There are quite a few good credit cards in Canada that don't charge foreign exchange fees, but some stand out above the rest for their impressive welcome bonuses, travel perks and benefits, and excellent rewards. I constantly keep up with the latest promo rates and policy changes and make my recommendations below based on years of experience.
I recommend the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card as the #1 no forex fee credit card in Canada due to its very generous welcome bonus of 45,000 Scene+ points, high earn rate on groceries, plus travel and medical insurance. It's a great option if you're looking for a credit card with exclusive access to Amex programs like Front Of The Line and Amex concierge services.
What Are No Foreign Exchange Fee Credit Cards?
Credit cards with no foreign exchange fees are a very select group of credit cards that don’t charge you additional fees when purchasing abroad (in a different currency) or from foreign merchants (whether online or in-person). These credit cards can save you anywhere between 1%-3% on all foreign purchases, and often include generous travel perks and benefits.
Most credit cards with no foreign transaction fees have a credit score requirement ranging from 660 to 725. Some no forex fees credit cards don’t charge an annual fee, but in general, you can expect annual fees to be in the range of $100-$120 – if you travel abroad often, or make online purchases at foreign merchants, you will more than make up for this fee.
Without further ado, here are the best credit cards with no foreign transaction fees Canada has to offer:
Best Credit Cards With No Foreign Transaction Fees
- Scotiabank Gold American Express Card: Best for bonus reward points at select stores.
- Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card: Best for car rental insurance.
- HSBC World Elite Mastercard: Best for bonus travel rewards.
- Home Trust Preferred Visa Card: Best for no annual fees.
- Brim Financial Mastercard: Best for mobile device insurance with no annual fees.
- Meridian Visa Infinite Travel Rewards Card: Best for international travel and shopping.
Pros & Cons Of Credit Cards With No Foreign Transaction Fees
- Credit cards with no foreign transaction fees tend to be more economical because they often help customers save significantly on foreign transaction fees.
- They are great for cash back rewards.
- Most of them offer other insurance benefits, such as travel insurance coverage.
- Some credit cards charge high annual fees, as high as $149.
- Some credit cards have high-income eligibility requirements.
Best Credit Cards With No Foreign Transaction Fees FAQs
What Is A Foreign Transaction Fee?
A foreign transaction fee is a fee charged by a bank or credit card company on purchases made while travelling to a foreign country or when purchasing from a foreign merchant within your home country.
How Much Are Foreign Transaction Fees?
Foreign transaction fees in Canada could range from 1-3 % of the transaction cost; however, most banks in Canada charge a transaction fee of 2.5%. That applies even to some premium cards like the Amex Platinum, despite its hefty $699 annual fee.
When Does A Foreign Transaction Fee Reflect On My Account?
Foreign transaction fees often reflect on the credit card activity statement later than the foreign transaction itself. The late reflection is because the fees are charged and posted by the credit card company and not the merchant.
How Are Foreign Transaction Fees Calculated?
Foreign transaction fees are usually a percentage of the price of the item purchased or the transaction. Where the item's price is denominated in a foreign currency, the bank or credit card’s payment network often converts the foreign purchases to your local currency based on the current exchange rate. The foreign transaction fee rate is then applied to the converted amount.
How Can I Avoid Paying Foreign Transaction Fees?
- Exchange your money in cash before leaving your home country.
- Open a bank account that offers no foreign transaction fees as a benefit.
- Get a credit card with no foreign transaction fees.
How Do You Apply For A Credit Card With No Foreign Transaction Fees In Canada?
The requirements to obtain a credit card with no foreign transaction fees differ by the card provider. However, typical requirements include the following:
- Minimum annual personal income or household income requirement.
- The yearly minimum spending requirement.
- Must be a Canadian resident with a Canadian credit file.
- Must be the age of majority in the province or territory where you live.
Are Credit Cards With No Foreign Transaction Fees Worth It?
Yes, credit cards with no foreign transaction fees could be worth it, especially for frequent international travellers and shoppers.
A 3% foreign transaction may seem small at face value but can easily become substantial for recurring purchases, thereby making credit cards with no foreign transaction fees more economical.
What Is The Best Credit Card With No Foreign Transaction Fees In Canada?
We recommend the Home Trust Preferred Visa Card as the best free credit card with no foreign transaction fees in Canada and Scotiabank Gold American Express Card as the best credit card with no foreign transaction fees.