Choosing a Right No Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Card in Canada

Last Updated on

no foreign transaction fee credit card canadaTravelling to a foreign country gets expensive. You’ve got to pay for your airline tickets, hotel room, car rentals, food purchases, and not to mention, pricey tickets to local attractions. But even if you’ve done your research and correctly budgeted for all of these amounts, you’re bound to forget about a few extra charges. But one of the biggest travel expenses that often gets missed is the foreign transaction fees on your credit card.  Fortunately, there are several no foreign transaction fee credit cards in Canada, and today we’re reviewing our top picks.

The Best No Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Cards in 2019

What Are Foreign Transaction Fees?

Foreign transaction fees are that annoying 2.5% charge you get on your credit card every time you make a purchase in a foreign currency. That means you get dinged every time you buy something that's not in Canadian dollars, even if you're shopping online from the comfort of your couch. It might not seem like a lot, but these charges can accumulate quickly and really cost you in the long-run. Plus, you have to pay the exchange rate as well. Wowsers.

Why Use a No Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Card

Foreign transaction fees are a fee charged by your credit card company when you make purchases at a non-Canadian retailer. Foreign transaction fees are applied to purchases that you make in a foreign currency, whether you are out of the country or not. The fees are charged as a percentage of your purchase and are usually baked into the exchange rate, so you may not even notice that you are paying a few percentage points on every purchase you make in foreign currency.

While a few percentage points here and there may not sound like much, if you’re a power traveller or small business owner who regularly makes purchases in foreign currency, those few points could add up to hundreds of dollars.

The Best No Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Cards in Canada

Scotiabank Passport™ Visa Infinite* Card

Scotia-Passport-Visa-Infinite-243Annual fee: $139
Income Eligibility: $60,000 personal income or $100,000 household annual income or at least $250,000 in assets under management
Interest Rate: 19.99%

Our top pick is the Scotiabank Passport™ Visa Infinite* Card. This credit card wins big points because, on top of charging no foreign transaction fees, it’s also one of the best travel rewards credit cards in Canada. With this credit card, you’ll earn:

  • Scotia Rewards points per $1 spent on eligible grocery stores, dining, entertainment purchases, and daily transit purchases (including taxis, buses, and subway tokens).
  • Scotia Rewards point per $1 spent on everything else.
  • Earn up to 35,000 bonus Scotia Rewards points in your first year (that’s up to $350 towards travel!)
  • No foreign transaction fees

Plus, as a cardholder, you are always eligible to earn an annual 10,000 Scotia Rewards point bonus when you spend at least $40,000 in everyday eligible purchases annually on your Scotiabank Passport™ Visa Infinite* Card account. Another perk of this credit card is free Priority Pass membership that includes six free visits per year to airport lounges worldwide. Of course, the no foreign exchange fee markup on purchases made in foreign currency at home or abroad also has major appeal.

Click here to apply for the Scotiabank Passport™ Visa Infinite* Card.

Scotiabank Gold American Express® Card

scotiabank gold amexAnnual fee: $120
Income Eligibility: Minimum $12,000 annual income
Interest Rate: 19.99%

The Scotiabank Gold American Express® Card is not only one of the best travel credit cards in Canada, but it's also the only major bank that saves you 2.5% on foreign transaction fees. That means you will not pay 2.5% foreign transaction fees on any foreign currency purchases, including online shopping and when travelling abroad — only the exchange rate applies. A huge cost-cutting perk! With this card, you'll also get:

  • Scotia Rewards points for every $1 spent on eligible grocery stores, restaurants, fast food, and drinking establishments.
  • Scotia Rewards points per $1 spent on eligible gas, daily transit, and select streaming services.
  • Scotia Rewards point per $1 spent on any other purchases.
  • Up to 30,000 bonus Scotia Rewards points in your first year (that’s up to $300 in rewards)

What's also exceptional about this credit card is the flexibility in rewards redemption. All you have to do is login to the system and select the “Apply Points to Travel” option. Then just use your accumulated points to offset any travel cost (flights, rental cars, hotels, etc.) charged on your credit card. It’s that easy – no black-out periods or mind-boggling restrictions.

Learn more about the Scotiabank Gold American Express® Card

Home Trust Preferred Visa

Home Trust Preferred VisaAnnual fee: $0
Minimum Income: None
Interest Rate: 19.99%

If you want to save on foreign transaction fees, but you aren’t ready to pay a high annual fee for a credit card, the Home Trust Preferred Visa is an excellent option. This credit card has no annual fee or minimum income requirement and allows you to earn 1% cash back on every purchase. Perks of this credit card include roadside assistance and car rental collision insurance. There are no foreign currency fees charged on purchases made abroad.

A heads up: The Home Trust Preferred Visa isn’t available to residents of Quebec and has a daily transaction limit of 10 purchases per day. It also doesn’t allow tap payments. These are small drawbacks, but may be worth reconsidering if you use your credit card for a high volume of purchases per day, or you live in Quebec.

Click here to apply for the Home Trust Preferred Visa 

Rogers™ World Elite Mastercard®

Rogers-World-Elite-Mastercard-243Annual fee: $0
Minimum Income: $80,000 per year personal income, $150,000 per year family income
Interest Rate: 19.99%

While the Rogers™ World Elite Mastercard® isn’t technically a no foreign transaction fee credit card, it wins a spot on the list because their rewards structure renders it essentially a no foreign transaction fee credit card. This credit card lets you earn:

  • 4% cash back on all eligible purchases made in foreign currency
  • 2% cash back on Rogers products and services
  • 1.75% cash back on everything else.

There is a 2.5% foreign transaction fee, which is offset by the 4% cash back, for a net positive of 1.5% cash back. Plus, redemption couldn't be easier: using the Mastercard® Pay with Rewards™ app on your smartphone, instantly apply your cash back rewards towards any eligible purchase you've made in the past 90 days on your credit card, with a minimum purchase of $20. Super simple! You’re also entitled to a free supplementary card, allowing you to earn more cash back per year.

Click here to apply for the Rogers™ World Elite Mastercard® 

Rogers Platinum Mastercard®

Rogers™-Platinum-Mastercard®_243x153Annual fee: $0
Minimum Income: $15,000 per year personal income
Interest Rate: 19.99%



The Rogers™ Platinum Mastercard® is another good option from Rogers, with their cash back on foreign currency outweighing their foreign currency transaction fees. With this credit card, you’ll earn:

  • 3% unlimited cash back on purchases made in foreign currency
  • 2% unlimited cash back on Rogers products
  • 1.25% unlimited cash back on all other eligible purchases.

This credit card also offers a free supplementary card, and the 2.5% foreign transaction fee is offset by the 3% cash back on purchases, for a net positive reward. As a sign-up bonus, you get $25 in cash back rewards when you make your first card purchase within 3 months of receiving your card.

Click here to apply for the Rogers™ Platinum Mastercard®

Comparison: Best No Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Cards in 2019

Credit Card Annual Fee Special Card FeatureMore Info
Scotiabank Passport™ Visa Infinite* Card$139Up to 35,000 bonus Scotia Rewards points in your first yearLearn More
Scotiabank Gold American Express® Card$120Earn up to 30,000 bonus Scotia Rewards points in your first year Learn More
Home Trust Preferred Visa $0NoneLearn More
Rogers™ World Elite Mastercard®$0Get $25 in cash back rewards when you make your first card purchase within 3 months of receiving your cardLearn More
Rogers™ Platinum Mastercard®$0Get $25 in cash back rewards when you make your first card purchase within 3 months of receiving your cardLearn More

No Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Card vs. Cash

When travelling abroad, it's smart to carry a bit of cash in your wallet (usually $100 or less), which you can use for small purchases, taxi rides, public transit rides, and tips. But travelling with a big wad of cash is never a good idea. There's no replacement if you misplace your money and zero recourse if you get robbed. You're out of luck! Since credit cards are widely accepted worldwide, why not use a no foreign transaction fee credit card instead? You'll get the benefit of purchase protection, and you can put a hold or cancel your card if it's stolen or lost while travelling. Plus, with some credit cards, you'll rack up cash back or travel rewards that you can put towards your next vacation.

The Bottom Line

Whether you’re a small business owner who spends thousands of dollars on foreign currency purchases every year, or you’re a traveller looking to minimize the unexpected costs incurred while travelling abroad, one of the no foreign transaction fee credit cards listed above will suit your needs. Bon Voyage, readers!

The Best Credit Cards by Category:

The following two tabs change content below.

Jordann Brown

Jordann Brown is a millennial money expert and personal finance blogger based in Nova Scotia, Canada. Jordann is the founder of the popular personal finance blog, My Alternate Life, and she frequently appears as an expert in Canada media.


  1. Alex Givant on March 25, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    I have Amazon card. When you get 2000 points they just credit your account with $20.

  2. Ken on March 26, 2013 at 2:12 pm

    I have the Sears Financial Voyage. It pays for itself. Very useful if you are a homeowner.

  3. Derek on March 27, 2013 at 11:06 am

    You forgot the Sears Financial

  4. Rob Parsons on March 29, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    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 was pretty much books only, that has changed considerably. It probably still isn’t as comprehensive as, 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!



  5. Tom on March 29, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    When was this article written? There is lots to buy on beyond books. Did you even look at their website?

  6. Justin on March 29, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    Hey Tom, I think what she was getting at is that doesn’t come close to their American counterpart. Although 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, but its getting there!

  7. Tom on March 29, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    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.

  8. Justin on March 29, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    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.

  9. punrun on June 30, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    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; 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.

  10. Paul on March 27, 2017 at 10:05 am

    My bank in Canada said if I use the visa in Europe.. I will not pay the 2.5 international fee but could be hit twice on conversion fees? US to Canadian and Kronos to Canadian? Does this make sense? Anyone?

  11. Daryle on April 5, 2018 at 12:15 pm

    It appears that, as of March 2018, the VISA is no longer in operation.

Leave a Comment

> >