How The Charles Schwab Check Card Saved The Day Once Again

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Charles Schwab Check Card Pic

Using the Charles Schwab Check Card for Train Kiosks in Europe

I have called the Charles Schwab checking account debit card the one card everyone should get, including myself.  I finally listened to my own advice a few months back and snatched one up. My goal was to double dip the account and use it to snag the Charles Schwab Amex Platinum at the same time.  We all know how poorly that worked out, don’t we?

My main reason for getting the Charles Schwab check card was because of the amazing ATM policy.  Every ATM fee is waived including foreign transaction withdraws and fees in the $20-$30 range.

Charles Schwab Check Card ATM Refund

But on my trip to Europe it came in handy for another reason.

Charles Schwab Check Card For Train Kiosks

Purchasing train tickets in Europe can be tricky sometimes.  Their system does not like many American credit cards.  It is because of Europe’s chip and pin system.  Americans still have to sign for credit card purchases in Europe while most local credit cards do not require that.  Because of this system the train kiosks will deny many American credit cards.

We ran into this issue trying to buy tickets while in Brussels.  I tried my Chase World of Hyatt card and my Chase Ink Plus card.  Both were rejected as was my friend’s Chase Sapphire Reserve card.  The kiosks do not take bills and we did not have enough coins to pay in cash.  Our only other option was to walk to the other end of the train station to buy tickets from the ticket desk where we could sign for the purchase.  This is the exact reason many people get the Barclay Arrival Plus card since they work well with the train kiosks.

We were going to head down to the ticket counter when my buddy decided to try his Charles Schwab check card.  It worked without an issue!  We missed out on the points for the purchase but there were no foreign transaction fees. We also avoided the long walk to the ticket counter and the ensuing line. That is a fair trade off in my book.

Final Breakdown

This is just another amazing perk of the Charles Schwab check card.  I will always have this in my wallet going forward.  The amazing ATM policy plus it being a great backup card for purchases make it a keeper for me.  The $100 bonus that came with signing up for the account didn’t hurt either (it does come with a hard pull).  Hopefully it will lead to an eventual approval for the Charles Schwab Amex Platinum card too.

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29 COMMENTS

  1. Mark, Just today I called Merrill Lynch/BofA as they had sent me a letter about my debit cards with them. I am a Wealth Management person with them and they assured me that using my debit cards abroad, I would not pay ATM fees and that FTFs would be waived (Though it sounded like that would happen on request afterward).

    Not sure if it is only for those folks having enough bread between the two entities (Merrill will be changing their name to BofA soon anyhow) to be in the program, but also you get the extra percentages back on Cash Back cards and I thin extra points on travel cards too, but not sure about that.

    Worth checking if you or someone thinks they qualify.

    • Yeah if you are able to hit the Platinum level in their system it works out to be pretty rewarding for sure.

  2. I have Schwab debit card and it is a must for anyone going outside the USA. I have used it at ATM’s, other cash type places and even in little markets selling jewelry my wife likes.

    • It is a pretty amazing card and the customer service is top notch from what I hear. I haven’t had to use them yet thankfully.

  3. Good to know. We have Schwab debit cards, but I have used my Barclays AAviator Red MC at unmanned train kiosks and highway tollbooths, because like the Arrival Plus, it is also chip and pin. Got this right after a trip to Brussels where we had to go to the ticket counter since our regular cards wouldn’t work. Never thought to try the Schwab card which we had just gotten about 6 months prior to that trip.

  4. Would the Capital One debit card (also no foreign transaction fees) not work the same? With a whole lot less hassle to get/maintain?

    • I am not sure – I would think so. I do think the Cap One card charges the ATM fee though they just don’t charge you a second fee for using an ATM. Something to consider, especially if you ever want the Schwab Platinum.

      • I checked with Capital One since I personally haven’t ever incurred fees or charges using their debit card internationally, either (or domestically for that matter). Below is their published policy on their 360 accounts, no-fee online accounts I adore & use:

        “For 360 products (360 Checking, Money, etc.) there are no additional fees when you use your debit card abroad (any transaction made in a foreign currency or that MasterCard® classifies as a cross-border transaction).”

        Non-360 accounts are a whole different (expensive) story:
        “For non-360 products (Total Control Checking, Essential Checking and other products) we may charge a fee of $2, plus 3% of the total transaction amount, when you withdraw from an international ATM (outside of the United States, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands).”

        I believe Cap1 360 is a whole lot less hassle than having to open/maintain a brokerage account with Schwab AND get hit with a hard pull to do so. Cap1 takes literally 5 minutes to open an online 360 account at any amount with good earnings, then they mail you a debit card (or you can pick it up at a Cap1 branch, too). It cannot get any easier or more useful while also not sacrificing return.

        • I agree they are easier and I have one too – old ING card but you still get hit with the ATM fees which can add up. That is why I decided to go with this as well as it opening up more credit cards for applications. You don’t have to fund the brokerage account when you open the checking account – you just open it but deposit into the checking.

          If you don’t use it at ATMs much (especially ones with big fees) then it is the better option. The Schwab has already saved me from $50-60 in ATM fees the Cap 360 would have charged me.

  5. The Barclay Arrival card has a PIN (as other Barclay cards do), and they worked well at train kiosk (and other similar places) in Europe.
    Having said that, the Schwab Card has been amazing.
    Also, I found the Schwab phone staff extremely competent and helpful when things snag.

  6. Wondering of the Fidelity card that comes with the cash management account works at train kiosks in Europe? When you research the best account to get for travel around the world it is usually Schwab or Fidelity that are suggested. The ability to use at a kiosk could be a deciding factor.

  7. Mark, do you have a referral code that can be used? There are reports that sometimes Schwab ask for the name of the friend who referred you before they issue the $100 bonus.

  8. Code did not work for me online despite multiple attempts. Always got an error saying I was ineligible. I opened the account anyway, then called the new account phone number and asked them if my friend’s code was entered correctly. He said he did not see that I had the offer associated with my account, but could I give it to him now. I read the above code off to him over the phone and he was able to verify it and set me up for the referral bonus. A bit of a workaround and a hassle, but hey, free $100. Thanks!

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