The strong dollar has been a boon to Americans traveling abroad as their money has stretched further. Now international travel is getting even cheaper for Americans: Fewer credit cards are imposing pricey foreign transaction fees.
A new survey by CreditCards.com finds that more than 60 consumer cards now offer fee-free foreign transactions – that’s an increase of over 20 cards compared to three years ago. “This means many Americans don’t have to settle for paying unnecessary fees anymore,” Matt Schulz, CreditCards.com senior industry analyst said in a statement.
Four major issuers—Capital One, Pentagon Federal Credit Union, HSBC and Discover—do not charge foreign transaction fees at all. The nation’s other biggest issuers offer a mix of fee and fee-free cards, with a typical fee of 3 percent.
The lower cost of international travel is pushing more Americans to consider trips.
Two thirds of U.S. leisure travelers said they planned to leave the country this year. That’s up from just 50 percent in 2014, according to a recent survey by TripAdvisor, with people spending an average of $8,700.
Given the volatility of currency markets, some travel experts recommend booking international travel now, even if you’re not planning on taking a trip for several months. That way you’ll get to essentially lock in your vacation’s costs at today’s exchange rates.
Once you’re there, just say no if hoteliers or merchants offer to let you use your credit card to pay with dollars. You’ll usually get a better exchange rate by paying in the local currency.
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