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Q: What are international transaction fees and how can I avoid them? Is there a credit card that has zero fees or the lowest fees?
A: International transactions fees are charged when the card is used somewhere other than its issuing country. In order for consumers to use their credit cards when traveling, some card companies impose these fees, while others don’t.
The average international transaction fee is 3% of the purchase. This fee takes into account currency changes and other things. Out of 12 financial institutions, three posted international transaction fees of 2%. One card company, American Express, charges 2.7%. The lowest international transaction fee was charged by Capital One. It has NO fee.
Not only does Capital One not charge a fee, it will also take care of the 1% fee that Visa or MasterCard impose. In other words, the Visa and MasterCard companies charge a 1% fee simply because they “back” the card, but Capital One does not pass that along to the user. This gives Capital One users a dual advantage-no fee for using Capital One cards, period, no matter which card company’s logo appears on them.
While 3% may not sound like much, if the card is used almost exclusively in place of cash or traveler’s checks, these fees can quickly add up. Foreign trips are going to be expensive, anyway, so why not take advantage of any savings possible? After all, that only leaves more money for more souvenirs.