It has become increasingly easy to travel for pleasure and we need to travel more and more for work. Banks and other financial service providers have always been inventive to charge consumers with any kind of hidden fees. In particular when abroad, it’s much harder to be aware and enforce your rights. Cross border transactions that involve changing from one currency to another can be very expensive. So here some tips how to avoid unnecessary fees.
Don’t exchange cash
Don’t exchange cash. As a general rule, it is never cheap to exchange cash. It doesn’t matter if you do it home or abroad. Many advertise that there is no exchange fee. Be assured they take their cut by giving you an unfavourable exchange rate. In addition, it’s a security threat if you carry too much cash with you.
Don’t pay in your own currency abroad
Don’t accept paying in your own currency. Both when withdrawing from an ATM and when paying by card, it has become more and more common that you get an offer to pay in your own currency instead of the foreign currency. This is almost always a bad choice. The exchange rate is always quite unfavourable and the threat that you don’t have a secured price shouldn’t frighten you. Currencies don’t usually change so quickly and your bank will give you the standard rate of the date, which is much more favourable for you.
Have the right bank and the right card
Have the right bank and the right card. Germany has some excellent offers for travels that allow you to avoid fees abroad almost entirely.
These two following banks offer you a credit card with free withdrawals abroad and are on top of that completely free:
DKB is the top choice for those you want to have it all. You get a Visa card and withdrawing money is for free at any ATM, both in Germany and abroad. This is almost always the case, I have experienced though that especially in the US, ATM providers charge an extra fee. In this case, they will warn you beforehand. In all other cases, I have never experienced any fees when withdrawing at an ATM – I have travelled quite a bit of the world. Note that you do have to pay fees if you pay in non-EU currencies abroad (except
The DKB checking account offers several other advantages – did I say it is completely without any fees – and you can read more about it the different choices of checking accounts here.
With the comdirect bank you also get a free checking account and a free VISA card. You can withdraw money worldwide without any fee. From my own experience, I can also highly recommend this bank account.