Credit Card Use in Europe

Jan 27th, 2006, 12:42 PM
  #1  
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Credit Card Use in Europe

Does anyone know which credit card you can use out of the country (Europe) that will not charge a 3% conversion fee? I just charged a deposit (Fanatsy Travel) on a trip to Greece and Chase Visa charged $247.00 conversion fee. I called and they said everytime it is used out of the Country a conversion fee will be charged. And that most people do not realize the charge on their card because itís not listed as a separate fee.
Cdowden is offline  
Jan 27th, 2006, 12:48 PM
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That was your conversion fee? yikes, that would be a charge of over $8K. Too bad you didn't know that ahead of time.

If you need a US card, Capitol One cards do not charge a conversion fee.
Christina is offline  
Jan 27th, 2006, 01:00 PM
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While many cards are raising fees (like my MBNA from 1% to 3%), my AE cards have dropped from 2% to 1%.
rkkwan is offline  
Jan 27th, 2006, 01:04 PM
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As far as I know right now, Capital One does tack on the extra fee. Visa, as a general rule, always adds 1%. The 3% is a combination of Visa's 1% and 2% from the bank.

To me the charge is pure greed because the bank does nothing to add value to the transaction.

I never use my Bank of America card while I outside of the US.

bob_brown is offline  
Jan 27th, 2006, 01:32 PM
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Ok guys, I just called Capital One, they said, they DO NOT charge a conversion fee or "foriegn exchange fee"
Cdowden is offline  
Jan 27th, 2006, 02:07 PM
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Yes Capital One says that clearly in their ads.

Keith
Keith is offline  
Jan 27th, 2006, 02:09 PM
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My MBNA card does not charge the fee but several other MBNA cards do, it depends on the card and I've been told that all MBNA cards eventually will start charging it.
TexasAggie is offline  
Jan 27th, 2006, 03:43 PM
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From my recent experiences (last 2 weeks)...

1. Capital One does not charge a fee; it does not even pass along the 1% visa fee.

2. Many MBNA cards charge a 1% fee, some charge the 3%. As MBNA has sold its credit card operations to Bank of America, one of the greediest banks there is, one would suspect all MBNA cards will be charging 3% in the future.

3. USAA passes along the 1% visa fee.

4. Amex charges 2%...I don't see any indication they have cut the fee to 1%.

All this info is based on charges I made during the first 2 weeks of January in various European currencies.
xyz123 is offline  
Jan 27th, 2006, 05:10 PM
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What the card does is change one currency to another. If you had to dothat with cash or trav checks it would cost you a lot more than 3% - closer to 8/9% and sometimes more.

They are allowing you to use their interbank rate of exchange and charging you a small % as a service fee to do the computer "paperwork" for your transactions. (Do you expect them too dothis for you for free? Since when are banks a charity?)

Your other choice is to try to travel the world using only dollars.
nytraveler is offline  
Jan 27th, 2006, 06:00 PM
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I just talked with Capital One and yes, they do say that they don't charge a conversion fee. This is because MC and Visa have already included the fee once it's posted with Capital One. The lady said that since MC and Visa are the global companies, it doens't matter which bank you hold your card through, the fee will be included. So it's very convenient for Capital One to say "they don't charge a fee". They don't charge it but MC and Visa does so it's included but you just can't see it listed separately. Very misleading!
bleuhoney is offline  
Jan 27th, 2006, 06:15 PM
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Let's not confuse the issue.

Visa and MC charge their own 1% fee. The card-issuing bank has no control over Visa's and MC's 1% fee.

The card-issuing bank does, however, control whether the bank charges any additional fee for currency-conversion. Many banks such as MBNA charge 2% on top of Visa's and MC's 1%. Capital One currently does not charge any fee on top of Visa'a and MC's 1%.

I'm using my Capital One card abroad.
sandykins is offline  
Jan 27th, 2006, 07:52 PM
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Keep in mind that if you use your CC for ATM cash withdrawls you might be charged a fee from the servicing bank if they don't have any agreements with your issuing bank.
brotherleelove2004 is online now  
Jan 27th, 2006, 10:12 PM
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nytraqveler...

I have no problem with the bank or better yet the organization doing the currency conversion addng on 1% for doing the conversion and taking the small risk inherent in currency transactions. The 1% charge from visa is therefore justified and when a bank passes that along, that's fine.

However, and it's a big however, the additional 2% is almost criminal....they perform no service for that....when the charge reaches their computer it has already been converted...it doesn't matter if the charge was incurred in New York, London or Timbuctoo for that matter. When they charge an additional 2% they are performing no service for you.

My Capital One charges do seem to come through at the interbank rate without the additional 1% charged by visa. The exchange rate I got on Capital One was the best of all the exchange rates throughout my last trip 2 weeks ago.
xyz123 is offline  
Jan 28th, 2006, 05:35 AM
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Thanks everyone! It appears the best card to use is Capitol One.
Cdowden is offline  
Jan 28th, 2006, 05:38 AM
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Xyz123, the absence of even the 1% (supposedly mandatory according to Visa) fee on your Capital One bill is great to know about -- much thanks for sharing the info. That gives me one more reason to use my Capital One overseas.
sandykins is offline  
Jan 28th, 2006, 05:42 AM
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That's interesting. The Visa site I read says the ISA is charged to the issuing institutions, and they can either pass it through or not, at their discretion.

http://www.corporate.visa.com/pd/con...x_faq.jsp#faq6
Passepartout is offline  
Jan 28th, 2006, 09:52 AM
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I don;t see how it's possible to know if the 1% is charged or not - since rates change daily and the date your charge comes through is usually not the date you charge it - but some later time - depending on the merchant, the exchanger (Visa or MC or AmEx) and the bank (if one is involved).

As for the bank charging - or not - they're the intermediary between you and Visa - and charge for whatever computer paperwork they do. (One reason I prefer AMEX - only one set of rules - no bank interpretations in the way.) And - asa any middleman they charge a fee. If you can get a bank without it fine - but I don;t think it's criminal to charge for a service.

(To me this is not nearly as bad as banks that charge you to take money out of your own account via ATM card - I would never pay for that.)
nytraveler is offline  
Jan 28th, 2006, 10:08 AM
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I spoke to someone at VISA who told me that the 1% is built into the exchange rate so it's never seen as a surcharge, and they use the Federal Reserve Bank's dollar and euro valuation to determine the exchange rate. Thought I'd pass this on.
brotherleelove2004 is online now  
Jan 28th, 2006, 10:08 AM
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It's possible to see whether or not the 1% is charged by referring to xe.com/ccc
Passepartout is offline  
Jan 28th, 2006, 10:10 AM
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My reading of the link I posted above suggests that the 1% ISA is not embedded in the exchange rate.

You can probably talk to five people at Visa or your bank and get eight different answers to most foreign exchange questions. "I don't know" is not typically in the vocabulary of a minor functionary.
Passepartout is offline  

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