One of the more odious US credit card practices is charging "exchange rate fees" or "currency conversion fees" on non-USD transactions. I hadn't been paying attention but just looked and saw Chase is charging me 3.75% 3% on every purchase I make in France. At least they disclose the fee. American Express hides it, but looking at Euro historical reference rates it's either 2 or 2.5%.

Mind you, this is on top of all the other fees they charge both me and the merchant. And it's pure profit; their friction for a Euro denominated transaction is at most 0.1%. Why do they charge it? Because they can.

Surprisingly Wells Fargo is much better on ATM cash withdrawals. There's a flat $5 fee, so at $1000 an ATM visit I'm paying 0.5% for eurocash. I guess I'm gonna have to start carrying a fat roll.

Thanks to Walter for forwarding me this NYT article. Capital One apparently has a credit card without any stupid conversion fees.
  2006-10-27 13:51 Z