No matter how you manage and spend your money while you travel, you’re going to have to pay for the privilege of spending money in another currency.

Debit Cards and ATMs Abroad

There are three fees to watch out for when using an ATM in a foreign country:

Your bank’s foreign ATM fee: If your financial institution doesn’t have a branch where you are traveling, you’ll be at the mercy of an ATM belonging to a private company or other financial institution. In this case, your bank will probably charge a per-transaction fee for using the Interac/Plus system (for example) to access your funds.

The foreign ATM’s fee: Many foreign banks and almost all private ATMs will charge a fee of their own for your use of their ATM machines.

Currency Conversion fees: To add insult to injury, you can additionally be hit with a currency conversion fee; usually charged by your home bank and expressed as a higher-than-market rate (the bank pockets the extra few cents on each dollar). It is often minimal in comparison to other currency conversion fees (e.g.: those charged by credit card companies), but is still worth investigating and accounting for.

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  • Nora Dunn

    In 2006, Nora sold everything she owned in Canada (including a busy financial planning practice) to embrace her dreams of full-…

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