Ashley Wade, WalletHub Analyst
A foreign transaction fee is charged when you buy something while traveling abroad (or from a merchant based overseas), while the currency conversion fee is a surcharge from an overseas merchant to convert transactions into dollars. In other words, the currency conversion fee inflates the currency exchange rate.
Most cards charge a foreign transaction fee of 3%, but there are some cards without foreign transaction fees, like the Capital One Venture.
The merchant is required to ask you before using currency conversion, which usually adds another 3-10% to your transaction. If you decline, your credit card payment network will do the conversion. The exchange rate via the card network is always better.
To avoid both, get a credit card with no foreign transaction fees and decline the currency conversion.
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