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Charles Schwab checking account just for foreign travel?

Charles Schwab checking account just for foreign travel?

Old Feb 16, 2016, 9:22 am
  #31  
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Originally Posted by pinniped
Still not sure how this has enough incremental value over my regular credit union ATM card to make it worth opening a new account.

That has no ATM fees. It processes over the Visa network so the FX is ~1% above the interbank rate (as any Visa-network card would be). While my CU doesn't reimburse fixed ATM usage fees, I don't typically see those abroad to begin with. (That seems mostly to be a U.S. scourge.)

Am I missing something? Nothing against Schwab as a home for your investments and maybe even a place to have a cash account because you invest there, but it doesn't seem like a few foreign ATM transactions per year makes it worth opening an account just for that.
Like most things, it is dependent on the card holder. A withdrawal from any ATM in Thailand with a USA card comes with a ~$5 USD fee. I travel there frequently, so I save about $40 each trip by using the Schwaab card.

It has also come in handy domestically when I didn't want to bother with finding an ATM machine that was "in-network" for my credit union.

It is of significant value to a segment of FTers, for sure.

Last edited by goodeats21; Feb 17, 2016 at 8:26 am Reason: typo
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Old Feb 16, 2016, 10:41 am
  #32  
 
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Originally Posted by pinniped
Still not sure how this has enough incremental value over my regular credit union ATM card to make it worth opening a new account.

That has no ATM fees. It processes over the Visa network so the FX is ~1% above the interbank rate (as any Visa-network card would be). While my CU doesn't reimburse fixed ATM usage fees, I don't typically see those abroad to begin with. (That seems mostly to be a U.S. scourge.)

Am I missing something? Nothing against Schwab as a home for your investments and maybe even a place to have a cash account because you invest there, but it doesn't seem like a few foreign ATM transactions per year makes it worth opening an account just for that.
ATM fees definitely aren't just a US thing. I've seen $6 fees at some ATMs in Thailand down in the islands. I save several hundred a year by using Schwab, plus they have fantastic customer service. I've also had too many unfortunate issues with CUs and international transactions—the one I used to use got spooked easily and was too frustrating to stick with.

Originally Posted by moondog
I would use them as my main account even if I never left the US.

-fast and smart customer service
-can pull money from any atm without worry about fees
-can increase ATM withdrawal limit to whatever your heart desires (if there is an upper bound, I'm not aware of it)
-they don't sit on inbound wires
-I don't think they have any physical branches, but my credit union only has two, so this isn't exactly a big win for the credit union
You can do some banking at their investment branches. I've deposited money orders in-person that way—fortunately there's a branch in my town. I don't know if you can deposit or withdraw physical cash at those offices.
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Old Feb 16, 2016, 10:58 am
  #33  
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Originally Posted by txflyer77
I've also had too many unfortunate issues with CUs and international transactions—the one I used to use got spooked easily and was too frustrating to stick with.
Speaking of that, Schwab really wants you to notify them before using their card at a foreign merchant. (I attempted a Revolut load a while back using it, which declined because they're UK based; a phone call to Schwab cleared it up though.)
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Old Feb 16, 2016, 12:45 pm
  #34  
 
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Originally Posted by tmiw
Speaking of that, Schwab really wants you to notify them before using their card at a foreign merchant. (I attempted a Revolut load a while back using it, which declined because they're UK based; a phone call to Schwab cleared it up though.)
I haven't notified them of international travel in years, hasn't been an issue.
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Old Feb 16, 2016, 1:23 pm
  #35  
 
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We also have the NFTF Schwab cards and only use them when outside US. It is quite nice to not have the fees.
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Old Feb 16, 2016, 2:50 pm
  #36  
 
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Originally Posted by goodeats21

It has also come in hand domestically when I didn't want to bother with finding an ATM machine that was "in-network" for my credit union.

It is of significant value to a segment of FTers, for sure.
That's what I use it for too predominantly. I don't carry cash around (unless I'm going somewhere that I know will need cash e.g. farmer's market) and when someplace doesn't accept cash, an ATM is usually right around the corner. Finding an in-network ATM would be drastically more difficult, even if your network has tens of thousands of ATMs.
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Old Feb 17, 2016, 5:40 am
  #37  
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Originally Posted by tmiw
Speaking of that, Schwab really wants you to notify them before using their card at a foreign merchant. (I attempted a Revolut load a while back using it, which declined because they're UK based; a phone call to Schwab cleared it up though.)
Why bother with Schwab if you have Revolut? It seems to me that Revolut is better or as good in pretty well every respect, but I may be missing something.
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Old Feb 17, 2016, 9:46 am
  #38  
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Originally Posted by lhrsfo
Why bother with Schwab if you have Revolut? It seems to me that Revolut is better or as good in pretty well every respect, but I may be missing something.
Revolut doesn't reimburse ATM fees while Schwab does. Also, the latter has phone support in case there are problems; I've never had good luck getting responses from Revolut through their app.
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Old Feb 17, 2016, 2:16 pm
  #39  
 
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Originally Posted by tmiw
Speaking of that, Schwab really wants you to notify them before using their card at a foreign merchant. (I attempted a Revolut load a while back using it, which declined because they're UK based; a phone call to Schwab cleared it up though.)
I've had that issue twice while in Hanoi and as you said, a quick phone call clears it up. No other issues the rest of my Southeast Asia travels. I don't believe they even put a block on it, which would have been understandable, but certainly a bit annoying.
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Old Mar 22, 2016, 8:04 pm
  #40  
 
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I am looking to open a Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking Account (already a Schwab investment customer) for exactly this purpose. PM me if you want me to use your referral code for signup!
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Old Jul 14, 2016, 1:29 pm
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Originally Posted by Duke787
Schwab also has a $10k mobile check deposit limit from a single check even with little or no money in the account which is another nice feature (higher limit than Chase Mobile gives me).

They also have really favorable rates when you withdraw from foreign ATMs and I found that even in Thailand where the ATMs charge you both a withdrawal fee and then the extra conversion fee, I was reimbursed entirely for all fees.
Great to hear. I just opened an account and am awaiting the debit card. CitiGold has upped their requirements to $200k per year - so I am leaving them. Schwab should be a good replacement (heck may even be better if they truly reimburse the 'mixed' ATM fees abroad). Citi didn't do that (nor does HSBC Premier).

Re the mobile check deposit - has anyone tried to deposit from abroad? Other banks have blocked me from doing so while traveling. Must be in the US. Annoying when I'm abroad for a month and a check rolls in.
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Old Jul 14, 2016, 2:30 pm
  #42  
 
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Recently, I almost opened an account with Charles Schwab until I realized my USC Credit union account (https://www.usccreditunion.org/) had/has everything I was interested in Charles Schwab for international travel.
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Old Jul 14, 2016, 3:07 pm
  #43  
 
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Originally Posted by daKav
Recently, I almost opened an account with Charles Schwab until I realized my USC Credit union account (https://www.usccreditunion.org/) had/has everything I was interested in Charles Schwab for international travel.
Limited membership will disqualify most on this board. As well, even for those who can join, membership benefits do not seem to be as broad as Schwab.

https://www.usccreditunion.org/products/debit-atm-cards
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Old Jul 16, 2016, 5:59 am
  #44  
 
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Originally Posted by TravelinSperry
Re the mobile check deposit - has anyone tried to deposit from abroad? Other banks have blocked me from doing so while traveling. Must be in the US. Annoying when I'm abroad for a month and a check rolls in.
I have deposited US payroll checks to Schwab from my phone while in the Philippines a number of times without the slightest problem. And in one case even a $9,500 hand written personal check that I deposited from the Philippines. And that $9,500 from that was available for use in my account within 15 minutes. I sometimes use personal checks to transfer largish amounts of cash between different accounts to cover this or that expense and with Schwab I can deposit up to $10k personal check and have the cash available within minutes, whereas even a ACH or electronic transfer would take at least a day or two.

I originally got the Schwab account just because of the free overseas ATM usage for travel, but I will admit their fiendishly clever marketing ploy sucked me in and I pretty much use them for almost all of my banking and the brokerage account as well. I still have my old local Credit Union account I have had for years but I rarely use it anymore.
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Old Jul 16, 2016, 6:59 am
  #45  
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Guys: in case you haven't noticed the theme here, Schwab is REALLY good.

You might think that since my company banks with HSBC that HSBC would be favorable for me, but Schwab is actually better for any transfers >$3,000 because their awesome fx rates nullify the $30 fee that HSBC charges for wires.

I also have an icbc account, and fund it via HSBC with USD or hkd on occasion. Schwab, reliably, beats icbc by a solid 50 basis points on the fx front.

There are no strings attached, and anybody with a heartbeat can score a Schwab account. Get onboard!
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