There's no such thing as a free lunch.
Is there such a thing as a free credit card with free currency exchange?
Every debit or credit card I have seen charges for foreign currency transactions. Either:
- explicitly by charging a fixed amount per transaction / withdrawal, or
- explicitly by charging a percentage per transaction / withdrawal, or
- implicitly by charging a poor (for the customer) exchange rate, or
- charging money for the card in general (my bank charges between €36 and €250 per year for credit cards)
I've used exchange services claiming to have no foreign payment fees, but instead they charged an poor (for the customer) exchange rate, such that the customer still pays — one might or might not call this a hidden fee.
I've seen claims that there exist cards that charge customers none of the above. When I compare the Mastercard exchange rate with the XE mid-market exchange rate for 10,000 ₽, the Mastercard exchange rate considers this costs €140.47, whereas the XE exchange rate consider it costs €139.87 — in this case the difference is only €0.60, which is a relatively small amount (but not zero); I don't know if this difference is due to measuring exchange rates at different times or if it is by design to cover risks or other costs.
Arguably and theoretically, a card provider could get 100% of their income from interest and merchant fees, but I've never seen such a card.
Does such a thing exist as a credit card that does not charge customers at all for foreign currency transactions — neither explicitly nor by charging a poorer exchange rate? What's the catch?