ISA Fee – International Service Assessment

Jan 26, 2024 | Payments

ISA Fee stands for International Service Assessment Fee. An extra amount is added to your monthly statement for domestic transactions made with a foreign bank card. The fee is a small percentage of every transaction. It’s added by USA banks for every transaction with an offshore bank card.

What is an ISA Fee
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ISA Fees


Another instance of an ISA fee occurs when we talk about traveling outside the USA and purchasing items from international merchants. In this case, it applies to foreign transactions and is billed by your bank. Again, this is usually a percentage of the entire transaction. Mainstream credit card companies usually charge it for both debit and credit cards. You may see it occur when you use one of the following card brands abroad:

  • Visa
  • Mastercard
  • American Express
  • Bankcard USA
  • Discover

What Is An International Service Assessment Fee?


Are you shopping in countries other than the USA?

The Visa ISA fee ensures you can use your card outside the country. You might notice the cost is deliberately small per transaction. But once you get your monthly statement, it can add up.

How Much Does It Cost?


The cost is variable and depends on convenience. For some people, exchanging cash at a foreign exchange bank may be easier than buying goods that way.

Otherwise, the charges for the ISA fee will be around 1% – 3% per transaction. It’s an automated bill that occurs through the bank so that you can see it on your statement for each transaction.

Reduce ISA Fees

Foreign ATM and Transaction Fees

If you own a business and accept online payments, you may be surprised to see a foreign transaction fee. These fees show up in certain merchant accounts, but luckily are still supported by them. Some companies rely a great deal on international sales of domestic-made products. This is why it’s critical to have a merchant account that accepts cards from all over the world. There two major companies that have the most leniency – Visa and Mastercard.

International ATM Fee

An international ATM Fee is very subjective and depends not only on your bank, and the card you’re using, but the ATM itself. Some banks will charge you steep rates to make a cash withdrawal at an ATM that is not their own. That fee compounded with the ATM’s fee can be egregious. Be sure to plan ahead when making trips to international locations.

How to Keep Foreign Transaction Fees Low

How to Keep Foreign Transaction Fees Low

All of us are looking to save money. But banks sometimes have subtle regulations that can cause the fees to stack up. Still, there are ways to help you save money in the long run.

  • Anyone who travels a lot or is a regular shopper in international markets wants to find a way to avoid this fee. Some budget-friendly banks ensure you won’t be charged, or at minimum, keep the charge minimal.
  • Some banks have international benefits. These banks are user-friendly and may even give you travel bonuses for spending with their card.
  • Inform your bank before traveling. It will help prevent any freezing of accounts while you make international payments. If the bank freezes your account, you may get charged a fee for reinstating it.
  • Some banks waive this fee if you keep your bank updated with your visibility and travel plans.
  • Search online for the most travel-friendly credit cards. Some banks offer rewards and give you points for offshore transactions.

A Final Verdict

The international service assessment ISA fee applies to working debit and credit card accounts for international payments. The fee occurs with a foreign card or when making payments abroad. Be sure to prepare for your next trip to avoid fees and travel safely and inexpensively.

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