Travel Tip: Avoid Foreign Transaction Fees On Your Canadian Credit Card

Credit Card Foreign Transaction FeesMany Canadians are in for a nasty surprise after a trip outside the country. Little did they know that most Canadian credit card companies add a 2.5%-3% foreign transaction fee to each purchase they make out of the country. The good news is, not every credit card issuer charges the fee. The bad news is, only one credit card issuer doesn’t charge the fee, Chase Canada.

Unlike the United States, where credit card issuers are increasingly abandoning foreign transaction fees altogether, FX fees represent too large a part of a Canadian credit card company’s income stream to walk away from. The fact is, Canadians travel out of country a lot more often than Americans travel out of the United States, so it’s easier for an American issuer to give up on FX fees than for a Canadian issuer.

For a quick proxy, 30% of Americans have a passport, compared to 70% of Canadians, a good indication of foreign travel. Moreover, Canadian banks make a healthy profit from foreign exchange services from their retail customers, where they charge a 1% to 3% fx surcharge when exchanging Canadian dollars. It’s doubtful the banks will want to offer Canadians a free alternative that will cannibalize their retail fx business.

So what’s the big deal about a credit card that doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee? For some, especially snowbirds who winter in the south, people who shop across the border regularly or shop online, or those who use their credit card to make business purchases from U.S. vendors, the savings can be huge. Think about it. If you use your credit card while wintering in the United States, you could easily rack-up $10,000 – $20,000 in credit card charges. That’s $250 to $500 in foreign exchange fees going to the credit card companies, that doesn’t have to. Not to mention it also wipes away the 1-2% in rewards you thought you were earning.

With credit cards like the Rogers Platinum MasterCard you’re earning 1.75% cashback, and you avoid the foreign transaction fee altogether, saving an additional 2.5% per dollar spent! On $10,000 of spend that’s $250 in your pocket for doing nothing, plus $175 in rewards earnings. Not only that, using a credit card without a foreign transaction fee is actually cheaper than exchanging currencies at the bank, or at a boutique foreign exchange bureau – which routinely cost anywhere from 1%-3% to exchange your money. Debit and out of country ATM cash withdrawals are no better, each typically charging a 2.5% or more foreign exchange fee.

Comparison of Canadian Credit Card Foreign Transactions Fees

Credit Card

Foreign Transaction Fee

Signing-Bonus Points

Annual Fee

Rogers Platinum MasterCard

0%

$30

$0

Chase Marriott Rewards Visa Card

0%

30,000

$120 Waived 1st Year

Amazon Visa Card

0%

$20

$0

Tangerine MoneyBack MasterCard

1.5% 4% cash back 1st 90 days in 3 categories

$0

TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite 2.5% 30,000

$120 Waived 1st Yr

RBC Avion Visa Infinite

2.5%

15,000

$120

BMO Rewards World Elite 2.5% 30,000 $150
 Scotiabank Gold Amex Card  2.5%  20,000  $99

Maybe a niche Canadian credit card issuer, that doesn’t have a large share of its spend in foreign purchases, or an established foreign exchange business, will step up to the plate and waive their foreign transaction fees. Perhaps someone like a President’s Choice, WalMart, or Rogers Mastercard (Rogers has indeed stepped up to the plate and done so) can shake things up a little bit the way Chase has.

As of right now though, Rogers and Chase are the only game in town, and they’re offering Canadians a SUPERLATIVE opportunity, just not enough of us know about it. Here’s your chance…who know’s how long it will last (looks like Chase is leaving the country).

By the way, for those who think you’re avoiding foreign transaction fees by having a U.S. Dollar credit card, unless you earn American dollars, you’re not avoiding anything. Ultimately, you’ll have to pay your U.S. Dollar credit card bill in U.S. dollars, and you’ll have to convert your Canadian dollars to U.S. dollars at the bank to do so. At that point the bank will charge you it’s 1%-3% foreign exchange surcharge.

79 comments

  1. Hi GreedyRates Staff,

    With summer approaching I was wondering what credit cards you would recommend for US Dollar cards that don’t have a crazy foreign transaction fee etc. I plan on doing some traveling in Europe and plan to put most of my purchases on a good rewards card that is a US dollar card. The reason is I have US dollars in my account with my Canadian bank. I have read about the TD US Dollar that gives no points and the RBC gold travel that gives some points, although not a great amount. Could you give any advice on what I should do? I don’t plan on using an AMEX, can’t justify the annual fee.

    • Hi George,

      If you already have funds in U.S. dollars it’s not a bad idea to get a U.S. dollar card. You have a few alternatives. The first is to get a typical U.S. Dollar card from a Canadian bank. As you observed, those remain pretty vanilla, come with a fee and virtually no rewards.

      However, you can apply for a TD credit card, through TD Bank in the U.S., and they will pull your Canadian credit history to adjudicate their decision. Another alternative is a credit card through RBC’s U.S. bank subsidiary. They too will pull your Canadian credit file to make a decision. In either case, go to the bank’s U.S. website, otherwise you’ll just get the U.S. dollar card offering.

      Hope that helps,

      GreedyRates Staff

  2. So I may be daft … If using the Rogers credit card, no foreign transaction fees, bill is in Canadian $ for transactions made in USA and then client pays bill from Canadian account or is the bill in USD? And better to pay from US account

    • Hi Nana,

      Not daft at all! When using the Rogers card, your bill will be in Canadian dollars, and you will pay the bill in Canadian dollars.

      If you do not earn your income in US dollars, it is almost always better for you to have your dollars converted by the Rogers MasterCard, as opposed to the bank. This is so because the exchange rate on the Rogers MasterCard (without the foreign transaction fee), is more competitive than the exchange rate provided by your retail bank. Remember, on a US Dollar card, even though you’re paying your bill in US Dollars, you’re still converting your Canadian dollars at some point, to get the US dollars to pay down that bill. You have to compare that exchange rate to the Rogers exchange rate.

      Our analysis shows that the Rogers exchange rate (really the MasterCard rate) is usually around 2% better than the rate you can get in the bank.

      Hope that helps,

      GreedyRates Staff

  3. I got my Amazon Visa Card recently and did two small amount US$ purchases today to compare the foreign exchange fees. But comparing to another credit card, I don’t see any differences on final exchange rate. Any reason to explain this?
    Amazon Visa Card: Purchase in USD:2.57 ; charged on credit card: CAD:3.39;
    Calculated exchange rate: 3.39/2.57 = 1.3191

    RBC Credit Card: Purchase in USD:3.04 ; charged on credit card: CAD:4.01
    Calculated exchange rate: 4.01/3.04 = 1.3191

    Today’s Visa Exchange rate(referring Visa website): USD vs CAD: 1.298470

    • BTW, I was using eBay and Card Payment method(not Paypal) on both purchases.

    • Hi Richard,

      It’s likely there is a delay from the date the transaction is posted, to the date when RBC posts the 2.5% foreign transaction fee. Some issuers will only charge their foreign transaction fee (as well as all others) on your next statement. What your numbers do prove however, is that the foreign exchange rate is the same for both issuers and is a pass-through expense from VISA.

      Let us know if we have this right.

      GreedyRates Staff

      • Thank you for the response!
        To confirm if foreign transaction fee is changed in final bill, I’ll have to wait until the statement of this cycle is issued.
        What I’m concerned is that there is a gap between published VISA exchange rate(1.298470) and actually charged rate(base on my own calculation:1.3191).
        I’m guessing that eBay may has its own policy to set a rate for all card issuers.
        Will keep info updated.

        • Hi Richard,

          It seems like there was an additional 1.5% charge on both transactions. It’s very possible it was EBay or the merchant. We tried to find Ebay’s policy on foreign transactions (not PayPal’s per your instructions), but couldn’t find anything related to foreign exchange fees.

          We double checked to see if Visa exchange rate went up from the time of the transaction date to the posting date, but it actually went down, so we can rule that out.

          We’d guess it’s something on EBay’s end.

          GreedyRates Staff

  4. I’m going on a year trip with my gf on july. I took the Rogers and the Marriot Card. I still have my TD INfinite Aeroplan because I really like Aeroplan. If I’m in Indonesia, and I reserve my hotels and flights on the internet with my TD Card, will it charge de foreign transaction fee (2,5%)? Thank you!

    • Hi Theripe,

      If the reservation is made in a foreign currency, the 2.5% foreign transaction fee will apply. If the reservation is made in Canadian dollars, for example you use Expedia.ca or Hotels.ca, then no foreign transaction fee will apply. If you book through Expedia.com however, which is in U.S. dollars, a foreign transaction fee will apply.

      Hope that makes sense.

      GreedyRates Staff

  5. Quick question for you experts…

    I have been using the TD US dollar travel card for years. I am fed up with not receiving any points or rewards. I have US funds in the account so converting Canadian to US funds is not a big issue. But what card would you recommend then for me to receive points for purchases in US dollars? I have read above about the RBC Gold VISA US DOLLAR Card. Is this also good for foreign travel? I make many purchases on my US dollar TD card while traveling globally as well.

    Thanks,

    Tony

  6. I have heard in the past that if the exchanged currency is not USD, then the credit card company will first exchange the needed currency (i.e. Euro) to USD then to our CAD. As a result, we will lose twice in the exchange process. Is this true? thanks!

    • Hi Raymond,

      In actual fact, we believe all currency transactions are effectively done this way, since the U.S. dollar is the peg dollar for international currency exchange.

      Regardless, it should not impact you, and we had done some research to figure this out. At the time our research showed that if you wanted to exchange your money from Canadian (CDN) to British Pounds (GBP), you’d get .50091 pounds per CDN dollar (rounded to 5 decimal points). However if we went from CDN to US first, we’d get .72302 US. Then if we went from US to GBP we’d get .69280 GBP. If we multiply .72302 X .69280 we’d get .500908, which if we round to 5 decimal points would be .50091, the same exchange rate, as that if we went directly from CDN to GBP.

      Does that help?

      GreedyRates Staff

      • Hi,

        Thank you for your response!
        Given that the exchange rate provided by credit card companies are usually worse than the mid market rate. I guess, if the funds are converted twice, which means for one transaction we will lose twice in exchange.

        • Hi Raymond,

          Actually no. That’s what the math from our previous example shows. Moreover, because the U.S. dollar is the peg currency for currency exchange, almost all banks first convert int USD then into the local currency. That’s why the USD is called a peg currency.

          GreedyRates Staff

  7. Hi Guys

    Not sure if anyone has touched on this but after looking into the fine print for the Amazon Visa, which is a Chase card it states that when a “foreign” purchase is made it will be converted using the exchange rate determined by Visa. These rates will be anywhere from 0-10% higher than the actual rates of the currency conversion, similar to how a bank will charge higher rates in order in disguise transactions fees.

    So in essence although the amazon card claims not to have a transaction fee, you the consumer are still paying more than the absolute conversion of the exchange rates set by the world banks.

    If anyone with more insight can chime in it would be really appreciated.

    Seems like its pick your poison when it comes to making international purchases. Either pay more with the banks or take on the foreign transaction fees from the credit cards and now even the so called “no foreign transaction fee cards”.

    Bruce

    • Hi Bruce,

      We actually addressed this issue in a recent research article we published which uncovered Visa and MasterCard’s margin over and above the spot rate.

      You are correct, Visa and MasterCard do charge a margin over and above the spot rate (our research shows that MasterCard charges less more often than Visa when exchanging CDN to US dollars). MasterCard averaged about 58 basis points more than the Bloomberg spot rate, and Visa charged 98 basis points more.

      However, a no foreign transaction fee card still provides a much cheaper alternative to a credit card with a foreign transaction fee. In both cases, the credit card will be charged the same foreign exchange margin by Visa and MasterCard, except that the credit card with the foreign transaction fee will be charged another fee by the issuing credit card bank another 2.5% or so.

      Moreover, the 58-98 basis points charged by MasterCard and Visa on average, is still far lower and better than the exchange rate you will receive at the bank.

      Hope that helps,

      GreedyRates Staff

  8. I’ve read through the chains, and am going around in circles – please help!
    Travelling for 6 weeks in Europe (2 people), anticipate $20,000 trip.
    No foreign transacation fee makes sense…

    BUT:
    -is the Mariott rewards in my best interest?
    -or a cash back card like Rogers?

    OR:
    -suck up the foreign transaction fees, and pay with my Cdn Gold Amex, whose points are more flexible for flight redemption?

    Thanks so much – applying soon!

    • Hi Ukiegirl,

      You can cancel the Cdn Gold Amex off the list. It charges a 2.5% foreign transaction fee, which will more or less cancel out the value of any rewards you earn from the card on foreign spend.

      That leaves the Rogers MasterCard or Marriott, both have no foreign transaction fees, so they are more or less equal from that respect (slight advantge to MasterCard though). Marriott provides a MUCH richer welcome bonus, with no annual fee in the first year and up to 5 free hotel nights – all you have to do is activate your card. Maybe you can use a free hotel night while you’re in Europe!

      Rogers on the other hand, offers a much richer rewards rate than Marriott for ongoing spend. At 1.75% compared to Marriott which is closer to 1% on non-Marriott spend. You can then redeem your rewards for cash back as a statement credit once per year, by calling into Rogers.

      Frankly, you could get both cards, just in case one gets lost, stolen or frozen. Neither will have an annual fee for at least a year, so their both risk free. Get Marriott for the welcome bonus, and Rogers for the earnings rate.

      GreedyRates Staff

  9. Hi Greedyrates Staff

    I have had the Marriott Visa for a couple of years and it is fine.
    Just as an interesting point I have just finnished reading an article by a British card comparison site and they compared VISA FE rates to MASTERCARD’s FE rates and it would appear that Mastercard has a better rate most of the time.Assuming both cards have a 0% FE transaction fee you may be better off with Mastercard issuer however would need to take into account annual fees, cash back etc

    Trevor

    • Thanks Trevor. Our analysis showed something a little more nuanced. It showed Visa beat MC more often, however when MC beat Visa, it did so by a far greater margin. As a result, the MC beat out Visa on a weighted average of savings basis. So in the end, our numbers also showed you were better off using an MC over a Visa card.

      That said, the difference between the two was typically negligable. Such that, it made more sense to look at the value of the rewards or fees than the disparity between Visa or MC exchange rates.

      GreedyRates Staff

  10. I had always assumed I was paying the 2.5% fee for US purchases made on my Canadian Visa card (TD Infinite) as specified in the cardholder agreement. What I missed was the additional fee and had wrongly assumed the rate would be as per Bank of Canada or similar benchmark. It turns out the rate is set by Visa, the 2.5% is added to this and then the issuing bank adds their fee. All in if you use the Bank of Canada rate as the benchmark I found I was paying well over 4%. I spent some time on the phone with the bank and never was able to determine just what Visa bases their exchange rate on. As I spend considerable time in the US and have a US account with funds in it I have applied for a US card and will discontinue using my Canadian card. As an aside some banks will issue credit cards to Canadians with no US SIN’s.

    • Hi Curt,

      That seems surprising. First, Visa does charge the exchange rate, but then the issuing bank adds only the 2.5% on top of the Visa exchange rate (not the no foreign transaction fee cards we recommend above). based on your comment, we compared the Visa exchange rate on March 4th, 2016 to the bank of Canada rate. We got the following:

      Visa: .748036
      Bank of Canada: High 0.7423 Low 0.7509 (they don’t give one rate, rather a high and low for the day)

      It seems like the Visa rate is pretty much in the middle of the day’s range, which makes sense given Visa’s rate is based on the days average.

      The Visa rates are published here and the Bank of Canada Rates published here.

      We don’t think using a US dollar card will help you any. You will still have to convert your Canadian dollars to U.S. dollars regardless, before paying your statement in US currency. You’ll just be incurring the exchange at th bank or exchange bureau, which will still be 2-3% or higher. You’re best bet will always be a no foreign transaction fee credit card.

      Hope that helps,

      GreedyRates Staff

    • Hi Curt,

      Could you share with us, from your experience, which banks in the US will issue credit cards to Canadians?
      About a year ago I applied for a credit card at Bank of America, upon the bank adviser’s suggestion, but the application was rejected after few weeks, receiving a letter saying that I do not have a credit history in the US….

      Thanks,
      Florin

      • Florin,
        Banner Bank will give you a credit card as long as you open an account with them.They will check your Transunion credit file.Then wait several months and apply at the Bank of America where they will check your US credit file.Another option is to get a credit card with the Royal Bank USA.Visit your local branch or phone RBC Bank but dont apply online for anything at RBC.I speak from experience as I have a Banner Bank credit card and tried to apply online for a RBC Bank credit card online.I deal with the Banner Bank branch in Point Roberts.I give them my Canadian physical address and my mailing address at the Shell station in Pt.Roberts which only charges one dollar per piece of mail.I received a $5000 credit limit at 9.99%.My transunion credit score was 775.

  11. I have Costco membership and I found out that the costco capital one mastercard has no foreign transaction fee so it works well for me since it gives lots of cashback as well.

    • Hi John,

      That’s strange. We reviewed Captial One Canada’s Costco terms and we believe they do in fact charge a 2.5% foreign transaction fee. Here are their terms:

      “We will bill you in Canadian dollars when you use your Card to make a Transaction in a foreign currency. The Transaction amount will be converted to Canadian dollars using the MasterCard rate of exchange current at the time MasterCard processes the Transaction. When the converted Transaction amount is posted to your Account, we will add to the converted Transaction amount a foreign currency conversion charge equal to 2.5% of the converted Transaction amount.”

      Where did you see, or where were you told, that the Costco card had no foreign transaction fee?

      GreedyRates Staff

      • Hmmm, I am trying to find out if the Capital One Costco MC has a Foreign Exchange transaction fee (2.5% generally). I will contact them directly tomorrow to see what they say. In the U.S. It looks like Capital One has no foreign transaction fee, but it doesn’t really show or answer this on the Canadian website.

        • Kier,

          The Costco Canada Capital One Platinum MasterCard does charge a foreign transaction fee of 2.5%. The cardholder agreement reads as follows:

          “We will bill you in Canadian dollars when you use your Card to make a Transaction in a foreign currency. The Transaction amount will be converted to Canadian dollars using the MasterCard rate of exchange current at the time MasterCard processes the Transaction. When the converted Transaction amount is posted to your Account, we will add to the converted Transaction amount a foreign currency conversion charge equal to 2.5% of the converted Transaction amount.”

          Hope that clarifies things,

          GreedyRates staff

        • Just contacted the chat box on the Canadian site. (Noticed on the American site that I was directed to first, does not charge the fx fee.)
          “We will bill you in Canadian dollars when you use your Card to make a Transaction in a foreign currency. The Transaction amount will be converted to Canadian dollars using the MasterCard rate of exchange current at the time MasterCard processes the Transaction. When the converted Transaction amount is posted to your Account, we will add to the converted Transaction amount a foreign currency conversion charge equal to 2.5% of the converted Transaction amount.”

    • thanks for the tip, I will be traveling soon to South America

    • As a Costco member I was glad to see your note. However I checked with Costco and they state that they apply a 2.5% conversion charge like so many others.

      • As we’ve stated before Costco absoultey charges 2.5% foreign trsnaction fee. It says so in their disclosures:

        “We will bill you in Canadian dollars when you use your Card to make a Transaction in a foreign currency. The Transaction amount will be converted to Canadian dollars using the MasterCard rate of exchange current at the time MasterCard processes the Transaction. When the converted Transaction amount is posted to your Account, we will add to the converted Transaction amount a foreign currency conversion charge equal to 2.5% of the converted Transaction amount.”

        GreedyRates Staff

  12. I noticed that Rogers card converts foreign currency to us$ first and then converts it to can$ as it says. Chases cards have different ways, I think it converts directly to can$. What is the big difference? Thanks!

    • Hi Jay,

      We reviewed the disclosure statements of both companies, and spoke to a few issuers. We believe it’s 2 sides of the same coin, and both processes are the same. Rogers has actually been transparent in the way it describes its transaction flow – it is using the method (without the fees) used by all the other big Canadian banks. We believe Chase is using the same method, but has not articulated the process in as much detail as Rogers.

      Regardless, when spending U.S. dollars it shouldn’t make a difference. The only time it could make a difference is if your spending in say Euros, then the euros are converted to U.S. dollars, then converted to CDN dollars. We think everyone does it that way, as the U.S. dollar is used as the peg. If anyone has any other informed perspective, we would be more than happy to include it.

      Rogers reads as follows: “All transactions made in a foreign currency will be converted first to US dollars and then to Canadian dollars at the exchange rate(s) established by MasterCard and in effect on the date that we post the transaction to your Account. Rogers Bank will not charge you any additional foreign currency conversion fees.”

      Chase reads as follows: “We will bill you in Canadian Currency if you use your account to make a transaction in foreign currency. We will
      convert it into Canadian currency at the exchange rate set by Visa International in effect at the time we post the
      transaction to your account”

      • Hi Jay,

        Rogers has just changed their disclosure statement regarding foreign transactions today. It now reads: “Transactions on your Account will be billed in Canadian currency. Transactions in a foreign currency are converted to Canadian dollars at the rate established by MasterCard International in effect on the date that we post the transaction to your Account (which may not be the same date as the date of the transaction).”

        It now reads the same as that of Chase.

        GreedyRates Staff

        • Thanks a lot for the explanation!

        • Hello GredyRates Staff,
          I just received the disclosure statement with my new card. It reads:

          “All transactions made in a foreign currency will be converted first to US dollars and then to Canadian dollars at the exchange rate(s) established by MasterCard and in effect on the date that we post the transaction to your Account. Rogers Bank will not charge you any additional foreign currency conversion fees.”

          I prefer the version that you quoted.

          • Hi EB,

            Given that MC is exchanging at the mid-market/spot rate it should make no difference. In fact, we’re not sure the other banks don’t do the same thing, but just aren’t articulating the transactional steps.

            Regardless, we did some research. If you wanted to exchange your money today from Canadian (CDN) to British Pounds (GBP), you’d get .50091 pounts per CDN dollar (rounded to 5 decimal points). However if we went from CDN to US first, we’d get .72302 US. Then if we went from US to GBP we’d get .69280 GBP. If we multiply .72302 X .69280 we’d get .500908, which if we round to 5 decimal points would be .50091, the same exchange rate, as that if we went directly from CDN to GBP.

            All that said, our understanding is Rogers will be changing their language to conform with everyone elses, because this has caused more confusion than clarity, and their process (which is actually MasterCard’s process, since they perform the exchange, not Rogers)), to our understanding is consistent with everyone elses. Regarldess, if done at the spot rate, it shouldn’t have an impact.

            Hope that helps,

            GreedyRates Staff

      • Is it still in my best interests to use this mastercard when travelling in Europe, saving the foreign exchange charge or will it end up costing me more in the end now that I know it is converted first to U.S. dollars than CAD?

        thanks,
        SP

        • Hi Sandra,

          It is absolutely still in your best interest to use a no foreign transaction fee credit card when travelling in Europe. It makes no mathematical difference whether Rogers converts your Euros first into USD then to CDN, or first into CDN. Here’s the math explaining why, using the the real exchange rates MasterCard used for Feb 11, 2016.

          1. Euro to USD =.886289. US to CDN =.713725. Now multiply .886289 X .713725 =.632566
          2. Euro to CDN = .632567

          You can see there is absolutely no difference, except for what amounts to a rounding error.

          As we explained in the comments of another article, MasterCard isn’t charging a tansaction fee everytime it performs a currency conversion. It’s using wholesale rates. As a result there’s no impact on your exchange rate by using the USD as the base currency. The only difference that will impact the cardholder will be the exchange rates used by Visa and MasterCard. To that effect, we have seen some discrepencies, where sometimes Visa is more expensive, and other times MasterCard. However, we have noticed that when Visa is more expensive it deviates from the mean to a greater extent then MasterCard.

          No matter what, you’re better off paying no foreign transaction fee sthan 2.5% that’s for sure!

          Hope that helps,

          GreedyRates Staff

          • wow! – complicated but I appreciate the detailed response!

            thankyou!

          • Sorry! isn’t there a proverb, “genius is the ability to make the complicated, uncomplicated.” Well ee’re not geniuses (although we might be nerds). Bottom line, use your Rogers no foreign transaction fee credit card while in Europe, you’ll save 2.5% on every transaction. The rest is just a proof.

    • This article is misleading. Rogers does give you 1.75% cash back but only on purchases of Rogers products. That will not help when making foreign purchases when you will get nothing back.

      • Hi Dennis,

        Fortunately you’re incorrect. Cardholders earn 1.75% cash back on ALL purchases, and can redeem their cash back earnings as a statement credit against ALL purchases as well. For whatever reason, Rogers hides the fact that cardholders CAN redeem once per year for a cash back statement credit in their fine print – not just against Rogers bills and services. We confirmed it directly with Rogers as well.

        You can read it here in the cards discolsure: “You can redeem points towards an eligible purchase made with your Rogers Platinum MasterCard® equal to or greater than $20.00 and up to the full transaction amount, or the cash value of your rewards balance, whichever is less. Or, you can contact Rogers Bank once per year to receive an annual statement credit for the value of the rewards you have earned during that period.”

        Hope that helps clear things up a little.

        GreedyRates Staff

  13. Just a heads up, not ALL Sears Mastercards were picked up by Scotiabank. I made the mistake of opening the Sears Voyage MasterCard in December 2014 instead of the basic card. As of Monday January 4, 2016 my card has been cancelled. I was not given an option to transfer to the Momentum card by Scotibank and they said there might be a product available for me by the end of this year. I was also not offered to transfer to another Chase product either.

    • Hi Christine,

      Yes, you’re correct. Scotia cancelled the Sears Voyage MasterCard as of January 4th (without converting it) and did not convert the Sears store card either.

      Thanks for clarifying,

      GreedyRates Staff

  14. NEW SUMMARY OF CARDS REQUIRED
    Hi this has all been very helpful and now that there has been input from other sources, is it possible that you can list another summary of cards including the ones that helpful users brought up? Because now I’m really confused. Lol. Thanks so much. Lee

    • Hi Lee,

      We just added the newly issued Rogers Platinum MasterCard, which does not charge a foreign transaction fee. We did not include the Sears MasterCard, since it has been discontinued.

      Best,

      GreedyRates

      • I still have the Sears MasterCard, but now converted to Scotiabank (billing wise), but the actual card is still Sears MasterCard.
        It says in the disclaimer that they still do not charge the foreign currency conversion charge. I will call them later to confirm.

        • Hi Girlie,

          Scotia has so far committed to maintaining no foreign transaction fees on converted Sears accounts, even when you get your new Scotia Momentum cards. Scotia is not waiving foreign transaction fees for anyone except former Sears cardholders.

          Best,

          GreedyRates Staff

  15. Hey Greedyrates – so, I took your advice, and applied online for this card. I just finished a trip to the US and was amazed at how much I got hammered with exchange rates etc (TD First Class Infinite card). So, here is my story (You might want to change your recommendation). Also, I have an impeccable credit rating, high limit on my personal visa card, etc etc.

    I haven’t heard about my application for awhile (3 weeks) so I phone up the Chase toll free number and spoke to the rep – it was denied. So I asked why, and was told that because my current card at the time had a high balance on it (since paid off because when I switched over to TD Aeroplan I got a bonus month without a statement) that is why it was rejected – so I said just check it now – again, the figures they had were wrong. He said they didn’t check anything else except the balance and that was it.

    So I had a bit of time on my hands and asked to be put through to a customer service rep, and then was told that they did a full credit check etc – which is bogus because the front line guy told me that they did not do that, etc etc.

    All in all a BAD experience, and you should update your recommendations. I was also told that my purchasing history did not fit the kind of client they wanted – so if they are looking for people who spend $4 – 5000 dollars a month in the states then yeah, I don’t fit their criteria (I do that here in Canada), but that is not what your recommendation says –

  16. The Scotia Momentum card which replaced the Sears Mc has no exchange fee, plus there’s 0.5-1% cash back.

    • Hi Sara

      I haven’t been able to get this information confirmed with SCOTIA Momentum officials. Do you have it in writing from Scotia?

      Cheers
      Sue

  17. You have over looked Amazom no fee no foreign exchange rates cedit card. Available to Canadians

    • Hi Sam, you’re correct, Chase’s Amazon Visa card in Canada does not charge foreign transaction fees. Another option – although we love the sign-up bonus of 5 free nights on the Marriott card.

    • Sears Financial (MasterCard) confirmed today there are no fte’s charged with the sale to Scotiabank and no plan to change this benefit. Currency conversion is based on the MasterCard rate at the time of the transaction.

      • Hi Gloria,

        We’ll have to monitor, as it’s doubtful the Sears or Chase representatives know exactly what’s going to happen prior to the card converting to a Scotia product.

        GreedyRates Staff

        • Hi

          Any update to this inquiry regarding US transaction fees when using Scotia MasterCard Momentum credit card. In the US?

          Cheers and thanks
          Sue

          • Hi Sue,

            Good news. If you haven’t already, Scotia will be replacing your Sears MasterCard with the no-fee Scotia Momentum cash back card. Scotia will be honouring the terms and conditions of the converted Sears card, meaning they will NOT charge a foreign transaction fee on the newly issued card. Scotia sent out a notice that included the following: “There are no changes to the interest rates, fees or other Card features at this time. If we make any changes to your rates or fees in the future, we will tell you first.”

            Hope that helps,

            GreedyRates Staff

  18. If you question your bank about this, it would seem that they may now have just built this in to their ‘exchange rate’. I think they no longer want to mention the term ‘foreign transaction fee’ because i suspect they know people hate that. If you ask RBC about it, they claim that there is no ‘Foreign Transaction Fee’, and there is only the exchange rate. BUT, pay attention to the spread on that ‘Exchange Rate’. I just did a mock buy and sell for $1.00 on the RBC Exchange Currency Converter site. Buy rate: 1.3454. Sell rate: 1.2762. So the current spread is: 7.88%.
    From experience I know that traditionally the bank spreads have generally been between 4 and 5%, typically closer to 5%. So, it looks like they are now just adding the 2.4% to the exchange rate, probably so they can claim they don’t have a ‘Foreign Transaction Fee’.
    Hmmm… almost smells of a class action lawsuit.

    • Hi Terry,

      Great observation, you’re absolutely right. Anytime you exchange money at the bank, or at a foreign exchange bureau, they combine both the exchange rate and their fee into the exchange rate they quote you. Often times, they charge a lot more than 2.4% above the spot rate for smaller transactions.

      However, on a credit card it’s different. Because of previous class action lawsuits, credit card issuers are now required to show exactly how much they are charging you in foreign transaction fees (usually 2.5%). They then charge you the foreign exchange rate that MasterCard or Visa are able to secure (close to the spot rate), which is usually, if not always better than an individual is able to secure for him or herself.

      That’s why, when you can find a credit card that doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee, you’re actually getting the best exchange rate possible. No froeign transaction fee, plus the spot rate.

      GreedyRates Staff

      • Right. Actually, I need to partly take back what I said. RBC DOES actually advise you of the 2.5% foreign transaction fee when talking about credit cards, but the wording they gave me is “the foreign transaction fee comes directly from Visa/Mastercard International”. If I understand what you are saying, it is actually the other way around….. Visa/Mastercard dictate the exchange rate, but the banks just add the 2.5% Foreign Fee. If that is true, then they are misleading people by saying that Visa/Mastercard is the culprit.

        Then, as you point out, if you are unlucky enough to need to exchange the money at the bank, then they merge them together calling it ‘exchange rate’.

        Luckily I got the Marriott card last spring when they had that great points offer to Canadians.

        • Hi Terry,

          You’re correct, the foreign transaction fee is charged by the credit card issuer / bank, not Visa or MasterCard. That’s why RBC is able to charge a foreign transaction fee of 2.5% on foreign credit card spend but Chase Canada (Marriott & Amazon) and Rogers Bank MasterCard do not.

          GreedyRates Staff

  19. HSBC premier.No annual fee. No ftf.

    • You are correct, the HSBC Premier MasterCard does not charge an annual fee, although you have to be an HSBC Premier Checking account customer, and maintain minimum of $100,000 with HSBC. Also, we checked both the HSBC Premier and the HSBC Premier World, from what we read, both charge the foreign transaction fee (ftf). If you’ve read otherwise, please let us know where.

      Hope that helps,

      GreedyRates Staff

  20. Now that Chase has sold it Canadian credit card holdings to ScotiaBank, it would seem we will no longer have any options left to avoid the greedy foreign transaction fees. I am assuming, with great hope, that I will have until the second week in November to avoid the fee when I use my current Sears Mastercard to pay off the balance of my booking.

    • Hi Miss Rednell,

      Even if Scotia adds the foreign transaction fees, it will likely only do so after the conversion of the card, which may take a little time (look out for a letter soon). There are other options in the marketplace, such as the Amazon and Marriott card (both Chase, so who knows what will happen to them in the next year), and the new Rogers MasterCard recently eliminated their foreign transaction fees.

      Hope that helps,

      GreedyRates Staff

      • I thought only the Sears card was sold to Scotiabank. As a student studying in the USA, I rely on my Chase cards to save 2.5% on everything I buy and still get 1% cash back, with no annual fee. I pay my tuition, rent, and all living expenses on that card. That saves me 2000 dollars a year and I still get that cash back! The exchange rate at my bank is actually higher than the Visa rate!

        • Hi Ziad,

          You are correct, Chase has only sold the Sears credit card portfolio to Scotia. However, Chase also sold its Canadian credit card operations to Scotia. We would suspect (and it’s only a suspicion) that the writing is on the wall for it’s other programs in Canada, which are very small by comparison to Sears. Obviously keep your Amazon card while it lasts, but don’t be surprised by a change sometime in the future.

          GreedyRates Staff

          • They sold their Canadian division so Scotiabank would be managing the Amazon credit card for Chase in Canada.That’s what I think.Chase no longer has a credit card division in Canada.

          • Hi Eddy,

            As of right now, Chase has sold its Canadian operations to Scotia. Chase still owns the Amazon.ca credit card portfolio and manages it, although it is being serviced by Scotia. We expect Chase to divest the portfolio itself in the short term.

            Hope that helps clarify things,

            Greedyrates Staff

  21. Rogers platinum mastercard now has 0% foreign exchange fees. Annual Fee will be waived for the first year, and thereafter if you use your Rogers Bank Platinum MasterCard® to preauthorize payments for any Rogers monthly bill.

  22. Chase also offers an Amazon.ca Visa that comes with 0% foreign transaction fee. Even better, it has no annual fee!

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