US$ credit cards - anything available to Canadians? - Page 3
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Thread: US$ credit cards - anything available to Canadians?

  1. #21
    Senior Member uptoolate's Avatar
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    And TD will waive the minimum balance provision if you have enough business with them (and remind them every 6 months).

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  2. #22
    Senior Member My Own Advisor's Avatar
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    Good to know. Might consider it. We make at least 2 trips per year to US, long weekends or longer.

    Thanks Sampson.
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  3. #23
    Senior Member leoc2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sampson View Post
    Opportunity cost on the $5k cash at this point is far lower than the 2.5%.

    We also use the TD USD Visa. Problem with respect to the OP is that Costco doesn't accept Visa. We travel to the USD 2-3 times per year, and often max our spending limits (bonus that kids get the limit too ). We always bring enough cash to cover our Costco adventures, then put everything else on the CC. FWIW, I always gas up at Costco in the US, since the price differential compared to other big name gas retailers is more than the 2.5% currency conversion.

    Edited to:
    fix the quote
    We buy a costco cash card using our reward points mastercard to use at costco. If we overspend then we cover the cash card shortfall with a debit card. Costco can transact combination cash card and debit.

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by leoc2 View Post
    We buy a costco cash card using our reward points mastercard to use at costco. If we overspend then we cover the cash card shortfall with a debit card. Costco can transact combination cash card and debit.
    You buy the cash card in Canada? with CAD? If so, what exchange rate do they give you?

    I usually just do a currency gambit (well, sitting on lots of USD anyway) before our trip so cost is minimal. We typically leave most of the USD at home to cover the USD VISA after we come home.

  5. #25
    Senior Member humble_pie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sampson View Post
    I usually just do a currency gambit (well, sitting on lots of USD anyway) before our trip so cost is minimal. We typically leave most of the USD at home to cover the USD VISA after we come home.


    this sounds perfect, i think avrex was saying he does the same?

    it all works fine for USD expenditures. For global expenditures i'm not sure about that Amazon card. It would not be reasonable for Amazon to offer all the world's currencies; there must be some currencies that it does offer - probably the leading few - there are perhaps 5 or 6 of these - but that's it.

    wouldn't a problem for the average cardholder be that he'd have to maintain a bank account in the native currency out of which he could pay his Amazon card bill? presumable this is not an issue for liquidfinance who says he's a british bloke. But i for one don't have any british pound account, so if i had UK costs on an Amazon card statement, then somewhere along the line i'd have to pay FX fees to convert CAD to GBP, or USD to GBP ...

  6. #26
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    Here's the verbage on the foreign transactions for the Amazon card:
    We will bill you in Canadian Currency if you use your account to make a transaction in foreign currency. We will
    convert it into Canadian currency at the exchange rate set by Visa International in effect at the time we post the
    transaction to your account. This exchange rate may be different from the rate in effect on the transaction date.
    We will not charge you any additional foreign currency conversion charge.

  7. #27
    Senior Member Echo's Avatar
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    Foreign transactions work as follows:

    1. Currencies are converted at spot market rates
    2. VISA charges the issuer a net International Assessment Fee (ISA) of 60 basis points for non-Canadian transactions in a foreign currency. This would include buying from U.S. based website merchants for example.
    3. The Issuers may or may not charge an Optional Issuer Fee (OIF) of any amount. For some reason every issuer in Canada chose 2.5%. As far as i can tell, Chase is the only issuer that has chosen not to charge an Optional Issuer Fee for foreign exchange fees.
    4. The Optional Issuer Fee is a significant revenue source for Canadian issuers, especially for travel cards.

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  8. #28
    Senior Member humble_pie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Echo View Post
    The [credit card] Issuers may or may not charge an Optional Issuer Fee (OIF) of any amount. For some reason every issuer in Canada chose 2.5% ...

    The Optional Issuer Fee is a significant revenue source for Canadian issuers, especially for travel cards.

    http://www.thestar.com/business/pers...ravelling.html

    thankx Echo & thank you Spudd for your trouble.

    what i did find chez MBNA is that the spot rate - which they refer to as the Bank of Canada rate - which MBNA is using before it tacks on its 2.50% user fee was significantly higher than the bank of canada noon rate for that day. About one-half of one percent higher. This was, i believe, greater than the BOC fluctuation for that day.

    i'd have to do many more checks in order to see if there is a pattern. I probably won't do this, because i gambit US currency & i would never dream of paying a credit card company any FX fee. 2.50%? that's outrageous. Here we are grumbling about brokers charging FX fees of 1.50-1.99%, which compared to credit card FX charges of 2.50% look like saintlike giveaways.

    as for Amazon, the messages upthread might be a bit misleading? i got the impression some readers thought they offer global currencies with no FX fees? actually, what they're passing on are the Visa fees. They are, in fact, piggybacking on Visa, in a certain sense acting as a sub-agent for Visa. Perhaps the Cost-of-Borrowing regulations that were passed as amendments to the Bank Act about a decade ago are preventing Amazon from tacking on any additional fee of their own.

    cost-of-borrowing regulations were passed in order to control credit card companies, which up until then had been charging concealed FX fees on US purchases but disclosing nothing on statements to their clients. Tch.

  9. #29
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    I'm believe you are mistaken, Humble.

    For example, my TD Infinite Visa has the following wording:
    Foreign Currency Transactions: If you use the Account to make Purchases or obtain Cash Advances in U.S. Dollars,Euros, Great British Pounds,
    Australian Dollars,or Mexican Pesos, the foreign currency will be converted directly to Canadian Dollars before it is recorded in the Account. If you
    use the Account to make Purchases or obtain Cash Advances in any other foreign currency, the currency will be first converted to U.S. Dollars and
    then to Canadian Dollars before it is recorded in the Account. Credits to the Account involving a foreign currency will also be converted directly to
    Canadian Dollars,or first to U.S. Dollars and then to Canadian Dollars,depending on the foreign currency involved as set out above.
    For debit Transactions,currency will be converted by applying a rate established by VISA plus a fixed percentage as shown in the Disclosure Statement.
    For credit Transactions, currency will be converted by applying a rate established by VISA minus a fixed percentage as shown in the Disclosure
    Statement.
    It's pretty clear that the TD card charges a fee on top of the rate established by Visa, while the Amazon card does not. Yes, the Visa rate may also be a rip-off (that is unclear), but at least the Amazon card is not charging the 2.5% on top of the Visa rate.

  10. #30
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    We have a CIBC USD account and a CIBC USD Visa card. Until this year, we occasionally rec'd USD cheques. Rather than pay exchange, we just deposit them in our USD account and then use our USD Visa. Our US spending is often $10K year, sometimes more so the card ($30.) pays for itself.

    We will be cancelling the card soon and moving to either the Marriott card ( $120. but gratis in year one) or the Amazon.ca card (free). We travel outside of NA so these cards will be well used. We really resent paying the 2.5 percent fee.

    One thing though. When we book air in the US on a US carrier, many of the carriers like AA provide excellent exchange rates. Something to keep in mind if you are in this situation.


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