For The Win – Banking

One of the great things about being a travel blogger is the community. There are a ton of people out there with fantastic blogs who offer a ton of really useful tips, espeically those that are on the road much of the year. Generally, I take some tips with a grain of salt, but when you start seeing the same info on a variety of blogs, then you know its legit.

So, in the continuation of the For The Win series lets talk about….banking. Not as exciting as what you thought I was going to say I bet.

We all know how it sucks to get screwed at the ATM. And as bad as it is at home, it can be worse abroad, an ATM fee of 2.50 pounds dings me for over $4! Thats a pint!

Enter, Charles Schwab.

One of the cool things about Schwab is that you can use ATMs anywhere in the world, and won’t be charged a fee! There are no fees associated in the US, and if a fee is charged internationally, it will be credited right back into your account. So right there you are saving some of your cash.

Also, Schwab does not require you to keep a minimum balance, and there is no required minimum deposit to start.

Sounds pretty good right?

Now you have a couple of options if you want to take this route, and Schwab gives 3 distinct plans for checking accounts. The lowest plan will also give you the least amount of interest, only around .05%, where as the high yield account can pop your potential interest up to around .25%. So, the best suggestion is to poke around the site a bit and figure out what works best for you, for some the extra interest could mean something, for others who might just use the account to deposit travel funds into, it doesn’t matter.

I have also seen some people suggest opening both a checking and savings account with Schwab, as you get an ATM card for each account, which can be used as an in case of emergency back up, or if you are a balla and need to take out more than $500 at a time.

I will be opening my account over the next few days in preparation of my UK trip, since I am very anti-credit card, I use my debit card for most things, and don’t want to have to worry about losing cash on ATM fees. So, as with anything else, check it out and do what works for you.


  1. Adventurous Kate

    Big fan of Schwab! It was nice getting around $20 back in ATM charges each month. Great customer service, too.

  2. Liz

    Good to hear, I am absolutely signing up.

  3. Adrienne @Shenventure

    We use Schwab too and it’s been great so far!

    • Liz

      Awesome! It seems to be a must in any serious travelers toolbox.

  4. Natalie Sisson

    Was so excited to see this post and then realised it only applies to US citizens (I assume) to open a bank account with Charles Schwab? ATM fees oversees are horrendous when you don’t have a local account. Pays to take cash with you or take out large amounts to not get hit with silly fees.

    • Liz

      You might be able to try it, on the sign up page it does list a ton of other countries besides the US, can’t hurt!