American Express foreign transaction fee — the only guide you’ll need

Gabriela Peratello
07.06.22
2 minute read

If you’re considering using your American Express overseas it’s important to know the Amex international transaction fee for your card.

While there are some American Express cards with no foreign transaction fees, some do have extra costs you’ll want to factor in when you plan your foreign currency spending.

Read on for all you need to know about American Express currency exchange fees, and the best ways to cut unnecessary card costs when you travel.

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Does Amex have foreign transaction fees?

American Express cards can have a foreign transaction fee — it really depends on the card you choose. As an example, the Amex Blue Cash foreign transaction fee is 2.7% on every purchase.

No foreign transaction fee Amex cards do exist — but in this case you’re more likely to pay an annual fee which can be pretty steep. We’ve got a full round up of American Express zero foreign transaction fee cards — and their important fees — coming up in a moment.

When are foreign transaction fees charged?

For cards that carry a fee on foreign transactions, you can expect to be charged foreign transaction fees when you make a purchase in another currency in person or online.

The typical fee percentage for American Express cards is 2.7%. Apply that to an espresso in Rome and you’re talking about a few cents.

But apply it to a car rental or hotel stay, and suddenly foreign transaction fees are taking quite a bite out of your travel budget.

American Express cards with foreign transaction fees

The best credit cards for international travelers are ones that don’t carry international transaction fees.

American Express offers an array of cards. Some with foreign transaction fees, and some with none. This handy table offers an overview of different American Express cards and their fees.

CardRewardsForeign transaction feeAnnual fee
Amex Blue Cash Everyday¹3% on groceries, 2% on gas, 1% on other purchases2.7%²No annual fee
Amex Cash Magnet³1.5% unlimited2.7%⁴No annual fee
Amex Everyday card⁵2x on groceries, 1x on everything else2.7%⁶No annual fee

American Express no foreign transaction fee cards

CardRewardsForeign transaction feeAnnual fee
Amex Delta Skymiles card⁷2x on groceries, dining and Delta, 1x on everything elseNo foreign transaction fee⁸No fee in year 1, 99 USD/year after that
Amex Gold Card⁹4x on dining and groceries, 3x on flights, 1x on everything elseNo foreign transaction fee¹⁰250 USD/year
Amex Platinum¹¹5x on flights and hotels, 1x on everything else — other card rewards including cash off specific purchases includedNo foreign transaction fee¹²695 USD/year

Other fees to keep an eye on

Credit cards can come with a range of fees including currency exchange costs, ATM fees and charges incurred because of dynamic currency conversion (DCC).

DCC is where you’re asked by an ATM or merchant if you’d rather pay in dollars or the local currency. Always choose the local currency — or you could be hit by a poor exchange rate and high fees. It also pays to watch out for extra ATM fees which can push up costs hugely.

Finally, keep an eye on exchange rates using a reputable online currency converter.

Most currency exchange services add a fee onto the exchange rate, which is tricky to see and pushes up prices.

Avoid this — and have more money to spend when you travel — with a Wise multi-currency account and debit card. Pay in local currencies when traveling, and convert your money at the real mid-market exchange rate with low, transparent fees.

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American Express credit cards can be split into those which have no annual fee, but come with a foreign transaction fee — and cards with no foreign transaction fee but annual fees you’ll need to weigh up.

Compare a few to see which might suit you best.

Credit cards aren’t always the right option when you travel. Keep Wise in mind to receive currency payouts at the real exchange rate, and spend on the Wise debit card in 200+ countries with low, transparent fees which beat the banks every time.


Sources:

  1. Amex Blue Cash Everyday card
  2. Amex Blue credit terms
  3. Amex Cash Magnet
  4. Amex Cash Magnet terms
  5. Amex Everyday card
  6. Amex Everyday card terms
  7. Amex Delta Skymiles card
  8. Amex Delta card terms
  9. Amex Gold Card
  10. Amex Gold Card terms
  11. Amex Platinum
  12. Amex Platinum terms

Sources checked on 06.03.2022


This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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