CC best suited for foreign currency transactions? | Australian Frequent Flyer
Australian Frequent Flyer

Welcome to Australia's leading independent Frequent Flyer and Travel Resource since 1998!
Our site contains tons of information that will improve your travel experience.

Joining AFF is fast, simple & absolutely free - register now and take immediate advantage of these great BENEFITS.

Once registered, this box will disappear. And you will see fewer advertisements :)

CC best suited for foreign currency transactions?

Status
Not open for further replies.

JesterinOz

Newbie
Joined
Feb 11, 2005
Messages
6
Greetings All,

I have been doing a bit a research (or attempting too anyway) into the Australian based credit card that is the most favourable for foreign currency withdrawals or transactions.

I currently have an Amex gold charge card (with ascent) and with the Express Cash option linked to a seperate savings account in Oz. However, I am planning to spend a fair bit of time in the Americas in the coming year and would ideally like to make sure I am not being overcharged for foreign currency conversions.

My experience with the Amex gold card, for cash advances through the Express Cash option, is an ATM fee of A$1.25 and in my estimation 1.5-2% on the interbank rate of the day for US$ and Thai Baht (THB) transactions (as per www.oanda.com). I note however that the transaction based currency exchange fee varies between 1.5% for US$ transactions to around 3% for THB transactions. Whilst overall 1.5% is acceptable if Amex is charging up to 3% for less common currencies the fees can become quite significant.

The following link (abliet brief) is the best info I could find to compare the foreign exchange charges for the main Australian CC's.

http://moneymanager.smh.com.au/articles/2004/11/17/1100574497774.html

At this stage I am leaning towards getting a HSBC Gold Visa or Citibank Gold Visa. The fee free accounts at HSBC and the waived annual fee are tempting. Whilst Citibank's access in the Americas and links to the QFF program are also tempting. I did also read that MC (unlike Visa) hit you twice with non US$ currencies i.e. change the currency in US$ for a small percentage before changing it then into A$. If someone knows otherwise I would be interested to hear?

I know this has been briefly mentioned in a previous thread sometime ago, but I would be interested to hear from anyone with some experience in this area???

As a sideline also it appears that these fees are hidden away in the back corner of some websites or sometimes not at all (amex website) and it is interesting to read about the class actions in the US against Amex and Visa on this issue. These lawsuits have since been sucessfull for the consumer groups and both companies are now facing customer refunds for all forex fees collected since 1997 due to a lack of disclosure. This would be an interesting development for Australia?

http://www.lieffcabraser.com/american-express-fees.htm or
http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/textthread.cfm?catid=52&threadid=272730
 

NM

Moderator
Joined
Aug 27, 2004
Messages
15,810
Qantas
LT Gold
Virgin
Red
Flights
My Map
I now use a CitiBank ReadiCredit account and ATM card for overseas cash withdrawls. That account has not account keeping or transaction fees and can also have a free cheque book (still pay government fees of course). It is very well accepted in USA and other places I have tried (mostly Europe).

Many USA ATM's charge a usage fee for any cards that are not issued by the operating bank. You are not going to avoid those fees. These are most common at the small non-alligned ATM's in supermarkets, convenience stores, service (gas) stations and hotel foyers. These are typically US$1-2. Use a CitiBank ATM and there is no such fee.

I made a cash withdrawl from an ATM in Texas using my ReadiCredit card in late November. No fee charged (not a CitiBank ATM, but was a major bank ATM, probably Bank of America but can't remember for sure). US$60 came through as A$77.11, being an exchange rate of 77.81. On the same day, the A$ closed at 76.81 according to finance.news.com.au (next day it was 77.77!). So the exchange rate was very favourable to me.
 

JesterinOz

Newbie
Joined
Feb 11, 2005
Messages
6
Thanks NM

Thanks NM for your reply. On my calculation you got a exchange rate of 77.81US to A$1 ($60/76.81). Assuming it went through on the day of transaction I looks as if it is about 1.5% surcharge. Don't get me wrong, that is pretty good compared to the rest of the crowd when it comes to the rest on offer. The cheapest I can find so far, apart from your suggestion, is a debit visa at around 1-1.5% (charged by Visa) and an ATM fee by the card issuer of around $3.50.

As a sideline I have been on the phone to Amex today and it would seem at this stage that the foreign exchange rates for the charge cards are negoitiable. 2-3% to 1.5%

Food for thought.
 

kpc

AFF Supporter
Joined
Mar 11, 2003
Messages
6,083
Qantas
Platinum
Virgin
Red
credit card with lowest foreign exchange fees

In recent times, I have had to make a number of foreign purchases on my credit card; some of these were via the internet and I basically had no choice but to use them (whereas when I'm overseas, I try and pay for everything in cash, using money that I have withdrawn at a local ATM :p as this seems to give me the best exchange rate!). Citibank Visa currently charges me 3% and Diners Club has now increased to 2.5% for foreign currency exchanges. Can anyone suggest any Visa card (or Master card) that has more favourable foreign exchange fees than my cuurent ones?
 

Mahtoh

Junior Member
Joined
Feb 22, 2006
Messages
41
There is a CC from wixard which is the only one is Australia with NO foreign transaction fees (I last looked 5 months ago - so that info might be old).
 

arun

Member
Joined
Sep 5, 2002
Messages
311
I agree with NM on the ATM charges. Some ATMS in pubs, night clubs and hotels even charge up to US$5.00 for withdrawals (in addition to any bank & conversion charges). Good thing is they display that before you withdraw. The bad thing is by the time you are there, you would probably need the money urgently anyway!!!
 

skywalka

Junior Member
Joined
Jul 13, 2006
Messages
15
I'm looking for a credit card with interest free days & no annual fee. I only want to use it for eBay & PayPal transactions. I was looking at the Wizard website after I read Mahtoh's suggestion. However, I can't find any information on currency conversion. Has anybody been able to find out more?
 
Last edited:

serfty

Moderator
Joined
Nov 16, 2004
Messages
40,696
Qantas
Platinum
Virgin
Platinum
Flights
My Map
skywalka said:
I'm looking for a credit card with interest free days & no annual fee. I only want to use it for eBay & PayPal transactions. I was looking at the Wizard website after I read Mahtoh's suggestion. However, I can't find any information on currency conversion. Has anybody been able to find out more?
Hi skywalka and welcome to AFF.

I have been using a citybank redicredit card for my O/S transactions as until now they have had no foreight currency conversion fees. This will change on 1st September as they are introducing one of 2½%.

The 'Wizard Clear Advantage MasterCard' may suit you. It advertises the following from the Wizard web site Credit Card page:
Introducing the new Wizard Clear Advantage MasterCard - the credit card with nothing to hide. Unlike many other credit cards, Wizard Clear Advantage has no hidden surprises.

No annual fee - ever. 0% interest for six months on transferred balances*. No fees for ATM withdrawals, cash advances or overseas purchases. A low 12.4% rate on purchases AND cash (unlike some other low rate credit cards). Up to 55 days interest free.
 
Last edited:

NM

Moderator
Joined
Aug 27, 2004
Messages
15,810
Qantas
LT Gold
Virgin
Red
Flights
My Map
skywalka said:
I'm looking for a credit card with interest free days & no annual fee. I only want to use it for eBay & PayPal transactions.
serfty said:
I have been using a citybank redicredit card for my O/S transactions as until now they have had no foreight currency conversion fees. This will change on 1st September as they are introducing one of 2½%.
Citibank Readicredit is not going to help with eBay and PayPal unless taking up the Visa Debit option.

Now that Citibank are introducing their 2.5% foreign currency conversion fee, I am not aware of a card that charges any less than 1.5-2%.
 

serfty

Moderator
Joined
Nov 16, 2004
Messages
40,696
Qantas
Platinum
Virgin
Platinum
Flights
My Map
NM said:
Citibank Readicredit is not going to help with eBay and PayPal unless taking up the Visa Debit option.

Now that Citibank are introducing their 2.5% foreign currency conversion fee, I am not aware of a card that charges any less than 1.5-2%.
Actually, NM, the Wizard Clear Mastercard advertises as having no fees when used O/S.

Check the links I posted above and there's some more on this thread (as well as a warning about possible problem): Wizard Mastercard Cash Advances while overseas.

As it happens I have been researching this as my CitiBank Redicredit is scheduled to hit the bin in two months... :-|
 
Last edited:

NM

Moderator
Joined
Aug 27, 2004
Messages
15,810
Qantas
LT Gold
Virgin
Red
Flights
My Map
serfty said:
Actually, NM, the Wizard Clear Mastercard advertises as having no fees when used O/S.

Check the links I posted above and there's some more on this thread (as well as a warning about possible problem): Wizard Mastercard Cash Advances while overseas.

As it happens I have been researching this as my CitiBank Redicredit is scheduled to hit the bin in two months... :-|
They might charge a Fee, but do they exchange at a rate that includes a commission? If not, then its a good deal.
 

skywalka

Junior Member
Joined
Jul 13, 2006
Messages
15
Serfty, thanx 4 your welcome. Thanks to everyone for your replies.

I'm wondering, can the Wizard credit card be used at ANY Australian ATM for fee-free cash advances? Or does it have to be used at a particular bank's ATM?

EDIT: I confused fee-free with interest free. :(
 
Last edited:

serfty

Moderator
Joined
Nov 16, 2004
Messages
40,696
Qantas
Platinum
Virgin
Platinum
Flights
My Map
NM said:
They might charge a Fee, but do they exchange at a rate that includes a commission? If not, then its a good deal.
Still researching that one ... I have 10 weeks...
 

NM

Moderator
Joined
Aug 27, 2004
Messages
15,810
Qantas
LT Gold
Virgin
Red
Flights
My Map
serfty said:
Still researching that one ... I have 10 weeks...
no point in me wasting my effort then ;). Let me know how you get on :!:.
 

serfty

Moderator
Joined
Nov 16, 2004
Messages
40,696
Qantas
Platinum
Virgin
Platinum
Flights
My Map
NM said:
NM said:
They might charge a Fee, but do they exchange at a rate that includes a commission? If not, then its a good deal.
Still researching that one ... I have 10 weeks...no point in me wasting my effort then ;). Let me know how you get on :!:.
OK, I sent an email to thier custimer services. I have included it below for reference. Today I received a canned reply asking me to call their customer service number. So I did and spoke to 'Austin' with a sub-continental accent. The same questions were asked and here are the answers:
1) what are all the other standard fees and charges that may apply said:
Late Payment Fee $20, Overlimit Fee $20, Post Office Payment $1.50, Cheque Dishonor fee $20 & Reprint of Statement $7. There are no other fees
2) If I withdraw cash from an ATM while overseas can any fees apply said:
No fee at all.
3) What exchange rates are used for overseas transactions said:
4) Is any commission included in these exchange rates said:
No commission
5) If so said:
So it's looking good.
-----Original Message-----
From: <serfty>
Sent: Thursday, 13 July 2006 4:21 PM
To: <Wizard customer service>
Subject: Wizard Clear Advantage MasterCard

Hi,

I am looking for a credit card to employ overseas and may be interested in the "Wizard Clear Advantage MasterCard".

I note your web site indicates the following in relation to this card: "No fees for ATM withdrawals, cash advances or overseas purchases. Other standard fees and charges apply."

The implication here is that while overseas I can used the card and incur no fees.

So far so good. What I would like to know is:

1) what are all the other standard fees and charges that may apply" as referenced by "Other standard fees and charges apply",

2) If I withdraw cash from an ATM while overseas can any fees apply,

3) What exchange rates are used for overseas transactions,

4) Is any commission included in these exchange rates, and

5) If so, what are the rates.

best Regards,


<serfty>
 
Last edited:

kpc

AFF Supporter
Joined
Mar 11, 2003
Messages
6,083
Qantas
Platinum
Virgin
Red
I went ahead and got a Wizard MC after the discussion here. I used it last weekend to obtain some cash in NZ (I had transfered some money into the card before travel to avoid paying any interest on the cash advance;)). Using the XE.com - Credit Card Charges Calculator,I was charged 0.62%. In July, I bought an airline ticket in Singapore dollars, and was charged 0.19%. This compares with the 3% and 2.5% that my Citibank Visa and Diners were charging me for foreign currency exchanges...so while not completely free, so far so good with Wizard MC:mrgreen:
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

AFF on Air Podcast

  • Choosing a Rewards Program – AIR017
    Sat, 10 Aug 2019 13:32:24 AEST
      If you’re new to the world of frequent flyer points – or moving to a new country – it can be difficult to know where to start. In this episode, Matt discusses the con ...
  • Travel Insurance – AIR016
    Sat, 27 Jul 2019 07:34:12 AEST
      They say that if you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel! In this episode, Matt chats to James Green about the importance of travel insurance, and ...
  • The Qantas Oneworld Award – AIR015
    Sat, 13 Jul 2019 02:07:50 AEST
      Learn how to fly around the world using your Qantas Frequent Flyer points as Matt chats to James Green, an award travel consultant at Frequent Flyer Solutions. This episode ...
  • Qantas Frequent Flyer Changes – AIR014
    Sat, 29 Jun 2019 00:40:35 AEST
      Last week, Qantas announced a major shake-up to its Qantas Frequent Flyer program. In this episode, former Head of Loyalty at Malaysia Airlines, Mark Ross-Smith, joins Matt ...
  • jb747’s Stellar Career with Qantas – AIR013
    Sat, 15 Jun 2019 03:00:41 AEST
      In this special edition of the podcast, Matt chats to John Bartels (a.k.a. jb747) about his flying career with Qantas, the A380, the QF30 incident, flight training, retirem ...

Community Statistics

Threads
82,425
Messages
1,908,750
Members
50,214
Latest member
samzike
Top