Why it’s Important to Understand Foreign Transaction Fees
If you or someone you know will be traveling abroad or even plan to make online purchases from a foreign retailer, understanding foreign transaction fees can help prevent excess charges and save money.
First, determine whether or not your card provider charges foreign transaction fees. This information appears in your payment card’s terms and conditions. If you’ve already made purchases in a foreign currency and aren’t sure if your card charges foreign transaction fees, they’ll show up on your card statement as a fee separate from the initial purchase. If no fees show up, you may be in luck, as some cards won’t charge foreign transaction fees under any circumstances.2
Since you may pay foreign transaction fees when making online purchases, too, experts suggest checking the “About” section of the merchant’s website to see where they’re based.3 Even if your online purchase is made in U.S. dollars, if the merchant is based in another country, the funds might be routed through a foreign bank. This means you’ll still have to pay a foreign transaction fee—even if you’re paying in your domestic currency.4