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bell ringer
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I read on another thread that the AUS dollar has dropped 20% to the US dollar. I never have thought about it a lot, but exchange rates have to play a pretty big part of cruising from place to place on a fixed budget. Anyone have a good easy to use method to hedge against this for a cruiser?

Everytime I travel to another country I end up wasting money on exchange fees on my credit card. I did some research for exchange fee free credit cards, but they all seem to have a yearly fee so now need to compare to 2 (my feeling is that long term with a lot of travel that a $50/yr card fee is less than the reoccurring exchange fees). But anyone know of a good credit card with no annual fees, no exchange fees, and which doesn't make up for it by giving you a crappy exchange rate?
 

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I am not an expert in this area, but a group of us were in Colima, MX about a year ago. We were told to use debit card and get cash. The exchange rate was supposed to be as good as any, but I didn't do a comparison. Just trusted the American guy who lived there and was helping us. Maybe this doesn't answer your question about credit cards, but just adds another option when acceptable.

Interesting subject.
 

bell ringer
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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
The card companies sole purpose of existence is to take your money ... one way or another.
Just like it is the sole purpose of any bank or business, but that doesn't mean you can not take steps to reduce it.

I use my credit card for almost everything and run an average of $3000/mo in charges though it. Haven't paid a fee or interest (other than exchange fees when traveling) in years and get around $50/mo back each month in rewards cash. I actually make money by using my credit card.
 

Old soul
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Love these cross-posts sailorboy1 (I didn't know that was you. Makes sense now ;))

As I wrote:

Are you talking about the conversion fee most cards charge? Usually around 2%? If so, I researched the same question a few months ago. As a Canadian I face similar issues. If found a very few options (there were more in the US). I found three options, one being the Amazon VISA card. It is a no-fee card, including zero foreign currency conversion fee.
 

bell ringer
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Love these cross-posts sailorboy1 (

As I wrote:

Are you talking about the conversion fee most cards charge? Usually around 2%? If so, I researched the same question a few months ago. As a Canadian I face similar issues. If found a very few options (there were more in the US). I found three options, one being the Amazon VISA card. It is a no-fee card, including zero foreign currency conversion fee.
Different groups, chances of different answers (just like the $500/mo cruising thread that is on the "other" site)! I remember your thread but don't recall you found a good answer. The Amazon Visa sounds good, what are the other 2 options you found?
 

Old soul
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Different groups, chances of different answers (just like the $500/mo cruising thread that is on the "other" site)! I remember your thread but don't recall you found a good answer. The Amazon Visa sounds good, what are the other 2 options you found?
Fair enough ...

I found four options:
  • Amazon.ca VISA
  • Sears Financial MasterCard (two versions)
  • Marriott VISA
These are Canadian options. In the US you have a lot more options. Many credit unions offer these kinds of cards, as do some large corporate banks. I could find no Canadian CUs that offered zero foreign currency fees.

I settled o the Amazon card, which is really just a Chase Bank VISA card. So far I like it. No exchange fees ... in fact, no regular fees at all. And for those who like collecting things, this card gives you some sort of Amazon point reward thingy. I don't care about this. I just don't want to give banks any more of money that I absolutely have to.

... hmmm, maybe this should be posted in the $500/month thread.
 

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I have a Costco Amex. Lots of money back, no exchange fees, and while it costs me $50/yr I just think of it as my Costco membership fee (it's the same rate) and don't worry about it.
 

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All the Canadian banks offer US dollar credit cards but you need to also have a US dollar account to pay your credit card each month. Each month you transfer the required amount from your Canadian dollar account to your US dollar account at the prevailing exchange rate with no additional exchange charge.

When using a credit card outside of the US the amount in local currency is first converted to US dollars then to the currency of the card itself usually meaning double exchange charges.

The Canadian Snowbirds Association offers an exchange program C$ to US$ and they usually have the best rates anywhere. We are going to look into this further. You need to have a bank account in the US but there are a couple of Canadian banks that have US affiliates - TD and RBC are two that I know of.

In some countries the only way not to be hit with additional credit card charges is to use cash. The Bahamas for example most companies charge 3% to use a CC and that's over and above any exchange rate charge.
 
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