Does American Express Have Foreign Transaction Fees?

Last Updated on July, 2024

We all want to pick the BEST credit card for international trips. Isn’t it?

Whether you’re going for an American Express card or checking out other OPTIONS, knowing about fees and making intelligent choices is essential (This is what I learned from my experience.)

I’ve broken down everything related to AmEx foreign transaction fees for you. So, you can manage your money better when you’re traveling worldwide.

Happy? Then, keep reading.

Quick Summary

American Express offers both cards with foreign transaction fees and cards without, making it important to research and choose the right card for international travel.

There are alternative options, such as Wise and Revolut, that offer low or no foreign transaction fees for international purchases.

It’s important to be aware of potential fees associated with using credit cards internationally and to choose a card or payment method that aligns with your needs and preferences.

American Express Foreign Transaction Fee

american express logo

Alright, let me be straight to the point. All the cards, including some AmEx cards, have foreign transaction fees. That doesn’t mean you’re at risk.

Because they have different OPTIONS for you.

American Express Cards With Foreign Transaction Fees

It’s BEST to avoid foreign transaction fees when it comes to credit cards for international travel. American Express offers various cards, some with these fees and some without, as follows:

  • Amex Blue Cash Everyday¹:
  • 3% rewards on groceries, 2% on gas, and 1% on other purchases.
  • 2.7%² foreign transaction fee.
  • No annual fee.
  • Amex Cash Magnet³:
  • 1.5% unlimited rewards.
  • 2.7%⁴ foreign transaction fee.
  • No annual fee.
  • Amex Everyday Card⁵:
  • 2× rewards on groceries, and 1× on everything else.
  • 2.7%⁶ foreign transaction fee.
  • No annual fee.

Note: If you’re an international traveler, picking a card without foreign transaction fees is better. 

However, among the mentioned American Express cards, all have no annual fees, but be aware of the foreign transaction fees connected with each card.

American Express Cards With No Foreign Transaction Fees

These American Express cards will SATISFY you because they don’t have foreign transaction fees.

Check them out!

  • Amex Delta Skymiles card⁷:
  • Earn 2× points on groceries, dining, and Delta purchases; 1× on everything else.
  • There is no foreign transaction fee.
  • No fee in the first year. After that, $99 annually.
  • Amex Gold Card⁹:
  • Get 4× points on dining and groceries, 3× on flights, and 1× on other purchases.
  • There is no foreign transaction fee.
  • $250 per year.
  • Amex Platinum¹¹:
  • Earn 5× points on flights and hotels and 1× on other purchases. Other rewards available include cash off specific purchases.
  • There is no foreign transaction fee.
  • $695 per year.

Is it Possible to Use My American Express Card Internationally?

a picture of an american express card

Yes. You can use your American Express card (AmEx) internationally. You see the AmEx logo everywhere, whether for store purchases or cash withdrawals from ATMs.

Remember that American Express might not be as widely accepted in some countries compared to the U.S. It’s a good idea to check in advance using the merchant locator map on the American Express website, although it may not work everywhere.

For added convenience, it’s BEST to carry other payment methods like Visa and Mastercard, just in case AmEx isn’t accepted in certain places during your travels.

Also, even if AmEx is accepted, there might be other cost-effective options due to foreign transaction and currency conversion fees. 

I’ll explain these fees and share some tips on how to minimize or avoid them while you’re traveling in a moment.

How Does American Express Compare to International Fees?

You should know how much it costs to use your AmEx card internationally. Different banks and services have varying fees. I’ll compare American Express with two alternatives, Wise and Revolut, and throw in a big U.S. bank, Bank of America.

Look out for fees that are a percentage of what you spend. Even if the percentage of what seems small, it can add up fast because it’s applied to every dollar you pay when you’re not in your home country.

Provider/ServiceExchange RateForeign Transaction FeeInternational ATM FeeOther Costs
American ExpressAmEx exchange rateVaried (0% to 2.7%)Varied (typically $10 or 5% cash advance fee)Annual fees may apply; credit card fees include interest, late payment fees, and penalties for not full payment
WiseMid-market exchange rateNo transaction fee.
Currency exchange rate from 0.41%.
Free to spend from currencies you have
2 free withdrawals up to $100 per month. 
After that, $1.5+ 2%
No annual or monthly fees; $9 card order fee
RevolutMid-market exchange rate to plan limit0.5% fair usage fee after plan limit; 1% out of hours feeNo fees for spending from held currencies
No fee withdrawals to plan limit after 2% 
Monthly fees may apply depending on the selected tier
Bank of AmericaBank of America or card network exchange rateVaried (3% for most debit cards, some credit cards have no transaction feeVaried (some fee free ATMs for debit card withdrawals)Annual fees may apply
Credit card fees include interest, late payment fees, and penalties for not full repayment
3% cash advance fee for credit cards

Does American Express (AmEx) Have Foreign Transaction Fees?

a person holding an amex card inside a shop

American Express provides various cards, like credit and debit cards, each with different features and costs to meet customers’ needs.

Foreign transaction fees are extra charges added to your bill when you buy things in a foreign currency. This happens when you travel abroad, shop online from foreign websites, or cash in a currency other than USD.

However, not all American Express cards may charge 2.5% to 3% extra every time you spend in a foreign currency. If you want to avoid these fees, you can choose a special AmEx card without them. So, be aware that this might mean paying a higher annual fee.

Before deciding, consider whether the extra charge is with it compared to what you might save on foreign transaction fees. Alternatively, you could explore different card options from companies like Wise or Revolut, which I’ll discuss later, and how they help you avoid extra fees when buying things internationally.

However, check the table below.

Card NameForeign Transaction FeesMaintenance FeesRewards
Blue Cash Everyday2.7%No annual fee3% cash back on specific purchases
PlatinumNo foreign transaction fee$695 annual feeUp to 5× rewards on travel, partner offers, and cashback schemes
Delta SkymilesNo foreign transaction fee$99 annual fee2× rewards on specific purchases

American Express Card Foreign Transaction Limits

Your credit score determines your American Express card limits. You can view your card limit after completing an online credit check when applying.

Have you got it? Now, let me tell you about American Express international ATM fees.

American Express International ATM Fees

american express business blueprint banner

Listen, you’ll encounter fees when you use your American Express credit card to withdraw money from an ATM abroad.

For credit cards, like the ones we discussed earlier, such as AmEx, the fees can be a fixed amount or a percentage of the withdrawn amount.

Check out the following!

  • AmEx (Credit Cards): $10 or 5% of the cash advance amount (whichever is higher).
  • Wise Debit Card: 2 free withdrawals up to $100 monthly, then $1.5 plus 2% of the withdrawn amount.
  • Bank of America (Credit Card): Typically, there is a 3% cash advance fee.
  • Revolut: No withdrawal fees up to the plan limit, and a 2% fee applies afterward.

GUESS WHAT? Understanding these fees is important when deciding on the BEST option for accessing cash internationally.

However, check the table below:

AmEx Card TypeCash Advance Fee at ATMForeign Transaction FeeATM Operator Fee
Blue Cash$10 or 5% (whichever is higher)
29.99% APR for cash advances
2.7%Varies by country and operator
Delta Skymiles Gold$10 or 5% (whichever is higher) 
29.99% APR for cash advances
No feeVaries by country and operator
Platinum$10 or 5% (whichever is higher) 
29.99% APR for cash advances
No feeVaries by country and operator

American Express Card Alternatives

Using your American Express card abroad might make it convenient, but it’s not widely accepted everywhere. Having an alternative card to avoid any issues and possibly save on fees is a good idea.

However, these alternatives offer diverse features, so you can CHOOSE based on your likes and travel needs.

Wise

wise online money transfer

Wise offers cards linked to your account, allowing you to spend in various countries with low fees.

You can hold multiple currencies, and Wise uses fair exchange rates:

  • Wise card holds 40+ currencies and spending in 170+ countries.
  • Free to pay any currency held, mid-market exchange rates with fees starting from 0.41%.
  • Wise is a reputable and well-regulated provider.

Revolut

revolut logo

Revolut provides different account plans with features like fee-free currency exchange.

All accounts include some free monthly currency exchange at mid-market rates:

  • You can choose an account plan supporting 25+ currencies and some fee-free currency exchange monthly.
  • Revolut is licensed and regulated globally, ensuring safe services.
  • After reaching the limit, free-spending on held currencies and mid-market exchange with a 0.5% fee.

Discover

discover logo

Discover offers credit cards with no annual or foreign transaction fees.

While Interest charges may apply, it provides a straightforward way to spend globally with fewer fees:

  • Well-supported banks with credit and debit cards, some credit cards with no foreign transaction fees.
  • The card network sets cash advance fees for ATM use and exchange rates.

Bank of America

bank of america logo

Bank of America provides a range of credit and debit cards. Some credit cards have waived foreign transaction fees and offer travel benefits.

Consider any annual fees against the card benefits before choosing:

  • The card network sets cash advance fees for ATM use and exchange rates.
  • Well-supported banks with credit and debit cards and some credit cards with no foreign transactions.
  • Bank of America is licensed and regulated.
DetailsWiseRevolutDiscoverBank of America
Card TypeDebitDebitDebit and creditDebit and credit
Card Order Fee$9No feeNo feeNo fee
Monthly or Annual FeeNoneMonthly fee may apply depending on account tierNoneAnnual fees may apply depending on the card
Currencies Supported40+ currencies for holding and exchange
Spend in 170+ countries
25+ for holding and exchange
Spend in 150+ currencies
USD only for bill calculation
Spend globally wherever network is accepted
USD only for bill calculation
Spend globally wherever network is accepted
Foreign Transaction FeeNoneNoneNone3% for debit cards, and many credit cards
Some credit cards with no foreign transaction fee are available
ATM Fee2 free withdrawals up to $100 per month
After that, $1.5 + 2%
No fee withdrawals up to plan limit
After that 2%
Typically a $10 or 5% cash advance fee (whichever is higher)With credit cards, typically a 3% cash advance fee
Exchange RateMid-market rate currency exchange from 0.41%Mid-market rate to plan limit, 0.5% fair usage fee after thatNetwork rateNetwork rate

American Express Exchange Rates

Do you know? When you use your American Express card in another country, they decide how much you spend in dollars.

You can check this rate on the AmEx website or app. Just know that the rate used might be from the day they process your transaction, a day or two after your purchase.

American Express might add a little extra to the exchange rate they use. This extra amount is on top of any foreign transaction fees you might have to pay.

GUESS WHAT? Many companies add a little extra to the exchange rate for regular customers. This can make it tricky to know exactly what you’re paying when you spend in a foreign currency.

However, some providers, like Wise and Revolut, do it differently! They separate the currency exchange costs and use a fair rate based on your account plan. This way, seeing precisely what you spend every time is more transparent.

American Express Cards That Have No Transaction Fees

If you’re considering an American Express (AmEx) card without foreign transaction fees, explore several options.

However, remember that while these cards don’t charge foreign transaction fees, they may have other fees to be aware of. 

You can consider the following AmEx cards:

  • Gold Card
  • Platinum Card
  • Green Card
  • Hilton Honors Series
  • Delta Skymiles Series
  • Marriott Bonvoy Series

Along with no foreign transaction fees, it’s essential to consider other potential fees that might be applied, such as:

  • Annual Fee
  • APR, including Cash Advance APR
  • Cash Advance Fee
  • Late Payment Fee
  • Balance Transfer Fee and APR
  • Returned Payment Fee

Before choosing a card, carefully review the terms and fees associated with each to find the one that BEST fits your needs and preferences.

How Do You Avoid Foreign Transaction Fees When Traveling?

a person using an amex centurion card for purchases

Remember this! When you travel, you can reduce or eliminate foreign transaction fees by choosing an American Express (AmEx) card that doesn’t charge these fees.

Alternatively, you can go for alternatives like Wise or Revolut, which also have no foreign transaction fees. This way, you can save money and make travel expenses more manageable.

  • Choose The Right Card: Pick an American Express card without foreign transaction fees or consider alternatives like Wise or Revolut.
  • Know Your Card’s Rules: Read your card’s terms and conditions to understand spending and withdrawal fees overseas.
  • Pay In Local Currency: Always pay in the local currency to avoid extra conversion charges.
  • Inform Amex About Your Travel: Let American Express know about your travel plans to prevent your card from being blocked for security reasons.
  • Check ATM Compatibility: Make sure the ATM accepts your American Express card by looking for the logo before withdrawing money.
  • Pay Bills On Time: Avoid late payment fees by paying your bills promptly.

Useful guides:

Conclusion

When it comes to credit cards abroad, BEING SMART pays off.

Understand the fees, whether you go for American Express (AmEx) or something else. Stay updated about the details, choose wisely, and handle your finances confidently worldwide.

Have you got it?

That’s it! Now, it’s your turn (I’d love to know your opinion too).

FAQs

Yes, you can use your AmEx card in various countries. It can be used everywhere in the world and you will receive points for every purchase made with the card. However, it is important to make sure that the places you are visiting accept American Express as a form of payment.

Yes, it is possible to receive a refund for international transaction fees. When using a credit card to make a purchase from another country, the card company may charge extra fees for processing the international transaction. However, some credit cards may offer refunds for these fees. It is important to check your credit card’s rules and policies to determine if you are eligible for a refund.

To avoid extra charges when making purchases in another country, try obtaining a credit card without foreign transaction fees. If that is not an option, use a checking account or debit card that also does not charge these fees. Additionally, paying in the local currency can help avoid extra charges when making purchases.

Yes. Other issuers offer credit cards with lower or no foreign transaction fees, such as Visa and Mastercard. It is recommended to compare options from different issuers to find the best card for your preferences and travel needs.

Using an American Express (AmEx) card abroad can be worth it if you have a card with no foreign transaction fees and you value the rewards and benefits it offers. However, AmEx is not as widely accepted internationally as Visa or Mastercard, so it’s wise to carry a backup payment method.

Was this article helpful?

Photo of author
Author
Allen Morning
I'm Allen Morning, with a background spanning over 15 years in international finance and education from Harvard and Stanford. I founded Currenciap with a vision to demystify and streamline global financial transactions. My journey in finance has fueled my commitment to creating a platform that is both user-friendly and efficient, making international finance accessible to everyone. You can find more about me here.

Leave a Comment