Visa and foreign exchange

I just found this out, and didn’t know about it until I bought a product in the USA and returned it. Thats when I questioned the difference in the purchase price and the exchange rate given on the return.

On your Visa statement on the back it states…

**Foreign currency transactions. Amounts charged in a foreign currency are converted into Canadian dollars at our (Visa) exchange rate, which is 2.5% above the exchange rate set by Visa International in effect at the time we post the transaction to your Visa account.

**I never new that! So beware. If you purchase a big ticket item in the USA you could be paying more in exchange rate than if you paid cash, debit or Travelers cheques. Bummer!

Well Raymond the same applies to most charge card companies as I found out with Master Card when I purchased my membership to NACHI and the show in Toronto. It is not the exchange rate that will get you but rather the 2.5% service fee on top of the rate. Nick and Deanna were great in returning the exchange rates. The processing credit card charge is non-refundable…ya gotta love those institutions eh?

Hi John

Yes I was under the belief the exchange rate was the rate the bank charges I didn’t realize they marked it up.

In my particular case I was most recently in Florida and bought a Tablet PC. I took it home from the store and returned it within 5 hours on the same day. When I got my Visa I was credited with the return but the difference in the debit and credit was $85! I assumed I would be credited for the amount debited. As it turns out the exchange rate on the purchase (1.1647.39) was higher than on the return (1.1077)! Ouch. I didn’t think the exchange rate would change that quickly even with the 2.5% difference. So the lesson here is if you purchase something State side be sure to either keep it or don’t buy it with the intent of returning it.


Great info thanks Guys I too did not check this I will be applying for a USA$ account so this does not happen to me .
I do have a USA$ bank account for sending checks to the USA.
When I go to the USA I usually Take lots of US money or buy it from the BANK in the USA.
Years ago I saw a Bahaman news paper and they then kept there $ on par with the USA a person went into deposit $200:00 US into his account and he got $196:00 credit he got upset and asked said give me my money back in US$ so they did he got $192:00 .
they charged him 2% each way .
This made the front page of the paper.
I guess the banks have to make there money and lots of it from you and me!
Roy Cooke…

The Banks are thieves, they are like insurance companies, they suck!

BTW the Tablet was an HP 12.1" touch screen. The reflection on the screen was terrible. I don’t know what idiot at HP designed it, but all I could see was the ceiling and my reflection. The screen was next to impossible to see out of doors!

The $C was over 88 cents yesterday but the exchange rate was 80 cents. They under value the dollar and charge you a fee for the exchange.
Effectively double billling.

Its like the measley interest I get on my chequing account. They paid me 1 cent in interest, and I usually have between $1 and $2K in the account! I am beginning to think one would be better off keeping cash stuffed in the mattress, so the banks and government don’t know how much money you have. :wink:

I’m getting pretty P.O’d with all the service charges myself . It doesn’t seem to matter how much you’ve got in there, they always seem to find a way to get there hands on it. I agree with you Ray, stuff it in the mattress. There are No Service Fees for doing that.


My mattress is getting pretty firm! :mrgreen:

I get a 2 - 3% better rate exchanging my little Canadian dollars at K-Mart in Watertown NY than I do at my own Bank of Montreal! :shock: