Your Credit’s Card’s Travel Tax

How much is your credit card charging you when you purchase something in another country? Take a look at this excellent conversion fee chart from Bankrate.com to find out.

If you’re not holding the right card, you’re most likely getting socked for a 3 percent fee every time you use plastic. Look at this as a private tax or just a bank putting its fingers in your pocket, but the result is the same. On top of the money they are making from merchant charges and currency exchange profits, they are slapping you with an extra charge just to grab another piece of every transaction.

I mostly use my American Express since, hey, 2 percent beats 3 percent and I like their mileage earnings deal. But I finally broke down and applied for a Capital One credit card yesterday. I figured out that I charge between $2K and $3K a year outside my home country, which even at 2 percent translates to between $40 and $60 annually. That’ll buy at least 10 street food meals or enough Mexican beers to leave me legless for several weekends. So I’m done. Time to get back to zero.

Comments
  1. Shreesh Taskar

    Hi Tim,

    I am going through this very SAME process myself. I noticed that CapitalOne had several options – do you know which one is the best for International Travel?

  2. tim

    I think the same policy applies to all of them and their rewards program (which is a whole other subject) is uniform. Bankrate.com (linked above) is a great resource for this kind of research though, with lots of comments from users.

  3. Lyndel Liming

    This is a real eye-opener. I had a Capital One account some time back and closed it for some reason (not a bad one). I guess I will have to re-apply.

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