The actual answer to your question will vary because there are always campaigns co-branded cards, travel specific accounts, and fees and features that vary from bank to bank. So I doubt even if someone were to provide you with a specific product name (like, for example, American Express Blue) it would be valid in the long term. Therefore, I am giving some general tips that you should be aware of when negotiating with your bank and investigating the account types available.
Due to the nature of how ATM networks work, there will always be a charge/fee if you are using an ATM that isn't part of your bank's network. Now, some large multinational banks (for example, HSBC, Chase, BoA) have ATMs in different countries. You might be able to get favorable rates or exemption of fees - but this depends on the type of account you have. Usually, these favorable rates are only provided for HNW (high net worth) individuals and their associated accounts.
Charges vary greatly between the debit and credit networks. Make sure you check with your bank what are the various types of credit cards available. Some banks offer credit cards that are specifically tailored for frequent travelers. They usually come with benefits such as lounge access, travel insurance (if the ticket is bought on the card), free/expedited replacement, fixed exchange rates against major currencies, and so on.
However, this does not affect the ATM, because at the ATM - no matter what type of card you have or what type of account you are holding - you will be subject to exchange rate fees. This is because when you are traveling, 99% of ATMs will only dispense the local currency (exceptions are at airports, where you will find ATMs that dispense the local currency + major international currencies like USD or GBP).
All in all, at the ATM there are the following fees:
- Fee from the bank whose ATM you are using.
- Fee from the network that the ATM is using (in the case of international cards in foreign ATMs, this is the network of the card network - VISA, MasterCard, etc.)
- Rate margin based on the trading currency. For example, if you are in the UK and withdrawing GBP from your bank account that is issued in USD, you will be charged (generally the mid-market rate + a percentage) of whatever the USD to GBP rate is.
- Fee from your bank on using an off-network ATM.
It is always best to withdraw the maximum you will need so that you are not hit with the fees on subsequent ATM visits.
Unless you will be using an ATM that is part of your bank's network, this is not an option. You may be able to do this using your bank's mobile app, but it will not work for foreign issued checks.
For depositing checks into your US account while abroad, you'll have to approach a bank and pay their check processing fees.
If your bank offers this function as part of their mobile application (some banks offer this as a feature - you can take a picture of the check through the app), this may work for foreign checks (you will have to confirm with your bank) - although I highly doubt it would be an option due to lack of controls and a central clearing process.
This depends entirely on the type of account, the length of business you have with the bank, and various other factors - there is no right or wrong answer here. You'll have to shop around based on your banking profile/requirements.
- CHIP and PIN (or CHIP and Sign)
To ensure the widest acceptance while abroad; use a card that is enabled for CHIP and PIN. Your bank can enable this for you.
- Types of Cards & Transaction Networks
Each major card network (VISA, MasterCard, American Express) has two different types of transaction networks:
The debit network, which is either:
- VISA Electron (for VISA issued cards)
- Maestro (for MasterCard issued cards)
The credit network, which is the same name as the network itself - so VISA and MasterCard.
The reasons for these two networks and the differences between them are a long story - but suffice it to say that for maximum compatibility you should use the credit network.
There are two types of cards issued in the US:
Debit cards (sometimes called "check cards"). These are cards that are linked to your account balance, but are configured so that they use the credit transaction network.
Credit cards - these work the same everywhere.
Your check cards and your credit cards will work abroad; however, in order to ensure that both are accepted universally - they should be CHIP and PIN enabled.
You may find that some ATMs or automated kiosks (like at ticketing stations, or on the bus/train/tram etc.) reject your card if its not CHIP + PIN enabled; ATMs are generally more liberal and will work (if they are configured on the credit network - look for the VISA and MasterCard signs) if the ATM is configured for the in-country local network, it will most likely reject your card especially if its not CHIP+PIN enabled.
Bottom line is - CHIP+PIN = Maximum Compatibility; and use a card configured on the credit network.