Credit Card Fees Surge For International Purchases

Credit Card Fees Surge For International Purchases

Foreign transaction fees can snag more money from when you make purchases abroad, adding as much as 3% to the cost of your purchase.

Foreign transaction fees can snag more money from when you make purchases abroad, adding as much as 3% to the cost of your purchase.

That American Express, Discover, Visa or MasterCard that has served you well for so many years could prove more costly to you if you were to use it outside of the United States. Unless you regularly travel abroad and use a credit card you may not be aware that foreign fees usually kick in for each time your card is swiped.

Foreign Currency Transaction Fees

A recent report published in The Wall Street Journal has revealed that banks are now boosting foreign fees or in some cases are introducing them for the first time. New Fees For Card Usage Abroad discusses the trend, noting that Discover Financial Services began charging a fee this month, adding 2% to every foreign transaction.

On the surface, fees may not sound like a lot, but they do add up. For example, if you are planning a trip overseas and are paying for some of your expenses while abroad, then you can incur a fee. Thus, if you plan to travel to let’s say Germany and you wait until you arrive to book your hotel room, you could be charged a fee which covers converting foreign currency into dollars. However, if you make your hotel reservation while still in the states, you may be able to avoid that fee — as long as you are charged in American dollars in the first place.

In Some Cases, No Foreign Transactions Are Exempt

But even credit card providers are seeing that money can be made by charging customers for any type of foreign transaction no matter what the fee charged. These fees vary, not every card charges them, but for those who do that can range from two to three percent of the bill. Take a ten day family excursion to Italy costing you $8000 and that surcharge could add $240 to your final bill.

Of course, you can avoid foreign transaction fees by using a credit card that doesn’t charge fees such as Charles Schwab or Capital One.  Some cards, such as Discover and American Express, aren’t as widely accepted overseas as they are in the states. So, shop for a card that has near universal reach and doesn’t charge transaction fees.

Adv. — Save money on everything! Well, that would be great if you really could.  Shop online to save money on all of your bathroom needs including bathtubs, bathroom fixtures, whirlpools and air tubs, cast iron tubs and so much more.


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About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Matt's Musings", his personal blog. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and blogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".