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Credit card: international transaction fees?

Credit card: international transaction fees?

Aug 13th, 2006, 12:53 PM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 328
I have a Capital One Visa and it does charge the 1% for the Visa, but there is not the additional 2-3% charged by Chase, Citibank, etc.

My one complaint is that I got a $5000 limit, and Capital One will not increase the limit. Received a letter that cards are reviewed periodically, and Capital One decided when and if the limit will be increased. Customers cannot request an increase. After being with them for several years and paying the bills in full every month, I still do not qualify for a higher limit. Go figure!!!
Susan33 is offline  
Aug 13th, 2006, 01:16 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 458
I am beginning to wonder if there is more than one type of Capital One Visa. For one thing, we have never had a problem increasing our limit. We have had the card for well over 10 years though. I am wondering if we have some other sort of account and/or if we are grandfathered in on the no transaction fee. It is a business owner credit card. Could that be the difference?

I am currently looking at a receipt from Budapest in May. I have both the first receipt given by the waiter, the visa receipt you sign and my statement. All three have the amount in US $ and Hungarian
Forint and all are exactly the same. There is also no added fees to the statement whatsoever and of course we had many charges while traveling. Like I said, possibly it is because it is a business credit card, which I actually never thought of before.
connette is offline  
Aug 13th, 2006, 01:52 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,030
Connette, It sounds like you have a Capital One card that doesn't charge additional fees (great! rare to find)on foreign exchange. But Visa or Mastercard charges the 1% fee and it doesn't show up on your statement, it's just rolled into the exchange rate. It wouldn't matter whether it is a business card or not, the 1% charge is made by MC/Visa and doesn't have anything to do with Capital One.
Kathie is offline  
Aug 13th, 2006, 02:26 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 41
Something else. I have my Debit card through the same bank. When I used this to purchase items no VISA fee was charged. Furthermore, the best advice I was given is use the ATM to get local funds whenever possible. The exchange rate through the ATM is much better than exchanging cash or Travellers Checks. Even with the $1.00 fee. This is because when using the ATM you get the bank to bank exchange rate which is better than the rate charged at money changers. The difference between the bank to bank rate and the rate charged at money changers is their profit.
Baltorep is offline  
Aug 13th, 2006, 03:27 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 458
Sorry Kathie, but it is not rolled into the exchange rate. I know this because if I would have paid cash to the restaurant(s) (I have many receipts), I would have paid the same amount that was charged to my card.

I did not believe it at first either, as I thought I received correspondence from Capital One saying that they were going to start adding a 1% fee.

I have carefully checked about 4 statements total, traveling to central Europe and South America in particular. It is easy to do in both of those areas, because many receipts show both U.S. and local currency. If it says my bill for lunch is $15.00 U.S. and that is the amount on my statement, it really leaves no doubt that is what has been charged. Not trying to be contrary - just a fact.

You are right, it is a great card. Miles, and/or cash back and no fee. Still like my Discover Card better though and only use visa when they don't take Discover.
connette is offline  
Aug 13th, 2006, 03:42 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,030
Connete, it sounds like you must have a great deal!

Baltorep, I have (in the past) always used my ATM card, and never had the extra fees added... unitl a few months ago. Which is what made me go look for other options. I now have an online savings account that pays a bit over 5% interest, and does not have the added fees other than $150 for a foreign ATM. SO my vacation cash is going into that account.
Kathie is offline  
Aug 13th, 2006, 03:42 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 458
P.S. Banks do charge THE MERCHANT a 1% fee. I happen to know Discover Card charges the merchant 2-3%. That is why many places don't take it. Is that what disclosure you read Kathie? This is not just abroad, but in the U.S. as well.
connette is offline  
Aug 14th, 2006, 05:41 AM
Posts: n/a
For those cards that charge a Foreign Currency Exchange fee, they have to indicate this as separate from your actual charge/s. This all came from a Class Action suit some years back, where the banks were including this fee in the actual charge at a restaurant, shop or elsewhere. So it is against the law to do the latter... it must show up on your statements on a separate line. And, if by some chance the vendor of service bills you in your home currency, i.e., USD, you still get hit with the Foreign Currency Exchange fee.

The few times we've used a credit card for purchases, this Foreign Currency Exchange fee was pennies. Unless you're spending big bucks, it's always best to use local currency obtained from an ATM which provides the best exchange rate. And, if your bank applies an ATM charge, take out sufficient funds to keep you going for more than one day... maybe five days or a week. I certainly don't go to the ATM daily at home, why should I do so in a foreign country.

Thankfully, my bank doesn't charge foreign ATM fees. In the end, if you don't like paying extra for any of these, it's time to be shopping around elsewhere. Unless, however, you're constantly traveling oversees and using ATMs or credit cards... in the scheme of things, your cost for the once or twice-a-year trip... these charges are really not all that much, and if you get FF miles, why knock yourself out.
Aug 14th, 2006, 08:21 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,030
Connette, the credit card companies do charge merchants a fee all over the world. I'm not talking about that. There are two kinds of charges I am talking about that apply ONLY to foreign exchange.

First, there is a standard 1% charge that the banks are charged by the clearinghouse for foreign exchange (whether for a credit, debit or ATM transaction). It used to be that one never saw this itemized on the bank or credit card statement. My most recent ATM withdrawal in Canada showed this charge (to my suprise). My understanding is that all banks are charged this clearing house fee and there is no way to get around it. It didn't used to be itemized on my statements from my bank or credit card companies, and I don't know whether all banks are now itemizing it or not.

Next, there are fees charged you by your credit card company or bank in additon to the standard 1% fee. The class action lawsuit was about these fees, and the law is that these fees must be itemized. This has been true for a number of years. Most credit card companies charge these fees. In the past, few banks charged these fees on ATM withdrawals, so it made geeting money from an ATM a "better deal" than using a credit card. (Though I've always used credit cards for large purchases and hotel bills and such.) On my most recent trip to Canada, my bank charged by account an additonal 2% foreign exchange fee for my ATM withdrawal (on top of the 1% standard fee charged by teh clearinghouse). That's what really suprised me. My bank has never made this charge before. As a result, I decided to find a bank account that would not levy that charge on ATM withdrawals.

When the extra fee to use an ATM or credit card in foreign countries was just the 1%, I didn't mind. Because you were getting the "bank rate" on foreign exchange, you often did better than changing cash at an exchange booth or exchanging travelers checks. The additional 2% on top of that does make me pause and consider my options. The 2% meant that I was charged an additonal $5 on my ATM withdrawal in Canada (in additon to a $2 ATM fee and $2.50 in the clearinghouse charges).

My credit card bills from that little jaunt added another $15 in clearinghouse fees and $30 in foreign exchange fees to the credit card companies. But I do get either frequent flier miles or cash back (2% on hotels and air tickets; 3% on restaurants) on my credit card purchases.
Kathie is offline  
Aug 14th, 2006, 01:12 PM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 181
Credit Card News www.indexcreditcards.com
(Last Updated April 3, 2006)

Survey Finds Wide Variance in International Credit Card Transaction Fees
With business travel having become increasingly global in nature, and with the summer travel season approaching, IndexCreditCards.com researched the major U.S. credit card issuers to discover the extra fees cardholders can expect when using their cards overseas.

Almost every credit card charges some sort of international transaction fee on purchases overseas. Visa and MasterCard charge a 1% processing fee on international transactions, and most card-issuing banks add their own fees on top of that. These fees, known as international transaction fees or foreign transaction fees, are generally a percentage of your overall purchase price (in U.S. dollars after the foreign currency exchange; for example, if a purchase costing 100 Euro in France converts to $120 in U.S. currency, the international transaction fee is a percentage of the $120).

How do the major credit card issuers stack up? Below are the international transaction fees from each issuer:

* Capital One: 0% transaction fee. (Capital One not only doesn't impose its own fee, but it also eats the 1% fee that Visa or MasterCard impose.)
* Providian: 1% transaction fee
* American Express: 2%
* Juniper Bank (issuer of US Airways credit card and other partner-branded cards): 2%
* Bank of America: 3%
* Chase: 3%
* Citibank: 3%
* HSBC: 1%-3% depending on card (Updated 4/3/06)
* MBNA: 3%
* U.S. Bancorp (U.S. Bank): 3%
* Wells Fargo: 3%

While Discover offers a popular credit card in the United States, it is rarely if ever accepted overseas and thus is not included in the above list. While some smaller card issuers may offer more favorable foreign transaction fees, this survey attempts to track the credit cards most commonly used by U.S. consumers.
Becalm is offline  
Aug 14th, 2006, 02:00 PM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 94
Thanks a lot for this website! I just went there and clicked on more recent reports and found the following. My question is, "Where do I go to collect my part of the class action payout?!"

July 26, 2006

Credit Card Companies Settle Currency Conversion Lawsuit for $336 Million
Associated Press reports that a lawsuit against major credit card companies is being settled, with the companies agreeing to pay a $336 million dollar settlement. The suit alleged that the companies were overcharging and hiding fees on international credit card transactions. The credit card companies did not admit to wrongdoing in settling the case.

MasterCard said it was paying $72.48 million of the overall settlement. Other companies agreeing to make the remainder of the payment include Visa, Citigroup's Diner's Club and Citibank units, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, and Washington Mutual (from its Providian unit).
kudzu is offline  
Aug 14th, 2006, 02:06 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,030
Becalm, thanks for this! Connette really does have a good deal!
Kathie is offline  
Aug 14th, 2006, 07:07 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 35
My understanding is that banks now are required to show their charges on foreign exchanges. This amount used to be deducted, but did not show up on your statement. I believe that including the bank charges (for foreign exchange) credit cards still give the best exchange rates.
Hearsh is offline  
Aug 14th, 2006, 09:33 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 29,010
some do some do not...like amex does not
rhkkmk is offline  
Aug 15th, 2006, 08:19 AM
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Posts: 33,030
Bob, my Am Ex statement shows the fees for foreign exchange. They started printing them on my statement before my Visa card did. They were one of the early credit card companies to comply with the new rule.
Kathie is offline  
Aug 15th, 2006, 08:37 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 80
Becalm, thanks a lot for those percentages! I just signed up for a Capital One card since I tend to live off my Citibank or MBNA credit cards when I travel and didn't realize until now just how much extra I was paying.
pebbles13 is offline  
Aug 15th, 2006, 10:00 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 409
I just got "approved" for my Capital One rewards card--looks like I get double points also. It's the Ultra Miles card.

And am applying for my HSBC online savings account. It pays 5%+ interest as well as not having the additional % charge for the ATM withdrawals (so far as I can tell).

Thanks for all the great information, group!
lovesadventure is offline  
Aug 15th, 2006, 10:00 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 181
There is another side of CapitalOne that I feel obligated to mention, as experienced by myself, my wife and a friend, on both personal and business cards.
- They seem to take advantage of every reason to charge us penelies/fees. These fees also seem to be higher than many other cards. There have been some disgruntled users (LOL, not me) posting on the net.
- It is CapitalOne's written policy not to waive fees they assess regardless of circumstances. For instance, a ($29?) late fee on a balance of $1.52 which arrived 2 days late. (This was a first time for a late payment w/their cards by me).
- They appear to impose a low limit on their cards of $5,000, despite impeccible credit ratings and debt-free status (Our other cards have many times this this limit including AMEX). This could be an effort to impose a ($35?) over-limit fee which we incurred on my wife's CapitalOne business card.

CapitalOne? Caveat Emptor.
Becalm is offline  
Aug 15th, 2006, 10:38 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,030
lovesadventure, I believe HSBC does impose the 1% fee, though I've gotten different answers from people on this matter. Everyone agrees it doesn't charge any additional fees. In any case the 5%+ interest is a good deal, and I plan to make that account my vacation account.
Kathie is offline  
Aug 15th, 2006, 10:42 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 80
Thanks for the warning. I only plan on using the CapitalOne card for travel purchases though, as I normally use my CitiCard otherwise with its 0% APR on purchases. So long as the ATMs in SEA accept my Visa debit card, I won't be needing the CapitalOne card for cash advances.
pebbles13 is offline  

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