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Post Info TOPIC: ALERT! International Surcharge on Credit Cards by Michele Erdvig


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ALERT! International Surcharge on Credit Cards by Michele Erdvig
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Michele Erdvig
Posts: 153
(7/24/01 6:04 pm)

ALERT! International Surcharge on Credit Cards

I wanted to let everyone know that many credit cards are now adding on an "International Surcharge" of 2 to 3%. It would be wise to call yours to inquire if they have such a policy, as this can add to the cost of everything you charge on the card. There are some cards that DO NOT have this policy. Needless to say, the last time I was in Ireland I used the cards that had no surcharge. Why pay extra if you don't have to?

Unregistered User
(7/26/01 6:50 pm)

Rip Off!

All of my cards have a 3 percent intl. surcharge!!!! I think it is a rip off. As soon as I find a couple that don't I'm changing to them and canceling the others. Thanks for letting us know about this problem.

Michele Erdvig
Posts: 157
(7/26/01 11:25 pm)

Re: Rip Off!

Hi Sandy,

Glad to be of help and share a few tips with you and others. If you have any other questions as your trip progresses, feel free to post them and everyone here will be happy to answer.

Happy travels,


Unregistered User
(7/29/01 4:49 pm)

School of hard Knocks

Surprise!!!! I learned the hard way about the surcharge. There it was on all my credit purchases including the car & it realy added up. Never again. I now have a platinmu Visa and Gold Master card that do not add it on. Glad to see warnings about it for people who do not know yet.

Unregistered User
(8/9/01 7:40 am)

 Mastercard and Visa

This "Surcharge" was a real surprise to me as I was planning on using my Mastercard extensively while in Ireland.
Can anyone tell me if Visa also charges this "rip-off" for using its card?

Unregistered User
(8/9/01 9:31 am)



Visa or Mastercard have a standard 1 percent conversion fee that has not changed. The issue is that the banks offering these cards can add on a surcharge for conversions. While some banks charge nothing others add in up to 3 percent. So you can still use Visa and Mastercard you just have to find a bank that doesn't charge the extra fees. I know USAA and Capital One do not charge.

Registered User
Posts: 2
(8/9/01 5:46 pm)


The MBNA Platinum Master Card does not have an additional surcharge.

Michele Erdvig
Posts: 239
(9/3/01 4:44 pm)


To the top for interested readers.

Edited by: Michele Erdvig at: 12/27/01 6:04:49 pm

Unregistered User
(1/10/02 8:26 pm)

I called my two Visa cards and

both of them do not charge the international surcharge. I have Capital One and Providian Visa's.

Michele Erdvig
Posts: 338
(1/10/02 8:34 pm)

Re: I called my two Visa cards and

Thats great! Thanks for letting us know of some other cards that don't have a surcharge.


Michele Erdvig
Posts: 384
(2/2/02 12:12 am)


To the top of the forum for new travelers.

Edited by: Michele Erdvig at: 4/5/02 1:39:52 am

Unregistered User
(2/2/02 8:43 am)


It seems that most of the "platinum" Visa's do not charge the surcharge.

kathy waldrop
Unregistered User
(4/8/02 6:09 pm)


We called our credit card companies. Citibank m/c charges the 3% and our Chase card quoted us 5%. We had a AT&T m/c come in the mail a few weeks ago, stuck it in a drawer and didn't think about it again until this issue came up. We gave them a call and guess what?? NO SURCHARGE and it is a lower interest rate. Needless to say, Chase and Citibank are not going to Ireland. Again, thanks for the good advice.

Unregistered User
(4/10/02 9:04 pm)

 United Airlines Mileage card

There was an article in our 4/6 Sunday paper travel section especially lamenting that the United Airlines Mileage card with First USA Bank charges 3%. We will use MBNA Platinum Visa which does not. Won't get those miles, but won't pay a ridiculous fee, either.

Unregistered User
(4/10/02 9:10 pm)

 can't spell my own name!

I just commented on the United Airlines Mileage card. Just wanted to get my name spelled correctly!!

Michele Erdvig
Posts: 680
(7/19/02 9:33 pm)

To the Top

Back to the top of the list for new readers.

Michele Erdvig
Posts: 1634
(7/22/03 12:43 am)


To the top of the forum for new travelers.

Unregistered User
(7/22/03 10:37 pm)

 International surcharge on credit cards

Just got off the phone with American Express Delta Sky Miles and they have a 2% surcharge on international use;but she did tell me to have a pleasant trip....

Michele Erdvig
Posts: 1638
(7/22/03 11:23 pm)

 Re: International surcharge on credit cards

Hi Ed,

I hope that you have time to get another credit card before you go to Ireland. At least the phone rep was was nice and you are getting you 2% worth!


Unregistered User
(8/20/03 1:50 pm)


"markryan" above mentioned that MBNA Platinum Master Card does not charge the fee. I, too, use that card and was told just a few days ago that they charge a 1% "currency conversion charge." Does it depend on which operator we happen to talk to and how can we be assured they do or don't charge the fee? Thanks.

Michele Erdvig
Posts: 1755
(8/20/03 11:23 pm)

 Re: ALERT! International Surcharge on Credit Cards

Hi j2spring,

Visa and Mastercard have a standard 1% conversion fee. But since you get their "commercial rate" for conversions even with this fee you will get your best exchange rate. It is the banks themselves that add on an extra percentage. I have heard that lately it can be anywhere from 2-7%!

So the question is: does your bank add a percentage on top of MasterCard's standard 1%?


Michele Erdvig
Posts: 2282
(3/13/04 12:58 am)

To The Top

To the top of the forum for new readers.

Registered User
Posts: 3
(3/13/04 10:11 am)

 Re: ALERT! International Surcharge on Credit Cards

We were planning on using our Visa debit card. We use here for everything. It has the Visa logo on front and I've used it as a credit card to pay for things even when they say they don't accept a debit card. The credit card we use most is Discover,we also have an Amex, I haven't seen these two mentioned, are they not accepted in Ireland?
We leave at the end of May, so there would still be time to get another if we need to.


Unregistered User
(3/13/04 4:21 pm)


Now I'm Dazed and Confused. We had planned on using credit and/or debit cards to avoid the charges of converting dollars into euros. Is this possible? Do these surcharges apply to debit cards as well as credit cards? Can we use debit cards in Ireland? How about atm's? How do we find banks in Ireland that don't add on a charge in addition to the basic credit card charge? So many little time!
Thank you!

Michele Erdvig
Posts: 2288
(3/13/04 11:54 pm)

Banks and Credit Card Charges

Hi Marsha & Loretta,

Let's take these problems one at a time.

1. All credit cards add a 1% fee when converting money. It is a hidden fee that you don't even see when you get your statement. However, you are getting their low "commercial rate" so using a credit card is still your best way of getting a good rate. Unless you have a card issued by a bank that adds on an extra international surcharge. The only way to find out about the extra charge is to call the bank that issued the credit card to you and ask.

2. Generally debit cards can be used in Ireland. If in doubt, call your issuer for confirmation. Also, inquire if there is any added fee for use in Ireland.

3. Discover is generally not accepted in Ireland. Stick to MasterCard, Visa and to a lesser extent American Express and Diner's Club.

4. Banks and credit cards are in business to make money. If they did not charge for their services they would go out of business.

5. Your ATM card will also get you euros from ATM machines at Irish banks (look for Plus or Cirrus on the back). Generally, this rate is very good -- second only to charging on your credit card. Your bank will charge you to use an ATM that is not their own. Check with your bank to see what the charge is. Bank of Ireland does not have a charge to use their ATM machines.

I hope that clarified matters.


Registered User
Posts: 4
(3/14/04 12:46 pm)

Re: Banks and Credit Card Charges

Thanks Michelle!
I don't worry about standard user fees here in the states, we are happy with the rate our bank charges for "outsider" fees. What I'm concerned about is acceptance. I think we will get a MC for this trip, don't want any surprises once in Ireland. We will just make sure to get one that only charges the standard 1%. Thanks for the heads up!


Unregistered User
(3/15/04 8:23 am)


Just a quick question for everyone: My Visa/debit card is a member of Star, not Plus or Cirrus, does anyone know if this will work? We also have visa and mastercard, but wanted to use the debit for cash so we could avaoid traveller's checks.

Unregistered User
(3/15/04 9:12 am)

debit card

Any chance your bank can issue you a Master Card debit card for Cirrus.
We used the Cirrus card at the ATMs and worked very well and convenient. Might also be good to have a couple of cards incase the machine eats/demags. the card.
I don't know about Star.
happy travels

Unregistered User
(3/15/04 10:58 am)


STAR is a US only ATM network per their website ( so you will need a card from either plus or cirrus as already discussed

Irene Lee
Registered User
Posts: 13
(3/15/04 6:04 pm)


I recieved this email response from my Platinum Visa issued by Bank of America. I'll have to check my First USA Platinum Visa and my my MC Debit card from my bank see if they too have the surcharge.

Dear Irene Lee,

Thank you for contacting Bank of America.

If you make a transaction in a currency other than U.S. dollars, Visa
will convert the charge or credit into a U.S. dollar amount. The
conversion rate will be determined using Visa currency conversion
procedures. There is a total fee of three percent for each foreign
transaction. The U.S. dollar amount and the rate shown on your
statement for each foreign currency transaction include only one percent
of the Adjustment Factor retained by Visa.

The remaining two percent of the fee is added together for all foreign
currency transactions for that month on your statement, and is shown as
a Foreign Currency Conversion Adjustment. This fee is not unique to
Bank of America. The charge is shown and is detailed in your cardholder
agreement as a Foreign Currency Conversion Adjustment.

If we may assist you further, please contact us again.

Dale Mathis, Card e-Services

Unregistered User
(3/15/04 6:33 pm)

 Star ATM

Thanks so much for the heads up on the Star network. Luckily we are not going to Ireland till June, so I have time to start a new bank account! I also plan on contacting both of my credit card companies to ask about their surcharges.
It would have been horrid to get to Ireland only to find out we could not access our vacation money! Thanks again
Oh, one more question, what about getting euros here from a bank to take with us? I would have to drive a couple of hours to get to a large enough city, but would it be worth it?

Michele Erdvig
Posts: 2298
(3/16/04 1:11 am)

Planning Ahead

Hi Jennifer,

Generally, I recommend waiting till you get to Ireland to get euros. You will get a terrible exchange rate here. You can use the bank or ATM at the airport upon arrival.

I'm glad you have time to get your plans in order. That is why I periodically bring this topic back to the top of the forum for new people to see.


Unregistered User
(3/16/04 9:03 am)

Added Surcharges

Hi all,
Called my 2 credit cards last night and found out Capital One does not charge more than the 1%, but Bank One charges 3% on top of the 1%, I know which card I'll be using!
Also, I got a PIN for my Capital One, even though interest rates are really high on cash withdrawls, I figure I'll pay it off immediately.
Thanks again for the heads up.

Unregistered User
(3/16/04 9:27 am)

Irish Banks

Does the Bank of Ireland have ATM's in the Shannon Airport? Are there other Irish banks that don't charge a fee to use their ATMs?

Does anyone know what the conversion fee when getting euros with a Visa Branded ATM card?

Michele Erdvig
Posts: 2301
(3/16/04 5:21 pm)

Re: Irish Banks


If you plan on making cash withdrawals with your credit card you might consider paying in advance. Call to see if you can do this without having to pay interest charges.



World currencies fluctuate daily. Go to my "Money" page for a converter. Bank of Ireland does have ATMs at Shannon Airport. None of the banks based in the Republic of Ireland are supposed to charge for use of their ATMs.


Unregistered User
(3/16/04 5:24 pm)

 ATM's etc

Be careful if you arrive on a Sunday. The bank offices at Shannon are not open, and only one ATM was functional, and we almost didn't find it. There is a place in the baggage claim area (maybe a bank office or maybe just an ATM) but once you leave the claim area you can't get back in. The shops don't do exchanges or cash travelers' checks.

Michele Erdvig
Posts: 2401
(4/2/04 2:05 am)

Notify Your Credit Card Company

Hi Everyone,

I wanted to add a note here about another important step in your trip planning. Notify your credit card companies and bank that you will be traveling outside the country and give them the dates. What they flag as suspicious activity can lead them to freeze your account till they get in touch with you. Don't get stuck with a dead card in Ireland.



"Ireland Expert"  Michele Erdvig

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