The best bank accounts in Canada for international travel 2020

Zack Fenech
by Zack Fenech March 10, 2020 / No Comments

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Travelling to the United States or Europe can be quite costly, especially for Canadians. Considering expenses, travel insurance, and foreign exchange rates, in addition to ATM and admin fees, it’s easy to gather a hefty amount of charges from your bank that’s better spent on making the most out of your trip.

That’s why the Ratehub.ca team put its travel cap on to conduct a competitive audit and found out what are the best bank accounts for international travel.

After some intensive research, we found out which bank from Canada’s big five helps stretch your dollar as much as possible when you find yourself across the border or overseas.

The best debit cards for international travel from major Canadian banks 

Below, we’ll take a look at some of Canada’s best banks for international travel, focusing on the best major Canadian banking institutions.

1. Scotiabank – Best debit card and student account for international travel

More information about the Scotiabank Chequing Account

Since the foreign exchange rate impacts the final amount of funds you receive, Scotiabank’s competitive rates make Scotiabank chequing accounts among the best bank accounts for international travel and a leading option for people looking to withdraw money abroad.

Scotiabank’s chequing accounts cost the least amount of money when withdrawing cash in Europe or the United States of America, assuming you withdraw funds from an ATM belonging to the Global ATM Alliance network.

Scotiabank’s association with the Global ATM Alliance network allows its customers to withdraw money without the additional surcharges that come from making a transaction with an institution that is not in the alliance.

Scotiabank Banking Advantage Account (View details)  Open Student Account
Scotiabank ScotiaOne Preferred Package (View Details)  Open Personal Account

 

For example, in the United States of America, Scotiabank customers can use over 15,000 Bank of America ATMs with no additional cost from Scotiabank. In Europe, Scotiabank customers can use BNP Paribas or Deutsche Bank, depending on which country they visit. In the United Kingdom, travellers can access Barclays’ ATMs.

Scotiabank also has a massive presence in South America and the Caribbean, with branches in Mexico, Chile, Peru, and Jamaica. There are around 44,000 ATMs across the globe.

If you’re wondering how to find a partnered banking institution across the globe, Scotiabank’s Mobile Banking App features an ATM locator that can quickly guide you to the closest partnered ATM, whether you’re in North America, Europe, or anywhere else in the world. All things considered, Scotiabank truly is one of the best bank accounts for international travel available on the Canadian market.

Scotiabank chequing account fees

Scotiabank Foreign Exchange Rates (as of March 10, 2020)
  • EUR 1.6023%
  • USD 1.4016%
Scotiabank ATM Access Fees in Europe
  • $5.00 CAD
Scotiabank ATM Access Fees in the US
  • $3.00 CAD
Scotiabank Admin Fee
  • 2.50%
ATM Network
  • Global ATM Alliance (US: Bank of America, Europe: Barclays, BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank)
  • Plus or Visa Network
Withdrawing 100€ will cost you =
  • $164.23 CAD (if withdrawing from a Global ATM Alliance network ATM)
Withdrawing $100 USD will cost you =
  • $143.66 CAD (if withdrawing from a Global ATM Alliance network ATM)

 

  • EUROPE: Using a Scotiabank debit card to withdraw 100€ in Europe will cost you $164.23 CAD ($160.23 CAD converted at 1.6023% plus $4 CAD admin fee). Using an ATM affiliated with the Global ATM Alliance will not charge you a fee for using an ATM. However, using an ATM outside of the Global ATM Alliance will cost you $167.23.
  • USA: Withdrawing $100 USD using Scotiabank while travelling in the US would cost you $143.66 CAD ($100 CAD converted at 1.4067% plus $3.44 CAD admin fee plus $0.00 CAD ATM access fee assuming you are withdrawing with Global ATM Alliance network.
 

2. CIBC

More information about the CIBC Chequing Account

CIBC’s chequing accounts offer similar perks to Canada’s major banks. In partnership with Visa’s Plus or Visa Network, CIBC bank accounts allow their customers with a CIBC Visa Debit card to access funds using an ATM in the Plus Network around the world. Most of the best bank accounts for international travel are a part of this ATM network. 

Though it may seem like you’re using a credit card, the CIBC Visa Debit uses the Plus network to access the funds from your chequing account.

CIBC is a good option for Canadian travellers who feel more comfortable using their debit card in the same fashion as their credit card, without having to pay interest or bills once they return. However, additional fees may come with each transaction.

CIBC chequing account fees

CIBC Foreign Exchange Rates (as of March 10, 2020)
  • EUR
  • USD 
CIBC ATM Access Fees in Europe $5.00
CIBC ATM Access Fees in the US $3.00
CIBC Admin Fee 2.50%
CIBC ATM Network Plus or Visa Network
Withdrawing 100€ will cost you = $164
Withdrawing 100 USD will cost you = $146
  • EUROPE: As a CIBC customer, withdrawing 100€ in Europe will cost you $164.35 CAD ($155.46 CAD converted at 1.5546% plus $3.89 CAD admin fee plus $5.00 CAD ATM fee).
  • USA: In the United States, $100 USD, travelling as a CIBC customer, will cost you $145.48 Canadian ($139.00 CAD converted at 1.39% plus $3.48 CAD admin fee plus $3.00 CAD ATM access fee).

 

3. Bank of Montreal (BMO)

More information about the Bank of Montreal

Bank of Montreal works with Cirrus Network, which offers millions of ATMs across the world that are compatible with Mastercard. BMO customers can access over 2 million ATMs using their BMO Debit Mastercard, however, use may lead to additional fees and surcharges.

BMO chequing account fees

BMO Foreign Exchange Rates (as of March 10, 2020)
  • EUR 1.6342%
  • USD 1.4081%
BMO ATM Access Fees in Europe $5.00
BMO ATM Access Fees in the US $3.00
BMO Admin Fee 2.50%
BMO ATM Network Cirrus Network
Withdrawing 100€ will cost you = $172
Withdrawing $100 USD will cost you = $146
  • EUROPE: BMO customers can withdraw 100€ in Europe for $172 CAD ($100 CAD CAD converted at 1.6342% plus $4.08 CAD admin fee plus $5.00 CAD ATM fee).
  • USA: As for the United States, $100 USD would cost $143 Canadian ($100 CAD converted at 1.4081% plus $3.52 CAD admin fee plus $3.00 CAD ATM access fee).

 

4. Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)

More infomation about the Royal Bank of Canada

Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) also offers its customers compatibility while travelling abroad through the Visa Plus Network, meaning customers can use their RBC debit card at the point of purchase, with a fee per transaction. Money can also be withdrawn at any ATM with a Visa Plus Network symbol.

RBC chequing account fees

RBC Foreign Exchange Rates (as of March 10, 2020)
  • EUR 1.6093%
  • USD 1.4040%
RBC ATM Access Fees in Europe $5.00
RBC ATM Access Fees in the US $3.00
RBC Admin Fee 2.50%
RBC ATM Network Plus Network
Withdrawing 100€ will cost you = $169.95
Withdrawing 100 USD will cost you = $146.91
  • EUROPE: Withdrawing 100€ in Europe would cost RBC customers $169.95 CAD ($100 CAD converted at 1.6093% plus $4.02 CAD admin fee plus $5 CAD ATM fee).
  • USA: If an RBC customer withdrew $100 USD while travelling in the USA, it would cost $146.91 CAD ($100 CAD converted at 1.4040% plus $3.10 CAD admin fee plus $3.00 CAD ATM access fee).

 

5. TD Canada Trust

More information about TD Canada Trust

Like the majority of Canadian banks, TD Canada Trust offers its customers access to most automated tellers across the world that are a part of the Plus or Visa Network.

TD Canada Trust chequing account fees

TD Canada Trust Foreign Exchange Rates (as of March 10, 2020)
  • EUR 1.6062%
  • USD 1.4067%
TD Canada Trust ATM Access Fees in Europe $5.00
TD Canada Trust ATM Access Fees in the US $3.00
TD Canada Trust Admin Fee 3.50%
TD Canada Trust ATM Network Plus or Visa Network
Withdrawing 100€ will cost you = $168
Withdrawing $100 USD will cost you = $146
  • Withdrawing 100€ while visiting Europe will cost TD Canada Trust customers $169.63 CAD ($100 CAD converted at 1.6062% plus $4 CAD admin fee plus $5.00 CAD ATM fee.)
  • In the United States, withdrawing $100 USD with TD Canada Trust would cost you $148.59 CAD ($100.00 CAD converted at 1.4067% plus $5.10 CAD admin fee plus $3.00 CAD ATM access fee).
  • Withdrawing 100€ while visiting Europe will cost TD Canada Trust customers $164 CAD ($155.46 CAD converted at 1.5546% plus $3.89 CAD admin fee plus $5.00 CAD ATM fee.)
  • In the United States, withdrawing $100 USD with TD Canada Trust would cost you $146 CAD ($146.00 CAD converted at 1.39% plus $3.48 CAD admin fee plus $3.00 CAD ATM access fee).

 

The best free debit accounts for international travel

We’ve listed some alternative banking options that will help Canadians stretch their travelling budget longer with two free chequing account options. Both options listed below also double as excellent options for day-to-day banking while not travelling abroad.

1. Alterna Bank – Best debit account for Canadians travelling to the United States

More about Alterna Bank
  • Alterna Bank is a digital bank and subsidiary of Alterna Savings, the second oldest credit union in Canada. Though Alterna Bank is owned by a credit union, it is a CDIC-insured, Schedule 1 bank.
  • The ACCEL Network offers over 400,000 ATMs between American coasts, making it an ideal banking option while visiting the United States.
    Other Alterna Bank networks include Interac, Visa, Mastercard for point-of-sale purchase, as well as American Express and AccuLink.
  • In Canada, Alterna Bank is a member of the EXCHANGE Network.
  • Alterna Bank is also an excellent day-to-day banking product, making it a suitable option for the times you’re not travelling as well.
 

2. Tangerine Chequing Account

More information about Tangerine
  • Tangerine is the free digital banking product of Scotiabank.
  • Tangerine members can access Scotiabank ATMs, as well as ATMs in the Global ATM Alliance, making it another excellent option for persons who find themselves travelling abroad.
  • Tangerine customers can enjoy some of the lowest rates available in Canada for travel debit withdrawals and purchases.

 

Infographic: Canada’s best bank accounts for International Travel 2020

While rates have changed since this infographic was initially published in March of last year, rates remain relatively similar to the time of their original posting.

best-banks-for-international-travel.img

Want to see how your chequing account compares to the rest? Compare Best Chequing Accounts

 

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