Canadian Credit Cards that Don’t Have Currency Conversion Fees

If you’re addicted to traveling like I am, you probably make sure you carry a Visa and a Mastercard where ever you go (you’d be surprised how many places overseas don’t accept Mastercard).  This might be great especially if you head down to the United States often and go cross border shopping at the outlets, buying gas, or just shopping and sight seeing.

Currency conversion fees are 2.5% of your purchase, on top of the possibly mediocre currency conversion rate you have to pay.  This can really add up if you’re traveling on a budget.

There are a few new credit cards on the block that don’t have the currency conversion fees so may save you some money on your next trip abroad.  All of these cards are provided from JP Morgan Chase Bank.

Amazon.ca Visa

Pros:

  • It’s from Chase Bank and the card is a pretty shade of green
  • You get $15 off your next purchase on Amazon.ca.  That means you can get a good discount off of Fifty Shades of Grey!  Haha
  • No annual fee
  • Rewards points 2 points for $1 spent that is spent on Amazon.ca (2% cash back)
  • 1 Reward point for every $1 spent elsewhere (1% cash back)
  • You automatically get a statement credit once you hit the magic number of points for $20 cash back

Cons:

  • Note that the 2 rewards points are for Amazon.ca not Amazon.com.  There’s nothing to buy on Amazon.ca except for books!  Unless you plan on buying an entire library full of Lonely Planet Amazon.ca acquired books (which is a personal dream of mine, by the way), the ability to get more points is probably not that great.

Marriott Rewards Premier Visa

Pros

  • You get 30,000 bonus points on your first purchase
  • You get one free hotel stay in a category 1-4 after your card is approved
  • 5 points for every $1 purchase at Marriotts
  • 2 points for every $1 for travel and leisure related purchases (airlines, car rentals, restaurants)
  • 1 point for every $1 spent for everything else
  • Annual fee is waived the first year
  • Annual gift for a category 1-5 Marriott hotel stay on your anniversary date
  • Free extra cards for family etc.
  • No foreign conversion fees (the conversion rate is set by Visa International so it’s standard)
  • Auto rental collision waiver is included

Cons:

  • It has an annual fee of $120 after the first year of use
  • The design on the card isn’t as sexy as my first love, the American Express SPG Card, which isn’t very good for a hotel chain credit card ;)

Sears Financial Voyage Mastercard

Pros:

  • 2500 Sears Club Points awarded on your first purchase
  • You get 3 points for every $1 spent on Sears Travel
  • 2 points for every $1 spent at Sears (appliances, anyone?)
  • 1.5 points for every $1 on groceries, gas, and travel other than Sears travel
  • 1 point for every $1 on everything else
  • Using the points to pay for Sears Travel, the taxes and other fees are all included
  • Free additional cards
  • Free car rental insurance
  • No foreign currency conversion charge of course

Cons:

  • Annual fee of $39
  • It’s not cash back and you’re limited to stuff from Sears (which is great if you want to buy more appliances or furniture of course!)

If the Amazon.ca card allowed points to be accumulated for Amazon.com purchases, I would probably definitely get that card especially since there’s no annual fee.  If you think about it though, it can be a pretty good deal since if you spend $1000 in the United States (which is pretty easy to do if you buy big ticket items to pick up over the border), or buy plane tickets or bus tickets when you go to Europe, that’s a $25 savings.  The Sears Financial Voyage Mastercard basically pays for itself in a sense.

I personally don’t do enough cross border shopping to make getting yet another credit card justifiable, but I will definitely think about it.  I’ve been a bit burned because I got a debit card through Citizens Bank (a credit union) in the past that had no currency conversion fees and did not charge you the foreign ATM fee ($5) every time I withdrew money.  I loved the card but it was short lived because the bank shut the program down lol.

Readers, do you have one of these cards?  What do you think about them?

About

Young is a writer and former owner of Young and Thrifty and the main "twitter' behind Young and Thrifty's twitter account. She lives in Vancouver, BC and enjoys long walks on the beach, spending time with her anxious dog, and finding good deals. If you like what you read, consider signing up for email updates.

10 Responses to Canadian Credit Cards that Don’t Have Currency Conversion Fees

  1. Very informative article. I really resent the 2.5% foreign conversion fee I pay on all my credit cards and so I may very well look into getting one of these. One quick correction, though. While it was certainly true in the past that Amazon.ca was pretty much books only, that has changed considerably. It probably still isn’t as comprehensive as Amazon.com, but there are many things available on it beyond books–electronics, software, home & garden, tools & building supplies and more. Check out their home page and you’ll see the full menu on the upper left side of the page. So this removes the one “con” from the list, and this would likely be the credit card I would pursue.

    Again, very informative article and I really appreciate it!

    Cheers,

    Rob

    • Hey Tom, I think what she was getting at is that amazon.ca doesn’t come close to their American counterpart. Although Amazon.ca just announced that they were going to start carrying the same essentials you can find at Shoppers Drugmart. Things like laundry detergent, toothpaste, etc. Its still not as good as Amazon.com, but its getting there!

      • Yes, but hopefully they will get the products and prices of the US site. I recently bought a TV antenna from the .ca site, and was quite pleased with the price and free shipping.

        • Don’t forget about Amazon Prime! We have it in Canada but it doesn’t include the video service, something like that would really give Netflix a run for its money.

  2. I have Amazon Visa and I’m working on getting the $20 cash back by next month. The $15 off just for signing up is one of the reasons why I chose Amazon.ca; the other reason is that there are more products to buy though it cannot match its US counterpart.

    I’d rather buy electronic products in Amazon than any other shops in Canada. I never had any problem with the handling and delivery which is free for orders more than $25.

    I’m not aware of the currency conversion fee. I’m glad I’ve read your post. I started browsing the newsletter then I ended up here. This is timely because I’m traveling overseas next month. I’m going to use my Amazon Visa instead of TD Green Visa since I’m not getting any points and I haven’t check its currency conversion fee.

    One more thing I like about Chase (Amazon Visa) is the good customer service. I’ve had a problem with my account. The call that lasted a few minutes fixed it.

    According to the staff/customer service, the mobile app is intended for US only. Chase is working on providing the service in Canada and so is the downloadable statement, which by now only viewable online.

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