The best banks and cards for European travellers

AccountNetworkTypeForeign ATM fees outside SEPAInternational ATM surcharge fee rebatesForeign currency transaction feesannual/ monthly feesEligible countriesnotes
BNC10MastercardPrepaid3 per month free, then €1,50 + 0,80%.3 per month00All EU citizensMax. 500€ withdrawal per month allowed. No load fee. Spanish account. Automatic refund of surcharges only works if the surcharge is listed separately on the receipt, otherwise you have to contact them.
BitwalaMastercardDebit0-00All EEA countriesGerman bank
Paysend Global AccountMastercardPrepaid0-00All EEA countriesUK based. annual ATM withdrawal limit is 2500€. top-up by card only.
2getherVisaPrepaid0-00all Eurozone countriesSpanish account
N26 YouMastercardDebit0-09,90€ monthlyMost EEA countriesGerman bank
Monese PremiumMastercardPrepaid0-014,95€ monthlyAll EEA countriesUK based, Belgian euro account
Tomorrow ZeroVisaDebit0-015€ monthlyall Eurozone countriesGerman Bank
Bunq PremiumMastercardDebit10 per month free, then 0,99€-07,99€ monthlyMost EEA countriesDutch bank
Ferratum Bank Current AccountMastercardDebit4 per month free, then 2,99€-00Most Eurozone Countries plus Norway and SwedenMaltese bank. Account can also be in GBP, SEK, CHF, NOK, PLN or DKK. Further EU/EEA countries planned. No SEPA direct debits.
Monese ClassicMastercardPrepaid800€ per month free, then 2%-8000€ per month free, then 2%4,99€ monthlyAll EEA countriesUK based. No SEPA direct debits yet (planned 2019)
Monese SimpleMastercardPrepaid200€ per month free, then 2%-2000€ per month free, then 2%0All EEA countriesUK based. No SEPA direct debits yet (planned 2019)
RevolutMastercard or VisaPrepaid200€ per month free, then 2%-1000€ per month free, then 1%0All EEA countriesUK based. Exchange rate top-up for certain currencies and on weekends between 0,5 and 2%, see disclosure. 8€ one-time card fee, no load fee. Auto Top-up possible. Account can also be in other European currencies. Card does not work in these countries.
Curve BlueMastercardDebit200€ per month free, then 2% min. 2€-500€ per month free, then 2%0most EEA countriesUK based. have to alread have a Mastercard or Visa to use service. Supported card currencies include: GBP, EUR, USD, SEK, NOK, CHF, BGN, CZK, DKK, HRK, HUF, ISK, PLN, RON. Own exchange rates, on weekends 0,5-1,5% worse.
TomorrowVisaDebit1,5%-00all Eurozone countriesGerman bank
N26 Bank AccountMastercardDebit1,7%-00Most EU & EFTA countriesGerman bank.
Bunq Travel CardMastercardCredit0,99€-00All EEA countries9,99€ one time fee. no credit check. dutch bank.
DiPocketMastercardPrepaid1€-1%0All EEA countriesUK regulated, accounts based in Poland. no load fee
Cards available in: GBP,EUR,PLN, USD
Transferwise Borderless AccountMastercardDebit£200 per 30 days free, then 2%-0.35%-2.85%0All EEA countriesUK based. You can add money directly to your account in 18 currencies including: BGN, CHF, CZK, DKK, EUR, GBP, HRK, HUF, NOK, PLN, RON, SEK. Card currency is GBP.
Aion Bank Light MembershipMastercardDebit300€ per month free, then 2%-01,90€ monthlyBelgium, Netherlands, Germany, France, Italy, PolandBelgian bank
DKB-CashVisaCredit0-00Austria, Germany, SwitzerlandGerman bank. 700€ monthly deposit required after 12 months to still enjoy 0% currency conversion.
Advanzia BankMastercardCredit1,53-2% interest per month, depending on issuing country-00Austria, France, Germany, Luxembourg, SpainLuxembourgish Bank. German customers would be wise to pick this cobranded card, because only it offers autopay by SEPA direct debit.
CofidisMastercardCreditdepends on issuing country-0depends on issuing countryBelgium, Portugal, Spain, France, Czech Republic
ICBCUnionPayDebit0,50-2,50€ depending on issuing country-0depends on issuing countryBelgium, France, Germany, Netherlands, Spain
KlarnaVisaCreditnot possible-00Sweden, Germany, potentially Denmark, Finland, Norway, Austria, Nertherlands
Bank NorwegianVisaCredit0-1,75%0Norway, Finland, Sweden, DenmarkNorwegian bank
Unicredit Bank U KontoMastercardDebit2 per month free, then 5€-00Slovakia, Czech Republicmin. 400€ monthly deposit, or under 27 years old
Diners Club PureDiners Club International/ DiscoverCredit2€ + 2,5%-00Slovakia, Czech Republic
Bialakarta/ Axi Card (Access Finance)MastercardCredit5BGN/ 12RON-00Bulgaria, RomaniaBialakarta sometimes has promotions for free withdrawals abroad.
Starling BankMastercardDebit0-00launching soon. Ireland first, then Germany and Francelaunch end 2019. accounts will be based in Ireland
BoonMastercardPrepaidnot possible-00Ireland, Germany, Austria, France, Italy, Slovakia, Spain and Switzerlandvirtual card for mobile payment, can also be used online. German account.
Vivid MoneyVisaDebit200€ per month free, then 3% min 1€-0,5%0Germany, EU wide expansion plannedGerman bank

Rules for inclusion:

I’ve focused on pan-european and multi-country offers first (list is growing every year). There is a decent option for every EEA resident available here.

Offers limited to residents of a single country (scroll down to see table) must offer at least as good terms as Bitwala or BNC10. That means a prepaid/debit card with 0 conversion fees and at least a few free withdrawals a month.

Credit cards are still mostly local only. They should at least offer 0 or very low conversion fees.

Eligibility usually concerns residence, not citizenship.

Recommendations:

Unless there’s an even better option for your country on the list above or below, get Bitwala or BNC10, depending on which you are eligible for and which suits you better. All three are free and you cannot go wrong with that. Ferratum has halted acceptance of new customers as of 2020.

If the included travel insurance justifies the price for you N26 You is great as well.

Credit cards: If there isn’t one listed for your country or you don’t qualify for one, get the new Bunq Travel Card instead. It gets accepted by merchants as a credit card (has the label and code) but has no line of credit. To use it, you simply top it up like a prepaid card. But remember, you only truly need to use a credit card when renting a car or similar (depending on country), for most other purposes a debit card is just fine.

Watch out: There are some banks that hide their currency conversion fee behind the fact that they use their own exchange rates instead of those from Visa or Mastercard. This way they can claim there are “zero” conversion fees, but then use exchange rates that are worse than the card companies’ and pocket the difference. The fine print should reveal this, but it’s a pain.

For some European countries not using the Euro there’s an additional wrinkle: There can be double conversions. You spend in say Indian Rupees, Mastercard converts to Euro and your bank then converts from € to your local currency with their own exchange rate. That’s how they can still have their cut. Seems to happen more with Mastercard than Visa. Here’s a good explainer how it works with Polish banks. Again, the fine print should reveal this.

Now, Revolut, Curve and Transferwise do not use Visa or Mastercard rates either, but at least they are transparent in that they use the mid-market rate. But still, with Revolut and Curve you’re up to 2% worse off on weekends, and with Transferwise in any case. 99% of the time you’re better off with the card companies’ rates and you won’t have to compare rates and what not.

AccountNetworkTypeForeign ATM fees outside SEPAInternational ATM surcharge rebatesForeign currency transaction feesannual/ monthly feesEligible countriesnotes
Bank CreditasMastercardDebit0-00Czech Republicuse their own exchange rate for transactions in Euro, Mastercard's for everything else
Hello KreditkaMastercardCredit1% min. 100 CZK-00Czech Republic
Raiffeisen Bank EasyMastercardCredit3,5%, min. 89 CZK-0,2%0Czech Republic
Coop Pank RändrahnMastercardDebit0-04,99€ monthlyEstoniaWithdrawals only free if min. 200€ in card transactions in Estonia the 2 months before.
Max (Credit Mutuel Arkea)MastercardDebit0-00France
Ma French BankVisaDebit0-02€ monthlyFrance
Chaabi Bank Compte de depotVisaDebit0-024€ annually + 0,50€ monthlyFranceA card with higher limits is also available,but you will need to deposit your salary
Fortuneo Banque FosfoMastercardDebit0-03€ monthlyFrancemonthly fee can be waived with 1 card transaction
Creatis Offre Creatis EssentielleVisaDebit0-03€ monthlyFrancethey only have two branches: in Lille and Lens. Might be possible to open by telephone as well.
Hello PrimeVisaDebit0-05€ monthlyFrance1000€ minimum monthly income required
Monabanq UniqVisaDebit25 per year free, then 1,5%-50 per year free, then 1,5%6€ monthlyFrance
Boursorama Banque UltimVisaDebit0-015€ monthlyFrancemonthly fee can be waived with 1 card transaction
BarclaysVisaCredit0-00Germany
Payback Visa Flex+VisaCredit0-00Germany
BW Bank Giro WorldwideVisaCredit0-00Germanycustomers under 25 only
Hanseatic Bank GenialcardVisaCredit0-00Germany
Consors Bank Visa GoldVisaCredit0-060€ annuallyGermanyannual fee can be waived with 10 cent per card transaction up to 60€
Barclaycard Eurowings GoldVisa + MastercardCredit0-069,90€ annually, first year freeGermany
Spardabank Hessen Platinum MastercardMastercardCredit0-099€ annuallyGermany
TF BankMastercardCredit1,9% interest per month-00Germany
Sparkasse Dolomiti Direkt Conto DolomitiMaestroDebit0-00Italy
Banca MedioCredito Contoforte Conto CashMaestroDebit0-00Italy
Banca di Pisa Conto Corrente CompletoMaestroDebit0-00Italy
Banca Reale Conto Fun RealeMaestroDebit0-00 - 3,50€ monthlyItalylow monthly limits abroad
CheBanca! Conto Corrente DigitalMaestroDebit0-0,29% inside Europe, 0,58% outside Europe1€ monthlyItalycard has CVV2 code and supports online transactions
Fiditalia Carta EurekaMastercardCredit4€-00Italy
Agos Ducato (several cards)VisaCredit4%-01,25€ monthlyItaly
SantanderMastercardCredit4% min. €2,58-0,29% inside Europe, 0,58% outside Europe0Italy
Aegon Bank Knab PlusMaestroDebit0-0,5%5€ monthlyNetherlands
BNP Paribas Karta Otwarta na SwiatMastercardDebit0 for Global ATM Alliance, 5 PLN elsewherenone, but surcharge free at Global ATM Alliance010 PLN monthlyPoland
Bank Pekao Karta revolucynaMastercardDebit0-06 PLN monthly + 3 PLN monthly for the cardPolandyou need to be under 26 or have 500 PLN incoming deposit and 1 debit card transaction per month to get all fees waived incl atm fees abroad
Envelo (Bank Pocztowy)MastercardDebit0-05 PLN monthly + 5 PLN monthly for worldwide free cash optionPolandfirst fee can be waived with 1000 PLN incoming, 1 debit card transaction or under 26 years old.
Getin Bank Karta Kredytowa StandardVisaCredit3,5% min. 7 PLN-05 PLN monthlyPolandmonthly fee can be waived with 5 transactions per month
Bank PocztowyVisaCredit3% min. 5 PLN-04 PLN monthlyPoland
ING Card completVisaDebit0-00Romanianeed monthly deposit of 700lei. Keep an eye out for this, Romanian banks seem to be intransparent with their exchange practices.
Idea Bank Foto Card del SalariuMastercardDebit15 per month free, then 0,75% + 5 RON-02 RON monthlyRomaniamin. 1500lei monthly deposit or 700Lei in card transactions. Keep an eye out for this, Romanian banks seem to be intransparent with their exchange practices.
Fio Banka Current AccountMastercardDebit1 per month free, then 1,20€-00Slovakia
CetelemMastercardCredit1 per month free, then 5€-00Slovakia
Pibank Cuenta NominaVisaDebit0unlimited00Spainmin. 1100€ deposit per month required, or ATM withdrawals cost 2€.
VerseVisaPrepaid0-00Spain
Abanca Cuenta Clara JovenMastercardDebit5 per month free, then 1€-00Spainonly for customers between ages 16 and 34
Arquia Banca Cuenta CorrienteVisaDebit0-080€ annuallySpain
Banca Mediolanum Cuenta CeroVisaDebit0-1% (waived for ATM withdrawals)9€ annually, first year freeSpain
BnextVisaPrepaid3 withdrawals and max. 500€ per month free-2000€ per month free0Spain
Eroski Club (Santander Consumer)MastercardCredit4% min. 4€-00Spain
WiZink Oro/CepsaVisaCredit4,5%, min. 4€-00Spain
ForexbankVisaCredit0-0225 SEK annuallySweden
Collector Easy LivingMastercardCredit3% min. 45 SEK-0195 SEK annuallySweden
Santander Mitt Kort+MastercardCredit3% min 35 SEK + 1,36% Interest per month-0195 SEK annually, first year freeSweden
Bank Cler Zak PlusMaestroDebit0-08CHF monthlySwitzerland
Postfinance Privatkonto PlusPlusATM0-012CHF monthlySwitzerlandmonthly fee can be waived with CHF 25000 in investments, life insurance or mortgage from PostFinance.
Credit Agricole Nextbank Pack EssenCielMaestroDebit0-015CHF monthlySwitzerlandmonthly fee can be waived with CHF 20000 average balance
Banque Cantonale de Fribourg BildungskontoMaestro or MastercardDebit0-00Switzerlandstudents ages 18-29 only
Hypothekarbank Lenzburg Ausbildungskonto VpayDebit0-00Switzerlandstudents under 30 only. Vpay card may not work in all countries outside Europe.

Term explainer:

Overseas ATM fee: The fee your own bank charges you for withdrawals when you use a foreign ATM abroad.

ATM surcharge rebate: How much of the fee the owner of the foreign ATM may charge you directly your bank will pay back to you. Not all ATMs charge a fee, but if they do it will show up on the screen at some point during the withdrawal process.

Foreign currency transaction fee: The fee your bank charges you for a transaction in a foreign currency. Unless otherwise noted this fee applies to both, ATM withdrawals and POS transactions in a store/ or on the internet.

 

Spotted a mistake, or know another card that doesn’t charge? Shoot me an email at webmaster [at] nofeesoverseas.com

Disclaimer

I’m not a financial advisor, everything you read on this website is for informational purposes only. While doing my best, I do not take responsibility for the accuracy of the information. Make sure you read all the fine print before you sign up for any of these products. If you have questions about fees or terms contact the bank/ card issuer.