Barely over the border foreign transaction fees
I’m about to go to Canada for the first time. Well, not technically the first time — I flew into Vancouver a few years ago for an Alaskan cruise — but I only set foot in the airport and cruise terminal. I wasn’t even there long enough to use a credit or debit card.
I leave late next week for my delayed honeymoon, and we’ll spend time in both Seattle and Vancouver. It’s funny — at first I figured I would just use my normal debit card in Canada. We both use currency called dollars, and so many things about the countries are so similar. I quickly realized that while the value is very similar, a Canadian dollar is still different from an American dollar, and I would incur a foreign transaction fee for every payment.
Instead, I’m going to be using my trusty Capital One credit card that I always use for international travels. It has no frills, but it also has no foreign transaction fee. We’ve been saving up money for the trip in an online savings account, and I was hoping to directly use that money via a debit card. Instead, I plan to use the Capital One card for nearly all of the purchases made there.
Once I’m back, I’ll pay off the credit card balance with the amount saved. It adds an extra step, but avoiding a fee of several percentage points for every single purchase is very much worth it! And I used my Chase Continental Airlines OnePass credit card for some of the big purchases made in advance in American dollars, such as our AmTrak train tickets, so I will also rack up some reward miles from the trip.