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Scotiabank Gold American Express will have no foreign currency exchange fee starting August 1, 2019
May 8, 2019
7:26 am
Peter
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As reported in many places such as RedFlagDeals (http://forums.redflagdeals.com.....#p30883726), the Scotiabank Gold American Express credit card will have no foreign currency exchange fee starting August 1, 2019.

There are a few other changes coming to the card including an annual fee increase from $99 to $120, the grocery and dining earn rate increasing from 4 to 5 points, and the gas earn rate decreasing from 4 to 3 points.

Of note regarding some similar cards:

  • This is the first Amex card in Canada to waive the foreign currency exchange fee
  • This matches the top earn rate (and annual fee) of the Amex Cobalt card for grocery and dining purchases, although the points earned with the Cobalt card are more flexible
  • Those who don't want an annual fee for a "no-forex fee" card have a few alternatives such as the Home Trust Preferred Visa, the Rogers World Elite Mastercard (which technically charges the fee but gives you 2.5% more cash back rewards on foreign currency purchases), the Brim Financial Mastercard and the STACK prepaid card
  • Scotiabank has the Passport Visa Infinite card (with a $139 annual fee, as well as a business version with a $199 annual fee) that also waives the foreign currency exchange fee
May 8, 2019
3:12 pm
maGIC
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Can anyone clarify what it means when they say “no foreign currency exchange”

My understanding is the average credit card charges a foreign exchange fee of usually 2.5% and on top of that they charge their exchange rate which is usually about 2.5%.

So effectively you get dinged 5%.

So with “no foreign exchange fee” you would still be paying 2.5%.

Have I got this correct?

So if as a example USD and CAD were even such that $1.00 CAD =$1.00 USD

If you went to the US and Bought something for $1.00 USD, would you be charged $1.00 CAD on your statement?

Thanks
MAgic

May 8, 2019
3:18 pm
Briguy
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Horrible changes for the most part-
First the negative:
1)I used to recommend this card for those over 65 to no maximum age since it gave 10 days of travel medical insurance coverage, now it only gives 3 days.
2)In addition trip cancellation and interruption has decreased from 2500 per person per trip to 1500 per person per trip.
3)Foreign exchange is now free from 2.5%but points earned on foreign currencies earn only 1%, including gas,groceries dining and entertainment
4)No price protection insurance anymore
5) 3% rewards points on gasoline purchases instead of 4%
6)Account fee increase to 120 from 99

Positive changes:
1) 5% rewards points instead of 4% on groceries dining and entertainment
2) 3% rewards on daily transit and streaming services

May 8, 2019
3:26 pm
Doug
West Kelowna
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maGIC said
Can anyone clarify what it means when they say “no foreign currency exchange”

My understanding is the average credit card charges a foreign exchange fee of usually 2.5% and on top of that they charge their exchange rate which is usually about 2.5%.

So effectively you get dinged 5%.

So with “no foreign exchange fee” you would still be paying 2.5%.

Have I got this correct?

So if as a example USD and CAD were even such that $1.00 CAD =$1.00 USD

If you went to the US and Bought something for $1.00 USD, would you be charged $1.00 CAD on your statement?

Thanks
MAgic  

Hi Magic,

Most credit cards charge 2.5% to convert foreign currencies into Canadian dollars. This is in addition to the foreign exchange rate Visa International settles foreign currencies at (generally the banks' mid-rates, or close to it). There's usually a modest built-in spread into that Visa International exchange rate, but it's not another 2.5%. It's likely between 5 bps (0.05%) and 50 bps (0.50%).

If a credit card offers no FX fees, then they use Visa International's exchange rate.

Small clarification re: Peter's original post, which Peter mentioned I see, but bears repeating: Rogers changed their credit cards a year or two ago and no longer offer an FX-free credit card. They do have an effective reduced FX fee in that the cash back rewards you receive on FCY purchases effectively reduce, but do not eliminate, the 1.5-2.5% FX fee you pay.

My understanding is that the postpaid and prepaid credit cards Peter mentioned, including Brim and Stack (forgot about Brim), do indeed have no added FX fees. Personally, my preference would be for the Home Trust Preferred Visa, which is also a favourite over at RedFlagDeals.

Cheers,
Doug

May 8, 2019
3:49 pm
Briguy
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Doug said

Hi Magic,

Most credit cards charge 2.5% to convert foreign currencies into Canadian dollars. This is in addition to the foreign exchange rate Visa International settles foreign currencies at (generally the banks' mid-rates, or close to it). There's usually a modest built-in spread into that Visa International exchange rate, but it's not another 2.5%. It's likely between 5 bps (0.05%) and 50 bps (0.50%).

If a credit card offers no FX fees, then they use Visa International's exchange rate.

Small clarification re: Peter's original post, which Peter mentioned I see, but bears repeating: Rogers changed their credit cards a year or two ago and no longer offer an FX-free credit card. They do have an effective reduced FX fee in that the cash back rewards you receive on FCY purchases effectively reduce, but do not eliminate, the 1.5-2.5% FX fee you pay.

My understanding is that the postpaid and prepaid credit cards Peter mentioned, including Brim and Stack (forgot about Brim), do indeed have no added FX fees. Personally, my preference would be for the Home Trust Preferred Visa, which is also a favourite over at RedFlagDeals.

Cheers,
Doug  

Rogers World Elite Mastercard gives you back 4% on foreign currency purchases, which should cover the 2.5% foreign exchange fee they charge. And supposedly the Mastercard exchange rate is slightly better than the Visa exchange rate, so Rogers should be better than Home Trust, since 1.5 % net cashback from Rogers trumps 1% cashback you get on Home Trust.

Also, Meridian Visa Infinite Travel Rewards credit card wasn't mentioned- it gives back 3% which nets you 0.5% after the 2.5% foreign exchange fee on foreign purchases.

May 8, 2019
10:10 pm
Save2Retire@55
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Knowing that many countries won't accept American Express, I think this card is a waste of time. I had it last year (Got the $300 bonus) but cancelled before the annual renewal to avoid fees (First year was waived).
I will not pay $120 for this card.
Instead I am using Rogers which gives me 1.5% back in foreign transactions. Actually, whenever I have the option to switch from CAD to foreign currency (and I know 100% I won't need a refund), I use the foreign transaction.
Example yesterday. Booked flights with COPA. Instead of using CAD, I used USD and saved $16.5 CAD on the total cost of the flights.

May 9, 2019
7:43 am
Top It Up
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You know it's a sad day for AMEX credit card holders, in Canada, when RFD has a forum thread A list of merchants who accept AMEX in Canada. Even sadder in Europe where acceptance of AMEX cards is almost negligible.)

May 9, 2019
8:53 am
Doug
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That's true, but I was just going to add that a lot more merchants are starting to accept American Express credit cards, at least in North America. Sure, I see Loblaw stores don't accept it anymore (if they ever did), though I think Shoppers Drug Mart might still accept it.

Now Diners Club International...why BMO wasted hundreds of millions of dollars buying that credit card platform, I have no idea. 😉

The SimplyCash card, whether no fee or annual fee version, is still a pretty competitive cash back credit card with some added features.

I've never been an American Express customer, but I think losing the Costco contract has started some product innovation on their part.

Cheers,
Doug

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