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Old 02-11-2013, 11:33   #1
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Canadian credit card search

I'm researching which credit cards to leave Canada with. Am looking for low/no fee cards, and especially those offering zero foreign currency transaction fees. This is a common offering in the US, but seems to be rare for Canadian institutions.

The four I've found are:
Are there other options I'm missing?
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Old 02-11-2013, 11:36   #2
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Re: Canadian credit card search

Have you checked the Credit Unions? I don't know if they have foreign transaction fees or not but the cards are no fee.
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Old 02-11-2013, 11:46   #3
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Re: Canadian credit card search

Discover Card/Diners Club...has no exchange transaction fees for foreign travel. You MUST notify their 800 number prior to going overseas about your destinations and for how long. If you do not tell them beforehand, they'll reject ALL your foreign transactions; they'll think someone hacked your account.

The new Discover Card, includes Diners Club Card's logo on its back as well as PULSE's ATM logo; outstanding customer service.

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Old 02-11-2013, 11:54   #4
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Discover Card/Diners Club...has no exchange transaction fees for foreign travel. You MUST notify their 800 number prior to going overseas about your destinations and for how long. If you do not tell them beforehand, they'll reject ALL your foreign transactions; they'll think someone hacked your account.

The new Discover Card, includes Diners Club Card's logo on its back as well as PULSE's ATM logo; outstanding customer service.

Mauritz
Virtually no one accepts Discover card or Diners Club cards anymore.

To the OP, what I did was open up a US bank account with Bank of America and then got one of their credit cards. It solves all the issues of transaction fees on foreign exchange, although obviously you can't avoid the dollar difference is as they happen. I tend to transfer X number of dollars to my American account on a periodic basis.

Although I got the American credit card to facilitate purchases when I am in the USA, I found it also has been helpful in purchasing things of both Amazon and eBay. Maybe something you want to consider.
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Old 02-11-2013, 12:13   #5
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Re: Canadian credit card search

Hiya AVB! Go to Discover's website and you'll find that it is accepted in ALL industrialized countries, including much of the Caribbean. (Disclaimer: Not affiliated with Discover card in any capacity.)

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Old 02-11-2013, 12:20   #6
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Re: Canadian credit card search

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Originally Posted by avb3 View Post
Virtually no one accepts Discover card or Diners Club cards anymore.

To the OP, what I did was open up a US bank account with Bank of America and then got one of their credit cards. It solves all the issues of transaction fees on foreign exchange, although obviously you can't avoid the dollar difference is as they happen. I tend to transfer X number of dollars to my American account on a periodic basis.

Although I got the American credit card to facilitate purchases when I am in the USA, I found it also has been helpful in purchasing things of both Amazon and eBay. Maybe something you want to consider.
This is a very good idea. Reason is that BofA is all over the USA (HQ in North Carolina IIRC, BIG building still in San Francisco), so you can get cash from an ATM almost anywhere when you need cash, too. We had considered dropping BofA because of their predatory practices and "too big to fail" approach, but couldn't justify having to pay fees for cash when traveling, and we do a lot of that.

My wife's Canadian, so we always have a looney around for shopping carts!
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Old 02-11-2013, 12:29   #7
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Re: Canadian credit card search

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Originally Posted by DeepFrz View Post
Have you checked the Credit Unions? I don't know if they have foreign transaction fees or not but the cards are no fee.
This would be my first choice DeepFrz since that's how we currently bank, but as far as I can tell they all have foreign transaction fees.
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Old 02-11-2013, 12:40   #8
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Re: Canadian credit card search

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Virtually no one accepts Discover card or Diners Club cards anymore.
That is my experience up here as well. Not sure about in the US or Caribbean, but it is rare to find places accepting Discover in my part of Canada. It's definitely the distant fourth option in the list: VISA, MC, AMEX and then Discover. Heck, I've given up on my AMEX b/c of the increasing lack of acceptance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by avb3 View Post
To the OP, what I did was open up a US bank account with Bank of America and then got one of their credit cards. It solves all the issues of transaction fees on foreign exchange, although obviously you can't avoid the dollar difference is as they happen. I tend to transfer X number of dollars to my American account on a periodic basis.
Thanks AVB, this sounds like a good solution, but if the cards I cited offer no fees, then do you think there's any real difference? I suppose you can be more strategic about currency transfers. Better access to local ATMs I suppose?
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Old 02-11-2013, 12:44   #9
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Mike, also if you're transferring Canadian dollars into US bank account, I've used this service. They have a far better rate of service charges than any of the Canadian banks that I found.

http://www.canadianforex.ca

The procedure to register is somewhat time consuming, because they verify who you are including a telephone interview before they allow you to transfer funds. I guess this is to avoid fraudulent and money laundering activities. However once you are registered the transfers go thru quite smoothly although they're not immediate. It normally takes two to three days before funds show up in your American bank account.
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Old 02-11-2013, 12:50   #10
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That is my experience up here as well. Not sure about in the US or Caribbean, but it is rare to find places accepting Discover in my part of Canada. It's definitely the distant fourth option in the list: VISA, MC, AMEX and then Discover. Heck, I've given up on my AMEX b/c of the increasing lack of acceptance.

Thanks AVB, this sounds like a good solution, but if the cards I cited offer no fees, then do you think there's any real difference? I suppose you can be more strategic about currency transfers. Better access to local ATMs I suppose?
My experience with Canadian credit cards is that they do not give you a good rate of exchange, even if there are no fees attached. I have found that it is sometimes flaky to get funds out of an ATM even if the Canadian credit card is part of the same payment system as the American ATM. I have no idea why that is, it just happens.

There's no question if you're using something like a Bank of America card, you have access almost anywhere. The nice part is, that you can also go to any branch, and get a cashier's check if you are contemplating a major purchase.
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Old 02-11-2013, 13:00   #11
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Re: Canadian credit card search

Might consider the top level account at TD. It includes a no fee for anything credit card, plus you can get a US dollar account and US dollar credit card and no charge for foreign currency drafts. The monthly fee is quite high but if you keep a minimum balance ($5000?) there is no fee. The money in this account is our emergency fund before we need to consider selling mutual funds etc for a really big emergency.

I agree that only Visa or MasterCard make sense with one being more popular in some countries and the other in some. American Express is often not accepted and I can't remember seeing a Discovercard sign in many places except big tourist spots. You do have to call the credit card number to tell them where you will be so they do not reject a transaction. It was fun telling them we would be in St Helena and Ascension I and having to explain where they were - I assume you can use a card to get a meal but we are taking some pounds just in case.
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Old 02-11-2013, 13:12   #12
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Re: Canadian credit card search

Everybody charges you for currency conversion. There may not be a 'transaction fee' (for example a flat $2.00 in addition to the purchase) but everybody will charge a certain percentage for the currency conversion.
I have a CIBC VISA card and I do not pay a flat fee above the regular conversion fee.
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Old 02-11-2013, 13:17   #13
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Re: Canadian credit card search

Some thoughts... Bank of America is a "sister" bank with:

Banco Santander - that covers you in Mexico and Central America;

Scotia Bank - that covers you in the Caribbean.

As "sister" banks, you can use their ATMs to access your BofA account for cash without paying fees to anyone. Reciprocal courtesy.

CapitalOne Visa card does not charge international transaction fees. And with online access, you can make the CapOne payments by direct draw against the BofA account.

Also, with CapOne we set up an automatic payment of USD 25 from the BofA account, just to avoid late fees/problems should we find ourselves without WiFi for a little while. Otherwise, we just pay in full each month.

For nine years now we've got along just dandy using our BofA and CapOne arrangements. Fees: Zero. {Caveat: in the south Pacific we added an ANZ account.}

Then again, as a Canadian you might already have a Scotia Bank arrangement so already have access to the ATMs of BofA and Banco Santander.

Hope that helps!

James

{There are other visa cards like that but sorry, can't remember which.}

EDIT: There are no "conversion fees" with CapOne. The exchange rate charged is fairly close to what we find here: http://www.x-rates.com/calculator/?f...o=USD&amount=1
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Old 02-11-2013, 13:44   #14
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Re: Canadian credit card search

1. Open a US $ bank account (Canada Trust)
2. Get a US $ credit card (Canada Trust) $35 per annum
3. Buy US $ from a foreign exchange dealer (Much better than bank prices) and deposit in account.

This is the cheapest way to do it.
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Old 02-11-2013, 13:58   #15
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Re: Canadian credit card search

Quote:
Originally Posted by AiniA View Post
Might consider the top level account at TD. It includes a no fee for anything credit card, plus you can get a US dollar account and US dollar credit card and no charge for foreign currency drafts. The monthly fee is quite high but if you keep a minimum balance ($5000?) there is no fee. The money in this account is our emergency fund before we need to consider selling mutual funds etc for a really big emergency.
Are you sure there are no foreign currency transfer fees AiniA. The info I can find on their website says they will waive credit card annual fees if the $5,000 is maintained, but does not mention (that I can find) that this 2.5% transaction fee is waived.

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Everybody charges you for currency conversion. There may not be a 'transaction fee' (for example a flat $2.00 in addition to the purchase) but everybody will charge a certain percentage for the currency conversion.
I have a CIBC VISA card and I do not pay a flat fee above the regular conversion fee.
According to CIBC's credit Card info, they do charge the standard 2.5% Foreign Currency Conversion Fee: "You are charged a fee of 2.5% of the converted amount, on both debits and credits; this fee is charged on the posting date (for MasterCard Transactions) or on currency conversion (for Visa Transactions)."


Quote:
Originally Posted by svmariane View Post
Some thoughts... Bank of America is a "sister" bank with:

Banco Santander - that covers you in Mexico and Central America;

Scotia Bank - that covers you in the Caribbean.

As "sister" banks, you can use their ATMs to access your BofA account for cash without paying fees to anyone. Reciprocal courtesy....

Then again, as a Canadian you might already have a Scotia Bank arrangement so already have access to the ATMs of BofA and Banco Santander.
Thanks svmariane. Scotia Bank does seem to be the one we should go with.
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