Author Topic: Just saved 2.5% on "everything" (for Canadians spending other currencies)  (Read 1032 times)

HenryDavid

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Not very badass at all, but still good:
if you travel outside of Canada and use a credit card, you're almost certainly paying a 2.5% fee on EVERY transaction. This is the foreign exchange fee.
Don't do that.
Last year you could have used the Marriott Visa, but they cancelled that offer. Now you can get the Guardians-of-the-Galaxy sounding sounding "Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite" with no 2.5% fee.
That 2.5% is like an extra sales tax on everything! If you spend months of the year in old Europe like we do, it adds up.
But if you avoid the fee, it does not. We use the card a lot to reduce ATM foreign-withdrawal fees (another damn fee!).
There are some less mainstream no-forex-fee visas as well, but they're a bit more work: there's a Rogers one, and a Home Trust one. The Scotia one has some other stuff like lounge access, whatever that is. Need to look into it.

See http://blog.rewardscanada.ca/2018/03/introducing-scotiabank-passport-visa.html, or look up GreedyRates.ca.

meghan88

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Thanks for posting - I was looking at the Home Trust card, which is basically the same thing I believe?

By my calculations, $4,000 spent on my regular Visa card (TD Infinite) would cost me an extra $100 over the Home Trust card.  But on the Visa Infinite, I'd get 12,000 travel points, which is worth $60.  So the net savings would be $40.

Does that sound about right?  Are there any annual fees for that Scotiabank card?  The annual fees on my Visa Infinite are waived in my case.

I am presently experimenting with opening an account in Euros with HSBC.  I think with that account, I can transfer cash from Canada to Europe through www.xe.com, which has much better FX rates than what the banks offer on currency exchange.  Moreover, I'd be able to transfer small amounts throughout the year when the rates are more favourable.  I am just starting on this, so if you or anyone is interested I can update progress in a couple of months.

PoutineLover

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Speaking of saving on travel purchases, I got the Rogers mastercard partly because of the 4% cash back rewards on foreign currency transactions. Went to double check it because I was going to mention it here, and they will be changing it to 3% this May, right before my international vacation. Ugh.
Anyway, even at 3%, with the foreign conversion fee of 2.5% you still make 0.5% on foreign purchases, and 1.25% on everything else. For those who don't have the 60,000 minimum personal income required for the card mentioned above, the Rogers card is a good alternative.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2018, 12:13:11 PM by PoutineLover »

HenryDavid

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There IS an annual fee for this card, offset by a sign-up bonus in year one:
"The annual fee is quite high at $139, but thatís more than covered by the welcome bonus of 25,000 points when you spend $1,000 in your first 3 months of membership (offer expires June 30th, 2018). This is an approximate cash value of $250, as 1 Scotia Rewards point equals about $0.01. Youíll need $60,000 personal income to qualify, and regular purchase interest rates are 19.99%."
https://www.greedyrates.ca/blog/best-scotiabank-credit-cards/

We plan to cancel after year one in any case as  . . . fees are bad. The annual review/overhaul of credit cards has become a habit. By next year who knows what card providers may step up with a forex-free card? But for now, there seem to be just 3 in Canada.

BTW, "You can also earn 10,000 bonus points every year that you make more than $40,000 in purchases on your card, with an extra 2,000 points for every additional $10,000 per year charged to your account, on top of your regular points."
I guess that would be good if you used it for ... work expenses?! In real life, I don't know how we'd ever get there . . ..

meghan88

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I just got word from TD that they are going to start charging 3.5%, up from 2.5%, for foreign transactions.  I'll bet that other banks will be following.

BrakeForTurtles

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Has anyone come across Brim? It's a credit card with no foreign currency fees and a few other benefits (free wifi, entry to airport lounges at the higher fee level, etc). They haven't actually launched yet, but they're saying "Spring", and that they'll process all applications at that time. I've applied for the free version of the card just to see how it goes.

The link above contains my referral code, which benefits both sides with rewards points if you open an account.

meghan88

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Has anyone come across Brim? It's a credit card with no foreign currency fees and a few other benefits (free wifi, entry to airport lounges at the higher fee level, etc). They haven't actually launched yet, but they're saying "Spring", and that they'll process all applications at that time. I've applied for the free version of the card just to see how it goes.

The link above contains my referral code, which benefits both sides with rewards points if you open an account.

Just started reading about it today.  I found a link with a variety of card options being discussed: 

http://www.rewardscanada.ca/NoFXFees/

But I can't seem to find a table that compares all three Brim cards.

If I sign up, I will use your link.  Anyhoo, there's no way am I paying 3.5% in forex fees.