Foreign Transaction Fees, EMV Chips and more

For just about anything you want to get off your chest about credit cards.
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henry
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Postby henry » Sat Mar 28, 2015 2:34 pm

luvbullmarkets wrote:Off the top of my head only Barcalycard, USAA, and Wells Fargo currently issue cards with Chip+Pin capability & no FTF's. I have the Arrival+ and Propel 365 with Chip+Pin. Both of which have annual fees.

USAA cards are only available to active military, military vets, and family of military. I do not know much about USAA and their offerings.


I wanted the Arrival+ but they don't refund the current conversion fee and there's an annual fee which is a problem because I'm currently paying three. I was looking at the standard Arrival but not sure. This begs another question: how much of your annual income should you have in credit card credit? 100%? 50%? I have some decent credit card limits for my age and income. I'm a full time student with a part time job. Just don't want to be turned down for too much credit.


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Vattené
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Postby Vattené » Sun Mar 29, 2015 9:43 am

It shouldn't be too much of a concern. Banks are well aware of what this ratio is before they extend you credit. Unless you are going out of your way to get as many cards with as high of credit lines as possible just for the sake of it you won't face any problems. I've already exceeded my income in total credit line available, and there are plenty around here with far more, both in absolute terms and as a percentage of income.
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Postby rockyrock » Mon Mar 30, 2015 1:05 am

The easiest way to avoid the DCC is to just make sure the merchant charges you in the local currency. It's not hard really and never been an issue in all my travels.

I have, however had C&PIN issues at unmanned kiosks and vending machines in Europe and Canada. I actually have a Chip & PIN card from USAA but it has FTF so I never use it overseas. I always just make sure I have a card with no FTF and no chip--just in case.
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alexmt
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Postby alexmt » Tue Mar 31, 2015 4:31 am

henry wrote:I've read in a number of places that foreign transaction fees are still charged even when companies claim they do not charge them. Something about what Visa and MasterCard charge alone. I don't exactly understand all of this. Is it barged gauranteed on all Visas and MasterCards? I've heard there are some banks that refund these fees but no specifics. Is American Express not subject to this because they issue their own cards? Are AmEx's without foreign transaction fees true no-foreign-transaction-fee cards.

I was in the market for a Chip and PIN, no foreign transaction fee, no annual fee credit card. It came down to two options from HSBC and one from Barclays but now I find out that even though they are marketed as no foreign transaction fee credit cards, Visa and MasterCard will still charge a fee.

Can anybody on here clear the air? Few details on this are available online.


Neither Barclay's nor HSBC has a chip and PIN card, although both (especially HSBC) love to throw around the term, neither is chip and PIN. Barclay's now acknowledges this at least...

I think you're confusing fees with rates. NOBODY, ANYWHERE, EVER will sell you foreign currency at the average interbank rates you see on Google. Ever. In my experience, MasterCard and Discover are as close to those rates as you'll get, then Amex, then Visa. All are very close, but Visa is generally the worst. That is not the same as the fee, and it's usually well under 1% spread from interbank... you cannot beat that pricing, anywhere.

Of the cards you mentioned, I suggest the HSBC for travel because it has contactless. That means that for small purchases at most newer merchant terminals you can just tap it to pay, and avoid the hassles of signing and being hassled over the signature. Just tap and done, and it's just as secure. You can also use it on some public transit, such as Transportation for London services. I just got my HSBC card today...

The HSBC also comes with terrible rewards and no purchase protections I can see mentioned. It is NOT a good general purpose card. I believe it is good to have several no-FTF cards. Assuming you want only cards with no annual fee, I suggest getting these cards (in order):

HSBC Platinum Rewards Mastercard (contactless, BEST thing you can do for acceptance and ease of use)
Schwab Visa Debit (for ATM use mainly, I don't purchase on debit)
Discover IT (Discover has great rates like Mastercard, and doesn't allow DCC so you can avoid the DCC scam easily)
Bank of America Travel Rewards (may as well have a Visa, and an all around decent card)

Things get more interesting if you're willing to add in cards with an annual fee:

Delta Skymiles Gold (doesn't allow DCC, excellent purchase protection)
Barclaycard Arrival+ (supports offline PIN authentication which enabled you to buy train tickets in France and Belgium without going to a ticket counter, though this problem will likely be solved sooner than later)

henry
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Postby henry » Sat Apr 04, 2015 12:47 am

alexmt wrote:Neither Barclay's nor HSBC has a chip and PIN card, although both (especially HSBC) love to throw around the term, neither is chip and PIN. Barclay's now acknowledges this at least...

I think you're confusing fees with rates. NOBODY, ANYWHERE, EVER will sell you foreign currency at the average interbank rates you see on Google. Ever. In my experience, MasterCard and Discover are as close to those rates as you'll get, then Amex, then Visa. All are very close, but Visa is generally the worst. That is not the same as the fee, and it's usually well under 1% spread from interbank... you cannot beat that pricing, anywhere.

Of the cards you mentioned, I suggest the HSBC for travel because it has contactless. That means that for small purchases at most newer merchant terminals you can just tap it to pay, and avoid the hassles of signing and being hassled over the signature. Just tap and done, and it's just as secure. You can also use it on some public transit, such as Transportation for London services. I just got my HSBC card today...

The HSBC also comes with terrible rewards and no purchase protections I can see mentioned. It is NOT a good general purpose card. I believe it is good to have several no-FTF cards. Assuming you want only cards with no annual fee, I suggest getting these cards (in order):

HSBC Platinum Rewards Mastercard (contactless, BEST thing you can do for acceptance and ease of use)
Schwab Visa Debit (for ATM use mainly, I don't purchase on debit)
Discover IT (Discover has great rates like Mastercard, and doesn't allow DCC so you can avoid the DCC scam easily)
Bank of America Travel Rewards (may as well have a Visa, and an all around decent card)

Things get more interesting if you're willing to add in cards with an annual fee:

Delta Skymiles Gold (doesn't allow DCC, excellent purchase protection)
Barclaycard Arrival+ (supports offline PIN authentication which enabled you to buy train tickets in France and Belgium without going to a ticket counter, though this problem will likely be solved sooner than later)


Can you explain that part about the Barclays and HSBC cards not being chip and PIN?

I currently have the Discover it, the Everyday Preferred, the Starwood Preferred Guest, the Sapphire Preferred and the Slate cards. The Sapphire Preferred is my main overseas card right now and I haven't had any problems with it, but it is not chip and PIN. My everyday cards in the US are the two Amex's. I did have the Delta Skymiles Gold card but I did a product change earlier this year for the Starwood Preffered Guest, I find more value in points, than in miles.

alexmt
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Postby alexmt » Thu Apr 09, 2015 3:05 am

henry wrote:Can you explain that part about the Barclays and HSBC cards not being chip and PIN?

I currently have the Discover it, the Everyday Preferred, the Starwood Preferred Guest, the Sapphire Preferred and the Slate cards. The Sapphire Preferred is my main overseas card right now and I haven't had any problems with it, but it is not chip and PIN. My everyday cards in the US are the two Amex's. I did have the Delta Skymiles Gold card but I did a product change earlier this year for the Starwood Preffered Guest, I find more value in points, than in miles.


The Barclay's and HSBC cards are not chip and PIN, they are chip and signature (though most HSBC reps will swear up and down it is chip and PIN, Barclay's refers to theirs as "chip and signature with PIN backup").

Both cards are chip and signature cards that happen to have PINs, in case they are used at a terminal that cannot accept signatures. The HSBC has the minimum requirement of Mastercard - an online PIN (compare this to Visa - which recommends issuers have no PIN support for purchases). ALL Mastercards support online PIN as a backup.

The Barclay's also supports offline PIN, so it'll work in situations (many/most French and Belgian rail ticket machines) that ONLY support offline PIN. This does nothing to help the more common situation where merchants whinge about you using a card that requires a signature.

The HSBC card supports contactless with the M/CHIP profile. This means it will work on Transport for London and some other services with no need to buy an Oyster (fare) card. Just tap in (and tap out on the Tube/DLR/Overground). For small everyday purchases at many merchants (and increasing rapidly due to a Mastercard mandate) you can also just tap, and avoid all the headaches of signature verification.

Between the two, I'd suggest the HSBC card - contactless is FAR more useful when travelling than offline PIN backup on a chip and signature card.



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