Best way for a visitor to avoid bank fees?

I am planning to spend the summer in Taiwan but don’t expect that I will be working or pursuing an ARC. It sounds like local bank accounts are only open to those with an ARC so that puts me in a bit of a bind. On previous trips to other parts of Asia I got into the habit of taking out large blocks of cash from the ATM at one time and using my credit card wherever possible to defer those $5 bank fees… but for this trip I am wondering if there is a better way. Any recommendations?

hi, same situation my wife and I been to, check out capital one credit cards:
i believe all cards have no bank fees when charged overseas. but, as always read the fine print.

hope this helps,


i found that there were a few small fees added to international ATM withdrawals when I used my Schwab card (advertised as free ATMs worldwide). IIRC these fees were significantly lower than a previous ATM card that I used internationally.

Actually there is a way to open a local bank account w/o ARC but I don’t know all of the details. I know that you have to get a taxpayer ID # (I think that’s the correct term) to do it. It would not surprise me if a bank told you that it was impossible to open a bank account w/o ARC though.

I had a closer look into the services provided by my own bank, TD Canada Trust, and it would appear that they offer an account that has no international ATM withdrawal fees and a slightly better exchange rate for $30/mo. I’ll likely try that out since it seems easier than jumping through the hoops to obtain a local bank account.

That might be your best bet.

However to clarify, you can open an account without ARC easily. You go to the immigration office as (I believe it was Abacus said) and ask them for a number so that you can open a local account, and then take this number to the bank with passport.

Bank of Taiwan is very old and stodgy here, but they have no issues opening an account without an ARC and just the letter and passport. Other banks like HSBC require you to have an ARC no other way around it. But Bank of Taiwan no issues.