Half of Canadians would swap their existing credit card for one that
doesn't charge this fee, survey reveals
TORONTO, July 12, 2012 /CNW/ - Sears Canada's Financial Services
division, Sears Financial, announced today that as of July 23, 2012,
foreign currency transaction charges will no longer be incurred on the
Sears Financial MasterCard® and Sears Financial Voyage™ MasterCard®.
With over two million MasterCard credit cards in the market, and
hundreds of thousands of vacations booked through Sears Travel
annually, eliminating the fee is part of Sears Canada's renewed
commitment to do more for the customer.
The foreign currency transaction charge is applied in addition to the
exchange rate when a customer uses a credit card for a transaction
outside of Canada. Most Canadian credit cards charge 2.5 percent.
Half of Canadians (51 percent) said they would consider switching to
another credit card if it meant they didn't have to pay the foreign
currency transaction charge, revealed a recent survey commissioned by
Sears Financial, which looked at travel and spending habits.
The results also showed that 65 percent of Canadians travel abroad at
least once every two years and that the overwhelming majority (92
percent) use their credit card to pay for meals, entertainment, and
other purchases when travelling. In fact, 61 percent always or
frequently use credit cards as their primary form of payment when
A recent Statistics Canada survey found that during the first quarter of
2012 travellers spent $8.3 billion outside the country, $5 billion
spent in the United States alone. These numbers include "snowbirds"
who travel to warmer climates, and suggest Canadians pay millions of
dollars a year to use their credit card abroad.
"Many of our customers are snowbirds. They and others will benefit
significantly from this change," said Peter Kalen, Senior
Vice-President, Sears Financial and Home Services. "While many
travellers will continue to incur additional charges on all their
foreign purchases, over two million Sears Financial MasterCard
cardmembers will enjoy the freedom to spend without being charged 2.5
percent on foreign purchases. We also see this as a positive move for
our Sears Travel customers."
Sears Financial made the decision to remove foreign currency transaction
charges as part of Sears Canada's company-wide initiative to do more
for the customer. This includes recently lowering the price on over
5,000 items, an improved return policy and satisfaction guarantee, and
the re-launched 'The Baby's Room,' offering new brands and more
selection of nursery and juvenile products at great prices.
"Removing this charge is another demonstration of our ongoing commitment
to provide customers and cardmembers with the quality and value they've
come to expect from Sears," added Kalen.
In addition to no foreign currency transaction charge, Sears Financial
cardmembers will also earn valuable Sears Club Points everywhere
MasterCard is accepted. These points can be redeemed for almost
anything in-store and online, including a full range of flight and
travel bookings at Sears Travel. Canadians can apply for a Sears
Financial MasterCard at any Sears store.
Survey Results Highlights:
Most Canadians (92 percent) use their credit card while travelling, with
nearly two-thirds (61 percent) using it as their primary method of
Canadians spent an average of $880 using a Canadian credit card on their
last trip abroad
Travellers cheques are a thing of the past, with 82 percent saying they
rarely or never use them, while 64 percent rarely or never use their
debit card abroad
Transaction fees are more important than any other consideration when
choosing to use a credit card outside of Canada; 82 percent of
Canadians describe transaction fees as very or moderately important,
Interest rates 64 percent
Travel insurance 61 percent
Rewards points 60 percent
Half of Canadians (51 percent) said they definitely or probably would
switch to another credit card if the other card does not charge a
foreign transaction fee
For more information on foreign currency transaction charges, please
About Sears Financial
Sears Financial is the credit card, membership, loyalty points,
insurance and telecommunications division of Sears Canada. For more
information, please visit www.searsfinancial.ca.
About Sears Canada
Sears Canada is a multi-channel retailer with a network that includes
196 corporate stores, 278 hometown dealer stores, 29 home services
showrooms, over 1,500 catalogue and online merchandise pick-up
locations, 105 Sears Travel offices and a nationwide home maintenance,
repair, and installation network. The Company also publishes Canada's
most extensive general merchandise catalogue and offers shopping online
From June 15th to June 19th, 2012 an online survey was conducted among
1,003 randomly selected Canadian adults who are on the Angus Reid
Forum. The margin of error is =/- 3.1%, 19 times out of 20. The results
have been statistically weighted according to age, gender, region and
education (and language in Quebec) to ensure a sample representative.
SOURCE Sears Financial Services
For further information:
Sears Canada, Corporate Communications