Bank accounts for study abroad...

<p>One of my kids (still a minor) will be living abroad and I need to open a bank account. Does anyone have any recommendations of banks that won't cost me an arm and a leg in foreign transaction/ATM fees?</p>

<p>paypal for money transfers? i know you can transfer it trough there and have the bank account in question hooked up to it.</p>

<p>Before you go through the trouble of opening a bank account, check and see if the bank you're currently with has partnerships with any banks in the country she is in? For example, in England, if you have a Bank of America Account and you withdraw from a Barclay's ATM, you can save on pretty much all of the fees.</p>

<p>Both good ideas. I bank with a small, local bank and son will be going to Italy. Maybe I can call around and see if BofA has a partnership with an Italian bank.</p>

<p>It probably does. Check the BofA website, I remember it being listed there. And it doesn't have to be Bank of America, the other big banks usually do it as well. It's a lot easier to open a BofA account here than it is to open and close an overseas account. Just MAKE SURE you call the US bank before he leaves for Europe and tell them that he's going to be in Europe and ask them to OK debit card usage throughout Europe (not just in Italy). I had more than one friend have their card eaten by an ATM machine or refused at a store because their US bank had put a hold on the card, thinking that the card was being fraudently used in Europe. BofA has very aggressive fraud protections, so it's very important to call and warn in advance. </p>

<p>Also, think about getting your son a credit card in case of emergencies. It's handy to have when your kid is overseas because anything might happen.</p>

<p>Son spent 6 weeks last summer in France doing an abroad experience. He had no problem using his ATM account through BofA. He also had a credit card with him. We were able to make deposits in ATM account at local banks when funds ran low. Just a heads up even though he called banks twice before departure, when he got to France, cards did not work. He had to wait until Monday to contact them again. Fortunately, we had him take a small amount of Euros with him that tided him over.</p>

<p>Some types of PNC checking accounts will reimburse foreign ATM fees if you keep a $2000 minimum monthly balance. We tried this out in July on a trip to Europe, and the reimbursement did just come through. My D will be in Europe this fall, so I am providing her with the $2000 baseline for the duration of her trip. The transaction fees were $3.50 per withdrawal, which I didn't think was that bad either.</p>

<p>So far, it seems like BofA has no partnership in Italy so they charge $5/ per withdrawl and a 1% foreign transaction fee. PNC reimburses ATM fees but has a 2.5% foreign transaction fee.</p>

<p>They told you there was a 3% transaction fee on ATM withdrawals? Or did you mean credit cards? I only saw a $3.50 fee, unless it is rolled into the exchange rate. I think my D will use cash for most of her purchases, and only CC's occasionally.</p>

<p>Sorry, it's 2.5%. Yes, I had an online chat and this is what the PNC person wrote: </p>

<p>Adrienne: Even at the ATM, PNC charges a 2.5% international transaction fee. </p>

<p>I'm guessing if it wasn't obvious in your statement, it was rolled into the exchange rate.</p>

<p>Still haven't checked details with Citibank but they had told me they have no partnerships in Italy. </p>

<p>I wonder how hard it would be to have him open up an account in Italy and transfer $ through paypal. I wonder if domestic Italian banks charge ATM fees and I wonder how hard it would be for him to do that since he's a minor. (He'll be living with a host family.)</p>

<p>Before you do anything check with whatever bank your kid currently uses and see what the ATM fees are for overseas withdrawals. Our kids bank at our small town rural Iowa bank (there is only one and they have know the bank president their whole lifes, all the clerks know them and they are terrified to overdraw their accounts cause they would all know). They both have traveled all over Europe and have just used their local ATM cards (tied to mastercard). No transaction fees and the exchange rate was the best they could find. Made life very easy.</p>

<p>Interesting. I didn't see that in July. The exchange rates I received were between 1.24 and 1.26 dollars per Euro, which seemed about right to me, but I didn't check the daily exchange rate to verify. There is no foreign transaction fee listed on the statement separately.</p>

<p>Could be hidden though. I have always thought that the credit card companies like Capitol One that advertise no foreign transaction fees just give you a worse exchange rate to compensate.</p>

<p>you'll find good terms usually through credit unions and (from what I understand) Charles Schwab. For our daughters' travels, their accounts are tied to ours and we are able to do internet transfers from one to another w/no problem. My sister handled my niece's year abroad the same way. If you are a signer on his account you'll be able to handle problems here instead of him having to deal with them from another country (and many time zones). </p>

<p>It is incredibly difficult for foreigners to open bank accounts in many European countries. I wouldn't even try that.</p>

<p>My niece was in Italy and had no issues using her ATM card. The fees just became one more expense associated w/time abroad and ultimately, the time was worth every penny. Taking out enough cash at one time for several days instead of dribs and drabs cuts down on the per use fees.</p>

<p>Look at TD bank. My daughter has a free student checking account there. They do not charge for international transaction fees. She has a debit card which she used for ATM withdrawals and for a credit card. I deposited her allowance every month. Worked out very well for us for her gap year last year.
I would recommend a backup card as well. In the second month of her gap year last fall her purse was stolen from the floor of a restaurant in London on a Sunday morning - passport, two debit cards and a credit card were in the purse. I was able to email her a copy of her passport which helped at the embassy and immediately cancelled the cards. Fortunately, her sister was also in London so was able to give her money, etc.</p>

<p>Starting with her jr. year abroad in London, my daughter has been abroad in Europe and Asia for three of the last four years. Her account is with TD Bank and she has never been charged any fees by them for using her ATM card abroad. One suggestion - make sure you are also on this account so that you can handle any problems that might occur. Otherwise, your child will have some large phone bills trying to get problems solved.</p>

<p>BofA has many partner banks, S was able to withdraw money from Deutchbank ATMs with no foreign transaction fees.</p>

<p>Also, Capital One does not charge transaction fees. You can apply for a credit card for your kid, or get one for yourself and add the kid as an authorized signer.</p>

<p>Thanks so much for the help! Lafalum, according to what I found online, the Deutsche Bank thing doesn't work in Italy. </p>

<p>From BofA's website: </p>

<p>Please note: International transaction fees are not waived at Deutsche Bank in Italy.</p>

<p>Bank</a> of America | Please Select Your State</p>

<p>While I was looking for info, I found a blog online where someone had written that they were able to get BofA to refund Deutsche Bank fees in Italy so I looked it up to confirm. </p>

<p>I'm going to call some of the other choices and check credit unions too.</p>

<p>Oh, S was using Deutschbank mostly in Spain. I assumed it was the same for all of Europe, my bad!</p>

<p>I don't know if this will help, but S lives in Spain. Got a CITI card/acct. before moving there, and swears he has never had any transaction fees anywhere as long as the ATM accepts CITI. It even works in India. I know he has used it in Italy.</p>

<p>One thing to understand is that unlike the US most small shops, market stalls, restaurants, street vendors, do not take ATM cards, it is cash only, so most of the time he will be withdrawing cash at an ATM. This means instead of ten or twenty transactions in a week, he might have one or two. This makes those transactions fees look a lot less scary.</p>