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Will you pay foreign transaction fees in U.S. territories like Puerto Rico?

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Will you pay foreign transaction fees in U.S. territories like Puerto Rico?

Million Mile SecretsWill you pay foreign transaction fees in U.S. territories like Puerto Rico?Million Mile Secrets Team

Signing up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

Digging into the rules surrounding rewards credit cards is what we do. We do the work so you don’t have to.

We get lots of questions regarding which card to use for particular situations  — one of the most common being about the best cards to use abroad to avoid transaction fees. So you might be wondering: “Will using a credit card that charges foreign transaction fees in U.S. territories like Puerto Rico incur fees?”

In short, purchases made in Puerto Rico (and other U.S. territories like American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, or the U.S. Virgin Islands) are not considered foreign transactions.

Banks won’t charge foreign transaction fees for purchases made in these locations. And in fact, the official currency of all U.S. territories is the U.S. dollar. So again, charges made in U.S. dollars in any U.S. territory will not incur foreign transaction fees.

If you have credit cards issued by smaller banks or a credit union, it could be worth calling the number on the back of your card to confirm their policies before you travel. But when it comes to the best credit cards for travel, you won’t have to worry about incurring any extra fees.

And remember, to avoid being charged extra when you travel outside of the U.S. and its territories, use a card that does not charge foreign transaction fees. And preferably one that earns bonus miles and points for travel, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve®.

Featured image by Songquan Deng/Shutterstock.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
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  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.

More Info

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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How can a bank charge an FT for a US territory? What about Guam and Saipan? I was surprised that T-mobile counted both as a country when I used my cell phone. They did reverse the charge when I explained both were part of the US.

All cards I’ve used in Puerto Rico do not have foreign transaction fees. Puerto Rico ComonWealth is USA territory. All works as any state. Go to school again! BTW is a dumb question

NEWSFLASH!! I was charged a $15 fee at BofA when I used my debit card to book a hotel room even though the transaction was USD. I was so upset and was going to switch to Chase after being with BofA for 15yrs but the chase rep told me that they also consider Puerto Rico a foreign territory as well as the Virgin Islands. Gotta love this capitalistic society.

Cannot speak about debit with Chase or Bank of America but regarding credit cards, I haven’t been charged any fee whatsoever from Chase nor Bank of America in Puerto Rico. I also have Amex and Discover credit card with the same result, no fees. Lastly, a Discover debit that also doesn’t get any fees not even in affiliate ATMs. Not only that, special card benefits like price protection, return protection, etc, of some cards also work in Puerto Rico without any issue.

What I do think is that there’s a lot of misinformed Americans in the banking industry regarding anything that involves Puerto Rico.

Actually bank of America just told me there is a 3% fee on every transaction with my debit card… not just ATM withdrawals in puerto rico. If i use thier partner bank they wave the per transaction fee, but NOT the the 3% fee. My alaska air mile BOA card doesnt have a fee go figure… after much protesting that its not international, but a territory that uses us money… where my car insurance covers me, the state department doesnt require a passport so why do they consider puerto rico international they said theyd put a waiver on my debit card for the 3 % fee. I fly out in a couple of days so we will see…

Puerto Rico is territory of USA and their banks are monitored by federal government bank laws and some banks charge some fees and some dont. The fee is not to convert the US dollar to US dollar like someone wrote here, the fee is for the service at the ATM.If that bank accepts your card because is an affiliate of the bank it might not charge you nothing, if not some fee might apply. But if you have a doubt ask your bank before you travel and ask them which banks in territories are free of fee charge. That simple, by the way dont walk with too much cash on you outside continental US.

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