Capital One foreign transaction fee — the essential overview and tips

Wise
21.02.19
6 minute read

Capital One is one of the ten largest banks in the United States, with more than 700 branches and 39,000 ATM locations nationwide. It’s a credit card specialist, so many travelers use its products when abroad. That means it’s nice to know that Capital One doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees — though that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re home free.
When you’re abroad, you may still end up paying more than you’d expect. Not great, but it comes thanks to the way banks work out what exchange rates to offer you.

In this article, we’ll tell you what you need to know about using a Capital One card overseas. We’ll cover:

  • What Capital One will charge in fees when using debit and credit cards
  • The fees you’ll pay when using international ATMs
  • Why the exchange rate you’re offered may not be what you’d think
  • Tips and tricks for saving on fees and other charges while abroad

Ready to try something new? Take a look at the Wise borderless multi-currency account. With no sign-up and maintenance fees you get access to your own local bank details in the UK, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and the US — so you can get paid and pay like a local. Avoid international transfer fees and keep more of your hard-earned money.

Capital One debit and credit card fees — what do I need to know?

Capital One has a wide range of credit cards, and you can also get a debit card linked to your 360 Online Checking account. Some cards are only available if your credit status is excellent, while others may charge you an annual fee or require an initial deposit. Others may add a fee for transfers for a period after you sign up for the card, or charge a different Annual Percentage Rate (APR) of interest depending on your status. Eligibility criteria vary, so check those for the card you’re interested in carefully.

Also keep in mind, that if you’re looking to withdraw cash, credit cards carry a cash advance fee, which is either $10 or 3% with Capital One credit cards. You can read more about withdrawing cash in the ATM fees section.

Card name Annual fee Other aspects to consider
Savor Rewards $0 first year, $95 after first year Requires excellent credit
SavorOne Rewards None 3% transfer fee for first 15 months
Venture Rewards $95 after first year Requires excellent credit
VentureOne Rewards None APR varies
Quicksilver Rewards None 3% transfer fee for first 15 months
Platinum None 26.99% variable APR
QuicksilverOne Rewards $39 Cash bonus if you spend $500 in first 3 months
Journey Student Rewards None Increased cashback rate when you pay on time every month
Secured Mastercard None Initial deposit required for credit line
Spark Cash $0 first year, $95 after first year Requires excellent credit
Spark Miles $0 first year, $95 after first year Requires excellent credit
Spark Cash Select None Requires excellent credit
Spark Miles Select None 0% APR for first 9 months
Spark Classic None Average credit level needed
360 Checking Mastercard Debit Card None

Currency conversion with your bank — what about the rates?

You might think that you’ll always get the same rate when buying things abroad. That’s not how it is. You can easily only discover this once your bill or statement comes in, but keeping up with a few things can take away this stress.

It’ll help you to know about the mid-market rate. It’s key to getting the best deal. If you search for exchange rates on Google or XE, the figure you’ll see is the mid-market rate. Banks use this value when trading currency with each other. When you use a foreign ATM or buy something while traveling, though, you may pay a less generous rate. That’s because your card issuer can add a markup. They rarely call it a fee, but that’s what the effect is.

You may find it worth looking into another option, the Wise borderless account. This lets you send money to dozens of countries and in dozens of currencies with a single account. Plus, you’ll get to use the mid-market rate. Yes, the same one XE will show you. There’s just one, clear, low fee to pay. We’ll talk more about this in a bit. You can get the Wise multi-currency debit card, that lets you use your money without foreign exchange markup.

Capital One international ATM fees — a closer look

If you’re going to take a Capital One card when you go abroad, you’ll want to know about some of the possible fees.

ATM usage fees abroad

Capital One itself doesn’t charge a fee for getting cash from other networks, but the ATM operator may do.

It’s not all bad news, though. If you’re a customer of certain Capital One products, you may be able to get your ATM fees back, depending on where you go. They will reimburse you charges up to $15 each statement period, and you should find the money back with you within five working days.

You can also check if your destination has any AllPoint ATMs available, where Capital One 360 account owners can get their cash fee-free. We couldn’t find information about Capital One cards being able to access the same network on their website.

Foreign transaction fees

Capital One doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, so this is one charge you won’t need to worry about with an account or card from this bank. You can see some other charges you may face in the sections above, and checking terms and conditions will likely help, too.

Using credit cards in foreign ATMs

It’s usually going to cost you more to use a credit card to withdraw cash, instead of a debit card linked to your checking account. This is because credit cards have a fee called cash advance fee.
There’s information on the bank’s site including those all-important numbers, but Capital One credit cards will charge you either a flat $10 or 3% of the amount of cash you get.

Dynamic currency conversion (DCC)

Let’s talk about dynamic currency conversion — or DCC, as it’s usually known. If you’ve ever been asked when getting cash at a foreign ATM, or by a merchant abroad, whether you want to pay in your own currency instead of in the local one, then that’s DCC in action.

DCC sounds great on the face of it, giving you a way to know straight away what the value of the stuff you’re buying is. You’ll be able to work in dollars the whole time and keep track of your spending more easily. That’s an attractive proposition – but what you may not know is that using DCC can hit you in the pocket pretty badly.

The problem is the exchange rate. The merchant or ATM company chooses this, and in many cases they’ll give you a poorer rate.

The takeaway here is simple: choose to pay in local currency to get the best exchange rate.

Tips and tricks for using ATMs and paying by card abroad

It’s convenient, quick, and simple to use your card to pay while you’re traveling abroad. The catch is that if you’re not careful, you can end up paying more than you need, thanks to things like DCC. The good news is that there are ways you can avoid a lot of these fees and get a good deal on your transactions. Here are a few hints and tips.

  • Mastercard and Visa are the best names to have on your card, as they have easily the widest acceptance. You’ll find that American Express or other networks aren’t always good. There are online checkers which can let you know before you go whether the card you have will fit your needs.
  • Make sure you have the right kind of PIN. European ATMs will often only accept four-digit codes, so ask for one from your bank before setting off — and memorize it well.
  • Tell your bank in advance where you’re going and when. The last thing you want is for a transaction to get flagged or your card blocked. It’s also important that your bank has your right cell number, as if they need to get in touch while you’re away that’s likely how they’ll do it.
  • Take a backup card from a different ATM network, in case the first one isn’t widely accepted or there’s a problem with a machine. Take care not to muddle up the PINs from the two cards.
  • Get to know the fees and charges your bank makes for foreign transactions. If there’s a per-transaction ATM fee, then it’ll be cheaper to take out a few large chunks of cash than many smaller ones.

Capital One’s credit and debit cards can be convenient and straightforward while you’re out of the US. There are no foreign transaction fees, either. You’ll get the best deal if you take a little time to compare cards and think about which one suits you best. You may also want to consider alternatives, such as the Wise borderless account which lets you work in over 40 currencies and uses the mid-market rate. You can join the waitlist for their linked debit card right now.


Sources:

  1. https://www.chamberofcommerce.org/review/capital-one-small-business-checking-review/
  2. https://www.capitalone.com/bank/checking-accounts/online-checking-account/
  3. https://www.capitalone.com/credit-cards/compare/results/?pid=SAVOR&pid=SAVORONE&pid=VENTURE
  4. https://www.capitalone.com/credit-cards/compare/results/?pid=VENTUREONE&pid=QUICKSILVER&pid=PLATINUM
  5. https://www.capitalone.com/credit-cards/compare/results/?pid=QUICKSILVERONE&pid=JOURNEY&pid=SECUREDCARD
  6. https://www.capitalone.com/credit-cards/compare/results/?pid=SPARKCASH&pid=SPARKMILES&pid=SPARKCASHSELECT
  7. https://www.capitalone.com/credit-cards/compare/results/?pid=SPARKMILESSELECT&pid=SPARKCLASSIC
  8. https://www.gobankingrates.com/banking/banks/atm-fees-list/
  9. https://www.capitalone.com/bank/atm/#id_grabcash
  10. https://www.capitalone.com/bank/atm/
  11. https://www.capitalone.com/media/doc/credit-cards/Credit-Card-Agreement-for-Consumer-Cards-in-Capital-One-N.A.pdf

All sources last checked on 20th February 2019


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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