Avoid Currency Conversion Fees with Your Canadian Credit Card

  • 2 min read

If you’ve been south of the border, extra fees on your credit card might have come as a bit of a surprise. They’re called “foreign transaction” fees, or currency conversion fees, and most credit card issuers charge between 2.5% and 3% each time you make a purchase or payment in US Dollars. If you’re traveling quite a bit or buying a lot of stuff online from American retailers, these fees can really add up!

Some Canadians try to trick the system by using a credit card issued in the United States. It seems like it might work, but it really does nothing …because when you go to pay your credit card bill in Canadian dollars, the conversion still needs to be made! Some folks go the extra step and open a bank account in the US from which they pay their US-issued credit card bill in US dollars. Sounds like a lot of extra work and headaches, right?

That’s what I thought, and that’s why I started looking for a better solution to the currency conversion problem.

I spent a lot of time researching US Dollar credit cards that are issued by Canadian banks, but I kept coming up short. Many of them, such as the cards issued by TD and BMO, have really low user rankings when you search them online. Not what I want to sign up for, that’s for sure!

My hunt ended when I found a newer card issued by Scotiabank. The Scotiabank USD Visa. It’s unique because it’s the only USD credit card issued by a bank that’s not operating both in the US and in Canada, but it also stands apart because it’s very straightforward and simple.

When you use the Scotiabank USD Visa in the United States (or to make online purchases and payments in USD) there is no conversion fee. None! It also works perfectly with Visa Checkout; security and extended warranty options are available.

For the tiny $35 annual fee, it’s an extremely good deal for any Canadian who likes to spend in US Dollars. You can also get supplemental cards for family members (or whomever) without incurring an additional annual fee. The Scotiabank US Dollar Visa carries a 19.99% interest rate, which is on par or better than similar cards in its class.

If you’re like me and you’re hunting for a currency conversion solution, then your search is over.

Christopher - BSc, MBA

With over two decades of combined Big 5 Banking and Agency experience, Christopher launched Underbanked® to cut through the noise and complexity of financial information. Christopher has an MBA degree from McMaster University and BSc. from Western University in Canada.