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Best Canadian Credit Cards with No Foreign Transaction Fees 2020

Young female traveller with hat on holding passport and credit card

For frequent travellers, exchanging currency and preparing for an adventure can become second nature. But, when the cash runs low, you may see foreign currency exchange fees on your credit card from 1.5% to 3%. These charges can add up fast and may cut into the budget for things you want. Luckily, some credit card providers have decided to cuts those costs and provide a no transaction fee feature. Although the exchange rate still applies, cardholders can shop abroad or at foreign merchants online, and avoid extra fees.

For those that don’t travel often, a card with no annual fee may be the best way to save money while taking advantage of the no foreign transaction fee feature. However, frequent travellers may benefit the most from a credit card with an annual fee. Generally, credit cards that charge an annual fee also provide additional perks from travel insurance to airport lounge access. In the end, the annual fee may end up costing you less than you would typically spend otherwise.

To get you started, we’ve made a list of the top four credit cards with no foreign transaction fees in Canada.

0% Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Cards With an Annual Fee

1. Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card:

  • Earn 20,000 bonus Scotia Rewards points when you spend at least $1,000 within the first three months. This card is ideal for the traveller, with a full suite of insurance and great rewards.

2. Scotiabank PassportTM Visa Infinite* Card:

  • Earn 25,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 within the first three months. Also, enjoy Visa Infinite benefits, airport access, and, of course, no foreign transaction fees.

3. KOHO Visa* Prepaid Premium Card:

  • Spend like debit, earn like Visa. This prepaid card offers no foreign transaction fees, 2% cash back on groceries, eating and drinking, and transportation. Earn 0.50% on everything else.

0% Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Cards Without an Annual Fee

4. Home Trust Preferred Visa Card:

  • This no annual fee card offers no foreign transaction fees, 1% cash back on all purchases, and a complimentary Roadside Assist membership.

1. Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card

Scotiabank American Express Gold

For a limited time, the Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card is offering 20,000 bonus Scotia Rewards points when new cardmembers spend at least $1,000 within the first three months. Cardholders can redeem their rewards for travel, experiences, and a whole lot more. This card offers a full suite of travel insurance and no transaction fees so that travellers can enjoy their trip to the fullest.

According to our Best of Finance methodology, the average Canadian will see a generous $1,141.59 in Scotia Rewards points in the first two years.

Credit score requirement for approval:

Good: You’ve had a credit card or loan for at least six years. You've had good credit for the last seven years (no bankruptcies or no defaults on credit as a result of failing to pay debts back to creditors). You haven't opened a new credit card account, loan, or line of credit in the last nine months. You've made the minimum payments on my existing credit cards for the past three months.

Annual fee:

$120

Each additional supplementary card has a $29 annual fee.

Limited time offer/bonus:

  • Earn 20,000 bonus Scotia Rewards points when you spend at least $1,000 within the first three months of card membership.

Sign-Up Bonus Expiry Date: March 1, 2020

Rewards:

  • Earn 5X the Scotia Rewards points per dollar spent on grocery and restaurant purchases, fast food, food delivery, food subscriptions, and entertainment purchases.
  • Earn 3X the Scotia Rewards points per dollar on gas and daily transit, including rideshare, buses, and taxis, as well as select streaming services.
  • Earn 1X the Scotia Rewards points per dollar on everything else.

Earning potential:

How does this card stack up to other rewards credit cards? We crunched the numbers using our Best of Finance methodology to see how much an average Canadian could earn over a 24-month period.

Rewards earned over a 24-month period = 138,158.72 Scotia Rewards points
Monetary value: $1,381.59
Annual fee (x2 for 24-month period) = $240.00
Total earned over a 24-month period (rewards minus annual fee) = $1,141.59

You can redeem your points for:

  • Travel
  • Experiences
  • Merchandise
  • Gift cards
  • Convert to SCENE points
  • A statement credit

Insurance:

  • Travel emergency medical insurance
  • Trip cancellation/interruption insurance
  • Flight delay insurance
  • Delayed and lost baggage insurance
  • Travel accident insurance
  • Rental car collision loss/damage insurance
  • Hotel motel/burglary insurance
  • Purchase security
  • Extended warranty
  • Scotia Credit Card Protection (optional)

Other perks:

  • Make purchases abroad with no foreign transaction fees.
  • Get special offers and events through American Express Invites.
  • Take advantage of the Best Price Guarantee on airfare through the Scotia Rewards travel agency.
  • Enjoy the 24/7 concierge service for booking reservations, tickets, and more.

2. Scotiabank PassportTM Visa Infinite* Card

Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card

The Scotiabank PassportTM Visa Infinite* Card offers members an array of travel insurance coverage, as well as a variety of complimentary features. Not only that, this card offers no foreign transaction fees, and cardholders get six free lounge visits per year thanks to their Priority Pass membership. Additionally, cardholders can enjoy complimentary Avis Preferred Plus membership, Visa Infinite Benefits, concierge services, and access to the Luxury Hotel Collection.

Based on our Best of Finance methodology, the average Canadian can earn $556.82 in Scotia Rewards points within the first two years of card membership.

Credit score requirement for approval:

Excellent: You've had a credit card or loan for at least 10 years. You've had good credit for the last seven years (no bankruptcies or no defaults on credit as a result of failing to pay debts back to creditors). You haven't opened a new credit card account, loan, or line of credit in the last nine months. You've made the minimum payments on your existing credit cards for the past six months.

Annual fee:

$139

Get one supplementary card without an annual fee. Each supplementary card has a $50 annual fee after that.

Limited time offer/bonus:

  • Earn 25,000 bonus points when you spend at least $1,000 in the first three months.
  • Earn an additional 10,000 bonus points when you spend at least $40,000 annually on the card.

Sign-Up Bonus Expiry Date: March 1, 2020

Rewards:

  • Earn two Scotia Rewards points per dollar spent on groceries, dining, entertainment, and daily transit purchases.
  • Earn one Scotia Rewards point per dollar on all other eligible purchases.

Earning potential:

How does this card stack up to other rewards credit cards? We crunched the numbers using our Best of Finance methodology to see how much an average Canadian could earn over a 24-month period.

Rewards earned over a 24-month period = $834.82
Annual fee (x2 for 24-month period) = $278.00
Total earned over a 24-month period (rewards minus annual fee) = $556.82

You can redeem your points for:

  • Travel
  • Experiences
  • Merchandise
  • Gift cards
  • Convert to SCENE points
  • A statement credit

Insurance:

  • Travel emergency medical insurance
  • Trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance
  • Flight delay insurance
  • Delayed and lost baggage insurance
  • Travel accident insurance
  • Rental car collision loss/damage insurance
  • Hotel/motel burglary insurance
  • Purchase security
  • Extended warranty
  • Price protection service
  • Feel reassured (optional)

Other perks:

  • Make purchases abroad with no FX Mark-Up, which means you won’t see charges for making purchases in a foreign currency. However, the exchange rate still applies.
  • Book through the Scotia Rewards travel agency to get the Best Price Guarantee on airfare.
  • Enjoy complimentary airport lounge access with the Priority Pass membership. Plus, six free visits per year.
  • Take advantage of the other complimentary benefits, including an Avis Preferred Plus membership, Visa Infinite Benefits, concierge services, and the Luxury Hotel Collection.

3. KOHO Visa* Prepaid Premium Card

KOHO Visa* Prepaid Premium Card

Apply for the KOHO Visa* Prepaid Premium Card to earn 2% cash back on eating and drinking, groceries, and transportation. Earn 0.50% back on everything else you buy. Load the card with your own money and earn cash back as you shop. Plus, access free financial coaching, price matching, PowerUps, RoundUps, and no foreign transaction fees.

Without accounting for referral bonuses, you could have an extra $366.38 in your wallet within 24 months, according to our Best of Finance methodology.

Credit score requirement for approval:

No Credit: I currently do not have a credit card or loan in my name. I need to improve my credit due to a recent bankruptcy or a default on a loan.

Annual fee:

$84 per year or $9 per month

Limited time offer/bonus:

  • There is no welcome offer. However, if you sign up and refer two friends, you can get the metal KOHO card for just $50 (regularly $159).

Offer Expiry Date: N/A (subject to change without notice)

Rewards:

  • Earn 2% back on eating and drinking, groceries, and transportation.
  • Earn 0.50% back on everything else.

Earning potential:

How does this card stack up to other rewards credit cards? We crunched the numbers using our Best of Finance methodology to see how much an average Canadian could earn over a 24-month period.

Rewards earned over a 24-month period = $534.38
Annual fee (x2 for 24-month period) = $168.00
Total earned over a 24-month period (rewards minus annual fee) = $366.38

*This figure does not include additional PowerUps or extra referral bonuses, so you could potentially see more cash back.

You can redeem your points for:

  • Cash back gets deposited into your KOHO account within two to three business days of the original purchase date.

Insurance:

  • Not applicable

Other perks:

  • Avoid foreign currency charges when shopping on your next trip with no foreign transaction fees.
  • Save more money with price matching from participating merchants.
  • Get one free international ATM withdrawal a month.
  • Take advantage of free financial coaching through the app to learn about investing, debt management, saving, and budgeting.
  • Refer friends to receive PowerUps and earn extra cash back.

4. Home Trust Preferred Visa Card

Home Trust Preferred Visa Card

Most credit cards with no foreign transaction fees charge an annual fee, but the Home Trust Preferred Visa Card may be the exception. With no annual fee and 1% cash back on all eligible purchases, the Home Trust Preferred Visa Card may be a great secondary card to add to your wallet. However, this product is not available in Quebec.

According to our Best of Finance methodology, the average Canadian could see a return of over $384.00 within the first two years of card membership.

Credit score requirement for approval:

Good: You’ve had a credit card or loan for at least six years. You've had good credit for the last seven years (no bankruptcies or no defaults on credit as a result of failing to pay debts back to creditors). You haven't opened a new credit card account, loan, or line of credit in the last nine months. You've made the minimum payments on my existing credit cards for the past three months.

Annual fee:

$0

Limited time offer/bonus:

  • This card currently doesn’t offer a welcome bonus.

Rewards:

  • Earn 1% cash back on all eligible purchases with no limit to how much you can earn.

Earning potential:

How does this card stack up to other rewards credit cards? We crunched the numbers using our Best of Finance methodology to see how much an average Canadian could earn over a 24-month period.

Rewards earned over a 24-month period = $384.00
Annual fee (x2 for 24-month period) = $0
Total earned over a 24-month period (rewards minus annual fee) = $384.00

You can redeem your points for:

  • Cash back is credited to your Visa account in January of each year.

Insurance:

  • Auto rental collision insurance
  • Visa Zero Liability Policy
  • Purchase Security

Other perks:

  • Enjoy no foreign exchange conversion fees on purchases made at foreign merchants or abroad.
  • Get a complimentary Roadside Assist membership.