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June 18, 2009


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For the ATM, Schwab One charges 0%. This is the best I have seen.

If you are going to be in Asia for more than a couple of weeks, may I suggest opening an online HSBC account in the states. You can then access your money with no fees (as far as my statement said). Just a thought.

Todd, are you sure about that? I have an HSBC account and I called them a year ago to find out about accessing my funds in Asia and was told they charge 1%. If they have changed their stance this is good news.

Thanks for posting this article!

Very well written and useful before my summer travels.

Thanks FMF and MHfC!

I'm still confused about how this XE works. How does one pick up ones foreign currency? I understand how it works when sending money oversees to someone else.

I'm in the minority - but when traveling overseas I still carry $500 to $1000 in travelers' checks.

I usually travel to third world countries and have had many occasions when I simply can't get an ATM machine to accept my ATM card. On more than one occasion, I have been saved by being able to cash travelers' checks. Sure it's a hassle - but it's the final safety net.


If you travel overseas, sign up at Schwab. Get the credit card with 2% cashback and no foreign fees at all. Then on the Schwab brokerage account, get the debit Visa card that you use to withdraw cash with no Schwab fees (although the ATM's bank could charge a fee). Also, the E*Trade debit Visa card doesn't charge anything to withdraw cash outside the country.

I've found that you can exhange money at cash counters in Asia with good exchange rates and very low commissions. Unfortunately exchange rates are pretty bad when you transfer money in the UK, Australia and the US so it's better to use the ATM or credit cards there.

-Mike Hunt

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