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Debit cards with no foreign transaction fees in Canada

Explore no foreign transaction fee debit card options, including prepaid cards that work like debit or credit cards and often come with low or no foreign transaction fees.

Foreign transaction fees can really add up if you travel frequently or shop online at non-Canadian stores. You’ll have a hard time finding debit cards with no foreign transaction fees in Canada, but the good news is that prepaid cards — which work like debit or credit cards — often come with low or no foreign transaction fees.

Can you get no foreign transaction fee debit cards in Canada?

While most of the biggest banks in Canada don’t offer standard debit cards with no foreign transaction fee, there are select prepaid cards that function like debit cards and don’t have foreign transaction fees. These cards can be offered by online banks in Canada, like EQ Bank, or from companies who specialize in international money transfers, like Wise.

Get a prepaid card with no foreign transaction fees

Prepaid card lets you make purchases and manage your money similarly to how you use debit and credit cards. However, unlike many debit and credit cards in Canada, prepaid cards often come with low or no foreign transaction fees. These cards allow you to spend using funds that have been loaded onto your card, so you can only spend what you have.

EQ Bank Card

$0
Monthly Fee
$0
Transaction Cost
0.5% cash back
Rewards
With no annual or monthly fees and a wide range of other perks, the EQ Bank Card is a great option for domestic and international use. This card comes with no foreign transaction, FX or international ATM withdrawal fees. You also earn 0.5% cashback on Canadian and international purchases, plus EQ Bank will refund you if another ATM in Canada charges a withdrawal fee.


Earn 4.00% for 12 months when you set up $500/month or more in direct deposit for your pay (this applies to your EQ Personal Account, Joint Account and EQ Bank Card balance). Conditions apply. Thereafter, you'll earn 2.50% on your balance.

  • $0 annual or monthly fees
  • 0% foreign transaction or FX fees
  • $0 international ATM withdrawal fees charged by EQ Bank
  • Earn 0.5% cash back cashback
  • Since your payments are not reported to the credit bureaus this card won't build your credit score
  • Funds can only be loaded from an EQ Savings Account
Monthly Fee $0
Transaction Cost $0
Foreign Transaction Fee 0%
Monthly Fee $0
Rewards 0.5% cash back

Travel prepaid cards with no foreign transaction fees

A travel prepaid card lets you load multiple currencies onto a single card to avoid multiplied currency conversion fees. You may even be able to lock in exchange rates before you travel, but you may be charged a fee when loading funds onto the card or withdrawing money from ATMs. Make sure you compare your options, as travel money cards have varying exchange rates and fees.

Wise Virtual Debit Card

N/A
Bonus Offer
$0
Monthly Account Fee
unlimited
Free Transactions
The Wise Card offers no foreign transaction fees, competitive exchange rates and select fee-free withdrawals from any international ATM. You'll get 2 free withdrawals up to $350 per month (with a 1.75% fee of the amount over $350), then a $1.50 fee per subsequent withdrawal (plus a 1.75% fee of the amount over $350).


The card comes linked to your Wise multi-currency account, which allows you to spend money in 160 countries, convert and hold 40 currencies and receive payments.

  • $0 monthly fee
  • Funds are automatically converted at the lowest possible conversion fee ( typically between 0.35% and 2.22%) into 40 different currencies
  • Spend using the Wise Card in 160 countries
  • Can withdraw money from millions of ATMs worldwide
  • You'll be charged a small flat fee for every withdrawal per month after the free withdrawals.
  • Pay a 1.75% fee on any amounts over $350
Min. Age 18
Account Fee $0

Alternative: Credit cards with no foreign transaction fees

Credit cards, like debit cards, often have international transaction fees and ATM fees. Credit cards can give you access to extra funds outside of your available debit balance, which can come in handy during emergencies.

Since a credit card gives you access to money you don’t really have, overspending can become a problem. You could end up accruing high amounts of interest if you’re unable to pay your balance in full.

Also, be aware that using your credit card for ATM withdrawals or buying foreign currency or traveler’s cheques is considered a cash advance, which comes with an additional fee.

But do any credit cards not charge a foreign transaction fee? The answer is yes. The good news is that if you’re searching for a Canada credit card with no foreign transaction fee, there are a few options to choose from. Compare a range of cards to find one that’s right for you.

1 - 3 of 3
Name Product Foreign Currency Conversion Fee Purchase Interest Rate Annual Fee call to action Reward
Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card
0%
20.99%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($150 thereafter)
Earn 3 Scene+ points on every $1 you spend at Sobeys, Safeway, FreshCo, Foodland and more, 2 Scene+ points for every $1 spent on eligible grocery store, dining, entertainment and daily transit purchases, and earn 1 Scene+ point for every $1 spent elsewhere.
Earn up to 40,000 bonus Scene+ points and get the first year annual fee waived (that’s up to $1,300 in value in the first 12 months). Apply by July 1, 2024.
Scotiabank Gold American Express Card
0%
20.99%
$120
Earn 6 Scene+ points on every $1 you spend in Canada at Sobeys, Safeway, FreshCo, Foodland and more, 5 Scene+ points per $1 spent on eligible grocery, dining and entertainment purchases, 3 Scene+ points per $1 spent on eligible gas, transportation and select streaming services, and 1 Scene+ point per $1 spent on eligible purchases elsewhere.
Earn up to 40,000 bonus Scene+ points in your first year (that's up to $650 towards travel). Apply by July 1, 2024.
BMO U.S. Dollar Mastercard
2.5%
20.99%
$35 USD
Receive an annual fee rebate with a minimum yearly spend of US$1,000. Plus, spend in US Dollars with no exchange rate surprises.
When your purchases total US$1,000 or more in a year, the next year's annual fee (US$35) is rebated to your card.
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Fees for making international purchases with a debit card

While using your debit card when overseas gives you quick and easy access to money, it pays to find out just how much you’ll end up paying in other fees and costs:

  • Foreign transaction fee. This fee is a combination of what your card provider charges along with what the payment processor charges. You have to pay this fee when you use your card to pay in foreign currency, which your card provider converts into pound sterling. It is usually between 2% and 3% of the transaction value.
  • Overseas ATM fees. When using your debit card to withdraw money from an overseas ATM, the owner charges a fee, as does your card provider. Lower these fees by withdrawing from your provider’s international ATM partners (if there are any), withdrawing large sums to reduce your ATM visits or switching bank accounts to one that charges no or low international ATM withdrawal fees.
  • Foreign exchange rate margin. When converting currencies, banks make money by deducting a small fee (also called a margin or markup) worth a small percentage of the exchange rate between 2 currencies. A high exchange fee means a poor exchange rate and less foreign currency for each Canadian dollar you convert.
  • International money transfer fee. If you’d like to send money to someone overseas from your regular bank account in Canada, bank wire transfers can cost $50 or more. Online international money transfer services usually charge lower fees and often support more sending and receiving options.

Pros and cons of using debit cards with no foreign transaction fees

A no foreign transaction fee debit card or prepaid card can come in handy, but there are some drawbacks.

Pros

  • Save when shopping online. A no foreign transaction fee debit card or prepaid card can lead to significant savings if you frequently buy from foreign retailers.
  • Save when travelling. Debit cards with no foreign transaction fees make it easy to spend overseas like you would at home without worrying about being hit with conversion fees.
  • Avoid overspending and paying interest. With a debit card, you’re limited to spending what’s in your account. This is unlike a credit card, which lets you spend borrowed funds that have to be repaid with interest.
  • No transfers required. A debit or prepaid card gives you direct access to money in your bank account, so you don’t have to worry about loading foreign currency onto your card from another card or account.
  • No conversion required. Using your debit card to pay in foreign currency is easy and does not require complicated calculations. Your card provider does this for you using current exchange rates.

Cons

  • No access to extra emergency funds. You can only access funds in your bank account. In an emergency, a credit card could work better.
  • Limited choice. While a number of Canadian financial institutions provide debit cards, not many offer cards with no foreign transaction fees, so your choices remain limited.

Bottom line

When currency is converted, banks charge a foreign transaction fee, which is usually around 2.5% of the transaction amount. It’s possible to reduce foreign transaction fees with a prepaid card, which works like a debit or credit card.

If you’re looking for an alternative to debit cards with no transaction fees, consider getting a travel money card or a Canada credit card with no foreign transaction fees.

FAQs about debit cards with no foreign transaction fees

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