Best debit card to use in Colombia: Banks for travelers comparison

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The world is changing! And we do like it. Today, there are online banks that offer free debit card with no foreign transaction fees. A perfect deal to use abroad and especially when travelling to Colombia!

They’re the perfect solution for travelers who want to keep traditional bank charges to a minimum. We’ve tested them out on our various trips to Colombia, and we can tell you that we’re 100% behind the idea of using those banks for travelers!

These new no-fee debit cards are a revolution and a real alternative for all travelers, which it would be a real shame to overlook for three main reasons: it’s free, it’s practical and it saves you money!

Send money abroad free of charge

Simple, fast and the first transfer is completely free, we recommend the Remilty platform for sending money to Colombia (or elsewhere). Particularly useful for paying a deposit, for example.

Disclaimer: we apologize in advance for any grammatical or syntactic errors, as our native language is not English (we're a Colombian-French couple), so we hope you'll forgive us and still enjoy the information we share with you! Please note that all the information on our blog is based on our own experience, and is checked and updated regularly.

No-fee debit cards: the best banks for travelers

Find the best traveller’s bank

Best debit card to use in Colombia: Banks for travelers comparison

For some years now, we’ve been seeing the arrival of what specialists call “Neobanks”, a fashionable term for new-generation banks that rely on 100% digital banking. Some are dedicated to entrepreneurs, others are more geared towards travelers like us!

Who are these no-fee debit cards for abroad?

These new-generation bank accounts are aimed at two types of public:

  • Those who want a no-fee debit card abroad for their travels (in parallel with their main bank account)
  • Those who want to take advantage of free online banking as their main account (and enjoy the benefits for travelers in the process)

For example, we fall into the first category. We have our personal accounts in traditional banks and we opened an N26 accound and a Revolut account to use it during our travels and to be able to pay without bank charges abroad.

The best banks for travelers

For us, the most interesting offer on the market today are N26 and Revolut, pioneering services dedicated to travelers

We’ve been using those online banks for several years now and can’t recommend it highly enough. The debit card and account management are free, so there’s no reason not to use it alongside your traditional bank account.

Which card to choose for travel?

Best travel bank

Best debit card to use in Colombia: Banks for travelers comparison

As you can see, these new debit cards dedicated to travel have really become indispensable tools. Every self-respecting traveler should use one of these cards, which offer real savings on bank charges.

Choosing a no-fee debit card

The most cautious among you will choose a totally free card. In the case of N26 and Revolut, these are entry-level “Standard” cards.

To help you choose, here’s a summary of the advantages and disadvantages of each traveller’s bank.

Travel banks: Free debit cards abroad

N26 Standard

Benefits

  • Free payments
  • 1.7% low fee on withdrawal
  • 100% free administration
  • Serious German company

Disadvantages

  • For European citizens only
  • No free withdrawals

Revolut Standard

Benefits

  • Free payments on week days
  • 100% free administration
  • $200 USD/month withdrawals no fee
  • Switch currencies on the fly
  • Credit by card

Disadvantages

  • Small payment fees on week-ends

Choosing a debit card with no premium fees

Each of the banks we’ve recommended offers premium accounts with additional services that may be of interest to some of you.

From our point of view, it’s only worth choosing a premium account if you travel a lot, or intend to use it on a daily basis and/or make it your main bank account.

In which case, these accounts can be really interesting!

No-fee premium debit cards for travelers

N26 You

Additional benefits

  • Unlimited free withdrawals
  • Travel insurance
    And much more..

Revolut Premium

Additional benefits

  • Free withdrawals of $400/month
  • Travel insurance
  • Shopping insurance
  • 1 free international transfer/month
    And much more..

Our choice of no-fee debit cards

The best bank for travelers

We tested several debit cards for travelers, traveling with Revolut and N26.

So we were able to make an informed choice and advise you on the best compromise (because there’s never a perfect solution!)

Our choice for travel in Colombia

Since 2015, we’ve chosen to use both the n26 card and Revolut card.

After all these years and all these trips, we’ve never had any worries until now.

Now, each one has its beneficts. N26 is the the only one to offer a Card with embossed numbers. And in Colombia, as in many countries around the world, this is still very important!

For example, to rent a car, the agencies make old-fashioned bank prints on paper , so the card must have the numbers in relief, otherwise it’s impossible to rent a car.

On the other hand, Revolut’s currency switcher is a real deal when you want to save money on fees. And free withdrawals, even if there are limits, are a also great.

Comparison of the best banks for travellers

the best no-fee debit card abroad

To take things a step further, we’ve looked at each offer in detail to try and highlight the differences, advantages and disadvantages.

N26 Standard REVOLUT Standard
GENERAL
FREE ACCOUNTYesYes
BANK GUARANTEEDYes
(German license)
Yes
(Lithuanian license)
Systematic authorization CARD MODELMastercard Debit
(Embossed digits)
Mastercard Debit
ACCOUNT OPENINGFreeFree
CB DELIVERY CHARGES$10$6
MANAGEMENT INTERFACEMobile application
and Computer
Mobile application
ACCOUNT MANAGEMENT FEEUnconditional freeUnconditional free
CUSTOMER SERVICELiveChat 7/7 daysLiveChat 7/7 days
OPERATION
CREDIT YOUR ACCOUNTBy bank transferBy bank transfer
or by credit card
FOREIGN PAYMENT CHARGESFree of chargeFree of charge on week days only (small fees on week-ends)
EMBOSSEDYesNo
FOREIGN WITHDRAWAL CHARGES
(excluding ATM fees)
1.7% of amountFree up to
$200/month, then
2% of amount
CHARGES ON WITHDRAWALS IN EURO ZONEFree up to 5 withdrawals/month
then $2 per withdrawal
Free up to $200/month
then 2% of amount
WITHDRAWAL LIMIT$2500/day$2800/day
SPENDING LIMIT$20000/month$7000 over 4 days
RATES APPLIEDMastercard rateInterbank rate
3D SECUREYesYes
CLOSE ACCOUNTFreeFree
ON-THE-FLY CURRENCY CONVERSIONNoYes
APPLE PAY, GOOGLE PAY, SAMSUNG PAYYesYes
FOREIGN TRANSFERSPartnership with Wise for reduced feesReduced charges depending on currency
TRAVEL INSURANCENoNo
PREMIUM ACCOUNTS
N26 You
$9.90/month
Revolut Premium
$7.99/month
INTERNATIONAL WITHDRAWALSFree unlimitedFree up to 400/month
then 2% of amount
TRAVEL INSURANCEYes (Allianz)Yes (White Horse)
INTERNATIONAL MONEY TRANSFERSPartnership with Wise for low-cost transfers1 free international transfer/month
ACCOUNT MANAGEMENTFree with no conditionsFree with no conditions

Tax declaration

N26 and Revolut are bank accounts you must declare them on your income tax return. This is just a formality that has no impact on the amount of tax you pay, but it can be a compulsory step depending on your country of residence. Ask your customer service for details.

We do it every year, it takes 2 minutes more, the time it takes to find the online “tutorials” and copy the bank’s address…

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Authors

Angélica & Samuel

We are Angélica and Samuel, a French-Colombian couple, professional photographers and web editors specializing in travel to Colombia. We created this blog to change the image of the country, help you prepare your trip and inspire you to discover Colombia in a different way!

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