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Foreign Transaction Fees...a First w/the Fidelity VISA card
Old 11-14-2016, 02:27 PM   #1
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Foreign Transaction Fees...a First w/the Fidelity VISA card

Just received my statement and for the first time in 14 years, was assessed a foreign transaction fee when the transaction was in US$. Foreign country, yes, but transaction was in US$ and I have never, ever been charged a foreign transaction fee on charges made in this Caribbean country, using AmEx and Visa cards. Thank goodness I didn't buy any diamond jewelry this year...would have been really pissed with that charge . This with the Fidelity Visa card.
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Old 11-14-2016, 02:46 PM   #2
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It's why I use my Cap One Venture for foreign travel... No foreign transaction fees. Same with the schwab ATM (plus no atm fees.)
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Old 11-14-2016, 03:00 PM   #3
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Maybe "transaction in US$" is a clue?

One is supposed to make sure charges are in the local currency and let the credit card company do the exchange conversion. Some foreign vendors will do the charge in US$ and use their own exchange rates & fees. This is a well-known scam.
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Old 11-14-2016, 03:10 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TrvlBug View Post
Just received my statement and for the first time in 14 years, was assessed a foreign transaction fee when the transaction was in US$. Foreign country, yes, but transaction was in US$ and I have never, ever been charged a foreign transaction fee on charges made in this Caribbean country, using AmEx and Visa cards. Thank goodness I didn't buy any diamond jewelry this year...would have been really pissed with that charge . This with the Fidelity Visa card.
1. The Fidelity VISA charges a 1% foreign transaction fee, just like the old one. Many credit cards have higher fees than that. A few credit cards are available with 0% foreign transaction fees and we always use those when traveling.

And

2. If you accepted a charge in USD rather than in the local currency you got slapped with a poor conversion rate. This is a trap tourists sometimes fall into and not the fault of your card. We are always careful to have charges made in the local currency to avoid fees.

These are a couple of the gotchas international travelers quickly learn to avoid. Chalk it up to learning experience?
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Old 11-14-2016, 04:33 PM   #5
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audreyh1's post above summed it up nicely.

FWIW, some of us have opened a Schwab Bank account just for traveling purposes. No FTFs and all ATM fees are reimbursed, plus you get a good rate. I always use my Schwab debit card at ATMs overseas, and I made it a point on a couple of recent European trips to check XE.com to find the actual spot rates on the days I did. The conversion rates were so close to the actual rates that I know I was getting the best possible. deal.

One more point: I have long made it a practice to get enough local cash to pay for almost everything that way when I travel. It eliminates my worry about getting a credit card number ripped off by a restaurant server or similar transaction.
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Old 11-14-2016, 06:38 PM   #6
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1. The Fidelity VISA charges a 1% foreign transaction fee, just like the old one.
My point being the old (Fidelity AmEx) one DIDN'T charge the fee. NONE of my cc's charge the fee on (foreign country) charges made in US$. IIRC they do if the charge is in local currency; I'll call tomorrow to make sure my recall is correct. It's been a few years since I've had a charge in non US$. They are such small $ that I don't worry about having a cc just for overseas travel. It's hard enough to keep track with which card offers which bens.
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Old 11-14-2016, 09:24 PM   #7
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My point being the old (Fidelity AmEx) one DIDN'T charge the fee. NONE of my cc's charge the fee on (foreign country) charges made in US$. IIRC they do if the charge is in local currency; I'll call tomorrow to make sure my recall is correct. It's been a few years since I've had a charge in non US$. They are such small $ that I don't worry about having a cc just for overseas travel. It's hard enough to keep track with which card offers which bens.
I expect that it did - 1%. The foreign transaction fee for the old Fidelity AmEx was 1%, well documented. With the 2% rebate, that effectively reduces the rebate to 1% for foreign charges. Not that bad really compared to most cards, but you can get a better deal. [Plus few locations in Europe accept AmEx - mostly the larger chain hotels]

You will not see a foreign transaction fee if a charge from a foreign country is made in US$ - HOWEVER - the exchange rate will be much worse than the normal VISA exchange rate. Probably at least 3% of the transaction. You have to pay attention to the exchange rate used. But it you didn't note it at the time of payment, it will be invisible. This is truly a buyer beware scenario. If you aren't aware of the exchange rate while you are traveling overseas, and you can't compare the charge in the foreign currency versus the charge in US$, you'll have no idea what premium you are paying for the conversion.
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