How are the foreign transaction fees on your credit card?

I just noticed that mine are pretty steep (I use an MBNA turned Bank of America NCL cruise rewards card) – a $600 charge = an $18 foreign transaction fee. A $9 charge is more like 25 cents. Is that normal?

Filed Under: Business travel

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  1. Trent - random help says:

    Hi – followed your blog link from v7n

    Unfortunately that pricing is pretty normal for overseas transactions – sometimes they can be higher 😐 – you’re paying the surcharge for inter-network communications…

    …translation: Banks get you as you’re coming in and/or as you’re leaving 🙂

  2. Bill Morgan says:

    You’ve been nailed by one of the increasing number of banks who are stealing us blind on “foreign transaction” charges — on top of their legitimate foeign exchange fees.

    Apply for a Bank One card, which doesn’t make such charges.

  3. Jeff C says:

    I would look into Capital One cards. No foreign transaction fees. Currency exchange rates seemed competitive as well.

  4. James Trotta says:

    Thanks Jeff and Bill. I actually have Capital One – I guess I’ll start using them more often…

  5. A. MC LEISH says:

    On my last trip to Costa Rica, I didnt want to carry cash, so I used my credit/atm cards. When I got home and received my Bank of America statements, I was shocked……from now on, it is cash only on any future foreign travels!

  6. G. Mallari says:

    Vacationed in Russia last month and I used both Banc One Master Card (no foreign transaction fee in statement) and Bank of America Visa (transaction fee in statement). Even with the Visas’s foreign transaction fee, the conversion rate for both banks were within a few cents of each other. Probably from day to day currency fluctuations rather than from added fees.

    And those conversion rates were pretty much in line with the rate I was getting from local Russian banks when I converted my dollars to rubles.

    So I’ll continue using my credit cards overseas, at least I’ll get some rewards points.

  7. gvhparkridge says:

    I checked with Capital One about 6 weeks foreign exchange fees..use your credit card for purchases but use a debit card with a $500.00 per day withdrawal for ATM cash. Do not use the credit card in a’s considered a loan..maybe 23% interest….

  8. Katrina says:

    Definitely DO NOT PAY departure taxes on a credit card! It counts as a cash advance and starts charging interest even though you swipe like a normal credit card. This happened to me when I was leaving Costa Rica. Pay in cash or debit card if you can.

  9. Daniel says:

    I live overseas and regularly withdraw money from two credit union accounts without any additional charges. It might be another option for travellers though check with your institution.

  10. Kate says:

    3% charged on all of my purchases in Canada through Citibank Mastercard – I am switching to Capital One – they do not charge this fee. Make sure to check your cards to see who does and does not charge this. Also Discover doesn’t have this transaction fee but there were few vendors in Canada that took Discover.

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