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Canada’s No Foreign Transaction Fees Credit Cards

With Chase pulling out of Canada, the beloved Amazon Rewards and Marriott Rewards credit cards went along with it. The Amazon Rewards Visa was my go to credit card while travelling abroad and making purchases in foreign currency. For those that do not know, most credit cards in Canada charge an additional fee of 2.5% when making a purchase in a foreign currency. These Chase credit cards not only provided great reward benefits, but also provided a traveler’s must, no foreign transaction fees! As I search for a new credit card while travelling abroad, here’s what I’ve found to be Canada’s no foreign transaction fees credit cards.

 

Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card

Finally, a major Canadian bank issuing a credit card with no foreign transaction fees!

What you get:

  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Welcome bonus of 25,000 points ($250 value) with your first $1,000 in everyday purchases in the first 3 months
  • Earn 2 Scotia Rewards points on every $1 you spend on eligible grocery stores, dining, entertainment purchases, and daily transit purchases
  • Earn 1 Scotia Rewards point on every $1 you spend on all other eligible purchases
  • Complimentary Priority Pass membership plus 6 free visits per year
  • Free supplementary card
  • Annual bonus of 10,000 points ($100 value) if you spend minimum $40,000 per year
  • Comprehensive travel insurance
  • Added coverage such as Purchase Security & Extended Warranty Protection and Price Protection Service
  • Since it is a Visa Infinite, It also comes with additional benefits from Visa
  • Complimentary Avis Preferred Plus Membership
  • Annual Fee of $139 (can be reduced to $69 if you are part of a Scotia Total Equity Plan)

To apply for the card, you need:

  • Have a minimum annual gross personal income of $60,000 or a minimum annual gross household income of $100,000

If you like to travel in style and use airport lounges, then this credit card is an amazing deal! The annual fee is offset by the Priority Pass membership and 6 free visits per year. This is valued at around $261 USD ($99 USD for membership + $27 USD per visit). Although the rate that you earn is not the highest compared to other travel rewards credit card, I feel that the lounge access and the extensive insurance benefits makes this a worthy card while travelling abroad.

 

Home Trust Preferred Visa

A very obscure credit card for the non credit card nerds, as not a lot of people have heard of Home Trust. This card has gained a lot of popularity with the closures of the Chase cards.

The details:

  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1% cash back with no limits
  • Roadside Assist membership at no extra charge
  • Purchase Security Insurance
  • Visa Auto Rental Collision/Loss Damage Insurance
  • No annual fee
  • Only 10 transactions per day
  • Not available for residents of Quebec
  • Cannot change assigned PIN
  • No tap feature

The limit of 10 transactions per day and the ability of not changing the assigned PIN is setting me back from getting this card.  Also, be wary of long waiting times due the high demand of this card.

 

Rogers World Elite & Platinum Mastercard and Fido Mastercard

Canada’s favorite cell phone provider (insert sarcasm) has provided the public with a decent product, a credit card that with no forex fees. Starting May 23, 2018, Rogers have made these credit cards pretty much the same.

They both offer:

  • Earn 3% cash back on purchases in foreign purchases. After the deduction of 2.5% fee, the net cash back is 0.5% cash back
  • Earn 2% cash back on Rogers products and services
  • Earn 1.25% cash back on all other purchases
  • Welcome bonus of $25 in cash back rewards on your first purchase within 3 months
  • No annual fee

While the cashback is usually for a statement credit for your Rogers bill, you can call and apply your cashback against your credit card bill (unfortunately only redeemable once per year). For this reason along with the lack of insurance coverage, and the recent devaluation of the cashback from foreign spend (from 4% to 3%) made me not want to get these cards.

 

UPDATE as of May 25th, 2018

If you can get over the minimum income requirement of $80,000 annual personal income or $150,000 annual household income. Then you are eligible for the new Rogers World Elite Mastercard.

What you get:

  • 4% unlimited cash back rewards on all eligible purchases made in a foreign currency. After the deduction of 2.5% fee, the net cash back is 1.5% cash back
  • 2% cash back on Rogers products and services
  • 1.75% cash back rewards on all other eligible purchases
  • No annual fee
  • Welcome bonus of $25 in cash back rewards on your first purchase within 3 months
  • Since it is a World Elite Mastercard, It also comes with additional benefits from Mastercard
  • Extended Warranty and Purchase Protection, Rental Car Collision/Damage, Out-of-Province/Out-of-Country Emergency Medical, Trip Interruption and Trip Cancellation.

The new card from Rogers has peaked my interest as the net 1.5% cash back on foreign transactions is the most generous from any card (with or without any annual fees). Along with the added insurance coverage, this card is one of the best option right now.

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard

As one of the largest banks in the world, having branches in 67 countries, it makes sense that they would have a credit card with no foreign transaction fees.

This card offers:

  • No foreign currency conversion charge
  • Earn 3% in travel rewards on all eligible travel purchases and 1.5% in travel rewards on all other eligible purchases
  • $100 annual travel enhancement credit
  • Complimentary membership to Mastercard Airport Experiences Provided by LoungeKey
  • Unlimited Wi-Fi through Boingo at over 1 million hotspots worldwide (Value of $39 USD/month)
  • 10% discount on select hotel bookings on your card with Expedia and Agoda
  • 31-day travel insurance coverage (medical, baggage, trip cancellation and delay, car rental)
  • Added coverage such as Purchase Security & Extended Warranty Protection and Price Protection Service
  • Since it is a World Elite Mastercard, It also comes with additional benefits from Mastercard
  • Annual Fee of $149 (HSBC Premier clients are eligible for a $50 rebate)

Before you get too excited like I was, to apply for the card, you need:

  • Have a minimum annual gross personal income of $80,000 or a minimum annual gross household income of $150,000 and
  • Be an HSBC Premier client

The first requirement is not too hard, especially if you live at home with your parents (one of many perks!). But becoming a HSBC Premier client requires you to have an active HSBC Premier chequing account and maintain a $100,000 balance or reach a personal HSBC residential mortgage balances of $500,000 or greater.

Unfortunately, like many Canadians, I don’t have $100,000 lying around or a $500,000 mortgage, so I am not eligible to get this credit card. If HSBC ever lifts the Premier client requirement, I would be first in line to get this card!

UPDATE as of June 18th, 2018

HSBC World Elite Mastercard

HSBC has added another card to its collection and its the HSBC World Elite Mastercard. This card is essentially the credit card above but without the requirement of having to be a HSBC Premier client. The features that I noticed that they have removed are the extended travel insurance ( baggage, trip cancellation and delay, car rental) and the purchase security & extended warranty protection and price protection service.

Until September 4th, HSBC is having a promotion on this card, where you can receive up to 30,000 Points ($150 value in travel rewards) and they will waive the $149 annual fee for the first year (offer excludes Quebec residents).

This card is one of the best option right now, and is even more attractive to get with the current promotion.

Brim Financial Mastercards 

This soon to be launching financial institution is bringing out three new Mastercards to Canada. Their credit cards brings a variety of benefits depending on which one you get. Here are some of them:

Brim Mastercard:

  • 1 point for every $1 spent
  • No annual fee

Brim World Mastercard:

  • 1.5 points for every $1 spent on the first $25,000 spent. Thereafter its 1 point for every $1 spent
  • Complimentary LoungeKey membership
  • Comprehensive travel insurance including car rental insurance
  • Annual fee of $99

Brim World Elite Mastercard:

  • 2 points for every $1 spent on the first $25,000 spent. Thereafter its 1 point for every $1 spent
  • Complimentary LoungeKey membership
  • Comprehensive travel insurance including car rental insurance
  • Trip cancellation/interruption insurance
  • Since it is a World Elite Mastercard, It also comes with additional benefits from Mastercard
  • Annual fee of $120

All of them provide:

  • No foreign currency conversion charge
  • Free Global Wi-Fi with access to over 1 million Boingo Wi-Fi hotspots (Value of $39 USD/month)
  • Mobile Device Insurance (different coverage depending on the card)
  • Event Ticket Protector Insurance
  • Extended Warranty and purchase protection
  • Installment Pay on purchases over $500

Brim’s reward point is valued at least at 1 point = $0.01. They mention that they will offer redemption multipliers with some merchants for their products or services meaning that 1 point could be worth $0.015, $0.02, $0.03 or more.

The benefits on these credit cards look amazing! Unfortunately there is a delay of their full launch as these cards have not been fully rolled out yet. I am waiting for their full launch before I commit to anything.

Conclusion

After much research, these cards are what I found to be Canada’s no foreign transaction fees credit cards. With the limited options that we have, my plan is to wait for a first year free promotion from Scotiabank to get the Passport Visa Infinite. I will also get the HSBC World Elite Mastercard within the promotion. It is always good to have Visa and a Mastercard in case you get any merchant that does not accept either one.

Let me know which one you have? or which one you think is best?

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