A Visa foreign transaction fee of 0% to 3% could apply to purchases processed outside the U.S., depending on which Visa credit card or debit card you have. The Visa foreign transaction fee is usually 0% on travel rewards credit cards, which are built for spending all around the world. And some credit card companies, such as Capital One, don’t charge foreign fees on any of their cards, Visa or Mastercard. But many other Visa cards come with foreign transaction fees of 1%, 2% or even 3%.
If your Visa card does have a foreign transaction fee, you’ll have to pay it any time you make a purchase from a merchant that’s based in a country other than the U.S. So that means it applies to online purchases, too.
While it’s difficult to list every Visa’s foreign transaction fee – the are a ton of Visa cards – we can go over a few popular examples.
As you can see, there are a lot of opportunities to get a Visa card with no foreign transaction fee. That’s definitely a good idea before traveling (or shopping) abroad, since Visa is accepted just about anywhere that takes credit cards worldwide.
Yes, foreign transaction fees do apply to online purchases whenever the merchant is based outside the U.S. That goes both for debit cards and credit cards with foreign transaction fees. For example, if you buy something online from a merchant in the U.K. and pay with a card that has a foreign transaction fee, that fee will apply. Foreign transaction fees on credit cards can add as much as 3% onto each international purchase you make. But there’s an easy solution: Just use a credit card with no foreign transaction fee whenever you buy something from a foreign seller.… read full answer
So when in doubt, a no foreign fee card is the way to go. And there are plenty with really good rewards. Plus, credit cards get you great currency conversion rates.
Here’s when foreign transaction fees apply online (and how to avoid them):
The Basics: Foreign transaction fees apply online when a transaction is processed outside the United States. If you see prices listed in non-U.S. currency, there’s a good chance you’ll be charged a foreign transaction fee on your purchase.
Fees on U.S. Websites: If you buy something on Amazon.com from a seller in China, Amazon processes the payment, but a foreign transaction fee may still apply because the merchant is located outside the U.S. Remember, your card issuer is the one charging the fee, not the merchant. Similarly, if you book international travel through a U.S. website, you could still be tagged with a foreign transaction fee if the purchase is processed by a foreign airline, hotel, etc.
Avoid Declined Transactions: Your credit card company could mistake international purchases for fraud and decline them, especially if they don’t match your usual spending habits. You can avoid the inconvenience by notifying your bank or credit union about any international travel or shopping plans you have.
Another thing to watch for is dynamic currency conversion, which is when international merchants’ offers to process your transaction in U.S. dollars instead of their local currency. It’s supposed to be for your convenience, but most often than not, it’s a trick that lets a merchant apply an unfavorable exchange rate to pad its profits a bit, at your expense. So it’s best to decline the overture as it could be as much as 7% higher than the actual going rate. Credit cards automatically offer great currency conversion rates, and you can always use your phone (or a basic calculator) to convert prices to dollars at the current exchange rate, if that would make international shopping more comfortable for you.
Capital One VentureOne offers a 20,000-mile bonus for spending $500 in the first 3 months. It also rewards cardholders with 1.25 miles per $1 spent, on all purchases. With the HSBC Cash Rewards card, you get 3% cash back on all purchases, up to $10,000 spent in the first 12 months, and 1.5% cash back after that. … read full answer
That said, the best credit card with no annual or foreign fees really depends on your credit standing and what type of rewards or other features you’re looking for. Fortunately, there’s a whole range of attractive possibilities.
Best Credit Cards with No Annual Fee and No Foreign Transaction Fee
You can avoid foreign transaction fees by getting a credit card that doesn’t charge them. Considering that about 25% of current credit card offers don’t charge foreign fees, and those cards are available to people of all credit levels, there’s really no reason to pay these fees. The 10 largest credit card companies all offer at least some cards without foreign transaction fees. And some, like Capital One, Discover, USAA, HSBC and PenFed, don’t charge foreign transaction fees on any of their credit cards.… read full answer
Foreign transaction fees tack on as much as 4% extra to purchases made abroad, which can truly dampen a vacation. Foreign transaction fees aren’t charged by the merchant; they’re charged by the credit card company. And the fees are also charged for online purchases processed abroad, even if you’re sitting in front of your computer at home when you make the purchase. If you’re using a rewards card for purchases abroad, a foreign transaction fee will quickly negate the rewards you’re trying to rack up. The fees are declared in all credit card terms, so make sure you look for that language when you’re applying for credit cards.
That said, if you already have a credit card that charges foreign transaction fees, there’s not much you can do to avoid them, save for not using the card abroad. Consider applying for a travel credit card with good ongoing rewards and no foreign transaction fees. There are plenty to choose from.
One last thing to think about regarding foreign transaction fees: Don’t forget to find the right debit card for your travels. Many debit cards also charge foreign transaction fees and international ATM fees. But having a debit card while abroad is important, as it will allow you to get cash when you need it, which is far cheaper (and safer) than converting money at airports or banks. So make sure to bring a Visa or Mastercard debit card with a low international ATM fee and no foreign transaction fees when you head out of the country.
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