How to Find the Best Debit Card to Travel to South-East Asia

find best bank accounts in south east asia

As all travellers know, bank charges abroad sometimes represent a significant budget, say . However, finding a bank for travellers that offers competitive rates is not that simple. Especially since tariffs are not the only criteria for choice.

If there is no free solution, by taking enough cash with you, which can be dangerous in case of theft and tricky if it is a long journey, it is possible to find a bank for travellers whose costs are more advantageous. For this, it is preferable to turn to online banks, as traditional banks are very uncompetitive.

Travel Within or Outside the Euro Zone?

Before thinking about how to find a bank for travellers and expats, and comparing rates, a question arises: where do you travel? Indeed, it is important to distinguish between holidays in or outside the euro zone. If they take place in the euro zone, then, quite logically, the traveller will not have to face any painful costs. In any case, as long as the customer respects his withdrawal number. Often, beyond three or four withdrawals, the bank charges a fee of €1, but there will be no additional commission.

The problem is when we leave this famous euro zone. All payments and withdrawals will be made in foreign currency… involving commissions that banks charge in the form of fixed fees or percentages of the transaction amount. Quickly significant costs! It is in the latter case that the interest in finding a bank for travellers makes sense.

How to Reduce Your ATM Fees Charges Abroad

Change in Currency Conversion to Travel

Yes, it may be advantageous for the customer to change banks in preparation for a departure, in order to opt for a traveller’s bank, especially if it is a long journey. Bank charges abroad can represent several tens of euros per holiday. A substantial amount that comes on top of the often already high rates. This is particularly the case in a traditional bank.

Online Banking: Revolut, Transferwise, N26

It goes without saying, the ideal would therefore be to find the cheapest bank for travellers, in order to have the lowest possible costs. One of these is Transferwise (

The Alternative of Overdraft-Free Accounts

Online banking systems are not the only ones to offer competitive rates abroad. Accounts without overdraft cannot be ignored. However, we have chosen not to mix them with other banks because their services differ slightly.

An overdraft-free account, as its name suggests, does not offer all the services of a traditional account. The customer can open a current account with RIB (sometimes not nominative), credit card, but without the possibility of being overdrawn and without a cheque book (and without being able to cash a cheque). There may be account maintenance fees and withdrawal fees, but fees abroad are generally very competitive.

How to Choose a Cheap Bank for Travelers to Vietnam?

Before choosing a bank for travellers, it is necessary to consider several criteria. Indeed, the tariff is not the only data to be taken into account. Other elements must also be taken into consideration:

  • The price list
  • Withdrawal and payment limits: It is preferable for a bank to allow the customer to temporarily raise its limits. In the event of a major expenditure requirement, it will not encounter any problems.
  • Credit card insurance and assistance: It is better to have a Gold MasterCard or a Visa Premium. Some premium banks offers a lot of advantages : the customer has access to all the associated guarantees. Among them: repatriation, legal assistance, flight cancellation…
  • Reliability of the traveller’s: For example, several customer complaints have been raised against some online banks (which is why you should consult consumer reviews and surveys of the best banks), pointing out that their debit or credit cards had unexpectedly been blocked during their trip. One can well imagine the delicacy of the situation if the customer does not have a second debit card… Of course, this does not mean that Boursorama should be avoided, since no bank is really immune to this type of incident. However, consulting online bank reviews before choosing your traveler bank may be a good idea.
  • The network of the financial partner abroad: some foreign institutions have concluded agreements with foreign banks in order to offer their customers specific rates.

Open an Account in a Local Bank for Expatriates in Vietnam

If you are looking for a stay of several months and even why not work in Vietnam, you will need to find a more reliable solution to minimize your ATM costs and conversion between the Euro, Dollar and Vietnam Dong. For this purpose, this research article by covers all the points to consider when opening an account in a local bank.

Vietcombank, VP Bank, Timo, ANZ … local bank and debit card choices are numerous in Vietnam, but the main thing is to choose an expat-friendly bank that will be flexible to receive transfers from abroad and be able to accompany you throughout your stay in Asia.

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