How to avoid international ATM fees 

Having some cash in your pocket when you travel is reassuring - and in some countries where card payments are less common, it may be essential. However, using an ATM abroad can mean you run into international ATM fees, including a withdrawal charge and foreign transaction fee.

In this guide we’ll cover ways to limit or avoid international ATM fees, including 4 options that have no-fee international ATM withdrawals. We’ve included in our roundup non bank providers like Wise or Revolut and a quick look at ways to avoid foreign ATM fees with accounts from banks like Chase UK and Starling Bank.

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How much is the international ATM fee?

It’s not often possible to get completely free international ATM withdrawals. Different banks and non-bank alternative card providers have their own fee schedules which can include several different charges. On top of that, the ATM operator might also add their own charge.

In this guide we’ve highlighted some banks and non-bank providers which don’t charge international ATM fees, but these charges are pretty standard with UK banks like Barclays or Lloyds. While some UK banks offer ways to reduce or waive international ATM fees by only using ATMs provided by partner banks, standard fees apply when you use an out of network terminal. It’s important to check your own card’s terms and conditions to understand what charges will apply, and so you don’t run into any surprise costs.

Types of international ATM fees

Several different international ATM fees may apply to a single withdrawal, so looking through your card’s fee schedule is essential. Keep an eye out for costs including:

Foreign transaction fees: This is a percentage charge added to all transactions made in foreign currencies - banks often have a foreign transaction fee of around 3%

Out-of-network ATM fees: Out of network fees may apply when you use an ATM overseas - these charges can vary and are often around 1.5 GBP

Currency conversion fees: You may pay a currency conversion charge, which will be a percentage added to the exchange rate used to switch your pounds to the currency needed in your location

ATM withdrawal service fees: Both your own bank or card issuer, and the ATM operator, might charge an ATM fee, which is usually higher if you’re abroad

How can I avoid cash withdrawal fees abroad?

So - how to cut down the costs of using an ATM overseas? You may not be able to completely eliminate the fees you pay when transacting internationally, but there are some smart ways to limit the costs:

See if your bank has an overseas ATM network you can use: Double check if your bank has no-fee ATM options overseas, or if they work with other banks to provide free or discounted withdrawals for their customers

Choose a card that doesn’t have foreign ATM fees: Some UK bank accounts offer debit cards with no overseas ATM fees, although major banks like Barclays and Lloyds have a standard fee to pay. As an alternative, check out services like Wise or Revolut which both have accounts with no ongoing fees and some no-fee ATM withdrawals every month

Don’t use the ATM too frequently: If your bank card has a flat fee for making an ATM withdrawal, taking out money more frequently means paying the fee more frequently too. If you have somewhere safe to store cash, such as a hotel safe, consider taking out larger amounts - and using your card to make payments where you can

Avoid dynamic currency conversion: Pay in the local currency wherever you are when you make an ATM withdrawal. This will allow you to get the best available exchange rate. Or, get a multi-currency account from a provider like Wise or Revolut, which lets you hold dozens of currencies and convert with low or no fees

We’ll look at the international ATM fees from 4 banks and non-bank providers in detail next.

Providers with no international ATM fees

Some banks have cards that have no international ATM fees, or offer fee-free withdrawals up to certain limits. However, it’s pretty common for some fees to apply when using a bank debit card in an ATM abroad - and using a credit card can be even more costly.

Specialist providers like Wise and Revolut offer debit cards with no-fee ATM withdrawals up to certain limits, at home and internationally.

In this section we’ll cover Wise and Revolut as specialist providers, as well as Chase UK and Starling Bank, looking at their ATM fees and limits. First, a quick overview:

Provider/feeInternational ATM feeExchange rateForeign transaction fee
WiseFree withdrawals to the value of 200 GBP/month - fee of 0.5 GBP + 1.75% after thatMid market rate with low cost currency conversion from 0.35%No foreign transaction fee
RevolutStandard account holders can withdraw up to 200 GBP, in up to 5 withdrawals a month with no Revolut fee - fee of 2% after that

Mid market rate Monday - Friday to account limits

0.5% - 1% fair usage fee when limit exhausted (depending on plan selected)

1% out of hours conversion fee

No foreign transaction fee
Chase UKNo Chase UK fee - ATM operator might charge their own fees, which are not reimbursedNetwork rateNo foreign transaction fee
Starling BankNo Starling Bank fee - ATM operator might charge their own fees, which are not reimbursedNetwork rateNo foreign transaction fee

As we mentioned, major UK banks like Lloyds do usually have international fees - but not all banks add these costs into overseas use. It’s worth checking if your bank has a card option with no international ATM fees available, as we can see from the accounts we’ve picked out from Chase UK and Starling Bank above. Or, pick a non-bank alternative like Wise or Revolut to maximise your overseas cash with low fees.

Wise international ATM fees

You can use your Wise card in an ATM overseas to make withdrawals up to the value of 200 GBP a month free, with a fee of 0.5 GBP + 1.75% after that. If you have the currency you need in your Wise account there’s no conversion fee - and if not, the card can automatically convert from your balance, with low fees from 0.35%.

There’s no foreign transaction fee to pay, which cuts down the overall cost of using your Wise account internationally. Wise accounts have some ATM limits which are set for security. You can manage and view these in the Wise app. You’ll be able to withdraw up to 4,000 GBP a month from your Wise account.

Revolut international ATM fees

Revolut accounts all come with a linked debit card you can use for ATM withdrawals more or less globally. If you have a Standard Revolut account you can withdraw up to 200 GBP a month, in up to 5 separate transactions, with no Revolut fee, after which a 2% charge kicks in. You’ll also be able to convert currencies in market hours to the value of 1,000 GBP a month without needing to pay a fee - once you’ve exhausted this allowance a fair usage charge of 1% begins. You can make up to the equivalent of 3,000 GBP in withdrawals every 24 hours.

Different account tiers may have their own no-fee transaction allowances and limits, so do check the terms of the account type you pick before you make your first withdrawal.

Chase UK international ATM fees

Chase UK does not charge any international ATM fee, or a foreign transaction fee. Chase does warn customers that ATM operators may charge their own fees when you make an international withdrawal. Because Chase has an extensive ATM network in the US, you can make withdrawals at Chase US branches with no fee payable either to Chase UK, or to the ATM operator overseas. Elsewhere, fees applied by ATM operators are out of the control of Chase UK.

You can withdraw up to the equivalent of 500 GBP per day from ATMs with your Chase card - if you’re overseas, your ATM withdrawals are also subject to a cumulative 1,500 GBP limit every month.

Starling Bank international ATM fees

Starling Bank’s standard GBP current account has no ongoing fee, and offers a debit card you can use with no Starling ATM fee or foreign transaction fee. You’ll need to keep an eye on the ATM screen if you’re making an international withdrawal, as the ATM operator can still add their own fees which are not controlled by Starling.

You can withdraw up to 300 GBP a day - or the currency equivalent - with your Starling Bank debit card.

What is the best way to withdraw money in a foreign country?

There’s no single best way to get your hands on travel cash when you’re away from home - however, choosing a debit card which has low or no ATM fees can help you manage your money with lower overall costs. Choose an account with multi-currency functions, such as those from Wise or Revolut, and you can also hold and exchange the currencies you need for your trip, so you can see your budget in advance.

How to avoid ATM fees in Europe

Heading to Spain for your summer holiday? Off for a city break to Paris? Here are a few pointers on avoiding ATM fees when you’re in Europe:

  • Get a low cost multi-currency card from a provider like Wise or Revolut, to make low or no fee withdrawals in foreign currencies

  • See if your home bank has partnerships with banks in Europe, which can mean snagging low or no cost ATM withdrawals

  • Don’t use a credit card - ATM withdrawals are treated as a cash advance and usually come with hefty fees and instant interest to pay

Conclusion: How to avoid ATM withdrawals fees abroad

Many UK banks have debit cards which come with an international ATM fee if you need to get cash out as you travel. Options like Lloyds and Barclays can have a fee of around 1.5 GBP, plus a 3% foreign transaction fee.

The good news is that not all accounts come with these costs. Some accounts from banks like Chase UK and Starling Bank waive international ATM fees, although you’ll need to watch out for any charges the ATM operator adds as these costs can’t be reimbursed by the bank.

As an alternative take a look at multi currency accounts from non-bank providers like Wise or Revolut, which come with linked debit cards that have some no fee ATM withdrawals every month. You can add money easily in GBP, and then convert to the currency you need conveniently within your account, so you’ll know exactly what you have to spend while you’re away - or just let the card handle the conversion when you pay.

International ATM fees FAQs

Is it better to exchange currency or withdraw from an ATM?

Exchanging currency before you travel can be time consuming and may not get you the very best exchange rate out there. Using an ATM can be convenient and if you pick an account which has a low or no cost currency exchange, you may also get a better deal on fees. Take a look at options from Wise or Revolut to see if they might suit your needs.

Will I get charged for withdrawing money abroad?

Your own bank or card provider will set the fees you pay for international ATM withdrawals - often banks have a flat fee in the region of 1.5 GBP, and a foreign transaction fee of 3%. The ATM operator may also charge a fee. Take a look at your account and card fee schedule to see what charges apply, and compare the costs with alternative account options including non-bank alternatives like Wise or Revolut.

Can I use my debit card abroad to withdraw cash?

Yes. Use your debit card in an ATM which supports the card network - Visa or Mastercard, for example. You may need to inform your bank you plan to travel to make sure your card is activated for international use before you leave.