I called CO's customer service and got verification of the following:
1. CO does not charge a fee for foreign purchases;
2. CO does not pass along the 1% fee that Visa charges for foreign purchases; and
3. CO has a $0 fraud liability provision for unauthorized use if the card is lost or stolen.
But what about debit cards and ATMs?
Depending on what bank you are with, the foreign transaction fee can be the same amount as it would be for your credit card, so no savings there. I checked with my bank and the fee they charge for just withdrawing cash from a foreign ATM is 3%. Sorry, that's a lot of scratch. I'm looking into a couple options that could save me some money.
- Ask my bank to waive the fee. What? You don't know if you don't ask.
- Open an online savings/payment account with HSBC.
- Will I incur a currency conversion fee?
- Will this trigger some kind of "homeland security" nonsense?
- While there is a zero liability protection if the debit card gets lost or stolen, the money will be reimbursed to me after forms and whatnot are filled out. But that's after I get back. I'd still be out of money while I'm there.