Best Foreign Exchange Cards

If you often travel outside of Canada or if you are an online-shopping aficionado, picking the best foreign exchange credit card is essential. Most credit cards in Canada add a big foreign exchange premium – think 2.5-3% – on top of the approximate 0.5% rate charged by the credit card issuers.

Top 3 Foreign Exchange Cards

CardBenefitApply

Chase Marriott Rewards® Premier Visa®
No foreign transaction chargeApply NowReview

Rogers Platinum MasterCard
3% cash back on transactions in a foreign currencyApply NowReview

Amazon.ca Rewards Visa
Unmatchable foreign exchange fees*N/AReview

Luckily, there are a few cards that waive the premium entirely, leaving you to pay the exact same rate paid by the largest international money exchangers in the world, Visa and Mastercard!

No Fee Foreign Exchange Cards

So, there are three cards offering zero fees on foreign exchange – The Rogers Platinum Mastercard, the Marriott Rewards Premier Visa, and the Amazon.ca Rewards Visa. Any card is an improvement over paying 2.5%, but these cards can stand on their own right as well. Depending on whether you prefer a cashback card or a travel reward card, we recommend either the Rogers or the Marriott, respectively. We’ve got the Amazon card at number three due to a lower Cashback rate, but it also has some interesting advantages.

In a sentence we find ourselves repeating across the site, the Marriott Premier Visa oozes value. Your first year’s fee is waived and you are given 30,000 bonus points upon activation, good for a number of free nights at any hotels under the Marriott (or Sheraton) property umbrella. Whilst enjoying your free nights, charge anything you want on the card and enjoy interbank exchange rates, baby. On top of that, you get points on those purchases – with boosts in those categories most likely to be used whilst on vacation – marriott or SPG hotels, travel expenses, and restaurants. The drawback is your domestic spend rates – 1 Marriott point per dollar spent is not a grand bargain. But really, this card is meant for foreign spending anyways, isn’t it?

Rogers offers an almost-best-in-market cashback rate on domestic purchases however – 1.75% across the board. And if you precharge any Rogers bill your annual fee – itself a meagre $26 – will be waived each and every year. It’s waived year one regardless, and you are given $25 on card activation.

Whence traveling abroad, your cashback rate is bumped to 4% – so enough to pay the 2.5% fee charged plus an additional 1.5%! That is enough to cover ALL foreign exchange costs with 1% cash back for the privilege.

*Update: On March 2018 the Amazon Rewards Visa closed to all customers. This news is a blow to anyone that relied on 0% foreign transaction. This card has slowly lot’s it’s grips in the Canadian market. As of Apr 2017 Chase Canada announced that Amazon.ca Rewards Visa was not longer available to new customers.

First, the Amazon card has no annual fee and comes with a $20 amazon coupon, which is nice – less nice than either the Rogers or Marriott, but nice nonetheless. Our big gripe with the Amazon card is its cashback rate – it gives 2% only on amazon.ca purchases, 1% everywhere else. I mean, that is great for Amazon.ca fanatics, but not so swell for people using the card for purchases abroad – which is why you want a 0% foreign exchange rate card to begin with. That means the Rogers Card offers better cash back across the board – everywhere but Amazon, and half a percent more when spending abroad.

However, the big advantage with Amazon.ca is that the exchange rate extends to ABM withdrawals, which is quite important if you use a lot of cash abroad. (Which you should try to avoid – It can get stolen and you don’t get the cashback rates).

Closing Balance

We have laid out our arguments for the Rogers or Marriott card being co-best in show, depending on which reward type suits your fancy. The missing piece is really getting some travel insurance included as well, which seems appropriate for a no-exchange-rate card. Be that as it may, pick up the Marriott or Rogers card and never pay premium for overseas purchases again!

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