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No foreign exchange fee???
May 18, 2016
2:18 am
Schrodinger's Ape
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Can it be?? Does this new MasterCard charge a foreign transaction fee or not?

Their terms say 1.5%, but something's not quite adding up... I've been using this card in Japan this week, and I'm actually getting conversion rates BELOW POSTED RATE. How the heck does that work??

e.g. 3600 JPY on May 17 cost me 42.42 CAD, a conversion rate of 0.011783. http://www.xe.com/ listed that rate as 0.0118162664, so 3600 JPY should have cost me 42.54 CAD. And my travel expense report form estimated even higher at 0.01193883 and wants to give me 42.98 CAD for the expense... This is insanity!

Someone please explain this to me? Because if this is real, I'm switching my PayPal over, and using this card every time I travel (except booking flights, because the TD Travel Visa gives me all that trip cancellation/interruption and medical stuff)...

I just took it because I was staying in hotels so I chose that as one of my 2% / 4% intro categories... Man, I wish they had online shopping as a category!!

I'm also a big fan of the "Pending Transactions" feature, which TD Visa doesn't have for some dumb reason. I don't know why. Actually I do. If you can't remember what you've spent, it's in their best interest to keep you in the dark as long as possible, so you can keep racking up the bill.

May 18, 2016
4:40 am
2of3aintbad
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If the amount is in a Pending transaction, don't be surprised if the 1.5% is added on when it is posted. Please let us know.

May 18, 2016
1:04 pm
Loonie
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The issue may be that both Visa and MasterCard set their own exchange rates, which fluctuate regularly and are not the same as each other, let alone what is the "official' rate.

I am not an expert on this, and it has seemed rather complex. See previous posts from djino who has done research on this.

yes, the 1.5% will likely be added to this, but I don't think that is what you were wondering about.

Are you getting any cherry blossoms? They were pretty much wiped out in TO apparently, due to cold weather. Enjoy your trip!

May 18, 2016
2:19 pm
Schrodinger's Ape
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2of3aintbad said If the amount is in a Pending transaction, don't be surprised if the 1.5% is added on when it is posted. Please let us know.

Will do. I'll definitely notice, since I've already got this amount in my expense report (not submitted, I can still modify it). I won't even complain if they add a fee, since it'll still be much less than Visa ever charged. I knew there were differences in exchange rates between cards, but I never realized they were so extreme. I wonder if it matters that we have "premium" TD cards (Gold Elite & Travel Infinity, both free with our Premium account, which costs me the interest on the $5,000 I keep as a real emergency fund that I'm highly motivated not to touch, because of my visceral opposition to paying any kind of banking fees)... maybe they figure "if you can afford this card, you're either rich or stupid, and either way you won't notice that you're paying exorbitant exchange rates."

I'll still keep both cards in my wallet. The travel Visa gives me trip cancellation and interruption, travel medical insurance, and car rental insurance. So I'll use that one when I book a flight or rent a car. But other than that, I can see no reason to use the Visa over the Tangerine MC.

Loonie said Are you getting any cherry blossoms? They were pretty much wiped out in TO apparently, due to cold weather. Enjoy your trip!

I haven't seen any yet, but I've been in the city the whole time. Conference ends on Friday then I'm going to backpack around the countryside. I'll let you know!

May 18, 2016
9:16 pm
Loonie
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Your planned use of the two cards makes sense. I think it's always wise to travel with at least 2 cards anyway in case you lose one or the system goes down.

In general, djino's research seemed to point to MC being a better bet than Visa for international. However, it was not entirely consistent due to the fluctuations. The problem is that there doesn't seem to be any handy place (or any place at all for that matter) where you can see what it will cost you with either card prior to the purchase. The comparison with Amex, however, was never determined, and might still be worth considering - or not.

I don't think there is any reason to think that the particular MC or Visa card that you are using makes any difference. My understanding is that it's the card company that sets the exchange rate, not the bank you got it from. djino or Norman1 may wish to comment, as they have looked into this in the past, as I recall.

Enjoy yourself!

May 19, 2016
8:58 pm
Norman1
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My previous findings are in this post.

It is not possible to know the rate beforehand. Exchange rate is finalized when the transaction settles between the merchant's acquirer and the card's issuer. It is not finalized when the transaction is preapproved.

The exchange rate seems to be set daily by the card company and is the same for all the transactions that settle that day.

The exchange rates from XE are not official rates. Those are just the exchange rates for transactions with XE.

May 19, 2016
9:57 pm
Schrodinger's Ape
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Thank you for the clarification, Norman! Makes sense.

May 20, 2016
7:10 pm
SavingIsGood
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Using CC for international shopping is not the smartest idea. I always convert at home so I know Exactly how much I have. Paying with CC is like a lottery: you never know what rate will be or will you be slapped with some other fee. 10,000 JPY is 10,000 JPY.

May 26, 2016
4:32 am
Schrodinger's Ape
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yep, the rate did end up changing a little bit. It seemed to keep the rate it had +1.5%, as advertised.

I can appreciate the predictability of cash over credit for traveling, but my bank (TD) seems to charge even more than 1.5%, plus you have to pre-order the money and wait for it to come in. Pretty much the poster child for inconvenient! I'm fine trading predictability for convenience. Besides, with the credit card, I get a form of dollar cost averaging. Also, I actually spend less (which is rare for plastic) because if I have to guess how much cash I'll need, I deliberately overestimate so I don't run short... Then I either spend it because I have it, or else exchange it back and pay the exchange commission twice.

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