Amex Foreign Transaction Fee: Everything You Need to Know

by | May 20, 2024 | Transactions fee | 0 comments

What is Amex Foreign Transaction Fee?

When you use your American Express credit card to make purchases in a foreign currency or through a foreign bank, you may be charged a foreign transaction fee. This fee is a percentage of the total transaction amount and is applied on top of the exchange rate conversion.

Foreign transaction fees can add up quickly, especially if you frequently travel abroad or make international purchases online. It’s important to understand how these fees work and which Amex cards charge them to avoid unexpected costs.

Definition of Foreign Transaction Fee

A foreign transaction fee, also known as an international transaction fee or currency conversion fee, is a charge assessed by credit card issuers on transactions made in a foreign currency or processed through a foreign bank. These fees are typically a percentage of the total transaction amount, ranging from 1% to 3%.

Foreign transaction fees are separate from any fees charged by the merchant or ATM operator and are applied in addition to the currency exchange rate. They can significantly increase the cost of your international purchases, so it’s crucial to be aware of them when using your credit card abroad.

How Amex Charges Foreign Transaction Fees

American Express charges a foreign transaction fee of 2.7% on most of its credit cards. This fee is applied to any transaction made in a foreign currency or processed through a foreign bank, regardless of whether you are physically present in the foreign country or making the purchase online from within the United States.

For example, if you use your Amex card to make a purchase of €100 while traveling in Europe, American Express will first convert the transaction to U.S. dollars using the prevailing exchange rate. Then, a 2.7% foreign transaction fee will be added to the converted amount. So, if the exchange rate is €1 = $1.20, your total charge would be $122.40 ($120 + $3.24 foreign transaction fee).

Which Amex Cards Have Foreign Transaction Fees?

While many American Express cards charge a 2.7% foreign transaction fee, some Amex cards waive this fee altogether. It’s important to know which cards have foreign transaction fees and which don’t to help you decide which card to use for international purchases.

Here’s a breakdown of foreign transaction fees on popular Amex personal and business credit cards:

Amex Personal Cards with Foreign Transaction Fees

  • Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express: 2.7% foreign transaction fee
  • Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express: 2.7% foreign transaction fee
  • Amex EveryDay® Credit Card: 2.7% foreign transaction fee
  • Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card: 2.7% foreign transaction fee

These popular cash back and rewards cards from American Express are excellent for earning rewards on everyday purchases in the U.S., but they may not be the best choice for international travel due to the foreign transaction fees.

Amex Business and Corporate Cards with Foreign Transaction Fees

  • American Express® Business Gold Card: No foreign transaction fees
  • The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express: 2.7% foreign transaction fee
  • The Business Platinum Card® from American Express: No foreign transaction fees
  • American Express® Corporate Green Card: 2.7% foreign transaction fee

While some Amex business and corporate cards waive foreign transaction fees, others still charge the 2.7% fee. If you frequently travel internationally for business, it’s best to choose a card with no foreign transaction fees to save on costs.

How to Avoid Amex Foreign Transaction Fees

If you want to avoid paying foreign transaction fees on your American Express card, you have a few options. You can choose an Amex card that doesn’t charge these fees, use a different credit card with no foreign transaction fees, or opt for alternative payment methods when traveling abroad.

Amex Cards with No Foreign Transaction Fees

American Express offers several credit cards with no foreign transaction fees, making them excellent choices for international travel and purchases. Some popular Amex cards without foreign transaction fees include:

  • The Platinum Card® from American Express: Luxury travel perks and benefits
  • American Express® Gold Card: Rewards on dining, groceries, and travel
  • Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card: Hotel perks and rewards
  • Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card: Airline benefits and miles

These cards not only waive foreign transaction fees but also offer valuable rewards, benefits, and travel protections that can enhance your international travel experience.

Alternatives to Using Amex Cards Abroad

If you don’t have an American Express card with no foreign transaction fees or prefer not to use your Amex card internationally, you can consider alternative payment methods to avoid these fees:

  • Use a debit card with no foreign transaction fees for cash withdrawals and purchases
  • Carry local currency and use cash for smaller transactions
  • Apply for a credit card from another issuer that waives foreign transaction fees
  • Use mobile payment apps like Apple Pay or Google Pay, which may not incur foreign transaction fees

By exploring these alternatives, you can save money on foreign transaction fees and make the most of your international purchases and travel experiences.

Other Amex Travel Benefits and Perks

In addition to offering credit cards with no foreign transaction fees, American Express provides a range of travel benefits and perks that can enhance your international travel experience and provide added protection and assistance.

Amex Travel Insurance and Assistance

Many American Express cards offer complimentary travel insurance and assistance services that can provide peace of mind and support when you’re abroad. Some of these benefits may include:

  • Travel Accident Insurance: Coverage for accidental death or dismemberment during your trip
  • Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance: Reimbursement for non-refundable expenses if your trip is cancelled or interrupted due to covered reasons
  • Baggage Insurance: Coverage for lost, damaged, or stolen luggage during your trip
  • Global Assist® Hotline: 24/7 emergency assistance for medical, legal, and other travel issues

These benefits can vary by card, so it’s essential to review your card’s terms and conditions to understand what coverage and assistance you may be eligible for when traveling internationally.

Earning and Redeeming Amex Membership Rewards Abroad

Many American Express cards, including those with no foreign transaction fees, earn Membership Rewards points on purchases. These points can be earned on international transactions and redeemed for travel, gift cards, merchandise, or statement credits.

When redeeming Membership Rewards points for travel, you can often get great value by transferring points to Amex’s airline and hotel partners. Some popular transfer partners include:

  • Delta SkyMiles
  • British Airways Executive Club
  • Marriott Bonvoy
  • Emirates Skywards

By strategically earning and redeeming Membership Rewards points, you can offset the cost of your international travel and enjoy valuable perks and experiences along the way.

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