Best Bank Accounts for Travellers 2017

The best bank accounts for travelling and an international lifestyle, whether you live in Europe, UK, USA or Australia.

Best bank accounts for travellers 2016

If you travel two weeks per year, then losing 5% through fees and bad exchange rates isn’t a big deal. If you travel a lot, then these fees soon start to add up. Plus not being at ‘home’ to sort out bank issues like a blocked card can be a problem as well as not being in one place long enough to receive a new card. This is why I recommend having alternatives, like two or more banks, a few cards and a virtual card.

For transferring money internationally and how I handle cash read How to manage money for travel.

The most innovative banks like Number26 from Germany show what features we may hope to get in other parts of the world during the next few years. If the traditional banks don’t adapt, new banks will emerge to happily take the unsatisfied customers’ money.

Number26 – Available in Austria, France, Greece, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Slovakia and Spain

  • No monthly or setup cost
  • No ATM fees globally
  • Open the account online, don’t need to turn up anywhere and wait
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No currency exchange margin
  • Notifications on the app about card usage (Not SMS when your phone doesn’t work in Japan for example)
  • Block your card on the app

Only supports SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area) transfers in Europe but for transferring money outside Europe you can use Transferwise or other services.

No interest accrued on deposits


Update Aug 2017: I can no longer recommend their card as they have frozen my account twice.

They withheld money on my account after they had a technical system failure. Their customer service is poor and they have now blocked me from being able to communicate with them in the app.


UK Best Bank Accounts for International Travellers

Metro Bank

Need to visit a branch to open an account, but they open your account immediately and make you a debit card and give it to you in person.

Fed up of your high street bank like HSBC, Lloyds TSB, Barclays or RBS, this is a great replacement or addition so you have more options.

  • Excellent customer service based in the UK
  • No setup cost or monthly cost
  • No ATM Fees in Europe
  • Offers credit cards and traditional banking services
  • Permanently block or temporarily block and unblock your card with the app
  • Manage the account from the app
  • Branches offer a magic money machine for sorting coins for free
  • Business accounts available also

I personally use Metro Bank and love it, if you are in the South of the UK or London, it is the best bank, they have over 40 branches and plan to open branches nationally across the UK by 2017.


Norwich & Peterborough Building Society

  • Fee free debit card usage globally
  • Free ATM withdrawals worldwide

Must pay in at least £500 a month or maintain a balance of over £5000 to avoid the monthly £5 fee.

US Best Bank Accounts for International Travellers

Schwab Bank Checking Account

  • No monthly or setup cost
  • No ATM fees globally
  • Open the account online
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No currency exchange margin
  • They do have some physical branches also

Need to be a US Resident or have a Social Security Number and also a form of US ID

You have to sign up for a free Schwab One brokerage account that will be linked to your account, but you don’t have to use it.

Capital One 360

Almost the same as Schwab except not free ATM fees everywhere.

Australian / New Zealand Best Bank Accounts for International Travellers

Citibank Plus Transaction Account

For Australian citizens:

  • No monthly or setup cost
  • No ATM fees globally
  • Fee free international transfers
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No currency exchange margin

Have to physically go to a branch with ID to set up an account.

Air NZ OneSmart

Only available to people in New Zealand.

Prepaid card and rewards card with the following currencies: NZD, AUD, USD, EUR, GBP, CAD, SGD, HKD, JPY

  • $1 monthly fee
  • If you use the card for other currencies there is a 2.5% fee

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Best bank accounts for travelers 2016

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2 Responses

  1. Zhijun Tan says:

    But my Revolut card has been suspended. I do not really recommend this card to people.

  2. Francis Shenstone says:

    Hi Zhijun, thanks for letting me know. I have also had problems with Revolut witholding my money and giving me bad customer service, so I no longer recommend them.

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