Chase Freedom Unlimited foreign transaction fee — the easy guide

Adam Rozsa

Transaction fees are charges attached to every purchase you make on a credit card when in another country. Often, they’re applied as a percentage of a purchase. 

The Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card comes with a 3% foreign transaction fee¹. 

While it is a percentage in the low single digits, fees can add up fast when you’re making travel purchases or shopping online.

This article will cover all the basics and explain to you how to avoid transaction fees with the Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card. 

Getting a Wise debit card can be a great option to avoid these fees – helping you to save a lot of money when spending internationally.


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What are Chase Freedom Unlimited’s credit card foreign transaction fees?

The fee percentage for the Chase Freedom Unlimited card is 3%. This fee is added to all of your transactions abroad or all payments made online to an international merchant.

Apply that to a Pilsner in a Prague bar, and you’re only talking about a few cents. But when you apply it to something costlier like a car rental or rail ticket, it’s easy to blow through your travel cash.

This table offers an overview of  Chase’s Freedom Unlimited credit card and it’s fees:

Chase Freedom Unlimited fees¹
Foreign Transaction Fees3%
Annual FeeNone
RewardsAutomatic, unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
Purchase Annual Percentage Rate (APR)0% for the first 15 months

15.24% to 23.99% after

Late Payment Penalty FeesUp to $40.

How do I avoid Chase Freedom Unlimited’s foreign transaction fees?

If you’d like to save money and avoid Chase’s 3% foreign transaction fee, you may want to check out an alternative option. 

This alternative can be a Wise debit card

You just need to pay a one-time fee to get a card – there are no foreign transaction fees involved.

Use your Wise card to spend all around the globe using any currency. You can also take out from ATMs up to $250 every 30 days.

With Wise, there are no hidden fees, no markup on the exchange rate, ever. Just radically transparent pricing, and a commitment to consistently lowering fees over time. 

Order a Wise debit card today

Other Chase cards for spending abroad

Chase offers a competitive selection of credit cards suited for the international traveler, such as the Chase Freedom card.

Each card offers perks like Chase Ultimate Rewards points, a sign-up bonus, or cash back bonus, and travelers can choose a card with an annual fee, or one that charges a fee on all foreign transactions. 

If you’re in the market for a new card and have a lot of international travel ahead of you, another option can be the Chase Sapphire card, with no foreign transaction fees. 

The tradeoff is an annual fee, but it will likely turn out to be more affordable than paying a 3% foreign transaction fee on every purchase.

What other fees do I need to know about?

Credit cards are a nifty portable finance tool when traveling for work or pleasure, but they can also carry one or several additional fees. 

Some common fees can be: an annual percentage rate (APR), a penalty fee on late payments or on invalid payments, cash advance fees, and balance transfer fees.

But fees aren’t the only personal finance pitfall that travelers need to be aware of. Steep currency exchange rates can also take a bite out of your budget. 

When in a new country, for work or pleasure, you need to have any spending cash exchanged into that country’s currency.

Currency exchange vendors profit by essentially tucking their fees into the exchange rate. They won’t charge you for the exchange. 

But if you compare the exchange rate of a local currency vendor (like at the closest international airport) to the real exchange rate at Google, you’ll find that you get less cash back at a physical location. That’s how they make their money. When trying to save money on a currency exchange, look for a vendor with an exchange rate nearest to the real, mid-market rate.

Dynamic Currency Conversion — keep an eye out

An ATM is the most convenient way to get cash when you’re traveling, but smart travelers need to be wary of ATMs and their tricky fees.

When you’re in another country, ATMs often let you receive a withdrawal in the currency of your home country. That may sound convenient, but financial services aren’t doing it as a favor to you. As with other currency exchange vendors, they use an exchange rate that results in them keeping a larger chunk of the currency exchange.

Financial institutions will often call this “service” by the name “Dynamic Currency Conversion.” While it’s presented as a helpful option for the end customer, when you choose to accept a withdrawal in your home currency it allows banks to set their own currency exchange rate, and hide fees in that rate.

When ATMs offer to pay you in your home currency through Dynamic Currency Conversion, they’re trying to make extra money off of you.

Instead, when an ATM asks whether you’d like to be charged in your home currency or the local currency, choose the local currency every time. Don’t trust an ATM to give you a fair shake on currency conversion.


Sources:

  1. Chase Freedom Unlimited - Pricing Information

All sources checked on 3 May 2022


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This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

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