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I see via Doctor of Credit that the Charles Schwab $100 bonus for a new customer sign-up, which includes checking. If you have other Schwab accounts you won’t get the bonus.
You can sign-up here (note: the page says you were referred, this is a generic Schwab link that neither myself or as far as I know anyone will receive any referral commission. Schwab’s style of refer-a-friend is out of the goodness of your heart.)
Why do travelers love Charles Schwab Checking?
- No account fees or minimums
- No foreign transaction fees
- Unlimited ATM rebates
- Sensible fraud prevention, meaning not crazy blocking ATM withdrawals in every new country and generally not needing to provide advance travel notification
- Good customer service, such as when an ATM in Cape Verde failed to dispense money but debited my account
- etc, etc, etc lots of customer-friendly features
I have two of these checking accounts. Why?
- I have one that is my main checking account. This one I do not use overseas except in emergency, such as a lost card or ATM chewing my card. One time I left my card in a Chinese ATM and it was properly swallowed for security. Rather than waiting till the next business day (it was a national holiday weekend), I had a backup card ready.
- I have a second one for travel that I move a few hundred in at a time for ATM withdrawals. If the card is hacked or cloned, the amount involved is small. Regardless of Schwab’s great customer service in resolving issues, I want to keep the stakes as small as possible. Having the accounts both with Schwab means I can instantly move the money account to account.
Update: Howie in the comments says “Here is the full application PDF…Under Section 4, if you select “No, do not add margin.” you should not have any credit inquiry.”
An application otherwise involves a hard credit inquiry, similar to credit cards, so if you are going to get multiple accounts, do them together and hopefully the inquiries will combine.
I have dabbled with other bank account for travel and have not found any that beat Schwab.