A few highlights of the study – which compared currency conversion rates and fees from Visa, MasterCard, the country’s 15 largest banks, and Travelex – can be found below.
- On average, the cheapest way to convert currency is to do so automatically with a no foreign transaction fee credit card or a no foreign fee debit card on the Visa or MasterCard network. The average bank and Travelex location charge 6.73% and 10.17% more, respectively.
- While the cost differential between major card networks and the financial institutions that provide hard currency conversion services remains substantial, it has declined 17% for banks and 37% for Travelex since 2012.
- The two major banks with the worst currency conversion deals are SunTrust and U.S. Bank. SunTrust charges $1.4813 for 1 Euro and has a $10 conversion fee. U.S. Bank charges a 1.4936 exchange rate and a $9.95 fee.
- CardHub surveyed 35 of the 50 largest credit unions, and only four offer currency conversion services: State Employees Credit Union, First Tech Federal Credit Union, Citizens Equity First Credit Union, and ESL Federal Credit Union.
- On average, the cost of currency conversion varies little between banks and credit unions, with the latter being 1.65% less expensive.
For the full study, please visit: http://www.cardhub.com/edu/currency-exchange-study/
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