Finding the Best Credit Card for our Family

Photo by Webaroo on Unsplash

I would consider myself a kind person. There are few things that I don’t like and only one thing that I hate:

Fees! I hate fees!

Whether it’s bank fees, credit card fees, library late fees, transaction fees or any other unnecessary fees! I hate them – all!

When we moved to France one year ago I was overwhelmed with the move from Switzerland, the bureaucracy involved with moving a household over a border (Schengen agreement is great, but you still have to fill out a ton of paperwork when you move your stuff over a border). So when the bank that we used for our mortgage offered us a CHF and EUR credit card as well as car insurance I took it. I did not have time to do the necessary research to find the best deal for our situation at the time.

Sidenote: Postfinance does not like non-Swiss residents!

Before our move: my first choice bank in Switzerland was PostFinance. I liked their fee structure (back in the days), they let my wife have a bank account (she’s American and Swiss banks do not like American customers due to the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act or FATCA. If you want to know more about this topic, here is a good article.) All in all the customer service was good.

PostFinance used to offer free cash withdrawals at home and abroad, free banking (starting at 25’000 CHF net worth) and everything from checking, savings and brokerage accounts. All in all a good deal if you are a Swiss resident.

“I will just keep banking with PostFinance while we get settled in France, until we figure out what options there are.”

My naive, younger self

Right! As soon as our move was official and our mailing address change was registered with PostFinance, we immediately received a notice, that as a customer living “abroad” we must pay 25 CHF / month for account management fees!

Thats 300 CHF a year!

Nope! I was not going to do that – out of principle (mostly), but also because I hate fees – I immediately canceled with them and moved all our accounts to our new banking home, in France – Crédit Mutuel.

Questioning the Status Quo?!

It is a good exercise to question the status quo every now and then.

They say never change a winning team. – but maybe, your team is not the best team and you could be winning even more! (Did I take the figure of speach too far?)

It is not good to get complacent, used to the everyday goings. Every now and then step back and question yourself, your decisions. Not only when it comes to fees, but especially when it comes to life questions, spiritual matters, personal choices. I find it helps to strengthen your position, when you come out convinced that you have made a good decision in the past, or it will help you re-focus, re-center, or re-adjust when you come to a new found conclusion.

Trying to be true to my one word, I took a closer look at our Credit Card situation.

What kind of Credit or Debit Card does our family need

To say it up front: We do not need any cash-bonus paying, air-mileage collecting, travel-insurance giving card. We need something that is cheap or better: free; and a card that can be used in several currencies without incurring unnecessary fees for not using the card in the nominal currency.

Other secondary considerations would be the possibility to have a partner card, also it must be a Visa or Mastercard (they are the most widely accepted cards worldwide).

Summary of our Credit Card needs:

  • Multiple currencies especially CHF, EUR and USD
  • Fees: none!
  • Partner Card or Joint account
  • Mastercard or Visa

And the winner is: Revolut

After some research I found that Revolut’s checked most of the boxes. Revolut offers:

  • Free account
  • Free debit card (delivery fee applies)
  • One free virtual card
  • Free ATM withdrawals up to 200 EUR per month (after that 2 % fee applies)
  • Send money for free to other Revolut users
  • Transfer between multiple currencies as at interbank rates with no surcharge fees during FX market hours (applies to the following currencies: USD, GBP, EUR, AUD, CAD, NZD, CHF, JPY, SEK, HKD, NOK, SGD, DKK, PLN and CZK ). Outside market hours fee of 0.5% applies.

So far we are happy with it. If anything changes – I’ll let y’all know😉.

Give me some feedback

What kind of card solution do you have? Let me know in the comments or send me a message!

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