CC best suited for foreign currency transactions?

Discussion in 'General Credit Card Discussion' started by JesterinOz, Feb 11, 2005.

  1. JesterinOz

    JesterinOz Newbie

    Feb 11, 2005
    6
    0
    Sydney
    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
    Registered Users don't see this and have the option of removing all other advertisements.  Register HERE
     
  2. NM

    NM
    Moderator

    Aug 27, 2004
    15,698
    1,179
    Flight Map:
    View my flight 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.
     
  3. JesterinOz

    JesterinOz Newbie

    Feb 11, 2005
    6
    0
    Sydney
    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.
     
  4. kpc

    kpc Senior Member

    Mar 11, 2003
    5,292
    1,948
    Sydney
    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?
     
  5. Mahtoh

    Mahtoh Junior Member

    Feb 22, 2006
    41
    0
    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).
     
  6. Chicken

    Chicken Active Member

    May 9, 2006
    603
    61
    Sydney
  7. arun

    arun Member

    Sep 5, 2002
    311
    0
    Sydney
    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!!!
     
  8. skywalka

    skywalka Junior Member

    Jul 13, 2006
    15
    0
    #8 skywalka, Jul 13, 2006
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2006
    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?
     
  9. serfty

    Moderator

    Nov 16, 2004
    36,838
    6,703
    MEL
    Flight Map:
    View my flight map
    #9 serfty, Jul 13, 2006
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2006
    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:
     
  10. NM

    NM
    Moderator

    Aug 27, 2004
    15,698
    1,179
    Flight Map:
    View my flight map
    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%.
     
  11. serfty

    Moderator

    Nov 16, 2004
    36,838
    6,703
    MEL
    Flight Map:
    View my flight map
    #11 serfty, Jul 13, 2006
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2006
    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... :-|
     
  12. NM

    NM
    Moderator

    Aug 27, 2004
    15,698
    1,179
    Flight Map:
    View my flight map
    They might charge a Fee, but do they exchange at a rate that includes a commission? If not, then its a good deal.
     
  13. skywalka

    skywalka Junior Member

    Jul 13, 2006
    15
    0
    #13 skywalka, Jul 13, 2006
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2006
    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. :(
     
  14. serfty

    Moderator

    Nov 16, 2004
    36,838
    6,703
    MEL
    Flight Map:
    View my flight map
    Still researching that one ... I have 10 weeks...
     
  15. NM

    NM
    Moderator

    Aug 27, 2004
    15,698
    1,179
    Flight Map:
    View my flight map
    no point in me wasting my effort then ;). Let me know how you get on :!:.
     
  16. serfty

    Moderator

    Nov 16, 2004
    36,838
    6,703
    MEL
    Flight Map:
    View my flight map
    #16 serfty, Jul 14, 2006
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2006
    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:
    So it's looking good.
     
  17. Gulliver

    Gulliver Junior Member

    Sep 5, 2006
    29
    0
    I've make a few US transactions on Wizard and the exchange rate is around 1/2 % higher than XE.com - The World's Favorite Currency and Foreign Exchange FX Site. I think that's pretty good, but not sure whether "free" is entirely honest or not.

    Earth+ also say they don't charge any fees, but do mention that they pass on any mastercard fee, which I think *might* be 1%???
     
  18. kpc

    kpc Senior Member

    Mar 11, 2003
    5,292
    1,948
    Sydney
    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:
     
Loading...

Share This Page