Best flexible credit card in Canada for 2020 award seal

One thing most Canadians don't realize is every time you make a purchase on your credit card that isn’t in Canadian dollars, you're charged a foreign transaction fee in addition to whatever the current exchange rate is for the local currency.

That fee is almost universally 2.5% of the total transaction. If you're making a lot of purchases in foreign currencies, whether online or while travelling, these fees can add up quickly.

Thankfully, there are some cards with no foreign transaction fees, with many credit card issuers (like Scotiabank, Home Trust, and Brim Financial) stepping up and providing the Canadian credit card market what it wants the most.

If you do the majority of your shopping, vacationing, or business travelling in the United States especially, it's definitely worth carrying a card with reduced foreign transaction fees or increased bonuses.

Best foreign transaction travel credit cards for 2020

Here are some of the best foreign exchange travel cards we think you should take a closer look at:

Category Credit Card Current Welcome Bonus Offer
Best foreign exchange credit card Brim World Elite Mastercard Up to $500 in first-time bonus after first purchases with participating retailers (terms)
Best no foreign exchange American Express Scotiabank Gold American Express® Card 25,000 points (terms)
Best premium travel credit card for foreign exchange fees Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite 25,000 points (terms)
Best no fee foreign exchange credit card Brim Mastercard Up to $200 after your first purchases with participating partners (terms)
Best no fee foreign exchange Visa Home Trust Preferred Visa None
Best travel Mastercard with no foreign exchange fees HSBC World Elite® Mastercard® Up to 100,000 points (terms)

Review all top 10 foreign exchange credit cards here.

Best credit card for foreign transaction fees

Our top-rated credit card with no foreign transaction fees is the .

And it comes with top-notch rewards as well.

To get you started, you can earn up to $500 in first-time bonuses after making first purchases at participating retailers.

It comes with great Brim Rewards earn rates on all of your everyday purchases as well:

  • 2 points per $1 spent (up to $25,000 spent annually), and
  • 1 point per $1 on all other purchases.

A Brim Rewards point is worth 1 cent per point, and you redeem them for statement credits.

This card also comes with an unmatched 15 types of insurance coverage, including the rare mobile device and event ticket cancellation coverage.

This is a well-rounded credit card that will serve you well in any situation.

Best no foreign exchange American Express card

Our top-rated no fx fee American Express card is the .

In addition to saving on all foreign currency transactions, you kick off your rewards with a 25,000 point sign-up bonus for the Scotia Rewards program.

After that you’ll earn rewards at the following rates:

  • 5 points for every $1 spent on groceries, restaurants, and entertainment,
  • 3 points for every $1 spent on gas, daily transit, and select streaming services, and
  • 1 point for every $1 spent on any other purchases.

You’ll also enjoy 11 types of travel and purchase insurance, including hotel burglary and trip cancellation. And all of this is for a $120 annual fee.

Best premium travel credit card for foreign exchange fees

If you want some premium perks while enjoying those no foreign exchange fees, the is the card for you.

This premium card earns you:

  • 2 Scotia Rewards points for every $1 spent on grocery, restaurant, entertainment and transit purchases, as well as
  • 1 Scotia Rewards point for every $1 spent elsewhere.

And with 1 Scotia Rewards point worth 1 cent when redeemed for travel, you're getting a solid 1.3% return in spending.

This card also gives cardholders a great insurance package with 12 types included, travel perks like a Priority Pass Membership with 6 free lounge visits annually, and, most importantly, 0% foreign transaction fees.

Best no annual fee foreign exchange credit card

Would you prefer to pay no annual fees in addition to no foreign exchange fees? The is our top card in this regard.

You'll earn a straightforward 1 point per $1 spent on every purchase. Use your points to pay for any purchase charged to the card. Each point is worth 1 cent each, giving a return of 1%.

Shop online with Brim's 150+ online partners, and you can earn between 3% all the way up to 30% back on your purchases, depending on the retailer.

Toss in other Brim features such as free Boingo Wi-Fi, Brim Installment plans, and event ticket protection, and you've got a unique card on top of those no fx fees.

And if you want more perks and insurance, Brim has 2 other cards for you to consider:

Best no fee Visa credit card with no foreign transaction fees

The is a popular choice for a credit card with no foreign transaction fees.

And this is no surprise. For no annual fee, this card gives you 1% cash back on all of your purchases, with no limits as to how much you can earn. Just note you don't earn rewards on purchases made in a foreign currency.

But it doesn't end there. This card also provides you with a free basic roadside assistance plan to help you get on your way when your vehicle breaks down, needs a battery boost, or you get accidentally locked out.

And if this isn't enough, it comes with some basic insurance coverages – purchase protection and car rental insurance.

Home Trust has a great card to consider here that goes beyond waived foreign exchange fees.

Best travel Mastercard with no foreign transaction fees

Want a premium Mastercard that goes beyond just offering travel rewards and no foreign exchange fees? Then the could be up your alley.

You'll earn 3 points for every $1 spent on eligible purchases, which gets doubled to 6 points per $1 on travel purchases.

An HSBC Rewards point is worth 0.5 cents when redeemed for travel, giving you a return between 1.5% to 3%.

Then there are some unique perks that you can take advantage of:

  • $100 annual travel enhancement credit,
  • 10% off select hotels booked through HSBC's Expedia and Agoda websites, and
  • Membership to Mastercard Airport Experiences by Loungekey (each visit costs US$32).

With the 11 types of travel and purchase insurance, you've got yourself a well rounded travel card that will also save you on those pesky foreign transaction fees.

Prepaid credit cards with no foreign transaction fees

Want to save on foreign transaction fees, but don't want the hassle of getting a new credit card?

Or do you just make the occasional purchase or trip and can't justify a new credit card for it?

Here are 2 prepaid options for you to consider right now.

Stack Mastercard

A no fee option is the – a prepaid Mastercard that comes with no annual or foreign transaction fees.

This way, you won't have a new credit product showing on your credit report. Simply get a Stack card, load money onto it, and you can still save the normal 2.5% exchange rate when you're travelling or shopping abroad.

To top it off, it also offers rewards when you use it at select partners.

KOHO Premium Visa

The offers no foreign exchange fees, as well as rewards on all purchases.

For an annual fee of $84 (or $9 per month) you'll enjoy 0% foreign exchange fees while earning rewards on every purchase:

  • 2% cash back on groceries, gas, restaurants, and transit purchases,
  • 0.5% cash back on everything else, and
  • an extra 1% cash back for 90 days if you use our code CCGBONUS at sign up.

If you later decide that KOHO Premium isn't worth it, you can always switch back to regular KOHO with no annual fee anytime you like.

Compare Credit Cards With No Foreign Transaction Fees

How we get our rankings

How do we decide what the best foreign transaction credit cards are? We take into account over 126 features of each card, broken down into 7 main categories:

Foreign exchange page genius rating scoring

We then take those features and put them through our algorithm, which calculates a score out of 5. And since we're talking about the best foreign exchange credit cards, we don't give extra weight to any category, as we're simply interested in finding the best card overall that also has no foreign exchange fees.

Learn more about our Genius Rating methodology.

Credit cards with no foreign transaction fees FAQ

Are there any no fee credit cards that offer 0% foreign exchange fees?

There are several options for no fee credit cards with no foreign transaction fees. If you’re interested in a Mastercard with some extra perks, the Brim Mastercard may be right for you. The Home Trust Preferred Visa also has no annual fee and no foreign exchange fees. And if you’re looking for an easy choice for making occasional purchases or just to use for a single trip, the Stack prepaid Mastercard is worth taking a look at.

What’s our top pick for the best credit card with no foreign transaction fees?

After running every no transaction fee credit card in Canada through our unbiased math-based algorithm, we’ve determined that our top choice is currently the Brim World Elite Mastercard.

Are there any good rewards cards with no foreign exchange fees?

The Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite is our top pick for a travel credit card with no foreign transaction fees. Not only do you save the 2.5% whenever you make a purchase in a non-Canadian currency, you’ll also earn valuable Scotia Rewards in the process. It also has other great travel perks and offers 12 types of insurance.

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