Overseas Travel Surprise
We've been fortunate enough to travel with a regular frequency. Everything from Hawaii to Alaska to more far flung locales like Panama, Costa Rica, Cayman Islands, and more. Canada is our neighbor so we make it up there at least once a year.
Until two years ago - we took a ski hiatus and went to the US sun instead.
So when I booked our ski vacation to Whistler this year, I was shocked when the credit card bill came back. Yes, the dollar amount was correct (even though the exchange rate was not what it used to be). But there were two extra fees included that added up to $47. I marched into the bank and demanded they be removed immediately. Without batting an eye, I was told "no".
Fine then. I left (swearing I was closing that account with that establishment) and went home to do some research. What I found changed some of our overseas travel plans.
The charge was a Foreign Transaction Fee. It appears when I use my credit card and the bank has to do a currency conversion (in this case US to Canadian). Because both the deposit and final payment was on the same bill, I had two of them, adding up to my $47. I found out that this particular bank not only charged the 1% Visa/Mastercard fee, but another 2% was added by our bank - making 3% in fees. It doesn't sound like a lot, but my $47 could have purchase a couple extra "I've Been to Canada" t-shirts.
For that trip, we used the credit cards for our local credit union which only charged the 1% put on by Visa/Mastercard, but no bank fees. From research and family experience, there is one card that doesn't charge, but only one that I've found.
So plan your overseas finances carefully, making small purchases with cash. When you do have to use the card, remember another fee will come with the bank statement.
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Photo credits: Jcimagery.