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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 two credit card issuers in Canada subsidize the fee, Chase Canada & Rogers MasterCard.

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 subsidizes foreign transaction fees? 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.

The Rogers Platinum MasterCard now gives you 4% cash back on ALL foreign purchases and 1.75% cash back on all other purchases – the richest cash back rate for a no fee card in Canada. On $10,000 of foreign spend that’s $400 in rewards earnings. Other cards like the Marriott Rewards or Amazon Visa card (no longer offered in Canada as of April 3rd, 2017) waive the 2.5% foreign transaction fee, but only offer 1% in rewards or less.

The Rogers MasterCard foreign transaction subsidy is different than the Amazon or Marriott Rewards cards, but still offers significantly more value than either of those cards. Rogers offers 4% cash back on foreign purchases, but charges 2.5% in foreign transaction fees – the net cash back rate is thus 4% cash back – 2.5% fx fee = 1.5% in net cash back. The Amazon card used to offer 1% cash back with no foreign transaction fees, 1% cash back – 0% fx fee = 1% in net cash back. As a result, Rogers offers 50% more cash back than the Amazon Visa card.

Not only that, using a credit card that subsidizes your 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 Offer

Signing-Bonus Points

Annual Fee

Rogers Platinum MasterCard

4% cash back on all foreign purchases



Chase Marriott Rewards Visa Card

0% fee


$120 Waived 1st Year

Tangerine MoneyBack MasterCard

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


TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite 2.5% fee 25,000

$120 Waived 1st Yr

RBC Avion Visa Infinite

2.5% fee



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

Hopefully more Canadian credit card issuers, that don’t have a large share of their spend in foreign purchases, or an established foreign exchange business, will step up to the plate and waive their foreign transaction fees. Perhaps some of the more niche issuers like President’s Choice, WalMart, or Canadian Tire can shake things up a little bit the way Rogers and Chase have.

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.


  1. Tangerine CC is going to charge 2.5% soon, Amazon is shutting down its Visa.

    We have only two options now: Rogers Platinum MasterCard and Chase Marriott Rewards Visa Card

    Chase Marriott Rewards Visa Card is not for everyone ($120 per year fee) so we have only one option for now: Rogers Platinum MasterCard

    Greedy banks 🙂

  2. Anyone know what’s up with the Amazon card? I’m kind of kicking myself now for not applying for that. Is Chase partnering with a different insitution?

    Also, FYI there is a $29 Annual Fee for the Rogers Mastercard, but it’s waived in the first year and every year after that if you have a Rogers / Fido phone and pre-authorize your payments on the card.

    • Hi Ian,

      We’re sorry to say that Chase bank no longer offers the Amazon card in Canada. While this is unfortunate (you’re right, it was a great card), there are other options out there that are just as beneficial. One of the biggest advantages of the Amazon card was the exemption from foreign transaction fees.

      The good news is that Chase still offers their powerful Marriott card to Canadians (read our full review here), which also does not charge foreign transaction fees. And for those who enjoy luxurious hotel visits, it gives cardholders a free night in any 1-5 star hotel every year and 5 points per dollar spent at Marriott and Starwood properties worldwide. With 2 points per dollar on car rentals, restaurants and airfare, those who love travel benefits will love this card as well.

      We hope this helps,

      GreedyRates Staff

  3. Using the Amazon card for a cash advance at a normal bank ATM in Europe, will there be any charges beyond the $5 or 1%? As in does Chase add on any ATM use fees…?

  4. Hi Greedyrates,

    Going to Europe (Italy, Greece, London, France) in May. Thought I was all set with my Rogers MC. I just learned about this Amazon MC.

    Which would be the better option for purchases?

    • Hi dainfamous41,

      Huge breaking news on this! Chase is no longer accepting applications for the Amazon.ca credit card in Canada. Their relationship with Amazon.ca is either terminated or on hold. Rogers is looking pretty good right now!

      Hope that helps you make your decision!

      GreedyRates Staff

  5. Going to be due for an update here, since Tangerine is raising their fee from 1.5% to 2.5%, and Amazon Visa has officially ceased all new applications as of April 3rd.

  6. What’s the best travel CC for Europe (Italy, Greece, UK and Switzerland) recommend right now? Rogers Bank MC?

  7. Does anyone have experience using either the Amazon or Rogers cards to withdraw cash while abroad?

    I know if I make ATM withdrawals with my regular debit card (while abroad) that I will get absolutely screwed by the fees, so ideally I’d like to prepay an amount on a credit card and then withdraw cash with it.

    If I do so, does anyone know what sort of fees I would incur? There should be no Forex fees, of course, and by prepaying the amount I will withdraw there should be no interest charges either. I’m sure I’ll have to pay something. I’m just hoping it will be significantly less than what I’ll pay if I use the debit card. Thanks for any info.

    • Dennis! I’m so glad you asked. I have both the Amazon Visa and Rogers Mastercard and have been travelling SE Asia for three months now. The Rogers Mastercard works fine as you would expect (though unfortunately offers nothing special in the way of cash advances and charges the same 2.5% plus $5 cash advance fee as any other Canadian credit card, the Tangerine card would actually be better for foreign cash advances because 1.5% instead of 2.5%).

      In regard to the Amazon Visa… I tried to use it for cash advances in various places in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. This card can NOT be relied upon in any regard. It’ll just decline, even when all my other cards work. I’ve been on the phone with customer service for hours over the last few weeks (just got off the phone again now actually), basically they claim that there is an automated security system in place that no one at any level has any control over that will identify you as a risk for taking out foreign cash advances and not give you back the cash advance room even after you pay off the balance. First they told me that I would get the cash advance room back in my next billing cycle. Next cycle nothing happened so a manager said that if we raise my credit limit then at least I’ll get the portion of that increase that would be available as cash advance. That did nothing and a whole cycle later they now just said it’s the system and there’s nothing they can do. So relying on the Amazon Visa would be a BIG mistake that would be easy to make when planning a trip in SE Asia – as most who do know that cash advances from ATMs are the only convenient way to get money and the Amazon Visa is the only card for Canadians that offers a $5 or 1% per foreign cash advance charge (whichever is greater).

      I am probably coming back next year and when I do it will be with a Tangerine Card for at least 1.5% instead of 2.5% charge and if I am feeling brave also the Chase Marriott Rewards Card… though this one also concerns me since Chase is the operator of the Amazon Visa, so perhaps this unchangeable automated security system that screws it’s customers is also in effect. Maybe someone else can chime in on the Chase Marriott card in regard to foreign cash advances?

      • To be clear: both the Amazon Visa and Chase Marriott Card offer only a $5 or 1% per foreign cash advance charge (whichever is greater), but the Amazon Visa is the only one of those two with no annual fee.

        Also, I should have mentioned that the Amazon Visa works great up until you use all your cash advance room that is there when your trip starts.

        But that’s it. Once you use that space it doesn’t matter whether you pay it off or whether you wait three months… no more cash advance possible… for how long? Who knows? Customer service and management certainly doesn’t (they claim the automated security system has no set rules… it just does what it does when it does). Maybe I’ll never get the ability to make a cash advance with the card again. Considering the uncompetitive 1% cash back rate, foreign cash advance was all this card was good for – cancellation time?

      • Hi Ryan. Thanks so much for taking the time to respond. Your advice is especially relevant because we will be spending upwards of six months in Southeast Asia starting in November.

        That’s very disappointing that the Amazon card is so unreliable when it comes to cash advances. I had hoped it would be our best bet for avoiding the sky-high fees that come along with withdrawing money while abroad. The Rogers card sounds like a great option for making actual credit card purchases (versus making cash withdrawals) but it is my understanding that cash is still very much king in that part of the world, so I don’t know how often we’d even be able to take advantage of the 4% cashback.

        I’ll have to take a closer look at the Tangerine card. It may turn out to be the best compromise overall. Thanks again for giving me the heads up. Definitely will cross the Amazon card off the list.

    • Tangerine just sent out a notice that the Foreign Conversion rate will go from 1.50% to 2.5% on April 29, 2017. Cash advance fee goes from $2.50 to $3.50 within Canada. Outside of Canada it remains $5.

    • Dennis, rather than take cash advances with a credit card, why not get a free, interest-bearing chequing account at Tangerine Bank? We use their debit card in Mexico on the ScotiaBank network without ATM fees OR foreign transaction fees. No rewards points, to be sure, but the overall cost should be lower.

  8. Actually, there is a $29 annual fee for Rogers platinum MasterCard which is waved for the first year.

  9. Regarding Scotiabank’s Momentum Mastercard (formerly Sears/Chase MC): Could you clarify when the FX fee will be raised from 0% to 2.5%? Some think it has already been implemented but others are saying they have been advised it will be in effect from June 1, 2017. I shall cease using this card before the date of the change and switch purchases to the Rogers card as you recommend.

    • I just received the letter in the mail today. They are now going to charge 2.5% and they loose my business. Tome to find a new one.

    • I was told June 1. Also info came with recent billing.

      • yes i’ts June 1st according to a letter I received and saved. I will call in May to ask if its a done deal for us past Sears card holders and if the answers yes, I’m also cancelling. The grand-fathered interest rate I was getting with Sears of 9.9% is also going up to almost 20%.(not that I ever paid interest but it was one of the main reasons I got the card to begin with)

  10. I have a Scotia bank momentum MasterCard. ( old sears card) No foreign currency surcharge. They sent it out a couple of years ago after Sears canceled their charge card with Chase.
    I use it everywhere.

    • Hi Karen,

      Thanks for writing in. Unfortunately, it was grandfathered from the old Sears cards. It is not available to Scotia’s new applicants.

      GreedyRates Staff

      • I’ve heard that for MasterCards grandfathered from Sears (I have one) the “no fee” on foreign currency transactions will end June 1. If this turns out to be true, I shall end my use of Scotiabank’s Momentum MC for all transactions on that date.

    • Just got something in the mail to do with Scotiabank Momentum MasterCard. As of June 1, 2017, there will be a 2.5 % foreign currency surcharge so they will soon be off the list of cards available in Canada without a foreign currency surcharge.

    • Just spoke to a Scotia bank momentum MasterCard Representative on the phone to verify whether the No Transaction Fee still applied now that the card was fully transferred to Scotia and was advised that the it will end on May 31, 2017 and that as of June 1, 2017, they will charge the standard 2.5%.

  11. Note:
    Rogers annual fee of $29 will be charged, if you’re not a Rogers customer.

    It’s a great deal otherwise though.

    • Hi Action,

      Not completely accurate! The $29 annual fee is waived in the first for EVERYONE – regardless of whether you’re a Rogers customer or not. Moreover, everyone also gets a $25 welcome bonus, which more or less funds the annual fee for the second year for non-customers. In our mind non-customers get the benefit of the card free for 2 years.

      GreedyRates Staff

  12. oops…I forgot to mention, you would have to take into account the 35 basis point difference in my comparison. (MasterCard usually being 0.0035% lower that Visa)

    Therefore, exchange rate break even point would be 1.2035

  13. Hi!

    I also read your article about whether Visa or Mastercard offers the best exchange rate, which was very interesting as it explained in detail something that I did not quite understand. However, it also spoke about the dreaded FTF (Foreign Transaction Fee).

    I am in the process of planning a trip to Morocco (where cash is still the best way to get around and in some places, the only way) and I’ve been looking at Prepaid cards as a mean to avoid having to pay excessive ATM fees or having to pay commission fees to change money at a bank/change office.

    With all the information I have in hand, I guess that the best way to go would be to have a no-FTF Prepaid card that I would use in ATMs in Morocco… I suppose this doesn’t exist, but if it does, I would gladly take any info haha. What I’m wondering is if a card with a lower than 2,5% FTF exists or if that 2,5% is standard across the whole country. If needed, I’ll just go with a Mastercard prepaid card (because of their slightly better exchange rates, unless VISA has other advantages?)

    Thanks for any info, I love your website!

  14. I am temporarily stationed overseas in a country with an almost completely cash economy. Only a few grocery stores accept debit. However, the ATM’s accept the VISA/Debit card. I am currently getting my funds in Canadian dollars, exchanging it at my local Canadian credit union into United States dollars and then wire transferring the money to my bank here where I am currently living. Not counting the cost of the exchange, I am paying approximately 2% of my wire amount in the fees associated with wiring money. My question is: If I get one of the no FTF cards and use the Cash Advance feature and pay the balance off immediately (same day), would I be saving money versus the 2% wire + idk% exchange fees?

    • Hi Benjamin,

      That is a good option. But remember that Chase charges 1% of the cash advance amount (min $5). If you withdraw $100, that’s a 5% fee! So make sure you withdraw at least $500 at a time to limit your fees to 1% – and of course the added benefit of saving 2.5% in foreign transaction fees, which your local credit union is likely baking into their exchange fee as well.

      Hope that helps!

      GreedyRates Staff

      • Thanks for the reply – I will pursue this option!

      • One thing to double check is the order in which payments to the Credit Card are applied. If you have both a charge and a cash advance on the card, make sure the payment gets applied to the cash advance first. If not, you will accrue interest on the portion of the cash advance that hasn’t been payed.

        • Hi Roger,

          Your logic is sound. Unfortunately, many Canadian credit cards don’t allow you to choose your payment allocation order. While Canadian credit card issuers are no longer allowed to allocate your payments to your lower interest balance first, most automatically allocate your payments equally based on the weighted average of your outstanding balances.

          Great advice!

          GreedyRates Staff

  15. >>>If you’re a Rogers customer, you’ll be able to apply the cash back to the various Rogers products and services whenever you want. If you’re not a Rogers customer you can call in to have your cash back applied as a statement credit against your credit card bill once per year.<<<

    I was about to apply for a Rogers card but I can see nothing about the option to have your cash back applied as a statement credit. Even reading the fine print, it seems that if you are not a Rogers customer the rewards are not available as cash??

    • Hi Cam,

      Rogers states “1. Min. $20 spend up to lesser of transaction amount, or cash value of rewards balance. Or, contact Rogers Bank once per year to receive statement credit for value of rewards earned.

      You can find the disclosure on the Rogers MasterCard website. Simply click on the link above, then click on the Rewards tab on the Rogers page, then look at disclosure number one at the bottom of the page.

      We’ve done it ourselves and so have many others. Hope the above helps clear things up!!!

      GreedyRates Staff

  16. What is the best BUSINESS credit card for low foreign transaction fees? I am often in the UK. I use a UK card but the accountant prefers it all comes off the Canadian business account.

    • Hi Andrew,

      We don’t know of a Canadian business card with low foreign transaction fees. Unfortunately the Rogers MasterCard, Fido MasterCard, Chase Marriott, Chase Amazon and Tangerine (1.5%) credit card are all consumer only. If you’re a small business, is there any reason you can’t use a consumer card for business expenses – it’s done quite often.

      Hope that helps,

      GreedyRates Staff

  17. Hi GreedyRates, I’ve read elsewhere that Rogers Platinum Card generally gives a pretty low credit limit. Could you substantiate this claim? If so then it’s not ideal for me to use this card for purchasing from US suppliers or traveling more than a couple of days in US.

    • Hi Akira,

      It’s hard for us to substantiate the claim definitively. However, our understanding is that while Rogers tends to be a little more conservative on initial line assignments, once you’ve been approved, they tend to increase credit lines readily upon request.

      Hope that helps,

      GreedyRates Staff

  18. Will I be able to use the rogers Mastercard in Mexico at resturants and grocery stores etc and not incur the hefty fees or am I better off using my tangerine debit card to withdrawal from an atm one of the scotiabanks and sticking to cash payments our entire trip? Thanks in advance 🙂

    • Hi Jess,

      You’ll get more value using your Rogers MasterCard. Here’s why:

      1. Exchange Rate: You’ll be charged more or less the same exchange for whether you use your MasterCard or Debit card
      2. FX Fee: You’ll net 1.5% in cash back rewards using the Rogers MasterCard (4% cash back – 2.5% FX Fee = 1.5%). You’ll lose 2.5% using your Scotia Visa debit (2.5% FX Fee, no rewards), whether at a merchant or withdrawing cash from an ATM. Plus, you may have cash withdrawal fees with your Scotia debit as well.

      Hope that helps,

      GreedyRates Staff

      • Tangerine Debit card does not charge any foreign exchange fees on international withdrawals so long as you make a withdrawal from Scotiabank or any participating Global ATM Alliance bank (BNP, Deutshe, Barclay’s, etc.).

        Regardless, netting 1.5% cash back rewards using the Rogers MasterCard is still an added value.

        • I’ve been looking everywhere at tangerine Website for how much Tangerine Debit card charges for foreign exchange but couldn’t find anything. Could you direct me where did you found about zero fees for foreign exchange

          • Hi Bassam,

            We can’t find the foreign transaction fee disclosures for the Tangerine “debit” card either. The disclosures for the “credit cards” are on the application page disclosures in the “schummer” box. That said, Tangerine’s foreign transaction fees on its credit card is 1.5%.

            Hope that helps,

            GreedyRates Staff

    • What I have done is opened a US dollar account and exchanged my CDN dollars when it was at 78,now it is at 74,so by my calculations(5% difference) if I get a US dollar credit card,which if I am reading right does not charged the 2.5% rate on US dollars purchases (any other foreign currency is converted to US dollars + the 2.5% fee) so I will be better off as long as what I exchanged at 78 is > then 2.5% at the current exchange rate? Hope I am making sense.

      • Hi Brad,

        In your case, you gambled and the Canadian dollar happened to go down, so you won. Had it gone up in value, you would have lost. Regardless, when you initially exchanged your Canadian dollars to USD you paid a fee over and above the spot rate. That fee was likely 2% to 3.5% if you did it at a retail bank (they don’t break out their margins). With a credit card that subsidizes the foreign transaction fee, like the Rogers MasterCard, you would have netted 1.5% in cash back (4% cash back – 2.5% foreign transaction fee = 1.5% cash back).

        Hope that helps,

        GreedyRates Staff

  19. If I purchase goods on line in the US and use Rogers MC can I pay the bill with US dollars or they convert the US dollars to Canadian Dollars and the payment must be done in Canadian value?
    Could I pay. the Rogers MC bill with a US dollars cheque ? Could I pay it with a US chequing account?

    • Hi Arm,

      The Rogers card is not a US Dollar card. As such all balances shown are in Canadian dollars. All payments will be made in their Canadian dollar value, so that your US Dollars would need to be converted to CDN to make your Rogers bill payment.

      GreedyRates Staff

  20. The Rogers website says that the Platinum card has a $29 annual fee.

    ANNUAL FEES Primary: $29.00, to be charged on the first statement after your Account is opened (regardless of Activation) and annually thereafter in the same month.
    Additional Card: $0

    • Hi Gord,

      “The $29 annual fee is waived for the first year and every year thereafter on your anniversary date as long as your Rogers bill is set up as a pre-authorized payment.”

      EVERYONE gets the annual fee waived in the first year. It gets waived each and every year thereafter if you set-up ANY Rogers/FIDO/Chatr bill as a pre-authorized payment.

      Hope that helps clarify,

      GreedyRates Staff

  21. one problem with Rogers™ Platinum MasterCard® is your foreign currency 4% cash back is nice but they still charge 2.5% transaction fee on FX purchases. You have 4% rewards toward Rogers products or affiliated services. I think they have MasterCard gift card app available but that’s troublesome to get your money back.

    • Hi Andy,

      Thanks for writing in!

      First, you can redeem your cash back rewards as a statement credit once a year. You are not only limited to redeeming your cash back against Rogers products (inlcuding Toronto Blue Jays tickets) and your Rogers/Fido/Chatr bills at any time. So the cash back redemption process is the same as many of Canada’s other leading cash back programs.

      Secondly, you’re still getting more value on foreign transaction from a Rogers MasterCard than ANY other card in Canada. For example, you get 4% cash back, and are charged a 2.5% foreign transaction fee for a total value of 1.5% cash back net. if you take a look at the amazon card, you get 1% cash back with no foreign transaction fee for a total of 1% cash back net. Rogers offers a full 50% more value!

      Hope that helps,

      GreedyRates Staff

  22. The Costco MasterCard has no foreign transaction fees correct? I’m thinking of using that one when traveling to the US.

    • Hi Pam,

      Thanks for writing in. Actually that is incorrect. The Costco MasterCard does charge a foreign transaction fee of 2.5% on all transactions made in a foreign currency.

      Hope that helps,

      GreedyRates Staff

  23. My wife and I have an RBC Visa Infinite Avion card. We travel to the states a couple of times a year and eventually will get a winter property down there. RBC is trying to sell us on their US Dollar card – would this be a wise thing to do? We have a US account so we could pay the card from that.

    Would RBC allow us to combine the travel points from our Canadian dollar and US dollar cards?

    • Hi Mike,

      If you need to convert Canadian dollars to US dollars to pay your US dollar credit card statement, than a US Dollar credit card is not the best alternative in the marketplace. The reason is because when you convert your CDN to US dollars you will be paying a conversion rate + a fee (but they roll it into one number), that would be higher than if you used a credit card with a subsidized foreign transaction fee – like the Rogers MasterCard.

      Here’s the math. If you use the Rogers MasterCard for US dollar purchases, MasterCard or Visa will charge an extremely low foreign exchange rate close to the spot rate. You’ll also net 1.5% in cashback (after 4% cashback -2.5% fees). However, if you exchanged your Canadian money in the bank to pay your US dollar credit card, you would likely be charged 2%-3% over the spot rate.

      Does that make sense?

      GreedyRates Staff

  24. Hi

    I’m planning on travelling for a year and I really don’t want to pay foreign transaction fees. I currently have a MasterCard that doesn’t have much rewards so I looking to get s card with no fees. I’m torn between the Amazon Visa card or the Rogers MasterCard. I know that even though the Rogers card doesn’t actually have a no foreign transaction fee, I still get 4% cash back.. How does the cash back work? Is it yearly that you get that cash back? Also I’ve heard that the amazing card has a low credit limit and customers are finding it difficult the do online backing with it. Any thoughts?

    • Hi Nicole,

      We think it makes more sense to go with Rogers, where you’ll get 4% on foreign currency spend, minus the 2.5% fx transaction fee, for a net rewards of 1.5% on foreign spend. Amazon will only give you 1% cashback on foreign purchases. As a result, you will get .5% more cash back, net, with the Rogers card than the Amazon card on foreign purchases. Moreover, our studies show that MasterCard offers a better foreign exchange rate than Visa by about 35 basis points, about 70% of the time.

      If you’re a Rogers customer, you’ll be able to apply the cash back to the various Rogers products and services whenever you want. If you’re not a Rogers customer you can call in to have your cash back applied as a statement credit against your credit card bill once per year.

      The issue with the Amazon card is that you can’t set-up pre-authorized payments to pay the minimum payment or balance in full. Our biggest objection to the Amazon card at this time is that we believe it’s going to be sold (it’s a belief, not a confirmation). Given that Chase has sold it’s Canadian operations to Scotia (call center, collections, adjudication, etc…), it just seems inevitable that the Amazon program will fall into someone else’s hands sooner rather than later.

      Hope that helps,

      GreedyRates Staff

  25. Hello Guys
    I would like to have your opinion befor I make my move. I am employed by a major airline. And I fly out of the country all the time. I use credit wherever possible. I buy about 1000$ a month out of the country. I have the Amazon visa. I buy quite a bit of stuff with them also. I am also a Rogers customers with 2 services with them. (200$/month)
    I want to know if I should stick with the. Amazon or if the Rogers would be a good option for me.
    I was told by colleagues to get the Rogers. But now with the 2.5/4% I don’t know anymore.

    • Hi P Rousseau,

      We would recommend the Rogers card, with no annual fee. It’s pretty simple actually. With the Rogers MasterCard you get 4% cashback on foreign purchases, with a 2.5% FX fee, for a net cashback rate of 1.5%. With the Amazon card you get 1% cashback with no fx fee for a net cashback rate of 1%. The Rogers MasterCard offers .5% more cashback on foreign purchases than the Amazon card.


      GreedyRates Staff

  26. Travelling to England in the next few weeks and trying to figure out the best way to exchange money… I looked at the Rogers Platinum Mastercard – the annual fee is $29 and the foreign currency conversion fee is 2.5%, the same as my RBC Visa card.

    • Hi Jill,

      The big difference between the two is that with the Rogers MasterCard, you will earn 4% cash back on purchases in a foreign currency, likely 2-4 times what you’re receiving from your RBC Rewards card (if it is one). Subtract the 2.5% foreign transaction fee from the Rogers card and you’re earning 1.5% net on purchases. You’re likely losing on any purchases you’re making with your RBC card.

      Hope that helps,

      GreedyRates Staff

      • I just checked out the Rogers Platinum M/C and it looks like they waive the annual fee each year as long as your billing is set up as a pre-authorized payment…. “Get $25 in cash back rewards when you make your first card purchase. Plus, the $29 annual fee is waived for the first year and every year thereafter on your anniversary date as long as your Rogers bill is set up as a pre-authorized payment.”

  27. My wife and I recently returned from a trip to the UK. She used a Scotiabank MasterCard for some transactions, and I used a TD First Class Travel Visa Infinite card for others. On identical posting days, the two cards charged substantially different rates. For example, on August 4, Scotiabank MC’s exchange rate on a purchase was 1.75757575; TD Visa’s was 1.79859. Any idea why there is such a big difference? Needless to say, TD Visa has just lost my business for foreign travel.

    • Hi Greg,

      Their may be two reasons. First, if you have a Scotia MasterCard, it’s likely an old Sears card. Scotia has grandfathered the no foreign transaction fee benefit on the old Sears cards it converted. The difference between the two exchange rates is pretty close to 2.5%, which is the foreign transaction fee TD charges.

      The second possibility, is that Visa typically charges a higher foreign exchange rate than MasterCard. We know from our own studies that Visa on average charges 30 basis points more than MasterCard. The problem is, the delta here is over 200 basis points.

      Hope that helps,

      GreedyRates Staff

  28. I believe your comparisons aren’t exactly apples to apples. I’ve had the Chase Marriot Visa (no foreign exchange fee) card for almost 5 years. When I post a transaction in another currency it’s at the spot rate on the forex for that day (at the close). You can go to xe.com and compare. There’s no silly “Visa exchage rate” games going on. Also, for the annual fee you get a free night stay at a Marriot hotel every year so for me the card is free and usually the free night stay is worth more than the annual fee. Great card, highly recommended.

    • Hi Greg,

      While Visa and MC rates are pretty close to the spot rate, they are slightly higher, and each credit card issuer does apply the respective Visa and/or MC rates to foreign exchange – it is not set by the issuing bank.

      We took your comments to heart and compared XE.com to the Visa exchanged rates, published by Visa. When comparing July 26th, XE.com had a spot rate of 1.32124, while Visa had a published rate of 1.324368. Like we said, the difference is not huge, but it does exist nonetheless. We actually did an extensive study on this subject over a 52 week period. It demonstrably proved the Visa and MC exchange rates were over spot, but not by much.

      We agree the Mariott card is a GREAT card, especially if you can take advantage of its free nights welcome bonus with no first year annual fee. As you mentioned, the annual free night stay offsets the annual fee.

      Thanks for the comments!

      GreedyRates Staff

  29. I’m not sure if my situation is relevant here, but… I am a retired dual citizen of Canada AND the US, and I have a small pension in both countries. I spend roughly half time in each place and have a bank account in both countries (TD Bank in Canada and a small community bank in the US). My wife insists that using our American credit card in Canada is cheaper than using our Canadian card as the exchange rate is so good. I believe that we would still be losing $ doing that as the fees and exchange would make spending American $ in Canada MORE expensive. Am I missing something here?

    • By the way, my wife is using an American ‘no foreign transaction fees’ Capital One card for Canadian purchases. As we have just begun splitting our time between countries by moving to Canada in July, we are maintaining our permanant residency for now in the US. So we only have a TD ViSA debit card in Canada, not an actual credit card.

    • Hi Kit,

      You are correct and your wife incorrect. Since you have both Canadian and US dollar income, you are best off using each currency in their respective countries to avoid currency exchange fees. Even though your wife is using a credit card without any foreign transaction fees, she is still being charged an embedded foreign conversion fee by MasterCard of approximately 35 basis points (not very much), based on our most recent analysis comparing MC fees to market spot rates.

      Regardless, your theory is correct. Your wife is right that it feels cheaper for her to buy Canadian goods with U.S. dollars, however, you ALREADY have Canadian dollars, so it’s no more expensive to use the CDN to purchase Canadian goods. Why take your U.S. Dollars and convert them (in your case the credit card company is converting them) to Canadian to buy Canadian?

      Hope that helps,

      GreedyRates Staff

  30. I don’t believe in paying annual fees ever so if I get the Rogers Mastercard and do not do any business at all with Rogers (and hence no pre-authorized Rogers bill to set up), is this card still a good one for me? I have considered applying for their card and cancelling at the end of 1 year but then I’d be looking around for another card with no FTF again! I spend roughly $100USD every month on online purchases.

    • Hi Azee,

      You’re effectively getting the Rogers Platinum card for 2 years free (1st year fee is waived for everyone, and you get a $35 welcome bonus, which covers the 2nd year annual fee).

      That said, you can always look at the Amazon (no fee) or Chase Marriott cards as well, which don’t have foreign transaction fees. We’re just not convinced Chase will be in Canada for long after selling their operations to Scotia, but nothing’s written in stone either. Regardless, those are your only cards in Canada which subsidize foreign transaction fees.

      GreedyRates Staff

      • Hello,

        I read this post today and became very concerned. I’ve been a Amazon.ca and Marriott Chase customer for a couple of years, primarily because on the no foreign transaction fees. I used to have the Chase Sears MasterCard too, but cancelled it when Scotiabank took it over and dropped the no foreign transaction fees. I just got off the phone with Chase, and asked them about your claim that they will be selling the two other Visa cards to Scotiabank. The agent told me that this is untrue, he did mention the Sears card going to Scotiabank, but said they have no intention of selling the Amazon & Marriott operations. Could you please explain where you came across this information? Also, I had applied online for the Rogers card and was declined, I was told by an agent that if I went in person to a Rogers office I would be approved. I did this today, and I was approved.

        • Hi Tim,

          As we said, we are not convinced Chase will be keeping their Canadian Amazon and Marriott portfolios. We do not have any insider information, but believe given that Chase sold their Canadian card operations to Scotia (call center, collections, etc…) and the line staff and executive management with it, that it’s only a matter of time before it either sells or does not renew their remaining Canadian credit card programs.

          Glad to hear you got approved on the Rogers card!

          GreedyRates Staff

  31. This past week while traveling in the states I used my Rogers card to test this no fees theory. I put $68.28 0n the card and on returning checked the conversion and it was $90.02, c0nsiderably more than the .25 1/2 cent dollar difference., in fact almost .32 cents on the dollar. I called master card and they said they don’t charge a fee however Master Card Global sets the exchange rate, this apparently regardless of the actual exchange rate. It would seem to me then that the rate to check wold be the exchange rate set by the issuing company i.e. VISA, MC, AMEX. etc. not the bank fee. The MC exchange rate could in theory be higher than the VISA exchange rate and with or without a bank fee surpass the other. I didn’t know that these credit card company’s could arbitrarily set their own exchange rate regardless of the actual rate until calling Rogers to inquire about it.

    • Hi Alex,

      You are correct. There are potentially two fees on every transaction made with a foreign currency on your credit card. First is the foreign exchange rate, which is set by Visa and MasterCard (not by the issuing credit card company i.e. Rogers, TD, RBC, BMO, CIBC, Chase, etc…). Second is the foreign transaction fee set by each credit card company.

      We have actually done a study comparing the foreign exchange rates of MasterCard versus Visa. Our study demonstrated that over the course of 52 days, MasterCard charged a lower foreign exchange rate than Visa 70% of the time, beating Visa by approximately 38 basis points.

      How the networks (Visa/MasterCard) set their exchange rates is indeed a complete mystery. What we have found though, is that they are much better than the rates offered by the banks in branches. Typically they are around 60 basis points higher than the Bloomberg spot rate, compared to the banks which charge 200-300 basis points more than the spot rate.

      Hope that helps,

      GreedyRates Staff

    • As per Rogers website, their Rogers Platinum Mastercard will start to charge a 2.5% extra exchange fee, starting October 16, 2016.

      • Hi Sonja,

        That is correct, however, Rogers is also increasing their cashback rate on foreign transactions to 4%, for a net of 1.5% value on foreign transactions (4% cashback – 2.5% FX Fee = 1.5%). When compared to most cards that earn 2% rewards – 2.5% FX Fee = -.5%, per dollar spent on foreign transactions (you’re losing money on every dollar spent).

        That said, the Marriott and Amazon no foreign transaction fee cards are also looking good, but we’re just not sure how much longer Chase is going to remain in Canada, now that they’ve sold their operations to Scotia.

        GreedyRates Staff

  32. Hi,

    Given the fact that Rogers now offers a 4% cash back rate, as opposed to the regular 1.75%, when making a foreign transaction, don’t their cards now reign as the supreme king of foreign travel cards?

    • Hi Adam,

      From a pure value on spend perspective, Rogers still remains the best option for foreign transactions. You will earn 4% in cashback rewards on foreign purchases, compared to Amazon where you will 3.5% (1% cashback, plus 2.5% foreign transaction savings). You actually got more value from Rogers before the change of 4.25% (1.75% cashback, plus 2.5% foreign transaction savings), but the revised deal is still tops. You just have to redeem your cashback to earn the value.

      Marriott remains a great option during the first year where there is no annual fee, no 2.5% foreign transaction fee and a very hefty up-front welcome bonus of up to 5 free hotel nights.

      Hope that helps,

      GreedyRates Staff

  33. Hi. I plan to travel to South Africa for a 3 month and want to find a card that saves me the foreign transaction fees. I am with TD and used to love their Travel Infinity card but never took the 2.5% into account – I guess this is partly how they pay for the rewards?

    I like the Rogers card but noticed someone saying they convert transactions to USD prior to then converting to CAD. Wouldn’t that be double conversion or is this better or worse for me?

    • Hi Mohammad,

      Although Rogers is one of the few credit card isuers to describe its full foreign currency conversion sequence, every issuer does the same thing, because the U.S. dollar is used as the peg currency for foreign currency exchange. All said, it costs no more to exchange international currency using a Rogers MasterCard than it does any other MasterCard – MasterCard excanges the currency at the same rate for all its issuers. The only difference is, Rogers is the only Canadian MasterCard issuer not to charge a foreign transaction fee.

      Hope that helps,

      GreedyRates Staff

      • Rogers is going to change this service, there will be 2.5% foreign transaction fee charged start from Oct 19,2016 but they will give 4% cash back on foreign currency purchase. I’m thinking to cancel the card recently, that benefit was the reason why I applied this card before.

        • Hi Sally,

          The revised deal is still solid, if you’re willing to redeem for cash back. Amazon gets you 3.5% in value for foreign transactions (1% cashback, no 2.5% foreign transaction fee), Rogers gets you 4% in straight cash back. At the end of the year you can have Rogers apply your cash back earnings to your statement for any expenses, whether they are Rogers or not. You can redeem against Rogers services anytime.

          GreedyRates Staff

  34. I don’t understand Amazon not charging the FTF. I bought two kindle books from Amazon within a minute of each other. Same US price. I am in Canada. One was charged on an Amazon card. The other on on an MBNA card. Both were exactly the same debit in CDN$. Yet I understand Amazon doesn’t charge but MBNA does charge ftf. My MBNA card is not tied to a bank.

    Amazon Card says it uses Visa’s conversion rate. Perhaps the rate they “borrow” from Visa has the ftf included and all they are saying is that they don’t add an extra ftf onto top of what is included in their rate.

    Any comments?

    • Hi Tom,

      That’s very strange. We do know based on an in depth study of ours comparing Visa to MasterCard foreign exchange rates that 70% of the time MasterCard offers a lower exchange rate than Visa, by about .38%.

      However, you’re example suggests that Visa charged more than 2.5% higher than MasterCard. But for the two to come out exactly the same is very odd. You should call Chase to get an explanation. There’s no way they should be equal.

      GreedyRates Staff

  35. Hi I am leaving Canada this August to teach in Dubai for about 2 years. I plan on travelling as much as I can. I am want to avoid as much foreign transaction fees as I can. I was considering getting the Amazon.ca Visa or the Rogers Platinum card. Either way, if I am making my purchases online with one of these credit cards in Dubai where the currency is in AED, will a foreign transaction fee apply for booking flights or hotels in Dubai?

    • Hi Ahmed,

      Great question! The answer is yes. Any time you make a purchase from a Canadian credit card in a non-Canadian currency, your credit card will automatically exchange the currency (at Visa or Mastercard’s exchange rate) to Canadian dollars, and charge you an additional foreign transaction fee, unless the fee is waived, as with the Rogers, Marriott and Amazon cards.

      Hope that helps,

      GreedyRates Staff

  36. I read this entire thread, this was very informative for me. I am considering 2 cards. BMO Rewards World Elite & Rogers 0% Foreign Transaction fee. I already have a Visa but I need a Mastercard. They offer a 2nd day free at Xcaret park which is a massive yearly savings for us. We spend about $15,000 a year on vacations & purchasing in the States & Mexico. I am not sure which card would make us come out ahead at the end of the day. We also spend about $1000 a month at Costco. Any insight? I am leaning towards the Rogers but I also like the idea of having access to the airport VIP lounges.

    • Hi Karen,

      Without knowing your Visa card its hard to say which MasterCard best rounds-out your wallet. The difference in rewards rate is only .25% per dollar spent. However, the BMO card has a $150 annual fee (but has a $300 welcome bonus), while Rogers is first year free and only $29 thereafter if you’re not a customer, free if you are.

      Where the Rogers card will really shines is with the 2.5% it will save you on foreign purchases. On $15,000 foreign spend that will save you $375. The 4 free lounge passes on the BMO card are great if that’s something you like – a value of $200. It also comes with travel insurance – but if your Visa card does as well, you’ll be covered.

      Hope that helps you with your decision. Either way, you’ll come out ahead!

      GreedyRates Staff

  37. 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

  38. 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

      • This is a lot of great information. I just want to make sure I understand before applying for another card. I am retiring and will be travelling globally, beginning with a 2-3 month trip through the U.S. I do not have a U.S. account and don’t plan to get one. It looks like my best option is the Rogers MasterCard because they will convert my purchases into Canadian dollars at a lower exchange rate than the bank and boutique exchanges. I will pay my bill in Canadian funds and receive 4% cash back on my purchases.

        I was also surprised to find that using Hotels.com and Expedia.com would result in extra fees. I will definitely make sure that I use Hotels.ca and Expedia.ca when booking. Does this apply to other sites as well?

        • Hi Teri,

          Yes, with the Rogers card, you will pay your credit card bills in Canadian funds (Rogers will convert your U.S. Dollar purchases automatically), and you will received 4% cashback on those foreign transactions (1.75% everywhere else). Just to be clear though. Rogers will charge a 2.5% foreign transaction fee, which means you will net out at 1.5% rewards (4% rewards-2.5% FX fee) on all foreign transactions.

          If you compare that to most other credit card rewards programs you’re coming out ahead. Let’s say you get 2% rewards from another card, which is high. You will then deduct the 2.5% foreign transaction fee, and be left with net -.5% rewards, in the negative.

          Hope that helps,

          GreedyRates Staff

  39. 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

  40. 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

  41. 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.



  42. 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

  43. 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”.


    • 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

  44. 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…

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

    -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

  45. 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


    • 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

  46. 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….


      • 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.

  47. 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

  48. 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?


        • 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!


          • 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

  49. 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

    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.



      • 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.


          GreedyRates Staff

  51. 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 –

  52. 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?


  53. 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

          • 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

  54. 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

  55. 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

  56. 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

  57. 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.

    • Thanks for the update Pats!

      • Update: I just called Rogers customer service. The $29 annual fee is waived for the first year (even though it does not say so on the letter that comes with the card), and will be waived in future years if you pay your Rogers bill with the card.
        Furthermore, there is currently no foreign currency conversion fee, but there will be starting October 19, 2016. There is still cashback of 4% on foreign currency purchases, so before October 19 is a good time for using this card for foreign currency purchases.

        • Hi Jimmy,

          It’s still the best card in Canada for foreign purchases even after October 19th. You get 4% cashback on foreign purchases, pay 2.5% in foreign transaction fees, for a net gain of 1.5%. Either of the two other options (Amazon or Marriott), give you 1% rewards max, with no fee, for a net gain of 1%.

          Moreover, Rogers gives you 1.75% cashback on ALL other purchases, which is massive for a no-fee card.

          GreedyRates Staff

  58. 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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