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lovesadventure Aug 2nd, 2006 09:51 AM

Credit card: international transaction fees?
My current mileage credit card charges an international transaction fee for purchases, such as hotels, booked through international companies, such as Wondering if you have a CC that does not have those, or is that standard for the industry?

Also, are those fees (a percentage?) applied to all transactions made overseas? I'd love to get around that, especially in light of upcoming travels.


India2006 Aug 2nd, 2006 11:03 AM

This is a pretty recent charge that credit cards have instituted. I have not yet found one credit card that doesn't charge the fee and it is for all purchases including those while you are away. Sorry for the news.

connette Aug 2nd, 2006 11:13 AM

My Capital One Visa card does not charge any fees. At one time about a year ago, the talked of a 1% fee - but we have traveled internationally 4 times since then and there has never been a fee. Last trip was in May, unless they have changed since then.

Kathie Aug 2nd, 2006 12:16 PM

Almost all banks charge a 1% fee on the exchange rate (credit cards and ATMs both). Often, those are not itemized on your statement. In addition, many (most) cards are now charging an additional 2% (which is itemized on your statement) which is simply pure profit for them. If you can find a card that doesn't charge, it can make a difference. On the other hand, if your card gets you good benefits (miles or rebates) you may want to use your card in spite of teh surcahrge.

Connette, I'd heard from others that Capital One doesn't levy that charge.

My bank has just started that charge on ATM withdrawals. I'm opening a new account elsewhere to escape that charge!

lovesadventure Aug 2nd, 2006 12:47 PM

Kathie, will you share the bank you decide on to get around the charge for ATM withdrawals?

Connette, do you use the Capital One rapid rewards card? Have you had any experience with redeeming the rewards? I've been thing about changing over for a while. And since I just found out that my B of A card charges a 3% (all of it unitemized) international transaction fee, I am even more inclined to do so.

Thanks for your help!

Kathie Aug 2nd, 2006 06:41 PM

I've opened an account at HSBC. They have branches in many countries, including a branch in Thailand and a number in Malaysia. They have told me that they don't levy the extra 2% on ATM withdrawals, and they only charge you what they are charged for your use of a foreign ATM (typically $1.50). And right now, they have an internet savings account that pays 5%. I'm putting my vacation cash in there and will withdraw it as needed.

Laurieco had previously recommended them.

rhkkmk Aug 2nd, 2006 08:35 PM

for many many years american express was the only one who charged an extra fee and it was 2%....then others started....then mastercard international and visa international, the parent companies implemented a 1% foreign exchange fee...

some banks burried these in their conversion rate....then some started to show them as a seperate transaction...

most if not all have the international 1% fee and then add their own 1-3% fee on top...they often show as a seperate charge on your account....when buying something expensive, it adds up quickly...

my brooks brothers card charges not fee at all, strangely enough....its a mastercard....

mbna used not to charge anything, then they added the 1% and now their cards are up to 3%...i ditched some for this reason...

i have now been over 5 min pushing buttons on the capital one site (telephone) to chech their rules...finally a menu offering a rep to speak she has put me on hold-----answer: there is no fee for foreign transactions.....a great card...

i have had a cap one a/c for many years and they are very competetive...

lovesadventure Aug 2nd, 2006 08:58 PM

Great. Thanks both Bob and Kathie! Very valuable information ($$ literally!)

Also looks as if Capital One has no annual fee.

rhkkmk Aug 2nd, 2006 09:00 PM

no annual fee and the % rate is usually quite low....mine is 9.9% across the board...

connette Aug 2nd, 2006 09:03 PM

Last time we traveled and I made the obligatory call to tell them we would be out of the country - I inquired again about the 1% fee. They acted like I was crazy and said they have never considered charging a fee. I distinctly remember receiving correspondence in the mail from them saying the were going to start to charge 1% and being told we would be charged 1% about a year earlier when we went to Peru. But, we have never been charged the 1%

So I guessed that either they received a lot of flack and changed their minds, or somehow we were grandfathered in, as we have had this card forever.

You do get miles with it too (no fee), and they say there is never any blackout and that you can use them on any airline - but twice when we tried we were denied for some silly rule or another. So the last time, we just asked for a check instead. Instead of using the 35,000 miles we had accrued at the time - they sent us a check for $350.00. That might have not been the smartest as maybe we could have used them later - but I was mad after being denied on the "no hassle" bla bla bla twice.

Sorry if this is showing up more than once. I saw this posted when I originally wrote it - then it was gone. When I went to write it again to answer lovesadventure - there it was on the side. Weird.

connette Aug 2nd, 2006 09:11 PM

I was probably posting the same time as you. We were successful redeeming twice. And, at that time they required only 15-20,000 miles. It was a great deal. Now they require more miles and we were shot down twice.

The last time it was ridiculous. It was open jaw and the second leg was closer to our home city than the first leg. If it would have been the other way around - we would have had success. I don't call that no hassle. I felt very hassled.

rkkwan Aug 2nd, 2006 09:12 PM

For those who say they "don't get charged the 1% fee", the only prove-positive way to confirm that is to find out the actual exchange rate for that particular day, and then compare that with the rate listed on your CC statement.

Virtually all credit cards embed that 1% in the exchange rate, so there's no extra charge. The cards that charge the other 1-3% <b>on top</b> of that 1% will usually list that seperately.

I have not heard of any credit card that do not charge you that 1%.

rhkkmk Aug 2nd, 2006 09:40 PM

connette---what card are you talking about...

cap one claims not charge....brooks bths not charge....exact daily exchange rate both in thailand and italy on my card...

kingbonza Aug 3rd, 2006 05:11 AM

I have a Visa Debit card which means you use your own funds and draw against them. There are no charges for international transactions.

connette Aug 3rd, 2006 06:23 AM

Capital One Visa. No charge. No 1% fee - ever. Sorry for any confusion. I am quite sure of this. We have been places (like restaurants) where the receipt is shown in US $ as well the local currency. No fee was charged with that charge or anywhere on the bill. And the monthly statement showed both currencies as well.

I like the card just fine. It is just that is used to be better as far as redeeming miles. Less miles necessary and no denial of redemption. Now it takes TWICE as many miles for some flights and there is not only a hassle on the no hassle card - we have been denied twice on flights we were trying to book.

But, you can always get a check from them instead of miles for 1% of your accrual of purchases. It is just like Discover Card, which is my favorite, but will not work outside of the US. If we get denied again, we will just continue to get a check from them. It only takes about 1-2 weeks to reach you by mail.

Kathie Aug 3rd, 2006 06:43 AM

Kingbonza, whether your debit card charges a conversion fee depends on the financial institution you are with. Note that many debit cards do not work in some countries. Also, you do not have much fraud protection on a debit card - someone can empty your bank account quickly. I never use a debit card, and have the bank issue me an ATM only card,

kingbonza Aug 11th, 2006 05:03 AM

Kathie, I only move funds into my debit account before I use it. normally there is no balance in the account. A quick transfer on the internet and its ready to go. If anyone tries to use the account there is no money in it.

Baltorep Aug 13th, 2006 08:18 AM

Be very specific when you contact your credit card companies. I asked my bank if they charge an internatonal transaction fee. They said no. However, when I returned home my bill had a transaction fee. I called my bank and they said they did not charge the fee, VISA assessed the fee. So technically the bank did not. I was so pis**d off.

Kathie Aug 13th, 2006 08:23 AM

Good point! I also just read in a disclosure statement from a bank that all banks charge the 1% fee, thoug it is often not shown, as it's a charge levied by the bank clearing house that exchanges money. So while it may not be possible to avoid that fee (and often bank employess are clueless about this), it is possible to avoid fees on top of that.

SueHuml Aug 13th, 2006 12:24 PM

Kathie is correct. All VISA &amp; M/C charge the 1% it is charged by the brand not the bank that issues the card. We have a no fee Plat M/C card through USAA which we use for Car rentals and purchases overseas and they do not charge anything additional above the 1% charged by VISA and M/C.

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