What is Mastercard exchange rate and how it is... - Mastercard Offers FAQ


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What is Mastercard exchange rate and how it is different from a credit card’s foreign transaction fee?

Answered on | Updated on March 15th, 2017
The content is accurate at the time of publication and is subject to change.

An exchange rate is the rate at which  the currency of your country is converted into the currency of the country you are travelling into. Mastercard is a payment network and all payment networks set their own exchange rates that you receive when use your card overseas. The exchange rate is set by the payment network and not by your credit card issuer. Mastercard uses multiple market sources (such as Bloomberg, Central Banks, Reuters and others) to develop exchange rates. If you have ever traveled abroad, you have probably encountered a situation when a merchant offers to convert the bill into your home country’s currency for you to not count the sums. In such a case reject the offer, since MasterCard’s rate tends to be significantly better.

Some credit card issuers can charge you a foreign transaction fee when you make a transaction in a foreign currency. This fee is usually between 1% and 3% per transaction. However, most credit card issuers do not charge this fee nowadays, so it is very easy to find a credit card with no foreign transaction fee. Since there are different payment networks, it means each network has its own exchange rate that may be different. The Mastercard‘s exchange rate is slightly different from Visa‘s exchange rate, American Express charges the most. Research usually shows that however small the difference may be, Mastercard exchange rate is slightly better than Visa’s. Mostly your benefit depends on the type of a transaction and on the country you are currently visiting.

The best way to travel is to research the subject beforehand and plan your spendings.

Disclaimer: This editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer(s). Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the credit card issuer(s), and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer(s). Reasonable efforts are made to present accurate information, however all information is presented without warranty. Consult a card's issuing bank for the terms & conditions.
All rates and fees, and other terms and conditions of the products mentioned in this article/post are actual as of the last update date but are subject to change. See the current products' Terms & Conditions on the issuing banks' websites.
  • Fred Riel

    My wife and I travel to Germany last year and we see great difference between rates. Rates on my Mastercard were lower than on my wife’s Visa

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