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 on vacation, 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, Brim Financial, and Rogers Bank) 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 exchange travel credit cards for 2020

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

CategoryCredit CardCurrent Welcome Bonus Offer
Best foreign exchange credit cardScotiabank Gold American Express® Card20,000 points (terms)
Best premium travel credit card for foreign exchange feesScotiabank Passport Visa Infinite30,000 points (terms)
Best no fee foreign exchange credit cardBrim Mastercard$200 after your first purchase at participating partners (terms)
Best no fee foreign exchange VisaHome Trust Preferred VisaNone

Review all top 10 foreign exchange credit cards here.

Best foreign exchange credit card

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

And it comes with top-notch rewards as well.

To get you started, you can earn a sign-up bonus worth up to 20,000 after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months.

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

  • 5 points per $1 on groceries, restaurants, and entertainment purchases,
  • 3 points per $1 on gas, transit, and select streaming services, and
  • 1 point per $1 on all other purchases.

A Scotia Rewards point is worth 1 cent when redeemed for any travel, giving you a return of up to 5%.

Just note that you'll only earn 1 point per $1 on purchases made in a foreign currency.

Toss in the 11 types of insurance, and it's a well-rounded credit card that will serve you well while travelling.

Best premium travel credit card for foreign exchange fees

If you want some premium perks while enjoying those no fx 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 fee foreign exchange credit card

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 foreign exchange credit card

A popular card among Canadian credit card users for no foreign exchange fees is the .

And it comes as 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 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.

A prepaid credit card alternative

Want to save on foreign exchange 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% fx 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 decide that KOHO Premium isn't worth it, you can always switch back to regular KOHO with no annual fee anytime you like.

Compare Foreign Exchange Credit Cards

How we get our rankings

How do we decide what the best foreign exchange 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.

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