credit cards fees for purchases?

Jun 27th, 2007, 05:33 AM
  #1  
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credit cards fees for purchases?

Just learned y-day that my credit card company will tack an extra 3% to any purchases made in Europe while we are over there.

Do all cards charge this high of a fee? I called my bank, and they will charge 1% for debit card purchases.
karens is offline  
Jun 27th, 2007, 05:34 AM
  #2  
ira
 
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Hi K,

Capital One doesn't add any fee above the 1% MC/Visa fee.

ira is offline  
Jun 27th, 2007, 05:35 AM
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Don't think you can use debit cards in Europe
Michel_Paris is offline  
Jun 27th, 2007, 05:37 AM
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One option that is recommended here often is to use ATMs. They are everywhere and can offer better deal than CC. Use CC for large ticket items like hotel rooms,etc..
Michel_Paris is offline  
Jun 27th, 2007, 05:38 AM
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"Don't think you can use debit cards in Europe"

Whatever gave you such an extraordinary idea? If it's got a Visa or M/C logo on, and the credit check proves satisfactory, they'll take sweaty socks.
flanneruk is offline  
Jun 27th, 2007, 05:48 AM
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American Express also only charges the 1%.

Even the 3% is less than it would cost to purchase and use traveler's checks.

Also check the costs your bank charges to use ATMs with your debit card. Most charge 1-3% and some even tack on a per-transaction fee, to as much as $5.
ellenem is offline  
Jun 27th, 2007, 06:02 AM
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AmEx charges 2.5% foreign charge fee AND uses an unfavorable exchange rate (look at the fine print). Better to use something like Capital One. I have just gotten one.

I was using the USAA CC which is a great company. It only charges 1% but after my last trip with lots of expenditures, even the 1% added up to a hefty chunk.
nibblette is offline  
Jun 27th, 2007, 06:02 AM
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Forgot to add, Capital One, as of now, does not even pass on the MC/VISA 1% fee.
nibblette is offline  
Jun 27th, 2007, 06:11 AM
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nibblette, I use the USAA credit card. Mine charges 1% conversion fee like yours, but gives me 1 1/4% cash back at the end of the year -- a net 1/4%.
Budman is offline  
Jun 27th, 2007, 06:16 AM
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Flanneruk,
Educate me...
I can go to a UK store, and they will take my Canadian debit card, swipe it, I enter my PIN, and they remove the cash from my checking account?
That would be convenient.

I now use this card to withdraw money from ATMs, but if European shops will take my card, even better
Michel_Paris is offline  
Jun 27th, 2007, 06:20 AM
  #11  
 
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I was wrong about Amex, but was trying to quote from this article, which actually says 2%, not 3%.
I also like that Amex doesn't allow DCC.

http://www.fodors.com/wire/archives/002384.cfm
ellenem is offline  
Jun 27th, 2007, 06:21 AM
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I think it's nice that people have good rates with the USAA credit card, but this isn't of much use to most folks, as it has strict criteria for getting it related to being in the military (or parents being a member or something like that). I know because I called and asked them just recently, and I have more quasi-criteria than many people as I've done work as a consultant to the military health care program for about 20 years, and I still didn't qualify. It might be helpful for people who suggest that card to mention how they got it (what criteria).

I know Amex charges more than 1 pct, but I didn't think it was 2.5 pct as I just got one not that long ago and I could have sworn the agreement said 2 pct. Are you sure it's 2.5 pct, nibblette?
Christina is offline  
Jun 27th, 2007, 06:34 AM
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AmEx most recent fine print insert does say 2% added on but it does use a very unfavorable exchange. They state they will pick an exchange rate for the day - not based on the actual rates as many of the other CC inserts say. So the actual additional AmEx cost when compared to my USAA (1%) was AT LEAST 2.5-4% above the official exchange rate.
AmEx rate in late May '07 (official rate then was about $1.98:1) was $2.03. USAA was $2.
nibblette is offline  
Jun 27th, 2007, 01:24 PM
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CapitalOne is, by far, the best. They do not charge any percentage, not even the 1% Visa fee and use an extremely favorable exchange rate. They even have a cash-back option (not the greatest but at no charge)and no annual fee. I recommend them without reservation for foreign travel. Just make sure you tell them where you will be travelling.
JerryS is offline  
Jun 27th, 2007, 02:16 PM
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oh, thanks, that's interesting how they have some different rate formula, but I sort of think VISA says something like that, also. I haven't used mine abroad yet, and just got it for the free FF points they gave me for signing up. I may not keep it after the year of free service fees is over. It's really kind of a backup to my Capital One card, which is the main one I use when traveling, anyway.

So Niblette, how did you qualify for a USAA card? I know some folks on here said anyone could get a credit card with them, but that must have been a long time ago, as when I asked them recently, they definitely said no, you had to meet some criteria about being in the military.
Christina is offline  
Jun 27th, 2007, 02:18 PM
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Christina, USAA closed their banking eligibility to non-members about a year ago. I assume those who got a USAA bank account prior were grandfathered.
Budman is offline  
Jun 27th, 2007, 02:27 PM
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Several points here on this discussion.

I have a Capital One Card that I use and have used in Europe. No 3%. In fact, I am not sure there is any charge. I check the wholesale bank rate for the day my transactions were posted, and it seems to me that all of them are billed at the wholesale bank rate of exchange.

I can say with definite certitude that Bank of America WILL sock it to you at 3%.

As for AE traveler's checks, they are 5% more expensive than the wholesale bank rate of exchange AND they are sometimes hard to cash. When you do cash them, you will also pay a fee if you are at a bank. Not all towns have an AE office where you can exchange them, and even big cities like Paris or London usually don't have but one place with restricted hours relative to an ATM.

Bank of America is particularly odious in the ATM usage department. Unless you use one of BOA's partner banks, such as Deutsche Bank or Barclay's, you get popped with a $5.00 fee for using your ATM card to withdraw paper money.

As a result, I have "Europe account" with a banking institution that does NOT whack me with a $5.00 fee for trying to get my own money.

Let us just say, that BOA's pieces of plastic are on my list for elimination from my pocket.
bob_brown is offline  
Jun 27th, 2007, 05:19 PM
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AAA offers a Visa card with a 1% overseas transaction fee. NEA and PSEA (national and Pennsylvania teachers' organizations) offer good credit card deals, including a Master Card with only 1% fee overseas. TriMark Credit Union has had, in the past, a card with only 1% fee. You have to pay $5 to join the credit union. Check other credit unions. Usually anyone can join a credit union for a small fee.

As for ATMs, TDbanknorth has free worldwide ATM use. They reimburse for other banks' fees, and charge no ATM fee of their own. For overseas transactions, there is just a 1% fee.

As for debit cards, the danger with those is if a thief got access to it. They could wipe out your bank account balance back home very easily by making huge purchases. Usually with cash ATM withdrawals, there's a limit of how much will be given out each time. Money stolen via debit card theft is a lot harder to get back than, say, when your credit card is stolen. You get it back eventually, but it can take a lot longer. You can get an ATM card for your trip that is NOT linked to your regular bank account, but instead links to an account that only has money for your trip in it. To be safe, you can set it up only for ATM use and not for debit purchases. If you use a bank with free ATM use, you will pay very little in fees.
lesliec1 is offline  
Jun 27th, 2007, 05:24 PM
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Just got back from Vienna, Prague and Berlin. Used Am Ex without any fees. Not even 1%.HOWEVER... Used BoA Visa Debit cards with incredible fees!

Beware!! The $5.00 fee I knew I'd have was greatly compounded by the fees from the merchants! Wish I had used the Am Ex or my Capitol One more!
sallyjane3 is offline  
Jun 27th, 2007, 05:30 PM
  #20  
 
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I only used my AmEx card once while in Europe, and haven't as of yet received the statement. I'm guessing that since it's a USAA AmEx card, I'll probably be charged the 1%.
Budman is offline  

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