Comparing credit card offers since 2005 - it's fast and easy! Search, Compare and Apply for the best credit card deals now


2011 Survey: Wide variance in Foreign Transaction Fees (International Transaction Fees)

by Doresa Banning

The 2012 survey with updated information can be found here.

 

INDEX CREDIT CARDS PRESENTS THE 2011 FOREIGN TRANSACTION FEES SURVEY

What's an FTF? It's lurking in the fine print, even among the best credit cards available. Most major credit cards charge it (except Capital One). And when you use your credit cards outside the United States, it can add significantly to your travel costs if you're not careful.

It's the foreign transaction fee, sometimes called an international transaction fee. For 2011, IndexCreditCards.com researched the major U.S. credit card issuers to discover the extra fees cardholders can expect when using their cards overseas.

Why a fee?

In years past, you'd incur the fee (then called a foreign currency transaction fee) for any purchases made in foreign currency, to cover the cost of converting the transaction into U.S. dollars. Today, however, many credit card issuers have started charging this fee for all purchases that involve a foreign bank even if you use U.S. dollars or make purchases in American territory, such as the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Internet transactions processed through overseas companies also result in foreign transaction fees. So if, via the Internet at home in the U.S., you charge a deposit for a Paris hotel on your credit card, your credit card issuer likely would charge you the transaction fee unless your card's terms dictate otherwise.

Two entities--your card issuer and either MasterCard or Visa--may charge you the fee. MasterCard and Visa's fee is 1 percent of the value in U.S. dollars of the purchase, and most banks using these companies to carry out the transactions tack on their own fees, usually 2 percent. Not only does Capital One not charge a fee, it also absorbs the the 1 percent that Visa and MasterCard charge.

Credit cards with no transaction fee

A single credit card issuer may offer some cards with and some cards without a foreign transaction fee. Here are the transaction fee and annual fee details for the major U.S. players:

American Express:

  • American Express Platinum: 0% transaction fee, $450 annual fee

  • Most other American Express cards: 2.7% transaction fee, $0-$175 annual fee

Bank of America:

  • Most Bank of America Visa/MasterCard cards: 3% transaction fee, $0-$99 annual fee

  • Bank of America Accelerated Rewards American Express Card: 1% transaction fee, $0 annual fee

Barclays:

  • Barclays Harvard Alumni Association: 0% transaction fee, $0 annual fee

  • Most other Barclays cards: 1-3% transaction fee, $0-$89 annual fee

Capital One:

  • Capital One Venture Rewards: 0% transaction fee, $59 annual fee after first year

  • Capital One VentureOne Rewards: 0% transaction fee, $0 annual fee

  • All other Capital One cards: 0% transaction fee, $0-$59 annual fee

Chase:

  • Chase British Airways Visa Signature: 0% transaction fee, $95 annual fee

  • Chase Priority Club Select Visa: 0% transaction fee, $49 annual fee after first year

  • Chase Hyatt Rewards: 0% transaction fee, $75 annual fee

  • Chase J.P. Morgan Palladium: 0% transaction fee, $595 annual fee

  • Chase J.P. Morgan Select: 0% transaction fee, $95 annual fee after first year

  • Chase Priority Club Select Visa: 0% transaction fee, $49 annual fee after first year

  • Chase Ritz Carlton Rewards: 0% transaction fee, $395 annual fee

  • Chase Continental Airlines Presidential Plus: 0% transaction fee, $395 annual fee

  • Chase United Mileage Plus Club Visa: 0% transaction fee, $375 annual fee

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred: 0% transaction fee, $95 annual fee after first year

  • Most other Chase cards: 3% transaction fee, $0-$85 annual fee

Citi:

  • Citi ThankYou Prestige: 0% transaction fee, $500 annual fee

  • Most other Citi cards: 3% transaction fee, $0-$85 annual fee

Discover:

  • Most Discover cards: 2% transaction fee, $0-$60 annual fee

GE Money:

  • Most cards: 3% transaction fee, $0 annual fee

HSBC:

  • HSBC Premier World MasterCard: 0% transaction fee, $0 annual fee

  • Most other HSBC cards: 3% transaction fee, $19-$59 annual fee

Iberiabank:

  • Most cards: 2-3% transaction fee, $0-$40 annual fee

Pentagon Federal Credit Union:

  • PenFed Promise: 0% transaction fee, $0 annual fee

  • PenFed Premium Travel Rewards American Express: 0% transaction fee, $0 annual fee

  • Most other PenFed cards: 2% transaction fee, $0 annual fee

U.S. Bancorp (U.S. Bank):

  • Most cards: 2% in U.S. currency, 3% in foreign currency transaction fees; $0-$80 annual fee

Wells Fargo:

  • Most cards: 3% transaction fee, $0-$18 annual fee

Not on the list? Where to find your card's FTF

If you're wondering what the foreign transaction fees are on your credit cards, look in the terms and conditions the card issuer most recently sent you. Or find them on the card issuer's website. Most often, credit card statements only indicate the total amount owed in these fees, so you won't find the specific rates there.

Regardless of which card you bring with you on your overseas jaunt, Mexican getaway, or Canadian junket, it pays to know your FTF before you go.

Published 07/14/11 (Modified 01/13/14)


Share this article with:

0 Responses to "2011 Survey: Wide variance in Foreign Transaction Fees (International Transaction Fees)"

No Comments

Leave a Comment
 
 
 

In the News
  • "As comprehensive a list as you'll find of all the credit card offers on the table now."

Disclaimer: Because rates and offers from advertisers shown on this website change frequently, please visit referenced sites for current information. This website may be compensated by companies mentioned through advertising, affiliate programs or otherwise.