Does anyone know of any credit card company in the US that waives the foreign transaction of 1% to sometimes 5% charge for transactions in Colombia?
Anyone know of any bank in the US that doesn't charge for ATM withdrawals abroad

Posted on May 24, 2008

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It seems the online stock trading companys like Scottrade, TD Ameritrade etc. offer completely fee free debit cards.

Posted on May 24, 2008

Compass Bank ... at least they used to be fee free.

Posted on May 24, 2008

I researched this a year ago before I took off for a few months of traveling, and Capital One was the only one that had no foreign transaction fee. My Chase Mileage Plus Visa was 3% and my Delta Skymiles Amex was 2%.

I found this article from March of this year and it looks like Capital One is still the only one with no fee:

A March 2008 survey of credit card issuers revealed the following foreign transaction fees:

American Express - 2%
Bank of America - 3%
Chase - 3%
Citi Bank - 3%
HSBC - 3%
Washington Mutual - 1%
Wells Fargo - 3%
Capital One - No Foreign Transaction Fee
Discover - No fees. Accepted in China, the Carribean, Central America, Mexico and certain parts of Europe.

Here is the Capital One website:

Posted on May 24, 2008

I have my wells fargo bank card linked to my Credit Card from wells fargo and they've never charged me for foreign currency conversion, nor ATM usage.

have been with wells fargo for over 15 yrs

Posted on May 24, 2008

Capital One, claims no transaction fees, and I am expecting to have that card soon. They charge $39 annual, but offered two air-miles per $ on their "No Hassle Card". They say that you can apply the miles directly with the airline.

U.S. Bank has begun charging me 3% on U.S. dollar transactions here in Panamá, in addition to a $55 fee, on my NWA WorldPerks card. They're toast!

I was not charged any fees (and the exchange seemed decent) on a brokerage issued American Express Gold card in Colombia, using Bancolombia ATMs, in October.

Posted on May 24, 2008

Anyone knows if it is possible to open an account on Compass Bank if one is not a resident of the states it operates in?

Posted on May 24, 2008

I recommend RBC Centura Bank for atm withdrawals in Colombia. No charges and a fair exchange rate. Most US banks allow one to open an account if you are a resident in any state of the union. Some will even let you open an account if you are a resident of Canada.

Posted on May 24, 2008

Affinity Bank in Ventura, CA and National Interbank in Indianapolis offer free checking accounts and no ATM fees, plus they can be opened by mail. I have been using them for years.

A free Paypal account is also useful for transferring money between your bank accounts for free.

Posted on May 24, 2008

They offered two, tom, but I am paying a $39 annual

Although I now see, looking at their chart, that their miles are not worth much, like booking award flights directly from American Express on my Blue Card.

Posted on May 24, 2008

Look around in your own community. We found a small bank that actually pays the fees. Best anyway to have a bank card different from your main banking assets. There is no charge for their services.

My wife uses it when she is in Bogota. We only transfer funds into it as needed.

Posted on May 24, 2008


Here's the deal.

With my WorldPerks ($1=1 Mile), I can fly from Panamá to Colombia (at least to the north) for 20,000 miles (all fees included), which mean charging $20K $55 annual. But they have begun the foreign fee stuff, but my AAdvantage has not been charging a fee for dollar denimonated transactions.

With the new Capital One, I need 60,000 miles, charging $30,000 the $39 annual fee. I have no idea if they include taxes and airport landing/exit fees, do you?

When I use NWA award travel miles with Copa, all is included. I imagine would be no different.

Posted on May 24, 2008

I would hope the included fees are dependant on the airline. I think somebody mentioned that Avianca did not include them, but Copa does.

My big problem, as I have mentioned, is that they are now whacking me 3% on dollar denominated transactions, and I charge everything I can.

I checked my American Express Blue. There is no annual, or transaction fee on dollars charged (but I think there is an international fee).

$1=1 point, and it costs 50,000 points for a $500 ticket, booked through AmEx, but you can transfer 1 point = 1 mile at Continental, maybe others as well. I can get award flights on Copa through NWA, or Continental.

Posted on May 24, 2008

Capital one's card have never charged me on the transaction.

Posted on May 24, 2008

But I would prefer not to have to seek out the ATMs of a particular foreign bank.

How large is HSBC's presence in Colombia?

It seems there are many Bancolomia, or networked, ATMs.

I "think" with my brokerage issued AmEx, I am not charged at any, ATMs.

Posted on May 24, 2008

Capital One simply "claimed" NO foreign transaction fees when I applied. If I must send receipts I will cancel.

Posted on May 24, 2008

Sorry, CG, I misunderstood.

I charge everything I can, to get the miles, but pay all at the end of the month (unless I forget, bummer). Otherwise is a bum deal.

Sometimes as much as three grand.

To me the credit card is like paying cash, just deferred a couple weeks.

Posted on May 24, 2008

Me too, because as I have written before, I started getting 3% fees here in Panamá for dollar denominated transactions on my NWA/WorldPerks Visa.

Posted on May 24, 2008

They can take that card and shove it "somewhere where the sun don't shine".

I will have 40,000 miles next month, enough for two trips to north of Colombia, after I cancel.

Posted on May 24, 2008

ColombianoGringo says on May 26, 2008, 16:57: flag

"I just opened a Capital One account just for use overseas and they will refund all ATM related fees on my account as long as I keep a minimum balance of $1,000. They offered me a credit card as well, but their miles rewards scheme is an abomination. They wanted something like 60,000 miles for a coach flight to South America. Continental only charges 35,000 and AA charges either 30,000 or 35,000."

Yeah, even at 2 miles to the dollar it's not much better than AmEx Blue, although you can transfer 1 point for one mile, to Continental, from AmEx Rewards (and Blue has no annual fee).

Posted on May 24, 2008

Yeah but, CG, there is an annual $39 fee with the "Ultra for Professionals" card. But maybe I charge enough ( a lot) to offset that.

I am retired, without a large income (but have pretty high credit score, on whatever), but that is what they offered me (I'm sure they checked while I was on the phone). However, with the 60,000 miles requirement (even with 2 miles per dollar) is not exactly a slam dunk.

But I will still save the 3% here in Panamá, and still earn some miles.

Maybe my AmEx Blue is still the better deal here. No annual, or foreign transaction fee (in Panamá) and I receive 1 point per dollar, and can convert to Continental for a mile per point, and I can use those on Copa.

And I can still use my brokerage issued Gold AmEx in Colombia without fees.

It is a bit of a logistical nightmare, jaja.

Posted on May 24, 2008

I just, today, received my new Capital One ??No Hassle Miles Ultra Card ". I scanned the terms & conditions, especially looking for foreign transaction fees and found, on the back page of the Customer Agreement:


After being on Skype, barely hearing, or understanding, six different people from one of the two possible sub continental countries, for a half hour, I was just about to give up.

Although the document says little that is understandable (at least to ME), I THINK they were trying to say on the phone, was that there is an extra finance charge for unpaid balances, after two billing periods, for charges originating outside the U.S. or territories. WTF?

??Foreign Transaction Charge " says that?

I received no Truth in Lending Act disclosure form.

Posted on May 24, 2008

Zeus (newbie) says on May 26, 2008, 22:41: flag

"Anyone sure on Scottrade? Atrevido?"

I don't know. I am with Fidelity, but maybe Scotttrade is the same, if they Offer AmEx Gold.

Posted on May 24, 2008

I hear ya', Tom. But, but . . . . . . jaja.

Posted on May 24, 2008

Just remember that the isuing bank may not charge the 2% foreign transacion fee, but Mastercard and Visa does, and the fee gets passed on to the cardholder. in my experience the bigger the bank, the more fees imposed.

Posted on May 24, 2008

Seems like the best option is getting the Capital One Money Market Account/ATM card and the Capital One credit card. I will also try to shop around my community for local banks that might offer something as well. Do all their cards waive foreign transaction fees? I don't really know what my credit rating will be, will they assist on that over the phone, or is it better to just apply online?

Posted on May 24, 2008

The money market account has a limit on how many withdrawals you can make by check or online, but you can have unlimited ATM withdrawals, although a max of $500 per day. It charges no fees. It does not really let me open a checking account with them, it says this service is not available in my zip code, that's why I am opening the money market one. I will check on the high risk ones.

Anyone knows what the easiest way to transfer money from Colombia to the US is?

Posted on May 24, 2008

Capital one I found is the lowest -- 1% on transaction fees with the no hassle miles card. That is the card I use here. However, beware, I was at J & C Arepas on El Poblado and they took my card and swipped it -- then told me it didn't take and they needed to reswip the card. I said fine, etc. An hour later I get a VM from Capital One Fraud detecting charges at Home Center, CareForre, etc. all in excess of 500 USD per transaction. Of course, all were declined. Capital One was very cool about it..


Posted on May 24, 2008

Well, it was a short romace with Capital One, for me.

I called to activate the card, and after almost a half hour, and being passed to four different people, I was informed that every 30 days I had to notify them, by phone, that I was still out of the country.

I said "Thanx, but no thanx, please close the account", as I wasn't sure when the "no hassle" part would begin.

I discovered that they would still bill the $39 fee. However, another call did quickly connect me with some helpful (and understandable) people who did deal with crediting the annual fee.

Posted on May 24, 2008

Yes, but most impose the restriction that you must notify them before traveling (which I always do). I give them destination(s), date of travel, and a return date, so I needn't call again when I return.

Citi had a 90(?) day requirement for my AAdvantage, but a phone call to them, and they applied some sort of (semi) permanent status for me here in Panamá. I had a couple transactions declined before that, because I forgot to call.

I have had no problems with American Express cards or my two Visas or another Master Card.

CG, you might want to check with the bank, to see if you must call after 30 days. Three different people told me that was true, although an account manager said the agent could have made a note stating that I was out of the country more than I was in, but I wouldn't want to count on that. I was only once in the Miami airport for a couple hours in the last six years, jaja.

Posted on May 24, 2008

Update on the ATM fees using the National Interbank card.

Re: ATM/Debit card

You may withdraw funds at any of the over 300,000 NYCE or CIRRUS Terminal machines across the U.S. and abroad. Your daily limit for cash via the ATM is $400.00, the debit POS is $1500.00. We will reinburse $4.50 per month for any fees you are charged.

Posted on May 24, 2008