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One of the many things we realize with international travel is the need for cash in many places. If you are a frequent international traveler, you know that the best option to get foreign currencies is at an ATM in the country you are visiting. The challenge is that most US banks will hit you with a fee of up to 3% for using a non-network ATM. In addition, if you visit a country like Thailand where the ATMs there charge up to 200 Bhat (~$7USD) to take out cash, it can get expensive really quickly.
For the last few years, most of us on the team have been using Charles Schwab’s High Yield Investor Checking Accounts, which reimburse all ATM fees worldwide. We have generally been very happy with it, but we do not like how it takes until the end of the month for the reimbursement to be credited back to your account.
Update 11/27/2019 – signup bonus is now $25.
Update 7/7/2020 – going forward, ATM fee reimbursement only for withdrawals from the Allpoint ATM network. Withdrawals from outside the Allpoint ATM network will incur a 3% fee. Allpoint has over 55,000 ATMs in the US, Canada, Mexico, Australia and United Kingdom. If you signup before June 8th, 2020, you will continue to have your ATM fees reimbursed from all ATMs globally.
Introducing SoFi Money
- No ATM fees anywhere in the world that accepts Visa. So if the bank charges a fee, you will get that fee reimbursed once that fee is posted.
- No account minimums or overdraft fees
- High interest rates – currently you earn 1.60% APY, which is higher than most saving accounts
- Easy account set-up
- $50 signup bonus once you fund your account with at least $100 within 14 days of account opening
Our experiences with SoFi Money have been extremely positive. It took us about two minutes to sign up for SoFi Money online. Once we funded the SoFi Money account by linking our regular checking account, the $50 bonus was in our account two days later. Five days later, we received our ATM card. We were able to activate the ATM and set up the PIN with a one-minute phone call.
The SoFi Money website and app have all the features you expect with a modern account:
- Send money to your friends and family fee free
- Deposit checks directly from your phone
- Pay bills online fee free
- Easy to move money to and from your primary checking and savings accounts
- And freeze and unfreeze your account
Receive 20% cash back on Lyft Rides with SoFi Money
Until February 18th, 2020, you will save 20% on all Lyft rides up to $1,000 back. The rebate is simple:
- Add SoFi Money card as a payment option on the Lyft app
- Make the SoFi Money card as the default payment on the Lyft app
- Receive 20% cash back for every ride until February 18th, 2020.
How we plan to use SoFi Money
While we likely will not use SoFi Money as our primary checking account (our local bank provides good service and there is a branch close to where all of us live), it will be our go-to ATM card for both out-of-network ATM withdrawals and all ATM withdrawals worldwide.
Beyond having our ATM fees reimbursed, SoFi Money‘s ability to freeze and unfreeze the account with the app gives us an added layer of protection should our SoFi checking account be compromised or frozen while traveling abroad. We can simply freeze the account with the app and then deal with the issue upon our return to the United States; our primary ATM card would then serve as a back-up.
In summary, we plan on using the SoFi Money account for all our ATM withdrawals internationally. We like it because of its great benefits:
- All ATM fees reimbursed worldwide
- Earn high interest rates – it is 1.60% APY at the moment
- No account minimums or overdraft fees
- Easy to set up an account
- And $25 signup bonus once you fund your account with at least $100 within 14 days of account opening
Apply for the SoFi Money account, receive a $25 signup bonus and pay no ATM fees anywhere in the world
*We will also receive a $25 bonus for each sign-up. Thank you for your support.
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