Watch out for pickpockets when you travel–especially the one you carry in your wallet.

You already know how easy and convenient it is to use your ATM card to get local currency when you’re on the road, but have you ever added up those “convenience fees” to see how much of a dent it’s making in your travel budget? On a recent three-week trip to France, I racked up almost $50 in ATM fees–enough for several very nice bottles of French wine, thank you very much.

For Canadians, it doesn’t have to be that way: Citizens Bank of Canada, an online subsidiary of Vancity, the country’s largest credit union, recently launched a terrific new product for budget-conscious travellers. Sign up for their unique Global Chequing Account and you won’t get dinged for international withdrawals. In fact, you won’t pay fees for anything, including ordering cheques, paying bills, or using your debit card. And best of all? No minimum balance required. It’s a no-strings-attached good deal–even if you only travel now and then. I’ve always had a savings account with Citizens–their interest rates can’t be beat–but I’ve just opened one of these accounts too…

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