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What are the typical fees to look out for when using credit or debit cards overseas?

The following fees are typical on both credit and debit cards:

Foreign transaction fees typically 1-3% of the transaction value
Currency conversion fees sometimes present on top of foreign transaction fees and other times included as one fee
ATM transaction fees from your bank usually on a per transaction basis; typically a few dollars
ATM transaction fees from the bank which owns the ATM you used usually on a per transaction basis; typically a few dollars
Cash advance fee, applies to credit cards only
typically 2-4% of the transaction value

Cash transactions with credit cards often carry higher interest rates than regular purchases and interest is generally assessed immediately, with no grace period.  Subsequently, it is not advisable to use your credit card for withdrawing cash from ATMs in general and especially not in foreign countries.

An additional cautionary note, all regular fees such as "over the limit" or "overdraft" fees still apply if you are above your account's credit limit.

Be sure to check with your bank for the current list of fees and compare among different banks prior to your trip if you can.

last updated 2008.08.08
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