Request info on international CC and ATM fees Pen

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I have a Penfed Visa and when I called to ask about fees when using abroad I was told there isn't one, and that there was no fee from Penfed for using foreign ATMs (so essentially cash advances didn't incur a fee). I'm wondering if the CSR and I didn't understand each other because this sounds too good to be true, so if anyone has experience with this please comment.

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There have been many threads in the Finance forum over the years about international credit card and atm fees. You might do a search for those search terms on this site because I expect previous threads will have already mentioned your bank's such fees (or lack thereof), or you could ask the moderators to move your current thread to Finance (where there are more participants).

whenever I hear foreign ATM fees, I always wonder how much the question is worth(?)

you can get $500 bonus and more on many cards, so really - how much is that dilemma worth?

Also, if you get favorable reply from Penfed by e-mail or chat - then at least you have someone to go after in case of adverse surprise. So do find out THIS WAY - and don't forget to let us know

zuma said:   I have a Penfed Visa and when I called to ask about fees when using abroad I was told there isn't one, and that there was no fee from Penfed for using foreign ATMs (so essentially cash advances didn't incur a fee). I'm wondering if the CSR and I didn't understand each other because this sounds too good to be true, so if anyone has experience with this please comment.

The CSR is correct, penfed visa doesn't charge the typical 1-3% foreign transaction fee. Your purchase will get converted at the prevailing exchange rate to US dollars, and post without fee (and the prevailing exchange rate is typically reasonable). You'll also earn 1% CashBack (at least for the platinum rewards card). I think there would be a cash advance fee, but no additional foreign transaction fee at ATMs.

If you travel frequently, I'd also recommend getting a Capital One Debit card which does not charge a fee for foreign ATMs (and also has no foreign transaction fees when you use the debit card for credit purchases). Depending where you're going, it's also a good idea to have a couple backup cards on different networks (i.e. Cirrus, Plus, Interlink ...) Your card may not be compatible with all the foreign ATMs.

One other gotcha, many foreign merchants that cater to tourists offer to charge your purchase in US currency. This might initially sound appealing, but you'll almost always be better off charging in the local currency on your penfed visa. When the merchant converts to USD, they are typically tacking on a 3% or higher markup.

very thorough answer. I just don't understand justification of the length of going thru all this to save (how much in total?)

While putting that much energy into getting other cards nets you $500+

SinglePapa said:   very thorough answer. I just don't understand justification of the length of going thru all this to save (how much in total?)

While putting that much energy into getting other cards nets you $500+


I do quite a bit of international travel, probably on the order of 50K/yr, 3% of that is $1500, which is significant enough (and this "return" is every year, not just a single signup bonus). ATM fees can also stack up quickly.

I called my bank and got an answer that I liked. The bank's website confirms this information. Could anyone confirm that my bank was not mistaken or lying to me?



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