Canada’s Best No Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Cards - MoneySense

Canada’s Best No Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Cards

Cards that waive or refund the fee for foreign currency charges are few and far between—but if you're a frequent traveller they’re worth seeking out.

No foreign transaction fee credit cards in Canada

Currency exchange board showing cross rates between various countries.

Millions of Canadians travel abroad with their domestic credit cards—and not realizing they’re racking up foreign transaction (also called “forex”) fees with every purchase. The 2.5% charged for every purchase you make in a foreign currency might not seem much, but can add up very quickly. For perspective, that’s $25 in forex fees for every $1,000 you spend on your card, and you have to pay the exchange rate as well.

If you like to explore other countries on vacation or your work frequently takes you abroad, it’s worth considering a card that travels with you. 

The good news is there are a few credit cards that offer no foreign transaction fees (or their fees are returned to you as cash back), ultimately helping frequent travellers put the 2.5% back into their pockets. These picks are based on our analysis of each card’s benefits and annual fees; foreign transaction fees and how they’re handled (if rebated); and whether there are additional rewards incentives for using the card domestically and/or abroad. 

The best no foreign transaction fee credit cards in Canada

Rogers World Elite Mastercard

Recent updates to the no-annual-fee Rogers World Elite Mastercard make this pick super flexible, especially when it comes to earning and redeeming rewards. The standard 2.5% forex fee is still charged, but with 4% provided back, cardholders are essentially ahead 1.5% on the value of their travel purchases in another currency. While the telco has issued a similar credit cards for several years, previous iterations returned the 4% cash back on all purchases in a foreign currency could only be spent on Rogers products and services; now, users can redeem rewards towards all eligible purchases over $20 made on the card in the last 90 days, so it no longer has to be just Rogers products and services, making it a much more attractive card. Plus, you get World Elite Mastercard insurance protection, which includes emergency air transportation or evacuation; coverage of hotel and meal expenses up to $200 a day (maximum 10 days); emergency dental care; and more.

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Welcome bonus: $25 in cash back rewards when you use the card to make a purchase within 3 months of receipt
  • Foreign transaction handling: 2.5% standard, but 4% is returned on charges made in another currency (see below)
  • Rewards earn rate: 4% cash back on purchases made in a foreign currency, 2% on Rogers products and services, and 1.75% on all other purchases charged to your card
  • Additional rewards: Out-of-province/out-of-country emergency medical insurance; access to lounges in more than 400 airports

Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite*

This is one of the first cards from a major bank to feature no foreign transaction fees. The Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite is great for those who are looking for a travel card that offers a few more perks. While it is $139 a year for the card, users will receive a complimentary Priority Pass membership with six free airport lounge visits a year, plus earn a bonus of 30,000 Scotia Rewards points after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months of having the card. 

Coupled with the simplicity of a no-forex-fee card and a robust and flexible Scotia Rewards program where you can redeem for flights without blackout dates, hotels and car rentals, the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite is a great paid card for travel and everyday purchases here at home. 

  • Annual fee: $139
  • Welcome bonus: Earn 30,000 bonus points (valued at $300) after $1,000 spent in the first 3 months
  • Foreign transaction handling: No fees charged
  • Rewards earn rate: 2 Scotia Rewards points per dollar on travel, groceries, restaurants, entertainment; 1 point per dollar on other eligible purchases
  • Additional rewards: Travel insurance benefits; complimentary Priority Pass membership with 6 airport lounge visits per year; earn 10,000 bonus points if you spend $40,000 in everyday purchases in a year 

Click here for more details about the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite.*

Home Trust Preferred Visa*

Home Trust offers one of the only credit cards that has no foreign transaction fees whatsoever. It’s a no-annual-fee card, plus you get a simple 1% cash back with no limits on how much you earn. There are no restrictions on where you can earn, so while the cash back is low compared to other cards, the Home Trust Preferred Visa’s simplicity is attractive. 

As there are no annual fees, it is pretty lean on extra coverage, but cardholders do receive roadside assistance at no additional charge. (Note this card is not available to residents of Quebec.)

  • Annual fee: $0 
  • Welcome bonus: none
  • Foreign transaction handling: No fees charged
  • Rewards earn rate: 1% cash back on all purchases, with no limit on the amount you can earn
  • Additional rewards: Roadside assistance, with up to 4 service calls per year; collision and loss insurance coverage on auto rentals

Click here for more details about the Home Trust Preferred Visa.*