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List of credit cards for foreign currency transactions

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  • Aug 11th, 2018 2:58 pm
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[OP]
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List of credit cards for foreign currency transactions

Here is a list of credit cards that will, at the least, not ding you on purchases made in a foreign currency. Cards marked with a * have no foreign exchange fee beyond what Visa/Mastercard charge. Other cards charge a 2.5% foreign exchange fee, but you earn this back in rewards or cash back.

Mastercard Advantage

RFDer @mech9t5 sampled Visa's and Mastercard's daily foreign exchange rates for 364 days and averaged them. He found that Mastercard's average markup over XE.com's reported mid-market rate was 0.188%, while Visa's was 0.392%. No statistics were available for American Express. The ~0.2% advantage that Mastercard has over Visa has NOT been included in the net rewards listed below.

  • Rogers World Elite Mastercard: Net rewards: 1.5% (cash back statement credit 1x/year, 4% earned on foreign currency - 2.5% forex fee). $0 annual fee.
  • *HSBC World Elite Mastercard: Net rewards: 3% on travel and 1.5% on other purchases. Earned in travel points. 0% forex fee. $149 annual fee.
  • *Home Trust Preferred Visa: Net rewards: 1% (cash back statement credit 1x/year, 0% forex fee). $0 annual fee. 10 transaction limit per day. No PIN changes permitted. Unavailable to Quebec residents.
  • *Brim Financial Mastercard Basic/World/World Elite (RFDer concerns—see discussions thread): Net rewards: 1%/1.5%/2% (cash back statement credit redeemed any time, 0% forex fee). $0/$99/$199 annual fee.
  • *Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite: 1-2% (depending on merchant category, earned in Scotia Rewards points, 0% forex fee). $139 annual fee.
  • Fido and Rogers Platinum Mastercard: Net rewards: 0.5% (cash back statement credit 1x/year, 3% earned on foreign currency - 2.5% forex fee). $0 annual fee.
  • *HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard and Jade World Elite Mastercard Net rewards: 1.5% (more if you buy travel stuff, earned in travel points, 0% forex fee). $149/$299 annual fee. Premier requires $100,000 in HSBC deposits/investments or $500,000 HSBC mortgage. Jade requires $1,000,000 in deposits/investments.ion
  • Meridian Credit Union Travel Rewards Visa Infinite: Net rewards: ~0.0%-0.5% (Earned in travel points, 3 points—not exactly worth 1¢ each—minus 2.5% forex fee.) $99 annual fee. You must be an Ontario resident to get Meridian credit cards.

Cards suitable for buying things only at certain places:

  • †American Express Cobalt (Grocery stores, restaurants, bars ONLY): Net rewards: 2.6% (American Express Membership Rewards Select points redeemed for travel stuff, 5% - 2.5% forex fee). $10 monthly fee.
  • †Scotiabank American Express Gold and Platinum (Gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, movies/tickets ONLY): Net rewards: 1.6% (Scotia points redeemed for travel stuff, 4% - 2.6% forex fee). $99 annual fee for Gold, $399 for Platinum.
  • Meridian Credit Union Cash Back Visa Infinite (Gas stations and grocery stores ONLY): Net rewards: 1.6% (4% - 2.5% forex fee). Redeem for minimum $50 statement credit any time. $99 annual fee. You must be an Ontario resident to get Meridian credit cards.
  • Scotiabank Momentum Visa Infinite (Gas stations and grocery stores ONLY): Net rewards: 1.6% (cash back statement credit 1x/year, 4% - 2.5% forex fee). $99 annual fee.
  • CIBC Dividend Visa Platinum and Visa Infinite (Gas stations and grocery stores ONLY): Net rewards: 1.5% (cash back paid annually as statement credit, 4% - 2.5% forex fee). $99 annual fee for each.
  • Capital One Platinum (Costco) Mastercard (Restaurants ONLY): Net rewards: 0.5% (cash back paid annually as a cheque cashable at Costco, 3% - 2.5% forex fee). $0 annual fee.
  • TD Cash Back Visa Infinite: (Gas stations, grocery stores, recurring bill payments ONLY): Net rewards: 0.5% (redeem for statement credit anytime in $25 increments, 3% - 2.5% forex fee). $120 annual fee.

Prepaid (not credit) cards:

  • *Mogo prepaid Visa: Net rewards: None. 0% forex fee. $0 annual fee. $10 replacement card fee. After you select your PIN, $10 fee to change it. Unavailable to residents of Yukon, NWT, Nunavut, Saskatchewan, Quebec, and Nova Scotia. Load the card by transferring money from your bank account. The only way to load with a credit card is to use Canadian Tire Financial Services' Bill Pay feature to transfer funds from your Canadian Tire Mastercard.

Prepaid gift and store cards:

  • Costco cash card. Buy at Costco in Canada, spend at Costco in the US or Puerto Rico. Foreign exchange rate matches mid-market rate, beating any other payment method.
  • Disney gift card Buy at supermarkets in Canada, spend at Disney theme parks in the US or on other Disney stuff. No foreign exchange markup.

† AMERICAN EXPRESS WARNING

If you use your Canadian American Express card (including Scotiabank Amex) to make purchases in a currency other than CAD or USD, your purchases will be converted to USD first, before being converted again to CAD for billing purposes. This dual conversion will result in less net reward than described above.
Last edited by Kiraly on Aug 11th, 2018 7:14 pm, edited 84 times in total.
Thread Summary
Important!! since 2016, Canadian CC issuers do not reimburse the 2.5% FTF on refunds. This can be particularly annoying on hotel deposits. This is also a nuisance on category accelerators on refunds, since the accelerators get clawed back, but the FTF does not get reimbursed on returns.
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Kiraly wrote:
Aug 27th, 2017 11:28 am
Added to no longer available section.

If anyone with knowledge of how Home Trust and Amazon Visa cash back is redeemed, let me know and I will add it to the list.
Amazon Visa
- 2% on amazon.ca
- 1% on other
- Once it reaches a multiple of $20 (min $20), statement credit will be posted on your account on statement date.
😎 "How do you like to pay?" "American Express!" 😄
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CIBC Dividend Visa Infinite/Platinum (Gas stations and grocery stores ONLY): Net rewards: 1.5% (cash back paid annually as statement credit, 4% - 2.5% forex fee) $99 annual fee.

Why are the other two 1.6%?
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Kiraly wrote:
Aug 27th, 2017 11:28 am
Added to no longer available section.

If anyone with knowledge of how Home Trust and Amazon Visa cash back is redeemed, let me know and I will add it to the list.
Home Trust is statement credit every January statement.

They also have some bonus cash back offers if you log into your account; may be FX-relevant as offers I've seen include Hulu (say you use a US IP Address service and subscribe).
EdisonL299 wrote:
Aug 27th, 2017 12:47 pm
CIBC Dividend Visa Infinite/Platinum (Gas stations and grocery stores ONLY): Net rewards: 1.5% (cash back paid annually as statement credit, 4% - 2.5% forex fee) $99 annual fee.

Why are the other two 1.6%?
Guessing it's due to 4% times the higher purchase price (grossed up by the 2.5% fee), which appropriately nets out to 1.6%. It's the Rogers cards where I've heard (here, not first-hand) they actually work out to net 1.5%. Difference may be due to Rogers' bonus being on 'foreign currency transactions' and they treat it in such a way to net out that way. Others with 4% on Gas/Grocery/Entertainment just give the category bonus based on merchant code and apply FX rate like they would on any other purchase.
[OP]
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Yes, Scotiabank pays out 4% on whatever amount appears on your statement, which would include the 2.5% forex fee. Buy CDN $100 worth of gas in the USA, $102.50 appears on your statement. You earn 4% on $102.50, which is $4.10. You end up paying $98.40, which is a net return of 1.6%.
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Don't forget CIBC Dividend Visa Platinum...
😎 "How do you like to pay?" "American Express!" 😄
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Marriott card is not exactly 1%. Its 1 Marriott pt per $ for regular purchases (worth about $0.008/0.8%), 2pt/$ (1.6%) for restaurants, airlines, car rentals; 5pt/$ (4%) at SPG and Marriott. Also includes an annual night at a cat 5 Marriott ($100-300 value) and 15 nights for Silver Elite.
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Kiraly wrote:
Aug 27th, 2017 7:17 pm
I qualified that; "1% (or more if you buy travel stuff)".

but it's not 1%, because the points are worth LESS than that
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foreigncontent wrote:
Aug 28th, 2017 7:39 am
but it's not 1%, because the points are worth LESS than that
Ratehub showed how the Marriott points could be worth as little as 0.61¢ and as much as 1.62¢, depending on the type of hotel you redeem them for. Lower end hotels, surprisingly, get you a better return. https://www.ratehub.ca/blog/how-the-mar ... ram-works/

I'm going to keep it at 1% for now, and add a "~" in front.
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Oct 26, 2016
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foreigncontent wrote:
Aug 28th, 2017 7:39 am
but it's not 1%, because the points are worth LESS than that
You could also approach though on the assumption that whoever is using it will ultimately convert them to SPG. If you assume an SPG point valued at 3%, and 3:1 conversion from Marriott to SPG, that means you land right on 1% for the Marriott points, which is how a number of people choose to look at it.
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Kiraly wrote:
Aug 28th, 2017 10:34 am
Ratehub showed how the Marriott points could be worth as little as 0.61¢ and as much as 1.62¢, depending on the type of hotel you redeem them for. Lower end hotels, surprisingly, get you a better return. https://www.ratehub.ca/blog/how-the-mar ... ram-works/

I'm going to keep it at 1% for now, and add a "~" in front.
I agree with the opinion to keep it at 1%, for sake of simplicity!
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