested in avoiding international fees, like ATM fees in foreign countries or exchange rate fees, then there are a few options open to those Americans who want an American bank account without international fees. WeExpats has put together some solutions for you to consider if you are an expat or if you travel frequently.


One of the banks found prevalent among American expats is Charles Schwab. This bank has a superb account called the Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking Account. The amazing thing about this checking account is that is has no ATM fees—anywhere. With a competitive Annual Percentage Yield of 0.35%, Charles Schwab becomes a solid option for expats for an American bank account without international fees. Charles Schwab’s checking accounts offer no minimum balance with no monthly service fees. You can pay bills online and get standard check—as well as get a Visa Platinum Debit Card—at no cost to you.

This Charles Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking Account is linked to a brokerage account—which also has no minimums and no monthly service charges. This checking account is intended to attract customers to trade via Charles Schwab, however it does have some requirements, such as a minimum investment of $1,000 USD in cash and/or securities to open the brokerage account (or $2,000 USD in cash and/or securities to open a brokerage margin account) before you can get the checking account with all the perks. However, you don’t have to make any trades or carry a minimum balance once you open the brokerage account—so if you can afford it, the Charles Schwab is a viable option for an American bank account without international fees.


Fidelity is another option for an American bank account without international fees. Fidelity is one of the more prevalent options for those American expats living abroad. If you’re trying to avoid international bank fees, then Fidelity could be a viable option for you.

Fidelity is often advertised as having no ATM fees worldwide through their Fidelity Debit Card. However, Fidelity technically does have ATM fees, they are automatically reimbursed into your account. Fidelity also has no minimum balances, and it is easy to move money between your Fidelity accounts. Fidelity checking accounts require no monthly fees and the FDIC insurance is 5 times more than a typical bank’s coverage—up to $1,250,000 USD! Fidelity also offers free mobile check deposit, free checkwriting, and free Fidelity BillPay which make the bank account an ideal choice for an American bank account without international fees. You do not have to have a brokerage account to obtain a Fidelity Cash Management Account, however there may be restrictions upon opening the account.


Chase Sapphire Reserve is a special credit card with several benefits to travelers. The Chase Sapphire Reserve card has a 17.99% – 24.99% APR, however it also has an annual fee of $450 USD. However, in return you will receive 3 times the points that can be put toward hotels, airfare, dining, and cafes. Furthermore, if you put $4,000 USD on your card in the first 3 months of opening your account, you will receive 50,000 bonus points—which is worth roughly $750 USD.

There are also other perks for travelers. For example, $300 USD which were spent on travel expenses are reimbursed to you on your account’s anniversary. You will also get perks such as auto rental collision damage coverage which will cover a rental car for $75,000 in the United States or abroad. You can get lost luggage reimbursement, trip cancellation and trip delay insurance. You will even get emergency evacuation and transportation insurance among other perks. You get Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit, as well as complimentary airport lounge access to 1,000+ lounges in over 500 cities. You will even get special benefits at a variety of top hotels throughout the world. And of course, with Chase Sapphire Reserve you will have no foreign transaction fees when you are outside of the United States. This is one of the best solutions to having an American bank account without international fees.


Aspiration brands itself as a unique solution to the problem of big banks. Instead, they offer premium service with every extra service fee is presented to the customer at cost. Aspiration only makes money via their Pay What Is Fair policy. This means that they operate on donation, and the customer pays them whatever they think is fair—even if that amount is nothing.

That’s right. There are no-fee IRAs, high-interest banking service fees, or international fees other than what it costs the bank. All their profits are made on the company’s policy of trust and faith. Furthermore, 10% of every dollar that is paid to Aspiration is donated back into charities that help Americans who struggle financially to build a better future. Therefore, Aspiration is an American bank account without international fees except whatever you are willing to pay.


If you bank through a Capital One bank (as in an actual brick and mortar physical location), then you can expect fees as high as $2 USD per withdrawal, as well as 3% of the transaction amount. This could add up quickly to be a substantial amount. However, if you have Capital One 360—outside of their brick and mortar locations and strictly online—then there are no fees even if the issuer of the fees (like Mastercard) were to charge you a fee. Capital One 360 will cover the fee.


This Fintech investing platform introduced its own checking and savings accounts. This bank is almost too good to be true, and it’s shaking up the international banking industry. Robinhood charges no monthly fees, no overdraft fees, requires no minimum balance, and no foreign transaction fees. There are 75,000 ATMs—most of which are located at retail giants such as Target, 7-Eleven, and Walgreens. What’s most impressive is that your checking and savings accounts earn 3% interest! This is roughly 1,000 times greater than what corporate banks provide. Though, Robinhood is technically bank accounts—instead they are separate balances held within a Robinhood brokerage account—WeExpats thought we would include them in our list of American banks without international fees.


Not to be misleading, however USAA does have international fees. They are just very low. Every month, you do get the first ten ATM withdrawals free. Then any other fees that are incurred will be refunding until you hit $15.00 USD. After you hit their fifteen dollar refund limit, then you will be charged $2.00 USD for each withdrawal.

USAA does have an international transaction fee for withdrawals outside the United States, however it´s only 1% of the withdrawal amount. Therefore, you can likely withdraw eleven times a month while only having to pay the 1% international transaction fee.


First of all, we should mention that Citibank does charge a $2.00 USD fee with a 3% international transaction charge for any foreign transactions that is standard among so many other banks. However, these fees are waived when you are a Citigold member.

Yet becoming a Citigold member is not your only course of action to avoid international fees. Citibank also has more than 4,000 ATMs in over 40 countries that will not charge you any fees. It is as if you were in the United States! To find out if there is a Citibank ATM in your travel destination, click here.


First Republic Bank has an ATM Rebate Checking Account. This checking account has over 800,000 ATMs throughout the world. With this checking account, you will have complete and unlimited access to all of them. Also, international card usage fees are waived with First Republic Bank, and ATM withdrawal fees are refunded if you happen to use another bank.

However, you must open this checking account with at least $500 USD, and you must maintain a balance of $3,500 USD to avoid monthly fees. Also, many of the perks listed above disappear if you have a balance below $3,500 USD. To learn more, click here.


These are the most prevalent options for American bank accounts without international fees, however they are not the only solutions. If you have another American bank account without international fees, then please comment below.

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