When traveling abroad, I always dread going to the nearest ATM machine in order not to pay the 2% – 5% processing fee. Usually it only costs me around $5 dollars, but it’s still money that I could save and put toward better use. I’ve even had friends who have told me of ATM fees that cost them up to an extra $30!
Thankfully, now every time that I go traveling abroad, I don’t have to pay ATM fees ever again with the Fidelity Visa Gold Check Debit Card.
How Does The Fidelity Visa Gold Check Card Work?
No matter where you are in the world, Fidelity will automatically reimburse you for all ATM fees. The only catch is that you have to use an ATM with a Visa®, Plus®, or Star® logos, which are more than plentiful. Let’s take a quick glance at the card below:
- All ATM Fees are automatically reimbursed worldwide anywhere you see the Visa®, Plus®, or Star® logos
- Scan and deposits check with a mobile app for free
- Receive free checks, deposit slips and online images of cleared checks
- Receive and pay bills online or on the web
- Ability to link to other Fidelity accounts for overdraft protection
- Auto rental collision damage waiver
- No annual fees
Fidelity is a Brokerage Firm – Does that Mean that I Have to Invest to Get the Card?
You do not have to invest your money in order to use this card for ATM withdrawals. However, you do have to register for a Fidelity brokerage account in order to use the card. Rather than taking cash out from your bank account, you’ll instead be taking it from cash that’s just sitting in your brokerage account.
This is very similar to how it works with a normal credit card, but just with a slightly different layout. It’s definitely worth it if you’re trying to avoid ATM fees.
The reason that Fidelity is offering such a great deal in the first place is because like any bank, they hope to obtain fees from you. In this case, it’s either fees from investing or overdraft fees. Just be aware of how much is in your account and how much you spend, and you don’t have to worry about over-paying.
How Do I Sign Up?
You can sign-up for an account and activate your card by clicking here. You must create an online brokerage account, but remember, you don’t have to invest. The card can be applied for while signing up for the account at the same time.
After you get your card, you will see that there will be multiple accounts when logging-in online.
One of the accounts is called your Savings, Checking, and Spending Accounts. When activating the card, Fidelity will confirm with you the account number from which you can withdraw funds.
Make sure to transfer to the individual account first before withdrawing. You don’t want to be charged with an overdraft fee.
If you do decide to invest with Fidelity, cash can easily be transferred from your Cash Management Account to your brokerage accounts and visa-versa. There is no minimum amount required to keep an account active and no annual fees.
If by chance you accidentally over-withdraw and are faced with an overdraft fee, call up the customer service number on the back of their card. Mention that it’s your first time making an over-withdrawal and they’ll usually be more than happy to refund the fee since it was an honest mistake.
Stop Exchanging Money Before Traveling
I only use this card when traveling to places that absolutely need cash to make a purchase. Otherwise, using a cash back credit card with no foreign transaction fees won’t charge me anything.
Not only that, but by using this card when abroad you can avoid the currency exchange booths frequently found at airports and other locations. Exchanging money at these places can end up being really expensive, where you lose an extra 2% -3% of your money depending.
As soon as I get to my country of destination, I ask the service rep at the airport where the nearest Visa ATM is (the most common one). I go to the ATM and withdraw any money that I need for my trip and I’m set. The rate I get is whatever the currency exchange rate is setup at that moment.
If I ever run out of money on my Fidelity ATM card, I make sure to have my banks linked to my account so that I can simply transfer money to my Cash Management Account and have money once again readily available.
Don’t Use The Card Unless You Have To
As mentioned above, the only reason you might want to use this card while you’re abroad is if you’d like to do an activity that does not accept credit cards. I agree that’s it’s always important to carry around a little cash, but try to avoid using this card if possible.
The main reason is that you should be using a cash back credit card with no international fees. We are trying to aim for the highest level of frugality possible. FFL currently recommends two credit cards for travel.
1. Barclay Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard
The first one is the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®. The card comes with no international fee and they give you 2x miles for every dollar you spend. Every mile can be redeemed to for 2% cash back on travel purchases and 1% on any other purchase.
Not only that, but once you spend $3,000 within the first three months of opening an account, they give you an extra 40,000 bonus miles, which can be redeemed for $400 dollars toward your next travel purchase.
If you don’t want to redeem for travel, you can still redeem the points for cash at half the amount of points you have. That’s still $220 dollars in cash. It does have an annual fee of $89, but it’s waived for the first year.
Here’s a quick glance at the card:
- After spending $3,000 in the first 90 days of opening an account receive 40,000 miles in points
- Earn 2X miles on all purchases
- The card has an installed chip which makes it easier for purchases abroad and at home
- Points can be redeemed for anything related to travel – hotel, flights, rent-a-car, etc.
- Redeeming your miles for travel credit gives you an extra 10% on miles redeemed
- No foreign transaction fees
- Free online FICO® Credit Score
2. Capital One Quicksilver Card
The other card I recommend for travel is the Capital One Quicksilver Card. This card gives you 1.5% cash back on all purchases no matter what you buy.
The Barclay’s Card gives you 2% cash back when redeemed for travel and only 1% in cash for all other purchases. Depending on how much you travel, the Capital One Card may be better for you.
The Capital One Card comes with no international nor annual fee, making it a great purchase. Furthermore, after spending $500 within the first three months of opening an account, you receive $100 in cash. Let’s take a look at the card below:
- Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
- No Annual Fee
- No rotating categories and no sign ups needed to earn cash rewards
- Save with a low intro APR on purchases
- One-time $100 bonus once you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months
- A “Best Rewards” credit card winner, MONEY® Magazine, October 2013
There’s no need to pay for ATM fees or even worry about withdrawing cash before you travel. As long as you use one of the ATMs that’s partnered with the Fidelity Card, you can avoid all withdrawal fees.
If you have any other tips or tricks to save money while traveling, let us know down below. Thanks for reading and happy frugaling!