Credit Cards

List of credit cards for foreign currency transactions

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  • May 23rd, 2019 5:25 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 with no conversion markup (0% over payment network's rate):

  • Home Trust Preferred Visa: 1% (cash back statement credit 1x/year). $0 annual fee. 10 transaction limit per day. Unavailable to Quebec residents.
  • Brim Financial Mastercard Basic/World/World Elite: 1%/1.5%/2% (cash back statement credit redeemed any time). $0/$99/$199 annual fee.
  • Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Consumer version: 1-2% depending on merchant category, $139 annual fee, and Business version: 1.5% on all spend, $199 annual fee. Earned in Scotia Rewards points redeemed on travel stuff.
  • †Scotiabank American Express Gold (new 0% conversion benefit coming August 2019): 1% in Scotia Rewards points (redeem for statement credit against travel expense). $120 annual fee.
  • HSBC World Elite, Premier World Elite and Jade World Elite Mastercard: 3% on travel and 1.5% on other purchases. Earned in travel points. $149/$149/$299 annual fee. Premier and Jade require very large deposits/investments with HSBC.

Cards with 2.5% conversion markup (that you earn back in points/cashback):


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% conversion 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% - 2.5% conversion 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% conversion fee). Redeem for minimum $50 statement credit any time. $99 annual fee.
  • Scotiabank Momentum Visa Infinite (Gas stations and grocery stores ONLY): Net rewards: 1.6% (cash back statement credit 1x/year, 4% - 2.5% conversion 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% conversion 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% conversion fee). $0 annual fee.
  • Canadian Tire Triangle World Elite (Grocery stores ONLY): Net rewards: 0.5% (earned in Canadian Tire Money, 3% - 2.5% conversion 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% conversion fee). $120 annual fee.

Prepaid (not credit) cards:

  • STACK Prepaid Mastercard: Net rewards: None. 0% conversion fee. No fees except for ATM operator's fee. Unavailable to Quebec residents. Restricted countries list
  • MOGO prepaid Visa: Net rewards: 0.5%. (3% cashback on foreign spend - 2.5% conversion 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. Restricted countries list

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 currency conversion markup.

___

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 above.

† 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 Jun 18th, 2019 9:20 am, edited 101 times in total.
18% = GTA residents as a proportion of Canada's total population
97% = chance that an RFDer lives in the GTA when he posts something location specific, without giving a location

Were you hit with surprise customs/import fees on an Amazon.ca purchase?
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.

Note all of those said cases and future risks of your money lost to uncompensated 2.5% FTF mentioned repeatedly in this thread and other threads may be avoided entirely by you '(knowingly) choosing to use' a "true no-FTF" card given in OP that has the robust benefit of "0% forex fee" charges anywhere.
This means that regardless of when and how small or big the *applicable* card rewards redeemed, lost or ineligible over Visa/MC/Brim/Amex interchange posted charges, that rare "0% forex fee" feature has already eliminated all that FTF money that would have cost you 'for any forex situations unexpected or not' without worry, effort or your redemption actions, e.g., unlike FTF charging cards' rebates program, the no-FTF instant benefits stays useful even 'in refunds/cancellations/corrections of posted transactions, or purchase returns and also any cash-like transactions like pre-paid/loaded atm cash advance needs all in foreign currencies' done on the "0% forex fee" card chosen from OP.
266 replies
[OP]
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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.
18% = GTA residents as a proportion of Canada's total population
97% = chance that an RFDer lives in the GTA when he posts something location specific, without giving a location

Were you hit with surprise customs/import fees on an Amazon.ca purchase?
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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.
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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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Nov 24, 2013
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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%.
18% = GTA residents as a proportion of Canada's total population
97% = chance that an RFDer lives in the GTA when he posts something location specific, without giving a location

Were you hit with surprise customs/import fees on an Amazon.ca purchase?
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Don't forget CIBC Dividend Visa Platinum...
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[OP]
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Added.

Anyone know if the net forex reward on the CIBC cards is 1.5% (like Rogers/Fido) or does it compound to 1.6% like the Scotia cards?
18% = GTA residents as a proportion of Canada's total population
97% = chance that an RFDer lives in the GTA when he posts something location specific, without giving a location

Were you hit with surprise customs/import fees on an Amazon.ca purchase?
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Mar 25, 2005
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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
[OP]
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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.
18% = GTA residents as a proportion of Canada's total population
97% = chance that an RFDer lives in the GTA when he posts something location specific, without giving a location

Were you hit with surprise customs/import fees on an Amazon.ca purchase?
Member
Oct 26, 2016
261 posts
150 upvotes
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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Apr 28, 2012
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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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