The Mastercard foreign transaction fee is 0% to 3%, depending on which card you have and which bank or credit union issued it. There are plenty of Mastercards with no foreign transaction fee, and that goes for both credit cards and debit cards. But many Mastercards charge up to 3% of each international purchase you make.
The Mastercard foreign transaction fee comes in two parts. Mastercard, as the credit card network, always charges a 1% fee. Then, the credit card issuer can choose to add their own fee on top of that, or cover Mastercard’s fee for you. If your card’s foreign fee is higher than 1%, it means the issuer added their own fees. If your Mastercard’s foreign transaction fee is 0%, it’s because the issuer pays the 1% network fee for you.
You certainly don’t want to pay 3% more than you have to when traveling abroad or shopping from foreign merchants while in the U.S. After all, the average foreign transaction fee on a credit card is about 1.5%. And some major credit card issuers have done away with foreign transaction fees altogether.
It’s also worth noting that Mastercard foreign transaction fees and Visa foreign transaction fees are pretty much the same. Some cards charge as much as 3%. Others don’t charge a dime. And like Mastercard, Visa is accepted in 200+ countries and territories.
The best approach is to compare no foreign transaction fee credit cards on both the Visa and Mastercard networks. Check your credit score to see which ones you have best chance of getting approved for. And then find the card with the best collection of rewards, rates and fees for your needs. If you’re approved, you’ll save up to 3% on each foreign transaction. It’s as easy as that.