Gephardt: You could be paying foreign transaction fees without leaving the US

Jul 15, 2022, 8:10 AM | Updated: 8:16 am

SALT LAKE CITY — When traveling, it can be easy to lose track of the fees: there’s the bags, jet fuel, hotel parking and resort fees, and there are often fees that you tack on simply by swiping your credit card. That last one can be particularly cumbersome when traveling abroad.

Nobody likes fees and we all do what we can to avoid them. But there’s a doozy that hits a lot of people by surprise. Even if you don’t have any plans to travel abroad, that isn’t enough to avoid foreign transaction fees.

“They are pretty common,” Jill Gonzalez with WalletHub told KSL TV. “About a third of all credit cards do have some type of foreign transaction fee.”

WalletHub studied foreign transaction fees — fees that come from your credit card company simply by using it outside of the U.S. According to the data shared with the KSL Investigators, 41% don’t know if their credit card charges a foreign transaction fee.

With the typical fee being 3%, they add up, Gonzalez says.

“Especially if you’re paying for things like travel lodging abroad, that’s going to bring in a lot of money for credit card issuers hundreds of dollars on each day.”

And be warned: you don’t have to be overseas to get hit with a foreign transaction fee.

“You can also be right in the comfort of your own home shopping online,” Gonzalez said. “When a merchant is based abroad or overseas, you might still have that foreign transaction fee, if that is where you’re getting your merchandise from.

According to WalletHub’s data, roughly seven in 10 people don’t realize foreign fees can apply without foreign travel.

You can avoid foreign transaction fees altogether by using a credit card that does not charge them.

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Gephardt: You could be paying foreign transaction fees without leaving the US