Moolah, Money, $$ (فلوس)
In preparing for my trip, I tried to ask around about how to avoid ATM fees, as they can certainly add up over the course of a year or more. Plus, it doesn't always seem practical to take out huge sums of money when abroad, if you are not quite sure you have a safe place to store your money.
So, as normal, I asked around for advice:
- Charles Schwab reimburses all ATM fees abroad -- so as long as their conversion rate is reasonable, it makes sense to use them! You need to sign up for Schwab brokerage to get their checking account, but don't need to actually put money in the brokerage account if you don't want to. Then need to transfer money into the checking (luckily they have bank offices where you can go in person if needed).
- Of course, you should not wait until the last minute to sign up for your account, or else you will be like me (with an account, and even money in the account -- but no checking card). Of course this is what happened to me -- I signed up for my Schwab account and then moved $3,000 dollars into the account, without realizing it would be at least 10 days until my card came to my house and then another 10 days until it would arrive in Jordan. All in all, I was actually without access to the account for about 6 weeks, but sure was happy when I finally got access to the money again. Long story short -- sign up early!
- I got a CapitalOne card, which I was told was the best credit card for the time being -- no foreign transaction fees! Again, did not order in time to get it BEFORE I left, but can have it mailed to me.
- I was also advised to have money in two different bank accounts (take two Debit Cards), so that just in case one gets lost/eaten by the even ATM machines, you still have access to your money.
- I have also been recommended to open an HSBC bank because they have ATMs everywhere -- and it can be easier to just have an actual in-person bank in your country, than just be reimbursed for fees. I think if you region has a HSBC, it might make sense to do this.
- Make sure to call your bank and let them know the dates you will be abroad, so they don't freeze your account!