6 Best Credit Cards With No Foreign Transaction Fees In Canada (Dec 2022)

October 30, 2022
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There are quite a few good credit cards in Canda 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 makeup 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

  1. Scotiabank Gold American Express Card: Best for bonus reward points at select stores
  2. Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card: Best for car rental insurance
  3. HSBC World Elite Mastercard: Best for bonus travel rewards
  4. Home Trust Preferred Visa Card: Best for no annual fees
  5. Brim Financial Mastercard: Best for mobile device insurance with no annual fees 
  6. Meridian Visa Infinite Travel Rewards Card: Best for international travel and shopping 

Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card

Great for generous welcome bonus and high earn rate on Scene+ points
  • Annual Fee
    $120
  • Interest Rate
    19.99% on purchases, 22.99% on cash advances
  • Welcome Bonus
    45,000 pts
  • Rec. Credit Score
    660+
  • Features & Benefits

    • Earn 45,000 bonus Scene points as a welcome bonus in your first year
    • No foreign transaction fees
    • Shop online and abroad, only only the exchange rate applies
  • Pros & Cons

    Why we like it

    Great for generous welcome bonus and high earn rate on Scene+ points

    Pros

    • 45,000 bonus welcome points
    • No foreign exchange fees when purchasing abroad or online
    • Earn 5x Scene+ points per $1 spent at grocery stores, restaurants, and food deliveries
    • Access to presale tickets and VIP seating in select events through American Express' Front Of The Line program
    • Comprehensive travel and medical insurance
    • No annual income requirement to apply for the card

    Cons

    • Needs a good credit score (660+)
    • It isn't as widely accepted in Canada as Visa or Mastercard
  • More Details

    Bonuses and fees

    The Scotiabank Gold American Express Card has an annual fee of $120 (completely waived for the first year). If you find yourself travelling abroad often or making online purchases, this card might be for you. It doesn’t charge any kind of foreign transaction fee, and it is accepted everywhere the American Express network is supported.

    Perks and Benefits

    With this card, you can earn Scene+ points on all purchases, and It has all the benefits you can expect from an Amex card; here’s the breakdown:

    • 5 Scene+ points per $1 spent on groceries, restaurants, food delivery, entertainment, movies, and ticket agencies
    • 3 Scene+ points per $1 spent on transit, including subway, taxis, buses, and streaming services subscriptions
    • 1 Scene+ point per $1 on all other purchases
    • Access to presale tickets through Amex’s Front Of The Line program
    • Complimentary concierge service
    • Access to airport lounges and invites to exclusive events

    Redeeming Your Rewards

    Redeeming with the Scotiabank Gold Amex card is very easy – you can book flights and exchange your points at any time through the Scene+ Travel portal. You will need to create a Scene+ Travel account to start browsing through all the offers and destinations.

    Insurance

    The Scotiabank Gold American Express Card offers comprehensive insurance that includes both travel and medical coverage. Here are the supported categories:

    • Travel emergency medical insurance
    • Trip delay or cancellation insurance
    • Delayed or lost baggage insurance
    • Rental car insurance
    • Hotel/motel burglary insurance

Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card

Great for complimentary airport lounge access and comprehensive medical and travel insurance
  • Annual Fee
    $139
  • Interest Rate
    19.99% on purchases, 22.99% on cash advances
  • Welcome Bonus
    25,000 Scene+ points
  • Rec. Credit Score
    660+
  • Features & Benefits

    • Earn 35,000 bonus Scene+ points in your first year as a welcome bonus
    • No foreign transaction fee
  • Pros & Cons

    Why we like it

    Great for complimentary airport lounge access and comprehensive medical and travel insurance

    Pros

    • 25,000 Scene+ points bonus
    • No foreign exchange fees when purchasing abroad or online
    • Earn 2x Scene+ points per $1 spent at grocery stores, restaurants, and daily transit
    • Waive interest rates on purchases over $100 when using Scotia SelectPayTM
    • 6 complimentary airport lounge access per year (over 1,300 lounges to choose from)
    • Comprehensive travel and medical insurance

    Cons

    • High annual fee
    • Requires a minimum yearly income of $60,000
  • More Details

    Bonuses and fees 

    The Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card is a premium travel credit card with an annual fee of $139. To apply for this card, you need a good credit score of at least 660 and a minimum income of $60,000. This card doesn’t charge transaction fees (on purchases abroad or online) and offers useful travel perks for frequent travellers.

    Rewards

    When you use this card to make purchases, you will earn Scene+ points at a rate of:

    • 2 Scene+ points per $1 spent on groceries, dining, entertainment, and transit
    • 1 Scene+ point per $1 spent on all other purchases

    There’s no limit to how much cash back you can earn in a year, and your points will not expire as long as your account is in good standing.

    Perks and benefits

    Some additional benefits include:

    • No foreign transaction fees
    • Complimentary access to airport lounges (6 per year)
    • Book travels directly from the Scene+ Travel portal
    • Complimentary Avis car rental membership plus 25% discount on car rentals
    • Access to the Visa Infinite Concierge, Hotel, and Dining and Wine programs

    Insurance

    • Flight delay insurance & trip interruption insurance
    • Travel emergency medical insurance
    • Car rental collision insurance
    • Car rental collission
    • Hotel/motel burglary insurance
    • Extended warranty protection

Home Trust Preferred Visa Card

Great for no foreign fees and no limit on how much cash back you can earn
  • Annual Fee
    $0
  • Interest Rate
    19.99% on purchases, 19.99% on cash advances
  • Welcome Bonus
    N/A
  • Rec. Credit Score
    660+
  • Features & Benefits

    • No foreign exchange fee
    • No limit on how much cash back you can earn
    • No annual fee
  • Pros & Cons

    Why we like it

    Great for no foreign fees and no limit on how much cash back you can earn

    Pros

    • No foreign exchange fees when purchasing abroad or online
    • No annual fee
    • 1% cash back on all purchases
    • No cap on how much cash back you can earn
    • Car rental insurance
    • Visa Zero Liability Policy

    Cons

    • No welcome bonus
    • Needs a good credit score (660+)
  • More Details

    Bonuses and fees

    The Home Trust Preferred Visa Card offers cash back on all purchases and doesn’t charge any annual or management fees. The cash back rate is low compared to other credit cards, but it makes up for it by not charging foreign exchange fees and offering no-limit cash back on all purchases.

    Perks and Benefits 

    • 1% cash back on all purchases
    • No foreign exchange fees
    • No limit on how much cash back you can earn every year
    • Zero Liability policy
    • Accepted wherever Visa is accepted

Brim Financial Mastercard

Great for milestone bonuses and cash back rates at partner airlines
  • Annual Fee
    $0
  • Interest Rate
    19.99% on purchases, 21.50% on cash advanes
  • Welcome Bonus
    N/A
  • Rec. Credit Score
    725+
  • Features & Benefits

    • Earn $200 in First Time Bonuses when purchasing at partner stores
    • No foreign transaction fees
    • No annual fee
    • Manage your card through the Brim app. Freeze your card, lock purchases in foreign currencies, or lock online purchases
    • Instant purchase notifications, insights into your monthly spendings, and instant card lock for all of your secondary cards
  • Pros & Cons

    Why we like it

    Great for milestone bonuses and cash back rates at partner airlines

    Pros

    • Earn up to $200 in bonuses when reaching certain milestones
    • No foreign exchange fees when purchasing abroad or online
    • Earn up to 3% cash back from partner airlines (Lufthansa, Etihad, Avianca, Emirates)
    • Complimentary access to free global Wi-Fi through the Boingo Wi-Fi network
    • Comprehensive travel and medical insurance
    • Free access to budgeting tools

    Cons

    • High credit score to qualify (at least 725)
    • Low base earn rate (1% back)
  • More Details

    Bonuses and fees 

    The Brim Financial Mastercard is a no-fee travel card that offers cash back when booking flights with one of their partner airlines. Additionally, you can earn up to $200 in first-time bonuses, for example, when you book your first flight. 

    Despite not charging an annual fee, the Brim Financial card does require a good credit score of at least 725.

    Rewards

    With this card, you can earn points on every purchase. Here are the rates:

    • 3% cash back on eligible flights (Etihad, Avianca, Emirates, and Lufthansa)
    • 1% cash back everywhere else

    Perks and benefits

    • No foreign transaction fees
    • Access to the Boingo Wi-Fi network worldwide
    • Seasonal offers and promotional cash back rates

    Insurance 

    The Brim Financial Mastercard offers insurance on certain categories, despite not charging any annual fee:

    • Common carrier accident insurance
    • Mobile device insurance
    • Extended warranty

Pros & Cons Of Credit Cards With No Foreign Transaction Fees

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • 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.

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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%

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.

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