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Best No Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Cards in Canada in 2024

Updated:

Fact Checked

Most Canadian credit cards charge a foreign transaction fee when you make a transaction with your card that is processed in a currency other than the Canadian dollar. This fee is an extra 2.5% on top of the price tag when you make purchases while on vacation and can significantly increase your total spending.

Mind you, the foreign transaction fee does not only pop up when you are on a trip abroad. You could be dinged an extra 2.5% even when you are within Canada and make purchases online from a merchant who takes payments in a foreign currency or if the transaction is routed via a non-Canadian bank.

When combined with foreign exchange rates generally skewed not to favour you, this extra cost becomes a real pain!

Learn about the best Canadian credit cards with no foreign transaction fees below.

Best Credit Cards With No Foreign Transaction Fees

1. Scotiabank Gold American Express Card

Scotiabank Gold American Express

Rewards: Earn 5x Scene+ points/$1 on restaurants, food delivery, and grocery (up to 6x at some stores); 3x points/$1 in gas & travel; 1x points/$1 everything else.

Welcome offer: Get up to 40,000 points ($400 value).

Interest rates: 20.99% on purchases; 22.99% on cash advances.

Annual fee: $120

The Scotiabank Gold American Express ranks as one of the best travel rewards credit cards in Canada. Here’s what you get from the card:

  • No foreign transaction fees (a savings of 2.5%)
  • 5 points on every $1 spent on groceries, restaurants, and entertainment
  • 3 points for every $1 you spend on gas, daily transit, and streaming services
  • 1 point on every $1 spent on everything else
  • 20,000 bonus points ($200 value) when you spend up to $1,000 in the first 3 months
  • 20,000 extra bonus ($200 value) when you spend up to $7,500 in your first year
  • Travel emergency medical, trip cancellation/interruption, delayed and lost baggage, travel accident, and hotel/motel burglary insurance
  • Rental car collision loss and damage waiver
  • Purchase security and extended warranty

The Scotiabank Gold American Express was recently refreshed to offer $0 FX mark-up fees. The lack of a fee for foreign currency purchases combined with its top-of-the-line 5% cash back on grocery purchases and comprehensive travel benefits make this card one of the best deals out there.

This card comes with a $120 annual fee. Read my Scotiabank Gold American Express card review.

2. Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card

Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card

Rewards: Earn 2x Scene+ points/$1 on groceries, dining, entertainment, and daily transit; 1x points/$1 everything else; 6 free airport lounge passes/year; no FX fees.

Welcome offer: Get up to 40,000 points ($400 value).

Interest rates: 20.99% on purchases; 22.99% on cash advances.

Annual fee: $150 (waived in the first year)

The Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite became very popular after Chase shut down their Amazon Visa card. It offers the following features and benefits:

  • No foreign transaction fees, i.e. 0% FX mark-up
  • Earn up to 40,000 bonus Scene+ points in your first year
  • Earn 2 Scene+ points on every $1 spent on eligible grocery, dining, and entertainment purchases, and daily transit
  • Earn 1 Scene+ point on every $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Enjoy a complimentary Visa Airport Companion Program membership plus 6 free VIP airport lounge visits per year (worth up to $379 per year)
  • Travel emergency medical, trip cancellation, flight delay, delayed and lost baggage, travel accident, rental car collision/damage, hotel/motel burglary insurance
  • Purchase security, extended warranty, and price protection
  • Complimentary Avis Preferred Plus membership (5% to 25% off)

The Scotiabank Passport is clearly a premium card that comes with premium benefits. Its one downside is the $150 annual fee. However, this is not surprising given its many features.

The initial bonus rewards of 30,000 points ($300 value) easily pay the annual fee for the first year. If you use the card and spend up to $40,000 per annum, you receive an additional 10,000 points ($100 value). These are in addition to the basic 1-2% rewards rate earned on your eligible spending.

One thing to note is that you will need a minimum annual income of $60,000 or a minimum household income of $100,000 to apply for this card.

Lest we forget, the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite card charges a 0% foreign transaction fee. When this is combined with its other premium features and insurance coverage, it qualifies as a very decent card.

Read my Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite card review.

Best Credit cards with no foreign exchange transaction fees

3. Rogers World Elite Mastercard

The Rogers World Elite Mastercard is no longer as good for foreign currency purchases as it once was. It now offers cash back on only US dollar purchases at a lower rate of 3%.

Its compelling features include:

  • No annual fee
  • 3% cash back on purchases made in US Dollars (~0.50% gain)
  • 1.50% cash back on all other purchases
  • Extended warranty and purchase protection
  • Rental car collision/damage, emergency medical, trip interruption, and trip cancellation insurance
  • $25 welcome bonus cash back when you make your first purchase within 3 months

The Rogers World Elite Mastercard has an okay level of cash back offers for a no-fee card.

One downside to note, however, is that you need to meet a minimum annual income requirement of $80,000 or $150,000 for a household) to apply for this card.

Also, you now need to spend at least $15,000 annually to remain eligible.

Read my review of the Rogers World Elite Mastercard review.

4. Home Trust Preferred Visa

The Home Trust Preferred Visa card is a no-fee card that waives the foreign exchange transaction fee. Some of the features of this card are:

  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • 1% cash back on all purchases with no annual limits

If you do not want to pay annual fees for a card and would also rather not pay unnecessary transaction fees while on vacation, the Home Trust Preferred Visa may be for you.

5. Brim Mastercard

The Brim Mastercard is a no-annual-fee credit card that rewards your spending with up to 30% back in Brim points, which can be redeemed as cash back. Benefits include:

  • 0% foreign transaction fee
  • $0 annual fee
  • Earn 1 point for every dollar spent (unlimited)
  • Access to over 1 million wifi hotspots with Boingo Wi-Fi for Mastercard
  • Additional cardholders can be added with no additional fees 
  • Free mobile app with budgeting tools and spending notifications 
  • Common carrier accident insurance up to $300,000
  • Mobile device insurance up to $500
  • Extended warranty and purchase security insurance 
  • Event ticket protector insurance up to $1,000

No minimum income requirement is required for this card; however, it offers fewer features and cash back earning potential than the Brim World Elite Mastercard. 

6. Meridian Visa Infinite Travel Rewards Card

The Meridian Visa Infinite Travel Rewards Card earns you points on Canadian and foreign currency purchases. Its main features include:

  • Earn 6 rewards points for every $2 spent on purchases in foreign currencies outside of Canada
  • Earn 3 rewards points for every $2 spent on all other purchases 
  • $99 annual fee (rebated in the first year)
  • Comprehensive insurance, including travel emergency medical insurance, trip cancellation/interruption/delay insurance, delayed or lost baggage insurance, and common carrier accident insurance
  • Mobile device insurance up to $1,000
  • Purchase protection and extended warranty insurance 
  • Travel assistance service 

Points can be redeemed for travel, gift cards, merchandise, or an account credit. Remember that you need a minimum personal income of $60,000 or $100,000 household income. 

7. Brim World Elite Mastercard

The Brim World Elite Mastercard is a premium version of its no-fee counterpart. The annual fee is waived in the first year, and you earn double to points. Its main benefits include:

  • $199 annual fee waived in the first year 
  • 0% foreign transaction fee
  • Earn 2 points per every $1 spent with no caps
  • Boingo Wi-Fi for Mastercard
  • Free mobile app with instant notifications and an interactive budgeting tool
  • Receipt capture and maintenance (coming soon)
  • Complimentary Lounge Key membership
  • Travel insurance includes out-of-province emergency medical, flight delay, baggage, delay, lost or stolen baggage, and hotel burglary insurance 
  • Car rental collision/loss damage waiver
  • Extended warranty and purchase protection insurance 
  • Event ticket protector insurance up to $1,000
  • Mobile device insurance up to $1,500

The $199 annual fee (waived in the first year) is not too bad, considering the level of travel insurance and purchase protection benefits. It requires a personal income of $80,000 or household income of $150,000 to apply. 

8. KOHO Extra Mastercard

The KOHO Mastercard Prepaid Card is not a credit card but a reloadable prepaid card that works just as well. There is no minimum income requirement to apply for this card, and your credit score does not come into play, making it very easy to obtain.

The KOHO Mastercard and app offer:

  • $9 monthly fee for the premium Extra card
  • $0 foreign currency exchange fees (only applies to the Extra card)
  • Up to 2% cash back on your purchases
  • KOHO Save and high-interest savings on your entire balance
  • One free international ATM withdrawal/month
  • Pays interest on your deposit balance
  • Free automated savings and budgeting tool
  • Free financial coaching
  • Joint accounts
  • Access to Credit Building ($7 to $10 monthly fee)

The KOHO Extra Mastercard is great for travellers and saves you the 2.5% to 3% FX fee charged by your regular credit card.

You save on ATM fees and can use the roundup feature on the app to save money as you spend.

9. Rogers Platinum Mastercard

The Rogers Platinum Mastercard is fairly similar to the Rogers World Elite but offers a bit less cash back rewards.

If your annual income is less than $80,000 and you are looking for a credit card that offers good cash back on foreign currency purchases, this card is worth looking at.

Its features include:

  • No annual fee
  • 3% cash back rewards on purchases made in US Dollars
  • 1.00% cash back on all other purchases
  • $25 cash back when you make your first purchase within 3 months

When the 3% cash back earned on USD purchases is considered, the Rogers Platinum Mastercard still has a net 0.50% cash back gain after foreign transaction fees of 2.5% have been deducted.

This card is currently not accepting new applications. If a similar card by Rogers Bank is of interest to you, take a look at the Rogers Connections Mastercard, which offers similar rewards.

Methodology:

The Savvy New Canadians team assesses the best credit cards based on their annual fees, interest rates, welcome bonuses, rewards, top features, categories, insurance coverage, and other perks. We carefully evaluate each credit card and place more weight on the value of the long-term rewards it offers. Only credit cards we would personally use are recommended. While these credit cards are some of the best on the market, they may not be right for you. Visit the credit card issuer’s website using the links to confirm each product’s terms and conditions before applying.

Summary of the Best No Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Cards in Canada

Credit CardAnnual FeeInterest RateIncome RequirementsTop Features
Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card$15020.99% on purchases, 22.99% on cash advances$60,000 personal or $100,000 householdEarn & redeem Scene+ points, free Visa Airport Companion Program membership, comprehensive travel insurance
Scotiabank Gold American Express Card$12020.99% on purchases, 22.99% on cash advances$12,000 personalEarn & redeem Scene+ points, comprehensive travel insurance 
KOHO Extra Mastercard$84 or $9 monthlyN/AN/A2% cash back on 3 categories and 0.5% cash back on everything else
Home Trust Preferred Visa$019.99% on purchases and cash advances $15,000 personalEarn 1% unlimited cash back
Rogers World Elite Mastercard$019.99% on purchases, 22.99% on cash advances$80,000 personal or $150,000 household1.5% unlimited cash back on regular purchases, 3% unlimited cash back on US dollar purchases, free Mastercard Travel Pass, some insurance coverage
Brim Mastercard$019.99% on purchases, 21.50% on cash advancesN/A1 point for every $1 spent, Boingo Wi-Fi for Mastercard, common carrier accident insurance, mobile device insurance
Meridian Visa Infinite Travel Rewards Card$9919.50% on purchases, 21.99% on cash advances$60,000 personal or $100,000 household6 rewards points for every $2 spent on foreign currency purchases, 3 rewards points for every $2 spent on everything else, travel insurance 
Brim World Elite Mastercard$19919.99% on purchases, 21.50% on cash advances$80,000 personal or $150,000 household2 points for every $1 spent, Boingo Wi-Fi for Mastercard, free Lounge Key membership, travel insurance
Rogers Platinum Mastercard$019.99% on purchases, 22.99% on cash advancesN/A1% unlimited cash back on regular purchases, 3% unlimited cash back on US dollar purchases, 

Why You May Need a No Foreign Currency Transaction Fee Credit Card

Foreign transaction fees consist of a currency conversion fee charged by the payment processor (e.g. Visa or Mastercard) plus a fee from the issuing bank. Most credit cards end up charging you about 2.5% in fees, but in some cases, it is as high as 3%!

What this means is that if you end up spending $10,000 while vacationing abroad, you pay an extra $250 in foreign transaction fees you did not plan for. If for any reason, you need to return stuff you bought in a foreign currency, this fee is again charged (so double) and 5% or more of your money goes down the drain.

To avoid paying these extra fees when making purchases or spending abroad, your best bet is to either use a no-foreign transaction fee credit card, or a card that rewards you with enough points or cash back to offset the fee and leave you in positive territory.

While 0% foreign transaction fee credit cards are somewhat scarce in Canada, there are a few that are worth taking a look at.

Benefits of No Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Cards

The obvious benefit of a no FX fee credit card is that you don’t pay 2.5% to 3% in transaction fees when shopping outside of Canada. If you’re making large purchases, the fees can add up. Let’s say you’re buying something for $1,000 with an FX fee of 3%. You’re saving $30!

Many no-FX fee credit cards also offer travel insurance and benefits, like airport lounge access and free wifi hotspots, which are very beneficial if you travel often. 

Lastly, all of these credit cards earn you points or cash back that can be redeemed for travel bookings, statement credits, and more. 

Downsides of No Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Cards

Most no foreign transaction fee credit cards have a high annual fee and high-income requirements. For many of these cards, if you don’t earn a minimum of $60,000 to $80,000 per year, you will not qualify. 

Some of these credit cards do not offer comprehensive travel insurance, which is very beneficial when you’re travelling abroad. 

Lastly, the interest rate tends to be high, usually starting at 19.99% for most no FX fee credit cards. If you tend to carry a balance, you may want to consider a lower-interest-rate credit card.

Closing Thoughts

Canadians have only a few cards to choose from when they are looking for a credit card with no foreign transaction fees.

If you want a premium travel card that has no foreign transaction fees, you should consider either the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite or Scotiabank Gold American Express.

For a low-fee prepaid card that offers high interest rates on your balance, up to 0.5% cash back on your spending, and no foreign transaction fees, try the EQ Bank Mastercard.

If you are opposed to paying annual fees on a card, take a look at the Home Trust Preferred Visa. Brim Financial also offers credit cards matching this requirement.

Credit cards that charge foreign transaction fees but offset them with corresponding cash back on your foreign purchases and which also have no annual fee are Rogers World Elite Mastercard, Rogers Platinum Mastercard, and Fido Mastercard.

Lastly, a prepaid card option to directly spend foreign currency and avoid foreign currency exchange fees altogether is the CIBC Air Canada AC Conversion Card.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I avoid foreign transaction fees in Canada?

When using a Canadian credit card in Canada, you will not be charged foreign transaction fees when paying in Canadian dollars. However, if you use it outside the country or use it to make payments in a foreign currency, you will likely be charged FX fees. 

You can avoid this by getting a no-foreign transaction fee credit card on this list or withdrawing cash using an eligible debit card from an ATM in the country you’re travelling to.

Does TD Visa charge foreign transaction fees?

Yes, TD Visa cards charge a foreign currency conversion fee of 2.5%. 

Does CIBC Visa charge foreign transaction fees?

If you use your CIBC Visa card outside of Canada, you will be charged a foreign currency fee of 2.5%. However, if you travel to the US often, consider applying for the CIBC U.S. Dollar Aventura Gold Visa Card, where you are charged in US dollars and do not pay any FX fees. 

Which bank card is best to use abroad?

All credit cards on this list do not charge FX fees, so they are all top contenders. Compare all 10 credit cards to see which is best for your income level and what rewards and benefits you’re looking for. 

Scotiabank is the only bank out of the big 5 that does not charge FX fees on some credit cards, so you may want to consider applying for the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card or the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card, depending on your income level and benefits you desire.

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Author

Gravatar for Enoch Omololu, MSc (Econ)
Enoch Omololu, MSc (Econ)

Enoch Omololu, personal finance expert, author, and founder of Savvy New Canadians, has written about money matters for over 10 years. Enoch has an MSc (Econ) degree in Finance and Investment Management from the University of Aberdeen Business School and has completed the Canadian Securities Course. His expertise has been highlighted in major publications like Forbes, Globe and Mail, Business Insider, CBC News, Toronto Star, Financial Post, CTV News, TD Direct Investing, Canadian Securities Exchange, and many others. Enoch is passionate about helping others win with their finances and recently created a practical investing course for beginners. You can read his full author bio.

About Savvy New Canadians

Savvy New Canadians is one of Canada's top personal finance platforms. Millions of Canadians use our site each year to learn how to save for retirement, invest smartly, maximize rewards, and earn extra cash. We have been featured in prominent finance media, including Forbes, Globe and Mail, Business Insider, CBC, MSN, Wealthsimple, and TD Direct Investing. Learn more about Savvy New Canadians.

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21 thoughts on “Best No Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Cards in Canada in 2024”

  1. Gravatar for Ruth

    Stack prepaid MasterCard has no foreign transaction fees and no ATM withdrawal fees I believe.

    • Gravatar for Enoch Omololu

      @Ruth: Yes, it is now included in the list. Cheers.

  2. Gravatar for Inferno

    How would you rate the Brim cards?

  3. Gravatar for P Robertson

    Home Trust Visa has now cancelled the 1% back on foreign currency transactions.

    • Gravatar for Enoch Omololu

      @P: Thanks, I will update.

  4. Gravatar for Abiola Afuwape

    Thank you, Enoch. I enjoyed reading your breakdowns on the cards. I decided to apply for the Rogers World Elite Mastercard. Fingers crossed that I get approved.

    • Gravatar for Enoch Omololu

      @Abiola: Good to hear. Let me know how it goes! Cheers.

  5. Gravatar for anthony

    I AM GOING TO THE UK AND DO NOT WANT TO PAY FORT THE (CDW) ON THE RENTAL CAR ? WHAT CARD WOULD YOU HAVE IN YOUR WALLET TO TRAVEL TO EUROPE AND SAVE ON RENTAL + CDW & FOREIGN EXCHANGE RATES e mail me your answer and thank you

  6. Gravatar for Manish Shah

    Hi Enoch I have a Rogers World Elite MC which I use for travel abroad but recently read somewhere that Rogers is making drastic changes to way Rewards being earned for FX purchases. Is this true? If so what credit card do you recommend with no FX fees and annual fees?

    • Gravatar for Enoch Omololu

      @Manish:

      Yes, starting on June 2, 2020, cardholders will now earn 3% cash back on US currency only and 1.50% on everything else. They also have to spend at least $15,000 per year.

      For a no-fee card, Home Trust now appears to offer a better deal.

  7. Gravatar for Barry

    I have the HOME TRUST PREFERRED VISA …..as of 1/1/2020 it charges 2.5% FX fee

    • Gravatar for Dennis Miller

      Does not indicate that on their site, Still says 0% currency charge.

  8. Gravatar for Dennis Miller

    You refer to the fido mastercard (in rogers platinum write up)with higher cash back on foreign transactions. As of June 2 it is no more.
    Home Trust Visa gives no fee no fx

    • Gravatar for Enoch Omololu

      @Dennis: Good catch – I will update the article. Cheers.

  9. Gravatar for JaCk

    Home Trust is eliminating Roadside Assistance and car rental insurance on May 31, 2021. Not such a great card in my eyes any longer. Next will be the 0% foreign exchange feature.

  10. Gravatar for Sin

    Hometrust Visa removing their rental car insurance and road side assistant effective May 31, 2021.

    • Gravatar for Enoch Omololu

      @Sin: Thanks for the update!

  11. Gravatar for StephenO

    You need to check « Wise » . I’ve used it in Canada, USA, France, UK and Ghana. No f/x fées and great exchange rates. It is a reloadable prepaid card.

  12. Gravatar for G. ARSCOTT

    Scotiabank infinite passport visa does NOT participate in Priority pass any longer. Your pass is cancelled and replaced by DragonPass, not as many perks.

    • Gravatar for Enoch Omololu, MSc (Econ)

      Thanks for pointing that out. It has been updated.

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