Travel Tip: Credit Card Foreign Transaction Fees

Savvy travelers know that most credit card issuers charge an international usage fee (usually 2 – 3%) for purchases made outside the United States.  They do this, they claim,in order to recoup what they are charged by Visa and Mastercard, even though that fee is usually no more than 1%.

What does this mean to you?

Each time you make a purchase in a foreign country the bank that issued your card is earning an additional 1 – 2%, ON TOP of the 1% they have to pay.  Add to that a weak dollar and costly travel expenses, and jet-setting around the globe becomes increasingly less appealing.

I am aware of only two companies that do not charge for foreign transactions.  I’ve listed them below along with the fees charged by other well known banks .

If you’re the type of person who always carries a balance on your card, read the fine print.
It makes no sense to save 2 -3% on foreign transactions just so you can turn around and pay an APR of 13% or higher.

0% – Capital One
0% – Discover

2% – American Express
2% – Pulaski Bank

3% – Citi Cards
3% – Chase
3% – Bank of America
3% – HSBC
3% – Providian