Changing money

Following on from the post about phones and sim cards while traveling, I’d like to open a conversation about how best to handle money. Our main bank account is in Canada but we have another here in the UK (surprisingly easy to open) that we top up from our Canadian account via TransferWise.
We’re planning to be in Europe (and possibly non-schengen countries - thanks @creaturecuddler!) and would like to hear how others manage their money in countries where they don’t have a bank account.
Any takers?


I only have my US accounts and transferwise, which I get my income deposited to before moving it to my US account. But, the US tends to have better fees on their banking than other countries. I use a credit card 90% of the time and only really use cash when I’m in countries where credit cards aren’t the norm. But all my accounts are 0 fees for international purchase and ATM withdrawals. I think opening up multiple accounts in various countries seems unnecessarily complicated so I would focus on finding banks in your home country that have better international options.

Transferwise also offers a card so that might be an option vs opening more accounts.


I have a Wise (transferwise) card which I am using in Indonesia. Easily and cheaply converted a sum of money from UK £ to Rupiah so I only pay one fee. (something like 0.6%)

Have used the card to get cash, pay for hotels and in shops, all in local currency, with no additional fees, and get instant updates on the app.

I think the card cost £5, I also have a virtual version on my phone.


With you on this Peter and @CreatureCuddler. We’ve used Wise (formerly Transferwise) for several years now and really like the ease with which we can transfer money (at very low exchange rates as you say) and we’ve now got a debit card. We’ve looked at other options but still this comes out tops for us. Would highly recommend.


I would dearly love to use their debit card but Canadians can’t and TW won’t allow me to change my location to the UK now that I’ve been verified :frowning_face:

@Myhnabird I didn’t know that. Maybe the debit card is a country by country agreement. That’s a shame :frowning:

My friend in Singapore got one through his Singapore address, but can’t use it in Singapore! Can use it when he eventually escapes. So there must be some financial limitations.

I think I may give TW a bell and plead my case. We spend half our year here (UK) after all…


Perhaps just open a new wise acct in the UK?

IIRC (it was several years ago) I had to prove my address with a drivers licence or utility bills or something. Until we commit to settling here, we won’t have any of that.

Apparently TW accepts bank statements! I’ve uploaded the latest to their site and am now waiting for the 3 days to see if it’s accepted. Will probably have more questions once I get the card.
Thanks all!


One of my favorite topics. Money.
I have several cards that have no exchange fees. One in particular with Charles Schwab is strictly dedicated to the transfer and withdrawal of cash in foreign countries and no fees, no minimums etc. Super easy at most any ATM machine.
I also use credit cards that offer miles/points and rewards that benefit the travelers lifestyle.

I will be establishing offshore banking in the near future.


Yes, I’ve heard several times that Charles Schwab is the card to have if one is traveling. Pity there’s not something like it in Canada…

Hopefully some Canadians on here will have some recommendations that will work for you. I would imagine there should be something in place yet to be discovered.
Best wishes.

If you have a US address - Schwab Bank’s ATM card is fee free and refunds any charges by the ATM owner. But you need to have a Schwab brokerage account to have a Schwab bank account - for getting cash overseas.
There are a few other US banks that reimburse fees as well - see this article from The Points Guy from March 2021.


We are based in the UK and have used our Monzo and Revolut cards worldwide with no issues for around 5 years now. I don’t withdraw money that often so I’m not sure on the fees abroad but when paying by card it uses the current exchange rate and has always been good. When you make a payment a notification comes up on your phone in the local currency and what it would have been in £

This is good to know - thank you. You’re right that very little cash is used these days so using a card with a reasonable exchange rate to pay for services is what’s needed.

Yes they have been very useful. We now use them as our main bank accounts too which makes it easier when travelling abroad with not needing to change any money in advance :slight_smile: