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What to ask before taking credit cards overseas

Credit Cards » What To Ask Before Taking Credit Cards Overseas

Does my credit card charge a foreign-transaction fee?
Does my credit card charge a foreign-transaction fee? © Andresr/

Does my credit card charge a foreign-transaction fee?

There's a nasty little detail hidden in the fine print of many credit cards. It's called a foreign-transaction fee. If your card has one of these fees, it'll charge you up to 3 percent of the purchase price every time you swipe overseas.

Your credit card network, such as Visa or MasterCard, usually takes about 1 percent. The issuing bank eats up the other 2 percent.

That may seem like a small bite, but it can really add up over the course of a vacation. Let's say you charge $4,000 to your card on hotels, taxis, restaurants and other expenses as you gallivant around Paris. Foreign-transaction fees would tack on $120 in additional costs. That's enough for a ticket to the Moulin Rouge or a top-notch bottle of Bordeaux.

So, before you travel, find out if your card has a foreign-transaction fee. You can check with your card's customer service department if you don't know.

If you're shopping for a new credit card and know you have plans to travel to different countries, check out cards that waive the foreign-transaction fee, including Capital One cards and Chase Sapphire Preferred cards.


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