Study: Credit Card Users Save 15.5% on Currency Conversion

May 13, 2013, 06:00 ET from

WASHINGTON, May 13, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Using a no foreign transaction fee Visa or MasterCard credit card for purchases that are processed outside of the United States will save consumers 15.5% relative to converting physical currency at a Travelex location and 7.1% compared to doing so at the average major bank, according to the 2013 Currency Exchange Study conducted by credit card comparison website

Other highlights from the study include:

  • Even if a consumer uses a credit card with foreign fees – the average is 2.24%, according to CardHub's latest Credit Card Landscape Report – he'll still save between 4.86% - 13.26%
  • Credit cards continue to offer by far the cheapest currency conversion, despite bank and Travelex costs falling 12% and 4%, respectively, in the past year.
  • The best banks for currency conversion are Northern Trust and Harris Bank for the third straight year.
  • The worst banks for currency conversion are U.S. Bank and SunTrust.  U.S. Bank earns that distinction for the third straight year while SunTrust replaces Fifth Third Bank, which was in the bottom two in 2011 and 2012.

"It's common for international travelers, especially first-timers, not to feel ready for departure until they get some of the currency used in their destination country," Odysseas Papadimitriou, CardHub's CEO and a widely-respected personal finance veteran, said.  "It's just one of those things that have been traditionally recommended.  But with the banking system becoming increasingly digital, it makes sense that the easiest way to buy things in a foreign currency is with plastic.  Why waste the time exchanging physical currency or risk carrying it around when a credit card can handle the process automatically, offer the best exchange rate, and provide unparalleled fraud protection?"

The full study is available at:

Major credit cards without foreign transaction fees:

About is a leading credit card comparison and information website with the overarching goal of helping consumers make better financial decisions.  CardHub strives to accomplish this goal by offering tools that connect individuals with the best credit cards for their needs, providing robust educational resources aimed at improving financial literacy, and conducting leading industry research in order to promote comprehension of market trends.  CardHub is headquartered in Washington, DC and was founded in 2008 by Odysseas Papadimitriou, who saw a personal finance knowledge gap among consumers and dedicated himself to consumer advocacy.

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