Most credit card companies in Canada add a foreign transaction fee of 2.5% to 3% on every purchase you make overseas or online in different currencies. Fortunately, you can keep your travel expenses to a minimum by opting for a no foreign transaction fee credit card. Here are some of the best no foreign exchange fee credit cards in Canada that are worth considering.
Scotiabank PassportTM Visa Infinite*
Scotiabank PassportTM Visa Infinite*
on Scotia Bank's website
Welcome Offer: 30,000 Scotia Rewards points + Complimentary Priority Pass membership, plus 6 free visits per year.
Earn Rate: Earn 2x Scotia Rewards® points on every $1 you spend on eligible grocery stores, dining, entertainment purchases and daily transit purchases (including buses, subways, taxis and more). No FX Fees.
Annual Fee: $139
Min. Income Required: Personal $60,000 or Household $100,000.
The Scotiabank PassportTM Visa Infinite* is a premium card that comes with many perks. The annual fee for this credit card is $139, but has no foreign transaction fees. And you can get 25,000 bonus points with your first $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.
Plus, you will get two points for each $1 you spent on everyday transit, entertainment purchases, and grocery purchases. The card also allows you to earn one point for each $1 you spent on other purchases.
Cardmembers enjoy a free Priority Pass membership and six complimentary VIP lounge visits every year. They will get an additional 10,000 bonus points when they spend $40,000 or more every year. The card covers insurance, such as hotel theft insurance, rental car damage insurance, travel accident insurance, flight delay insurance, and trip cancellation insurance.
On top of that, this credit card comes with price protection, an extended warranty, and purchase security. Cardholders also get free Avis Preferred Plus membership, which offers 25% off on car rentals in the United States and Canada and free upgrades upon availability. Apart from this, you also receive a special number to call for customer support and reservations.
As a cardholder, you have access to the Visa Infinite concierge service that can help you with restaurant reservations, event bookings, ticket bookings, hotel reservations, and airline reservations.
Apart from the concierge service, you have access to the Visa Infinite Luxury Hotel Collection, which offers an excellent collection of perks like a $25 beverage or food credit, an automatic room upgrade, complimentary breakfast for two every day, and more.
Scotiabank®* Gold American Express®
Scotiabank®* Gold American Express®
on Scotiabank's website
Welcome Offer: 25,000 Scotia Rewards points.
Earn Rate: 5x points for every $1 spent on eligible grocery, restaurants, fast food, drinking establishments, entertainment. 3x points for every $1 spent on gas, transit, and streaming services. 1x point for everything else. No FX Fees.
Annual Fee: $120
Min. Income Required: Personal - $12,000
This credit card is one of the top cards for travel rewards. It has no foreign exchange fees, so you save a lot of cash on your overseas purchases. With this credit card, you will get five points for each dollar you spent on entertainment, dining establishments, and grocery stores.
Additionally, you will receive three points for each dollar you spent on streaming services, everyday transit, and gas. And you will receive one point for each dollar you spent on other purchases.
You will receive 25,000 points when you spend $1,000 in the first three months of card ownership. Apart from these reward points, you will get travel emergency medical insurance, trip cancellation insurance, delayed and lost baggage insurance, travel accident insurance, and hotel theft insurance. This credit card from Scotiabank has a $120 yearly fee. It comes with an extended warranty and purchase security.
Brim Financial World Elite Card
Brim Financial is a Canadian fintech company that was established by Rasha Katabi back in 2015. At present, it offers three credit cards: Brim World Elite Mastercard, Brim World Mastercard, and Brim Mastercard. The non-bank credit card company has a special mobile app using which you can access many mobile wallets, such as FitBit, Samsung Pay, Google Pay, and Apple Pay. The mobile app is available on Google Play and the App Store.
This credit card from Brim Financial has a $199 yearly fee, which is waived in the first year. The best part is that it carries no foreign exchange fees. With this credit card, you will earn two points for every $1 you spend on your each purchase. What’s more, new cardholders can get around $500 worth of rewards after they make their first purchases with participating Brim retailers.
The reward points are easy to cash in. You can use your cash back to pay off the statement balance or spend it on travel and groceries. Other than that, you will get access to the Brim loyalty platform called Open Rewards program to earn additional reward points on daily purchases. You can earn reward points at a faster rate from participating brands and retailers that are featured in the Brim marketplace. There is no limit or cap on cash back points earned via the loyalty program.
This credit card gives you access to more than one million free Boingo Wi-Fi hotspots worldwide. These Wi-Fi hotspots are available in cafes, restaurants, airplanes, hotels, and airports. As a matter of fact, they are very useful if you are an avid traveler. This card comes with a free membership in LoungeKey’s Mastercard Airport Experiences and gives you access to more than 1,000 lounges throughout the world. However, it’s important to note that free passes are not included in this offer.
Home Trust Preferred Visa
Online buyers and globetrotters who want the perk of cash back, no foreign exchange fees, and no yearly fee will like this credit card. This credit card has no yearly fees and foreign exchange fees. It allows you to earn 1% cash back on all your purchases with no caps or limits. Plus, this credit card from Home Trust offers travel benefits, such as liability insurance, rental car loss or collision insurance, and roadside assistance.
HSBC World Elite Mastercard
This credit card offers 100,000 points as a sign-up bonus. While the annual fee of this card is $149, the full yearly fee is rebated for the first 12 months if you apply for this credit card by December 28, 2020. What’s more, the card has no foreign transaction fees.
This credit card allows you to get six points for each dollar you spent on all travel purchases and three points for each dollar you spent on other purchases.
You can use points towards cash back rebates, travel rewards, merchandise, and gift cards.
To qualify for this credit card, you should have an annual income of $80,000 as an individual or a $150,000 household income. Also, you should be a resident of Canada.
This credit card also offers travel insurance coverage and other insurances. You, your dependents, and your spouse are covered for one month for $1 million per insured individual for emergency travel medical coverage per trip.
Other than that, the credit card also offers baggage delay or baggage loss insurance that covers theft, damage, loss, transportation hazards, and fire hazards. Besides, if you experience a luggage delay for 12 hours, you will qualify for $200 towards essentials until you get your luggage back.
Besides, you will enjoy trip delay coverage and trip cancelation coverage if you charge 75% of trip costs to your credit card. In the event of delay or cancelation, you will be compensated up to $2,000 per insured individual for every trip.
What exactly are foreign exchange fees?
A foreign transaction fee (also known as an FX fee) is a charge to your credit card that occurs when you make purchases that aren’t in Canadian dollars. Most Canadian credit cards charge an FX fee, so unless the card is clearly advertised as a no fx fee credit card, you will be charge a small percentage fee on top of every purchase.
If you make a lot of purchases online in US dollars, or travel frequently to other countries, it’s very important to hold a credit card that does not charge for foreign currency transactions.
What’s the average fee for foreign purchases?
Usually, the average foreign purchase fee is around 2% to 3%. To find out exactly how much, you’ll need to read the fine print for your card under the “fees” section.
For example, if you hold a credit card with a 3% fx fee, if you spend $100 on a dinner in Japan, you will be charged $103. If you spend $1000 on a large online purchase in US dollars, you will be charged $1030. As you can see, these fees can add up to a significant amount overtime.
Tips on how to use your credit card overseas
Traveling out of the country with a credit card certainly makes handling your cash a little easier.
Given below are some useful tips for using your credit card overseas.
- Always opt for the local currency over Canadian currency to receive the best rates. Your credit card offers better exchange rates than the vendor will.
- Change your pin to four digits. Some of the older machines will not accept credit cards with long pin numbers. So, you should create a four-digit pin number.
- Inform your credit card provider about your travel plans. Some credit card companies require you to inform them about your travel itinerary.
- Always keep a back-up credit card with you.
- Bring credit cards that offer additional rewards for travel spending categories, such as transport, hotels, and dining establishments.
- When traveling overseas, it is a good idea to carry some cash in your purse, which you can use for public transit rides, taxi rides, and small purchases. However, traveling with a large amount of money is never a great idea. Keep your passport photocopy and your cash separate from your credit card in case your purse is stolen.