- Rewards earn rate: 3 points per $1 on purchases in a foreign currency; 1.5 points per $1 on your everyday purchases
- Welcome offer: No annual fee for the first year
- Interest rates: purchases 19.50%, cash advances 21.99%
- Income requirements: $60,000 individual or $100,000 household
- The 3 points per $1 earn rate on foreign purchases means you’ll net roughly 0.5% back on anything in a non-Canadian currency (after offsetting foreign transaction fees).
- The strong base rate of 1.5% on Canadian purchases means you’ll earn an above-average return on all purchases, regardless of the category.
- The annual fee for the Meridian Visa Infinite Travel Rewards Card is only $99, which is less than many comparable to other cards on this list with no foreign exchange fees.
- The travel coverage on the Meridian Visa Infinite Travel Rewards Card is outstanding and includes up to $5,000,000 in emergency travel coverage for up to 48 days, which manages to beat out travel coverage offered by even the best travel credit cards.
- While many credit card travel insurance benefits only apply to those 65 and older, the emergency travel insurance coverage on the Meridian Visa Infinite Travel Rewards Card applies to those who are up to 75 years old.
- This card has no bonus categories, so it may not be the best rewards structure for those who spend big in common categories like groceries, gas or recurring bills.
- Rewards points can’t be used to offset the cost of airline taxes or surcharges.
Rogers World Elite Mastercard
At a glance: With much higher earn rates than most no-fee cards, the Rogers World Elite Mastercard actually nets you cash back on purchases in U.S. dollars. However, demanding personal income levels and spending requirements make this card inaccessible to some.
- Rewards earn rate: 3% cash back on purchases made in U.S. currency; 1.5% on all other purchases charged to your card
- Welcome offer: $25 cash back when you make your first purchase within 3 months
- Interest rates: purchases 19.99%, cash advances 22.99%
- Income requirements: $80,000 individual or $150,000 household
- The card earns an impressive 1.5% cash back on everything you buy, a rate more often seen in cards with an annual fee.
- It is arguably the best card to use at Costco because it’s a Mastercard and has a flat 1.5% earn rate.
- The Rogers World Elite Mastercard earns an accelerated 3% cash back on purchases made in U.S. dollars which offsets the roughly 2.5% foreign transaction fee, making this an ideal card for snowbirds or anyone who regularly travels to the United States.
- You can redeem your cash back rewards anytime, in increments of $10, using the Rogers app.
- Despite being a no-fee card, the Rogers World Elite Mastercard gives you benefits like rental car collision damage coverage and travel insurance.
- Unlike “true” no-foreign-transaction-fee credit cards which help you save on all non-Canadian currency purchases, the Roger World Elite Mastercard will only help you avoid foreign transaction fees on purchases made in U.S. dollars.
- A glaring drawback of this card is that you must charge at least $15,000 in purchases on the card every 12 months or you are automatically downgraded to the entry-level Rogers Platinum Card that earns a less impressive 1% cash back on everything.
- You’ll need an income of at least $80,000 per year (or $150,000 per household ) to qualify for the card.
What are foreign transaction fees and what do they mean for you?
The fee (typically 2.5%) charged by many credit cards for purchases you make in a foreign currency might not seem like much, but it can add up quickly. To be clear: The fee is applied to every purchase made in a currency that’s not Canadian dollars—even when you shop online. For perspective, that’s $25 in transaction fees for every $1,000 you spend on your card, and you have to pay the exchange rate as well.
Is the foreign transaction fee affected by exchange rates?
No, the foreign transaction fee is an additional charge added on top of the current exchange rate. These exchange rates are determined by the credit card companies, using the up-to-date value of the Canadian dollar and the value of whichever currency you’re converting to.
Your fee will vary according to which credit company you choose, so it’s worth it to look into the various options if you’re a frequent traveller or you often find yourself shopping in another currency. Ultimately, choosing a card with no foreign transaction fee, or which offers a rebate on foreign transaction fees, is one of the best ways to save money when you spend in a foreign currency.
Benefits of using a no-foreign-transaction-fees credit card versus cash
As long as credit cards are widely accepted at your destination, you can avoid taking out large amounts of cash at currency exchange kiosks, airports or ATMs. Plus, purchasing with your card helps you earn rewards on every dollar spent, you get purchase protection and PIN protection, and you can easily cancel your card if it’s stolen while you’re abroad.
Our picks of the best no-foreign-transaction-fee credit cards in Canada are based on our analysis of each card’s benefits and annual fees; foreign transaction fees and how they’re handled (if rebated); and whether there are additional rewards incentives for using the card domestically and/or abroad.
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