Ok, so it’s 2017 and if you’re still using a credit card that applies a foreign transaction fee (I’ll overlook it if you’re try to hit a spending requirement for a sign-up bonus), well, in the words of Patrick Bateman…
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s talk debit cards. In all honesty, you should be using a credit card whenever possible and should ONLY use your debit card when hitting up the ATM (yes, this means REMOVING it from your wallet for roughly 95% of your trips from the apartment or hotel). There are a number of reasons for doing so and I don’t think that you EVER want to have to deal with being stuck abroad, waiting for a replacement card to maybe find its way (through customs, of course) to your place. With this in mind, there is really only ONE (major) quality to look for in a debit card:
No ATM fees
Sure, you want a card that is accepted wherever possible and thankfully, most major card issuers enjoy this “accepted” status throughout the world. But fee-free ATM transactions are the gamechangers.
Unfortunately, there aren’t that many cards that offer fee-free ATM transactions at all major bank ATMs.
Although you’ll still technically be charged ATM fees with this card, they are fully (in just about all cases) reimbursed at the end of the statement period. Additionally, being that Visa is the issuer, you can be confident that it will be accepted just about everywhere and the Chip adds an extra degree of security.
But the fun doesn’t stop there!
Who doesn’t want .1% interest on their account balance (actually…probably nobody does which is why I advise having a higher-yielding account connected to the Schwab account and only transferring funds when you are ready to go to the ATM).
Paying fees is so 1990’s and scavenging around for the “right” ATM to avoid paying said fees s so…2000’s (definitively worse than the 90’s, if I do say so myself!) Grab yourself a Schwab card and account and kiss those fees goodbye (abroad and at home!)