International Travel: Eliminate ATM and Foreign Transaction fees!

I really wish I found this last year for my vacation Thailand!!!

While doing some research online I stumbled across Charles Schwab. They offer a "side-by-side" interest checking and brokerage account with $0 minimum and $0 maintenance fees. I looked at all the benefits, made a call to Schwab, and confirmed that they reimburse and unlimited amount of ATM fees (monthly) from any ATM worldwide. On top they do not charge the 3% foreign exchange fee that is very common these days in the USA.

I am going to try this out myself while I am away. I will be going through South Korea briefly and into Cambodia. Research tells me that Cambodia now charges a $4 ATM winthdrawal fee for all foreign cards. After some quick and dirty math I should save roughly $30 in fees by using the Schwab account. They also offer free basic checks too boot!

If this works out well Schwab may get a lot more of my business. Their mutual funds offer good expense ratios on the index funds and $0 transaction fees to trade their mutual funds or their ETF's. This has come a long way from the old Schwab that used to charge a lot more. I think they realized discount is what people ultimately want. This works out for all!

If you have any planned trips I strongly suggest looking into using Schwab while you are away. The fee savings alone can really pay off. They offer a lot of other great services for investing and are much more competitive these days. Being able to use margin as overdraft ($0 fees there too!) and instantly transfer between brokerage and checking are 2 features I really like. Have a look for yourself: