Using Credit Cards in Europe

Jan 10th, 2002, 04:13 AM
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Using Credit Cards in Europe

Does anyone know of a credit card that does not charge a conversion fee? I have a World Perks Visa card that has a surcharge when you use this for anything that is not in US dollars.
Jan 10th, 2002, 06:15 AM
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While I am not a corporate credit attorney, I can tell you what I have read and picked up through my own experiences with credit cards. The big three issuing companies (Visa, MC, AmEx) charge their member banks who actually issue the cards (Chase Manhattan, Citibank, etc.) a fee to convert the foreign currency into dollars. From what I understand, this is a standard 1% charge that is unavoidable. However, the differences come in when you compare the charges tacked on by those different member banks. A few do not charge anything extra beyond the 1%, they merely pass on the charges from Visa or MC. The majority, however, have their own set of fees ranging from an additional 1% to ???. Call the number on the back of your card and they will give you the specific info on what their fees are. Also, be sure to ask about cash advance fees/penalties, if you plan on using the card at an ATM while abroad.
Jan 10th, 2002, 09:08 AM
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I had just checked with Citibank to find this out. I charged theatre tickets in London by phone and the actual cost seemed surprisingly low. But I found out they do add a total of 3% to the total. The bill used to show the actual conversion rate, but it no longer does. I must say the actual exchange rate must have been very good, because it seemed like less than 3% more than the current exchange rate as listed in the paper.
Jan 10th, 2002, 09:48 AM
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yeah, you can't escape the one percent, but I have a Capital One Mastercard that does not charge beyond that. They say, but you can't tell as they won't give you the exchange rate on the statement, I just found out. I also have had a Citibank and First VISA and they both charge a total of 3 pct. At least Citibank itemizes the original purchase and then the charge in dollars, so you can figure it out (although they don't itemize the conversion fee). Capital One does not even itemize the original charge, only the converted dollar amount, so you have to be sure to keep the original receipts to even be sure you were charged correctly (which I don't like). Anyway, I like Capital One ok and it gives sort of FF miles but I recently got a statement telling me I can just cash in my FF miles for $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ which is what I'm going to do as I'd rather look for bargains and buy airline tickets myself (they have no special deal with airlines, basically are just buying tickets for you, I think). Essentially, it's a cash back card, you get back one pct of your purchases (you can trade in 25K FF miles for $250).
Jan 10th, 2002, 10:17 AM
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I was disappointed to learn that my VISA card charges an additional 2 percent conversion fee, which started showing up as a separate item on my statements. Now my husband and I use cash which we access from the ATM machines with our bank credit/debit card (with a fee of only $1.25 per transaction) for meals and some items we may have used our credit card for in the past. We still use our credit card on our trips, but have cut back because of the conversion fee.
Jan 10th, 2002, 10:44 AM
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I doubt you have only paid a fee of $1.25 for ATM tranactions. I have studied ATM transactions from all my trips and the exchange rate on the statement is always against my favor compared to official exchange rate, meaning it has the same 1% standard charge by VISA or MC to which PLUS and CIRRUS belong to. Just because it does not show on statement as a separate item does not mean they are not charging it.
Jan 10th, 2002, 11:17 AM
Bob C
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You will never get the rate listed in the paper because you are not a bank buying a large amount. But over and over on this site people post that if they charge $300 and withdraw $300 with an ATM card, that the amount that shows on the credit card bill will be larger than the amount withdrawn from their bank account.
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