Credit Cards With No Foreign Exchange Fees in Canada: A Guide

Posted on March 30, 2021

Did you know that, according to Loans Canada, the number of credit cards in circulation in Canada went up from 40 million to 76 million between 2000 and 2018? This is in large part because using cheques and cash has become less common.

If you’re a Canadian who travels often, then when it comes to getting a new credit card, you’ll be looking for credit cards with no foreign exchange fees in Canada.

However, with so many options available, you might not know which card is best for you.

How can you compare whether you prefer the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite, the HSBC World Elite Mastercard, the Home Trust Preferred Visa, or another card?

There are annual fees to consider, as well as rewards and income requirements. How do you decide?

Visa Passport Card

Scotiabank Passport™ Visa Infinite

This free foreign transaction fee credit card was one of the first credit cards in Canada released by a major bank to have the free foreign transaction fee feature. In addition to having this feature that is ideal for any travel-lover, this card also has some extra perks that are perfect for regular travel.

One of the nicest perks include a free Priority Pass membership that gets you six free visits a year to airport lounges.

Additionally, if you spend $1,000 during the first three months after which you’ve received the card, you’ll earn 20,000 Scotia Rewards Points. These points can be used to buy many travel-related products.

These include flights (no blackout dates), car rentals, and hotel stays. Considering how much is available to you through the points program, this really is a great card for any travel-lover.

Keep in mind, however, that there’s a pricey annual fee.

The Details

As for the details of the Scotiabank Passport™ Visa Infinite, one of the best credit cards in Canada, it has an annual fee of $139 and a welcome bonus of 20,000 bonus points when you’ve spent $1,000 during the first 3 months.

When it comes to bank foreign exchange fees, there aren’t any fees that are charged.

As for how you earn the rewards, it works like this. If you spend $1 on entertainment, at restaurants, or on travel or groceries, you’ll get 2 Scotia Rewards Points.

If you spend $1 on different eligible purchases, you’ll get 1 Scotia Reward Point.

Additional rewards include a Priority Pass membership that gets you 6 yearly visits to airport lounges and travel insurance.

Also, if you spend $40,000 or more on everyday purchases over the course of a year, you’ll earn 10,000 more points.

The income requirement is that you earn at least $60,000 a year or that your total household income is $100,000 a year.

Home Trust Card

Home Trust Preferred Visa

If you’re looking for a card that has no foreign exchange fee whatsoever, Home Trust Preferred Visa is a great choice. If you’re more of a cashback credit cardholder than a points cardholder, this is the right card for you.

This is because you get 1% cashback for some purchases on this card—and there’s no limit on how much cash you can get back. You’ll also save money because this card is the no-annual-fee type.

However, keep this in mind. The Home Trust Preferred Visa used to be a card with which you could get cashback on any purchase. This isn’t the case anymore.

Now, in 2021, you can only get cashback when you make a domestic purchase.

This said, considering that you don’t have to deal with the complexities of a points system with this card.

It’s easier to use than the other cards in this article because you know exactly what you’re getting. If you love the simplicity and the benefits of the cashback system, this card is the way to go.

Because there are no annual fees, you won’t get as many travel perks with this card as with other travel cards. However, you will get free roadside assistance if you need it.

Note that, for residents of Quebec, this card isn’t available.

The Details

As for the details of this no foreign exchange fee credit card in Canada, there is no annual fee, no welcome bonus, and no fees charged when it comes to foreign transaction handling. The income requirement is $15,000.

You get loss and collision insurance for auto rentals as an additional reward.

As for how you earn the cashback rewards, it works like this. Whenever you make a Canadian purchase, you get 1% cashback. There’s no limit on how much cash you can get back.

Gold American Express Card

Scotiabank Gold American Express®

One of the credit cards with no foreign exchange fees in Canada is the Scotiabank Gold American Express®. If you travel often to the US, then this is a great choice. You also get a large number of points.

Any time you spend $1 on entertainment, groceries, and dining purchases within Canada, you’ll get 5 points.

On travel, you can make redemptions at 1 point for every $0.01 you spend. In other words, 1%.

The annual fee, which is $120, gets you great rewards as well as robust purchase and traveller protection. Also, if you spend $1,000 during the first three months after you’ve received the card, you’ll get 25,000 points.

These are worth $250.

The Details

The annual fee is $120, there are no fees charged for foreign transaction handling, and the income requirement is $12,000 for each individual.

With the welcome bonus, you can earn 25,000 bonus points once you’ve spent $1,000 during the first 3 months.

As for rewards, here’s how it works. For purchases made in Canada on entertainment, groceries, and dining, you get 5 points for every $1 you spend.

For purchases made in Canada on certain streaming services, daily transit (such as taxis, rideshare services, and buses), and gas, you get 3 points for every $1 you spend.

For purchases you make on anything else, whether you’re in Canada or abroad, you get 1 point for every $1 you spend.

Brim Mastercard Image

BRIM Financial Mastercards

When it comes to looking for a card with no bank foreign exchange fees, BRIM Financial has three credit cards of this type available. We’ll start by reviewing the entry-level BRIM Financial Mastercard.

This card doesn’t have an annual fee, and for every $1 you spend, you get 1 point.

Additionally, you get a Boingo membership. This WiFi membership, which is necessary for using WiFi in many airports, is perfect for any business traveller.

As for the mid-range BRIM Financial Mastercard, the World card, for every $1 you spend, you earn 1.5 points. Then, with the high-range card, the World Elite card, for every $1 you spend, you earn 2 points.

For both the mid-range and high-range card, the limit for how much spending you can get points for is $25,000.

It’s easy to receive and redeem your points with all three BRIM Financial Mastercards. This is done with a digital interface that’s easy to use and only requires you to swipe on the purchase so that you can redeem your points.

There is one drawback with these cards, however. When it comes to emergency travel insurance the coverage isn't as comprehensive as with other credit cards.

The Details

When it comes to the details of these Canadian credit cards, they vary per card. For the Brim card, you don’t have to pay an annual fee. For the World card, you pay an annual fee of $99. For the World Elite card, you pay an annual fee of $199.

For all these cards, there is no foreign exchange fee. The annual income requirements vary too. For the Brim card, it’s $15,000. For the World card, it’s $60,000 for you or $100,000 for your total household income.

When it comes to the additional rewards, there are many. With all cards, you get a membership to Boingo, which means you’ll have Wi-Fi access globally in airports and lounges.

With the World and World Elite cards, you also get a Lounge Key.

Additionally, you’ll get purchase protection and an extended warranty, insurance for your mobile device, and accident insurance that’s of the common carrier type. These benefits are huge for any regular traveler.

Meridian Card Image

Meridian Visa Infinite Travel Rewards Card

When it comes to this no foreign transaction fee credit card in Canada, it’s a great choice because its annual fee is much lower than that of others in this article. Also, the first year of having the card is free.

The benefits are also impressive because they are Visa Infinite rewards.

These benefits include mobile device insurance, baggage insurance, trip interruption insurance, and trip cancellation insurance.

They also include up to $5,000,000 of emergency health coverage for each insured person. However, keep in mind that this is only available for eligible medical services and care required for the emergency.

When it comes to rewards, this no foreign exchange fee credit card in Canada has a great point earning system.

When you spend $1 on purchases abroad, you earn 3 points. For your everyday purchases, when you spend $1, you earn 1.5 points.

The Details

 The annual fee is $99 and is free for the first year. As for foreign transaction handling, there is a fee of 2.5%. However, because you’ll be getting points when you make foreign purchases, this will cover the foreign exchange fee.

As for the income requirement, you need to be making $60,000 every year or have a yearly household income of $100,000.

HSBC Credit Card

HSBC World Elite® Mastercard®

Finally, we’ll review the HSBC World Elite Mastercard. There are no fees when you make foreign purchases on this card. Additionally, you get a $100 travel credit. This can cover airline credit, airport lounge passes, baggage fees, and seat upgrades.

You also get access to more than 850 lounges globally through Loungekey. This is because this card participates in the Mastercard Airport Experiences. Note that you will still have to pay $27 to get into these lounges.

You also get emergency travel insurance, as long as your trip is 31 days long or less.

If you love to travel in style, this is a great card for you.

The Details

In terms of details for this card, the annual fee is $149. However, you don’t have to pay for it the first year you have the card. You also get a welcome bonus, which includes the $100 travel credit as well as 20,000 points.

Additionally, you get 9% of rewards the first 90 days you use the card. This has a limit of 40,000 points earned.

As for the rewards earn rate, travel purchases that are eligible get you 3%. Everyday purchases get you 1.5%. The income requirement is $80,000 a year for you and $150,000 a year for your household income.

Choosing Credit Cards With No Foreign Exchange Fees In Canada

Now that you’ve learned about the different credit cards with no foreign exchange fees in Canada, you might want help choosing which one is best for you. Or maybe you want to learn more about other cards that are perfect for travel-lovers.

Whatever information you need, we’re here to help.

At Insurdinary, we’re experts when it comes to travel cards, credit cards, finance, insurance, and more. To learn more about how we at Insurdinary can help you, contact us here.

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