Wise card vs no foreign transaction fee debit cards: 2024 guide

Gabriela Peratello

Wise offers the Wise card to US customers to spend and make withdrawals around the world, with mid-market exchange rates and low fees*. Some US banks offer no FTF (no foreign transaction fee) debit cards which can also be a good fit for international spending. So what’s the difference?

Read this guide to understand Wise,no-FTF debit cards, and to see which may suit your needs.


What is a Wise card?

The Wise card is an international debit card linked to a Wise multi-currency account. Wise cards don’t have foreign transaction fees. Wise accounts can hold 40+ different currencies and it’s free to spend any currency you hold - or the card can convert for you when you pay, with a low conversion fee, instead.

It’s important to note that Wise is not a bank - it’s a money service business. This means the Wise card may not work quite in the same way as a bank issued no-FTF card. This guide walks through some important points so you can choose if the Wise card might work for you.

How does the Wise card work for international transactions?

You can use the Wise card to make payments and ATM withdrawals in 150+ countries, wherever the card’s network is supported. The card is issued on the Visa® or Mastercard® network for great global acceptance.

If you need to make a payment overseas, and you hold the currency you need in your account, there’s no currency conversion fee. Just tap and pay in a store, and the transaction value is deducted from your balance in that currency.

If you don’t have the currency you need in your account that’s fine too - the card can convert at the point of payment, with the mid-market rate and low fees from 0.42%.

Fees and charges with Wise card

Here’s a quick rundown of the key fees and charges to get and use your Wise card:

ServiceWise card cost
Order a Wise card9 USD
Spend overseas

No fee to spend a currency you hold in your account

Currency conversion from 0.42% if you don’t have what you need in your destination

Make ATM withdrawals in the US and abroad

Up to 2 withdrawals to the value of 100 USD/month for free

1.5 USD + 2% after that

Wise will not charge you for these withdrawals, but some additional charges may occur from independent ATM networks

Withdraw overseas, or withdraw in the US from a Wise foreign currency balanceYour balance is converted to the currency you need to withdraw with the mid-market rate and low fees from 0.42%
Replace a lost card5 USD
Replace an expiring cardNo fee

Please see Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise Fees & Pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information

What is a no foreign transaction fee debit card?

A no foreign transaction fee card is a debit card issued by a bank which you can use to spend overseas without any fees to transact in foreign countries. Foreign transaction fees are used by some banks - and can add about 3% to each purchase you make in a foreign currency. A no FTF debit card avoids this.

No FTF debit cards are often linked to checking accounts, although these checking accounts may have their own limitations which we’ll look at in a moment.

Still unsure of what's the right option for you? Check our no international fee debit card guide

What are the benefits of using no FTF debit cards abroad?

If you have a debit card which uses a foreign transaction fee, an extra percentage - often about 3% - is added to your bill whenever you use a foreign currency.

That applies when you’re traveling, and when you shop online with international retailers.

Using a no FTF card removes this fee - although there may be other costs to consider, so choosing your card carefully is still important.

Where can you get no foreign transaction fee cards from?

There are a few banks in the US which issue no foreign transaction fee debit cards to account holders.

However, it’s worth knowing that these accounts may be targeted at certain customer types, or may have their own eligibility requirements.

For example, you can get no foreign transaction fee cards from:

Capital One®The 360 Checking account¹ has no foreign transaction fee, but does have a few other charges, such as sending wire payments or getting a checkbook, plus you can’t send overseas payments
Schwab® Checking²Designed for investors, this account has very few fees, aside from bank wires, but bear in mind that you can’t send overseas payments
Citi® Priority³Aimed at high net worth individuals maintaining a pretty high account balance, comes with some fees - although these may be lower than other Citi accounts

Comparing the Wise card vs no FTF debit cards

Both the Wise card and no FTF debit cards are great choices for overseas spending.

Their costs tend to be lower when transacting in foreign currencies, which means you can make flexible card payments - and spend less in the end.

Let’s look at how these card options measure up side by side:

Fees and costs: Wise Debit Card vs. No FTF debit cards

ServiceWise card cost*No foreign transaction fee debit card
Order a card9 USDOften free
Make ATM withdrawals in the US and abroad

Up to 2 withdrawals to the value of 100 USD/month for free

1.5 USD + 2% after that

Often there is no fee from the bank
Exchange rateYour balance is converted to the currency you need to withdraw with the mid-market rate and low fees from 0.42%Rates are set by the card network or bank - these may include a variable markup
Checking servicesNot available

Often available, extra fees may apply - for example:

**Capital One: **10 USD to 20 USD for a checkbook

Incoming and outgoing payments

Free to receive money in AUD, CAD, EUR, GBP, HUF, NZD, RON, SGD, TRY, USD (non-wire)

Receive US wire - 4.14 USD

Receive CAD SWIFT payment - 10 CAD

Send international payments - from 0.42%

Incoming and outgoing domestic transfers have fees - for example:

  • Capital One: 30 USD outgoing

  • Schwab: 15 USD outgoing

International transfers may not be available

Please see Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise Fees & Pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information

Exchange rate comparison

Wise converts currencies with the mid-market exchange rate. That’s the rate you’ll get on Google or with a currency conversion.

Split out from this is a currency conversion fee - which can be as low as 0.42%. This allows you to easily see what you’re paying when you exchange money.

Bank issued no FTF cards tend to use the network exchange rate when they convert your overseas spending back to USD.

The rate that’s live on your network - Visa or Mastercard, for example - on the day your purchase is processed is what’s used. This may be a day or two after you actually tap and pay in a store.

Network exchange rates can include a markup - a fee - added to them; although it’s generally a pretty small extra cost where this is the case.

To see the exchange rate applied to your purchase you’ll need to go to the card network’s website and input the payment processing date.

User experience and accessibility

Wise cards are available almost globally, with no minimum balance requirement. They’re linked to powerful international accounts which have lots of other useful features if you need to transact in foreign currencies.

No FTF cards from banks can vary a lot, but you’ll often find stricter eligibility rules, and more restrictions on the way the account can be used for international payments.

Wise card vs No FTF debit cards: security features

You can freeze and unfreeze your Wise card in the Wise app, you’ll also be able to get instant transaction notifications and a balance overview with just your phone.

There’s a 24/7 anti-fraud operation running in the background, using manual and automatic protocols to keep your account safe.

Bank-issued no FTF cards have their own security features, which can vary based on the bank you use. Generally you’ll be able to view your account in an app, and freeze your card in app or by phone. Banks also have thorough and sophisticated anti-fraud measures in place.

Wise vs no foreign transaction fee card: which is the right one for you?

A bank issued no FTF card can be a good choice if you’re primarily looking for a USD checking account which also has the option to spend overseas without running into high fees.

You’ll have the option to bank in a branch as well as online and in-app and can often get USD checking services too.

The Wise card could be a better fit if you’re looking for more solutions to manage your money internationally, including ways to hold a foreign currency balance conveniently, sending low cost international transfers and ways to get paid by others cheaply or for free, in USD and foreign currencies.

Here’s a quick head to head comparison:

Wise*No foreign transaction fee cards

Residents of the US and other countries, aged 18 or over

Eligibility is subject to verification of customers' identity

Accounts have varying requirements, which may include a minimum balance
Linked accountMulti-currency digital accountUSD bank account - usually a checking account
AccessibilityOnline and in-appOnline and in-app - some banks also offer branch services
Important fees

9 USD fee to order a card

4.14 USD fee to receive a USD wire

Free to receive ACH transfers*

Sending and receiving USD payments may come with a fee

Checking services may come with a fee

International features

Hold and exchange 40+ currencies

Spend in 150+ countries

Send and receive low cost international payments

Spend globally wherever the card network is accepted

Frequently asked questions about Wise card vs no FTF cards

Let’s close with some common questions.

What are the main differences between a Wise card and a debit card with no foreign transaction fees?

A Wise card is linked to a multi-currency account which lets you hold 40+ currencies, and spend any currency you hold for free.

No FTF debit cards are usually linked to USD checking accounts, and overseas spending is converted back to USD with the network rate.

Are there any hidden fees involved with using a Wise card internationally?

No. Wise is transparent about fees - there’s no charge to spend a currency you hold, and if you don’t have the currency needed, your balance will be converted with the mid-market rate and a low conversion fee.

Visit Wise Fees & Pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information

Can I withdraw money internationally without fees using either a Wise card or a no FTF debit card?

You can make some free ATM withdrawals with Wise every month, before low fees kick in. No FTF debit cards may allow free ATM withdrawals - but keep an eye out in case the ATM operator adds fees in either case.

Is the Wise card accepted worldwide, or are there restrictions compared to no FTF debit cards?

The Wise card is issued on global payment networks, and is available for use more or less worldwide. You can use your card wherever you see the network symbol - 150+ countries in total.

Before you decide if a no FTF bank debit card is a good fit, it’s well worth comparing it with alternatives like the Wise card.

The Wise card has flexible international features which can help you keep down the costs of sending, spending, and receiving foreign currency payments - with no restrictive eligibility requirements and no minimum balance.

Get your Wise card


  1. Capital One 360 Checking
  2. Schwab Checking
  3. Citi Priority
  4. Capital One 360 disclosures
  5. Schwab Checking fees

Sources checked on 03.19.2024

*Please see terms of use and product availability for your region or visit Wise fees and pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

Money without borders

Find out more

Tips, news and updates for your location