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Old Jul 10, 11, 12:57 pm   #1
 
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Canadian Credit cards with no FX transaction fees?

Girlfriend and I are going traveling for 6 months to Asia, Europe and Africa. We're looking to get a credit card that does not have foreign transaction fee's, or at least fee's lower than the standard 2.5 / 3%.

All I can find are US CC's that have zero transaction fee's, but nothing for Canadian residents. Any suggestions?

thanks for your help.
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Old Nov 6, 11, 5:33 pm   #2
 
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Canadian Cards with no Foreign Transaction Fees

For Canada, I've found this chart published by the Financial Consumer Agency Canada
http://www.fcac-acfc.gc.ca/eng/resou...eesTab-eng.asp

The only 0% one is Home Trust - but there you need a credit line based on your property and there is a 3% entry fee. 3% of the credit line, that is. Ouch.

Peoples Trust is next in line with 1% - but their website only offered prepaid and secured card.

Next is Desjardins (and some Credit Unions that sell Desjardins card as well) with 1,8%, followed by Diners Club Platinum at 2% (but DC has not been opening new accounts for at least two years, maybe they'll restart as BMO is now taking over operations), the Vancity Credit Union and the Citizens Bank of Canada at 2% as well.

Most come in at 2,5%, but beware of ATB at 2,9% and TD at 5%!

Looking at the chart I realise that many banks charge you hefty fees if you pay "Bets, Lottery Tickets or Casino Gaming Chips". Wow, I had no idea.
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Old Nov 7, 11, 3:16 pm   #3
 
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Canadian Cards Without Foreign Exchange Fees

Is anyone aware of a Canadian credit card without a foreign exchange fee? I recently applied for the Capital One Aspire Mastercard for travel (love the 2% return!) and was told that all Canadian cards have the fee (usually 2.5% added into the exchange rate). Is this true? Oh you Americans have it so good with your wide variety of options !

http://thetraveltot.com
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Old Nov 7, 11, 3:38 pm   #4
 
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Love the chart sokolov. Thank you.
http://thetraveltot.com

Last edited by thetraveltot; Nov 7, 11 at 10:26 pm.
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Old Nov 8, 11, 12:21 am   #5
 
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You are most welcome. I confirmed today that there is no need to have a bank account with Desjardins (or their respective Credit Union partners such as Coast Capital) to apply for their credit cards.

I think the Desjardins Elegance GOLD VISA is a nice secondary card (if you have something upmarket like an Amex Gold Rewards already).
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Old Nov 8, 11, 5:14 pm   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sokolov View Post
Most come in at 2,5%, but beware of ATB at 2,9% and TD at 5%!
That is a misprint in the chart. TD's rate is 2.5% as stated in their own documentation, and also based on my experience as a longtime customer.

As for the Desjardins products, the Odyssey and Platinum cards both give you 2% cashback (or Bonusdollars, as their reward scheme is called) on foreign currency transactions. This effectively nulls the 1.8% forex commission. Unfortunately, you do have to pay an annual fee for those cards, but if you investigate the insurance coverages and other details of the Desjardins cards, you might find them to be very worthwhile travelling companions.

In general though, Canadian banks/card issuers have escaped the scrutiny and forced disclosures that many lawsuits have brought to light in our southern neighbour. As a result, Canadian cards (both credit and debit) are terrible for harbouring all manner of hidden fees, as the chart you have linked to well shows you.
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Old Nov 8, 11, 7:15 pm   #7
 
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When travelling, Amex cards are bad for foreign conversions. They first convert to USD, then to Cad. So you get hit with bad conversion rates twice, and the 2.5%.

In that sense, all non-Amex cards are better.
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Old Nov 16, 11, 12:37 pm   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vasco View Post
That is a misprint in the chart. TD's rate is 2.5% as stated in their own documentation, and also based on my experience as a longtime customer.
Yes Im not sure why they have td listed incorrectly.....it is 2.5%

The only td card that has no USD transaction fees is their TD U.S. Dollar Visa Card. But I guess it depends how much you actually use to make it worth while.

I've been with MBNA for awhile as well, and I think they were one of the last CC to begin charging a fee.
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Old Dec 5, 11, 8:02 pm   #9
 
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Canadian Platinum Amex

Anyone know if the Canadian Amex plat will ever follow its southern neighbor and eliminate foreign transaction fees? Not holding my breath but it sure would be nice!
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Old Dec 6, 11, 9:55 am   #10
 
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Originally Posted by upgrade1$ View Post
Anyone know if the Canadian Amex plat will ever follow its southern neighbor and eliminate foreign transaction fees? Not holding my breath but it sure would be nice!
Very doubtful. If I understand it correctly, in the US a variety of legal actions forced the issuers/banks to clearly divulge in the monthly bills the forex fees they were charging customers. In Canada no such legal action has taken place, so most of the banks/issuers continue to bury the details of forex fees deep inside the legalese of the T&Cs, and hide the real cost of using cards overseas from consumers. Until Canadian banks are forced into the same position that US banks were forced into it is very, very unlikely that any issuer will reduce the Forex fee.

CapitalOne is a nice example of the dichotomy. As I understand it, CapitalOne has never charged forex fees on their US cards, yet have always happily done so on all their Canadian cards. If any issuer was likely to scrap the forex fee, I'd wager on CapitalOne doing it first.
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Old Dec 6, 11, 10:05 am   #11
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vasco View Post
Very doubtful. If I understand it correctly, in the US a variety of legal actions forced the issuers/banks to clearly divulge in the monthly bills the forex fees they were charging customers. In Canada no such legal action has taken place, so most of the banks/issuers continue to bury the details of forex fees deep inside the legalese of the T&Cs, and hide the real cost of using cards overseas from consumers. Until Canadian banks are forced into the same position that US banks were forced into it is very, very unlikely that any issuer will reduce the Forex fee.
Actually competition forced AMEX's hand, not the government. They were never under any obligation to lower their fees, otherwise why would they still charge it on the majority of their cards?

We have protected our banks mercilessly here in Canada, which has made them stronger, and much more expensive. Could be argued either way that this is good or bad.
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Old Dec 6, 11, 10:21 am   #12
mia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vasco View Post
... legal actions forced the issuers/banks to clearly divulge in the monthly bills the forex fees ...
Correct, a private anti-trust suit forced the issuers to refund undisclosed fees and to disclose them for the future. Most issuers then chose to itemize the fees separately, this raised the profile and made "waiving" them a competitive feature.

American Express has not been a market leader on this front, waiving the transaction fees only on expensive Platinum and Centurion cards. Chase and Citi have extended this down into the mid-priced cards, while Capital One does it system-wide. I would be surprised to see American Express remove this fee in other markets unless an issuer who competes for the same demographic does it first. Unfortunately it appears BMO has no plans to eliminate it on their Diners Club cards.
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Old Dec 31, 11, 7:12 pm   #13
 
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As a datapoint, I just spent a few days in Maine and Massachusetts and Amex was generally about 0.2 cents better on the exchange rate than BMO mastercard.

Did not track the actual exchange rate, just the difference between the two cards.
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Old Jan 4, 12, 1:19 pm   #14
 
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I use Aeroplan CIBC in Europe with no Foreign Fees.
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Old Jan 4, 12, 1:27 pm   #15
mia
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Originally Posted by corruptcanadian View Post
I use Aeroplan CIBC in Europe with no Foreign Fees.
The published terms show a 2.5% fee. The fee may be built into the exchange rate and not itemized separately:

https://www.cibc.com/ca/credit-cards...es-n-fees.html
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