Bank of America foreign transaction fee — here's what you need to know

Adam Rozsa
11.03.22
5 minute read

When using your card abroad, or doing an international transaction, there is usually a foreign transaction charged by banks.

In Bank of America’s case, this is generally around 3% percent, depending on the card you have¹.

In this article, we’ll tell you about Bank of America’s debit and credit cards and their corresponding foreign transaction fees.

Plus, we’ll also show you an alternative – the Wise debit card - there are no transaction fees, you only pay a small fee, but more on this later.


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📝 Table of contents

Does Bank of America charge for foreign transactions?

Bank of America’s foreign transaction fee is usually 3% for international transactions¹.

But this can also depend on the card product itself, as there are a few exceptions to this: we found 8 credit cards on their website with no foreign transaction fees.

However, keep in mind that these cards usually come with annual card fees – you may want a cheaper alternative.

In the following segment, we’ll show you Bank of America’s debit and credit card products and tell you about their foreign transaction fees.

Which Bank of America debit cards have foreign transaction fees?

Bank of America offers debit cards to customers with Advantage Banking accounts. There are several accounts available, and the fees and charges you’ll pay vary depending on the one you choose.

Foreign transaction fees generally apply when you buy goods or services in a currency other than US dollars. This means you’re likely to be affected while traveling, and you may also have to pay when you buy something from an overseas seller in Europe, for example.

Account type Foreign transaction fees¹ Other fees
Advantage SafeBalance Banking 3% $4.95 monthly fee, waived if account conditions met
Advantage Plus Banking 3% $12 monthly fee, waived if account conditions met
Advantage Relationship Banking 3% $25 monthly fee, waived if account conditions met

We couldn’t find any debit cards on the Bank of America’s website, that don’t charge transaction fees; all the cards shown above charge the same fee of 3%.

How do I avoid foreign transaction fees?

If this 3% fee that sounds annoying, you may want to check out an alternative option. 

This alternative can be a Wise debit card. Pay just a one-time fee to get a card – there are no foreign transaction fees involved – you only pay a small fee

Use your Wise card to spend all around the globe using any currency. You can also take out from ATMs up to $250 every 30 days.

At Wise, we never hide extra fees and charges in the exchange rate. We just use the exchange rate – independently provided by Reuters. That means fair, cheap money transfers, every time.

Get a Wise debit card today

Which Bank of America credit cards have foreign transaction fees?

Some of Bank of America’s credit cards will charge you a fee for foreign transactions. Not all of them, though, so here’s a run-down of the ones that do. We’ll get to the cards without this fee in a minute.

Card name Foreign transaction fees²
Customized Cash Rewards 3%
Customized Cash Rewards Secured Credit Card 3%
Unlimited Cash Rewards 3%
Susan G. Komen Cash Rewards 3%
Bank Americard 3%
BankAmericard Secured 3%
BankAmericard for Students 3%
Cash Rewards for Students 3%
Unlimited Cash Rewards for Students 3%
💡 Want to find out more about Bank of America's student accounts? Get your full guide here.

Bank of America credit cards with no transaction fees

Bank of America offers a number of credit cards that don’t charge transaction fees. Take a look at the table below to see whether any of them could be right for you.

Card name Foreign transaction fees Other fees
Travel Rewards None 3% balance transfer fee above $10
Premium Rewards None $95 annual fee
Premium Elite None $550 annual fee
Alaska Airlines Visa None $75 annual fee
Free Spirit Travel More World Elite None $0 introductory fee for the first year, then $79
Travel Rewards for Students None 3% balance transfer fee above $10
Allegiant World None $59
💡 Learn more about Bank of America's travel credit cards here.

What are Bank of America's international ATM fees?

If you’re planning on using a Bank of America card while traveling abroad, there are a few fees it’ll really help to know about.

Bank of America has one of the largest networks of ATMs, with around 16,000 locations at more than 4,000 branches in the US. You can also get fee-free withdrawals abroad if you use an ATM run by one of their partner banks around the world.

Most of the time, you’ll have to pay $5 every time you use an ATM outside the US¹. On top of that, there may be a fee from the ATM operator — so costs can quickly add up.

In some cases, ATMs operated by banks other than Bank of America will charge you an extra fee of their own. This is as well as the fees we’ve already mentioned, so it can end up costing you a significant amount. These fees aren’t charged if you use one of Bank of America’s international partners to withdraw your money.

💡 Keep in mind, that with some cards, you’ll have to pay an extra foreign transaction fee if you use an ATM outside the US – usually 3% percent.

Tips and tricks for using ATMs and paying by card abroad

Using your card abroad can be an easy and quick way to pay. You can get a good deal when you do this, as long as you know how to avoid fees. For a few more ways to make the most of your foreign travel, try these tips:

  • Make sure your bank knows where you’re going before you go. That way, you’re much less likely to get your transactions flagged. They’ll also be able to give you a four-digit PIN, as many ATMs in Europe won’t accept other formats.

  • Learn how your bank charges for foreign ATM use. If they charge you a set amount for each transaction, then withdrawing $800 in four chunks of $200 may be much cheaper than doing it in ten chunks of $80. Read ATM displays carefully, since machines in some locations may charge an extra fee of their own.

  • Try to use Visa or MasterCard branded cards, as these are most likely to be accepted abroad. Other networks, such as American Express, tend to have spottier acceptance. You can use online checkers to see whether venues and ATMs you go to will take your card.

  • Check that your bank has your right cell phone number. If there’s a problem and your account is restricted, you’ll want them to be able to contact you quickly to smooth things out.

  • Look at the exchange rate your card uses, as it probably won’t be the mid-market rate. You may find it’s better to pick up a Wise debit card with no foreign transaction fees.

Learn more about the Wise debit card

Bottom line

Bank of America offers a wide range of credit and debit cards you can use to make your traveling easier. Picking the right one for your personal circumstances and needs is likely to get you a better deal, so think about and compare terms for the cards you’re considering. The last thing you want when abroad is an unforseen surprise, but if you follow our tips you can make the choice that gives you the best deal.


Sources:
  1. BoA - Personal Schedule of Fees - Page 9 and 10
  2. BoA - Credit Cards
  3. BoA - Credit Cards with no Transaction Fees

All sources checked on 11 March 2022


This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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