Unless you have a Platinum American Express Card that allows you access to the airline club lounges, you may want to start leaving that card at home.
American Express just announced it is raising its foreign transaction fee from a pick-pocketing 2 percent to a “hand over your wallet” 2.7%—a 35% increase that is pure profit. So if you charge $1,000, Amex takes 27 more of your dollars, even if you’re already paying them hundreds of dollars a year as a platinum card member that has been with them for decades. Many merchants just received a fee increase as well, which means the company is double-dipping to make up for its bad credit decisions over the past year. (It’s not just your tax money that is going toward a bailout.) Plus they skim a profit from the exchange rate as well, keeping a bit for themselves in every transaction. When a company can have three streams of income from a single purchase and still lose money, do the executives really deserve to earn millions in salary?
Right about now you’re probably thinking, “Yes, but doesn’t my Mastercard or Visa card charge a 3% transaction fee?”
Most of them do, with 1% going to Visa/MC and 2% to your issuer. But not Capital One. Standing by their “no hassle” commitment, Capital One won’t pick your pocket just because you charged something on the other side of a border or an ocean. They manage to make money with just two streams of income–the merchants and the exchange rate. A lot of credit unions won’t ream you either.
I’m still carrying my Amex Platinum when I travel to Peru in December, but I’ll only take it out to use the Delta lounge during a layover. The only one I’ll pull out to actually pay with abroad has Capital One stamped on it.