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How to Avoid International Fees

The Ultimate Guide to Avoiding International Fees, from Real, Local Bankers

Travel / January 29, 2019

When traveling in 2019, especially out of the country, it’s easy to rack up additional fees and costs without even realizing it.

But getting home and checking your bank account after a vacation doesn’t have to be scary.

By simply doing a bit of research and planning ahead before your trip, you’ll be surprised by how much money you’ll be able to save.

Cornerstone Bank in Kansas City is here to help you avoid international fees, so you can spend your money on what really matters.

Below, we’ve broken down each fee and what it means for your wallet while traveling internationally.

Foreign Transaction Fees

Many debit and credit cards come with foreign transaction fees.

This is a charge from that vendor to compensate for the expense of converting your transactions into US Dollars.

Be aware of the cards you already have, or banks you use in general, that charge these fees.

You can work around these fees by using that card less frequently (which will incur less fees), or even by talking to your bank about refunding these fees.


ATM Fees

ATMs both foreign and domestic will take the opportunity to charge you a fee for access to your cash.

These can vary, but are generally around $2-5.

This can be easily solved by banking somewhere that will reimburse these charges.

Many local and/or online banks provide a reimbursement plan due to lack of access to any of their own, proprietary ATMs.

Cornerstone Bank in Kansas City, for example, will reimburse up to $8 per statement period, even while abroad.

These reimbursements automatically come through at the time of your statement cycle.


Exchange Fees

When swiping your credit or debit card at a register abroad, many times the credit card processor will ask if you would like the transaction charged to your account in that country’s currency or in your own.

Be sure to opt for the foreign currency.

While this may seem counter-productive, this is actually going to save you money.

This is because when you opt for a foreign shop’s or restaurant’s credit card processor to charge you in US Dollars, they are performing the currency exchange themselves.

This allows them the opportunity to up-charge you in the exchange process.

Opting for the transaction to be charged using country’s currency will send the exchange to your bank at home, allowing them to perform the conversion at little or no additional cost.


Cornerstone Bank is here to help.

What questions do you have about foreign transaction fees? Contact Cornerstone Bank today and we’d be happy to help you strategize the best plan of action for your trip.


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Check out the other posts in our 2019 Travel Series

How to keep your money safe

How to keep your personal documents secure

How to get the best currency exchange rates