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Will you pay international transaction fees on Amazon Australia?

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Shopping on Amazon Australia could cost us 2-4% more than expected, with some cards charging a fee for any purchases made "with an overseas connection".

With Amazon set to launch in Australia any day now, there's a lot of buzz around the types of deals and savings we could get from this retail giant. But before you pull out your credit card to snap up some bargains, check to see whether you'll be charged an international transaction fee in the process.

While you might have seen this fee when paying with plastic overseas, it can also apply when you shop online with an international retailer – even when the purchase is in Australian dollars. In fact, many banks now include specific details about online purchases made with companies based overseas.

CommBank, for example, states that you'll be charged an international transaction fee when you use your credit card online if there is an "overseas connection". It even lists some known websites where this may happen for some (but not necessarily all) transactions, including Google Play, Book Depository, Skype, StrawberryNET and Amazon Marketplace.

Similarly, Westpac's website says a foreign transaction fee will be charged for online purchases if "the merchant or financial institution accepting the card is located overseas" and NAB includes similar details for its personal banking fees and charges. It's not just credit cards either, with some debit cards also attracting an international transaction fee for these types of payments.

This means there is a risk that shopping on Amazon Australia with your card will add between 2-4% to your purchases. To put that into perspective, if you spent $500 on the site, you'd be charged a fee of $10 to $20. Depending on your issuer, you may not even realise you've paid this fee until your next credit card statement.

But if you've already got a wishlist together for the Amazon Australia launch, it's worth calling your bank and asking if an international transaction fee will apply for purchases made with your credit card or debit card. That way you can factor it in when you're comparing deals on Amazon.

Another option is to get a credit card with 0% foreign fees or use a debit card that doesn't charge for international transactions. Then you'll have a card you can use to shop online and take overseas without this extra fee.

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