Journal

Best Credit and Debit Cards to Travel with

Bank charges whilst travelling abroad are potentially one of the most infuriating things about the remote working lifestyle. If you’re on holiday for a couple of weeks, it’s easy in a lot of cases to purchase the the currency you need before you travel. But if you’re on the road for 6 months - it’s not viable to carry that amount of money with you. As someone who has had their bank account ravaged by international bank charges, it gives me exceeding pleasure to share the Tribe’s recommendations with you. I’ll do it by location so you can just skip past the suggestions that may not apply to you.

A note about Debit Cards

For those folks who just want to use a debit card abroad, never fear! There are some excellent options on the market that are great for travellers. You really want one that allows you to withdraw foreign currency and use your card without paying an absolute fortune. Different countries will have different bank accounts available so always do your research, but with the rise of global banking services like Transferwise and Revolut (Europe), you’re sure to find an account that works for you and your travel needs.

A note about Credit Cards

Credit cards can offer some really fantastic benefits for digital nomads. Regular, everyday purchases can get you building up points that you can use towards accommodation or flights, and you can get discounts on all sorts of things across the globe. Normally you’ll get travel insurance included which may or may not be of use to you, but it helps to have it just in case.

A word of warning though; if you want all the good stuff with less of the bad, the general consensus is that you should look to settle your balance in full each month. That way you avoid the hefty interest charges that generally come with credit cards.

Always check the small print and read those terms and conditions. But you guys know that already ;-)

USA

Charles Schwab - Brittney W. Jason. W

Debit/Credit? - Debit

Network - Visa/Plus

Annual Fee? - No

Best Benefits

  • No charge for foreign transactions

  • Third party ATM fees reimbursed


If you’re an American, Charles Schwab is amazing. They reimburse you for ATM fees in all countries.
— Brittney W.

A fair few of our community recommended a checking account with Charles Schwab. The High Yield Investor Account reimburses you for ATM fees, and there are no fees for an unlimited number of foreign transactions. You can track everything online which is convenient and connect it to your Apple Pay/Google Pay/Samsung Pay/Microsoft Wallet.

They’ll also ship a new debit card out to you for free if you lose it abroad! Sounds like a dream for our US travellers out there!

I lost my ATM card while in Bangkok and they sent me my replacement card within a few business days and all for free.
— Howard. S

Check it out here for more details...

Credit Cards

Chase Sapphire - Beatriz C

Credit/Debit? - Credit

Network - Visa

Annual Fee? - Yes - this card has an annual fee of $450 so you’re going to want to make sure the benefits you actually take advantage of make it worth it.

Best Benefits

  • 3x Points on travel and dining related expenses worldwide

  • Up to $300 credits for travel purchases charged

  • 1:1 Point Transfer with participating airlines and hotel chains

  • No foreign transaction fees

The Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card looks like a brilliant option and comes with more than a few recommendations from our members. It comes with a whole host of benefits including:-

Capital One Venture. - Janie L

Credit/Debit? - Credit

Network - Visa

Annual Fee? - Yes - $0 for the first year and then $95 after that.

Best benefits

  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Unlimited rewards - you earn 2X miles per dollar spent.
  • New customers get 50,000 air miles if they spend over $3000 in the first three months

Capital One have got a pretty good offer here and again, more than a couple of our seasoned Tribers have recommended this as a great credit card to travel with. It has got some pretty fantastic reviews! Check it out here to find out more.

EUROPE

RevolutAndrea O., Annabel M.

Credit/Debit? :- Debit

Visa/Mastercard? : Both

Annual Fee? : No but you can upgrade your account and then you need to pay. You can pay up front for the year to save, or you can pay £6.99 a month.

Best Benefits

  • No foreign exchange fees for 150 currencies
  • Free ATM withdrawals up to £200/€200 a month or €400 a month if you get a premium account.

If you're in Europe, you're onto a winner with Revolut. Everything is controlled via an app which is easy to use and simple to figure out. I've got Revolut and I love it already. If you decide to upgrade and go premium, yes it's about £7 a month, but with it you get a whole load of other cool security features to help keep your money safe as you travel. Find out more about it here.

N26 - Diego B.

Credit/Debit? - Debit

Visa/Mastercard? - Mastercard

Annual Fee? - Can get a free account but you can upgrade for €9.90 a month for added benefits

Best Benefits

  • No foreign exchange fees. 
  • Available across various European countries.
  • 5 free ATM withdrawals a month

If you can't get Revolut, this is a decent alternative. They are expanding into other countries, so soon this will be available in the UK and the US etc. Again like Revolut, if you choose to upgrade, then you get access to lots of extra goodies around security. To find out more and see if you can get it where you live, check it out here.

We really hope this helps you guys. If your country isn’t listed or the combo you use isn’t listed, please drop it in the comments below to help out your fellow nomad. These are the kind of articles that we’ll review every so often to update so if there’s something new that you love, let us know! As always, if you want to meet the community that made this article happen, then you're gonna need to find out where we're going next aren't you?

Until next time…