Chase No-foreign-transaction-fee Credit Cards

Card FAQ

Isa was on a business trip in Taiwan.  I asked her to conduct an experiment.  Use Chase Ink card to pay for a small expense in Taiwan dollar.  I wanted to see how good the claim of Chase about "no foreign transaction fee" and "no dynamic currency conversion fee" which international travel bloggers have written about to avoid.

I also called Chase customer care.  The following is the summary with their responses.

Q1. If my Chase credit card comes with the benefit of no foreign transaction fee in expenses paid by Chase credit card in foreign countries, what does it mean?

A1.  There is no extra fee that Chase would charge the card user.

Q2.  What exchange rate would Chase charge me?  Are the rates available to be viewed online?

A2.  Sorry, Chase does not post currency exchange rates online or not that I know of.  You can search the internet for the most up-to-date exchange rate, and Chase's should be close to it.  (I know different banks has different exchange rates, so I am not satisfied by Chase response.)

Q3. Have you heard about 3%"dynamic currency conversion fee"?  For example, should I pay an expense in Taiwan using Taiwan dollar or US dollar via my Chase Ink card?  I read from the internet that, as an US credit card holder, I should pay my foreign expenses in US dollar to avoid dynamic currency conversion fee.

A3. Ask to pay in the local currency. 

Chase customer care was courteous.  At this point, I believe the best way is to conduct a test.

Isa took a taxi in Taiwan and asked to pay in Taiwan dollar (TWD).   The bill was 300 TWD.  Her Chase transaction shows $10.21.  In other words, the exchange rate used in this transaction was

(300 TWD / $10.21) = 29.38 TWD per USD

The exchange rate history from Oct 4 to Oct 6, 2013 is:

Assuming the exchange rate of the transaction date "29.4087 TWD" was being used, Chase charged 0.02 TWD per USD higher, which is 0.068% and negligible.  For every $100 charged,  the charge is $0.068 higher than the best exchange rate available.  Apparently, no notice-able dynamic conversion fee was charged.  Maybe this fee varies per country.  Or, maybe Chase no-foreign-transaction-fee credit card really means no foreign-fee.

My observation is therefore that it is handy to use, for example, Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Ink cards in foreign countries.  Note that foreign currency/cash is still needed, because not all stores accept payment by credit cards.

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