Charles Schwab Bank

Is Charles Schwab the best bank for nomads? Pros & Cons

Charles Schwab Bank is by far the best American bank for nomads and others who travel internationally, primarily thanks to their negative fee debit card linked to their High-Yield Investor Checking account. What do I mean by negative fees? Well, that means Schwab won’t charge you any, and they will even refund you certain fees imposed by other banks.


  • No fees for using the debit card in the US or abroad, both at POS, online, and in ATMs.
  • No foreign transaction fees or currency markups, you get the wholesale Visa rate.
  • No fees for checks (if you still use those).
  • Mobile check deposit, perfect for those who need to deposit checks while traveling.
  • Decent online bank and mobile apps.
  • Willing to FedEx/overnight a debit card to you wherever you are, as long as you pay postage.
  • No minimum balance requirement to get benefits or waive fees.

Things to note:

  • When opening an account, Schwab will perform a hard inquiry of your credit score. Only relevant for those struggling to build credit or churning & burning credit cards for points.
  • In order to open and maintain an account you need a US address, SSN (or ITIN), and a state ID card or driver’s license.
  • If you are attempting to open an account from abroad, remember to use a US VPN. If you forget, they will require you to physically visit an office to open the account. Ouch!

Sign up for Charles Schwab Bank here


Last updated: January 09, 2017

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