4 Best Credit Cards with No Transaction Fees When Traveling Abroad

4 Best Credit Cards with No Transaction Fees When Traveling Abroad

Best Sign-up Bonus/Best Overall
#1
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
  • Rack up points quickly with a flat rate of 2x the points per $1 spent in related categories, and extra value when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • You’d be hard-pressed to find a signup bonus this big elsewhere (worth $625 in travel rewards)
  • Value Penguin calls it, “One of our favorite travel rewards cards”, and not just because of the fact that it’s a no foreign transaction fee credit card
Best for Easy Travel Redemption
#2
Capital One Venture Miles Rewards Credit Card
  • Save time and effort redeeming rewards with the simple earning structure and redemption process
  • Redemption is flexible: miles don't expire and there are no blackout dates
  • Low fees and great rewards provide a good balance where the scales tip in your favor
Best Cashback Credit Card
#3
Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card
  • No annual fee, no foreign transaction fee, and an introductory 0% APR period
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases
  • One of the easiest signup bonuses in the world—$150 after spending $500 in 3 months
Best No Annual Fee
#4
BankAmericard Travel Rewards Credit Card
  • If you’re already planning to spend $1,000 in the first 3 months of using this card, you’ll earn 20,000 bonus points, equivalent to $200 of travel credit
  • No foreign transaction fee, no annual fees, and 12 months of 0% APR
  • If you're a Bank of America customer your points are worth even more; regardless, the flat 1.5% cashback rate makes it easy to earn rewards

After 17 hours of research evaluating 55 products, we picked Chase Sapphire Preferred Card as our top choice.

International traveler? You’ll want a no foreign transaction fee credit card to complement your lifestyle.

Otherwise, you’ll get hung up on having to calculate the exchange rate of each purchase on top of this extra fee to access your money abroad.

It adds up, especially if you’re a frequent traveler with exotic tastes.

It's better to choose one of the best credit cards with no foreign transaction fees currently available.

Foreign transaction fees are one of the most unnecessary expenses you can possibly incur. Note that these aren't foreign conversion charges.

Rather, these are surcharges that appear on your bill when you make a purchase that passes through a foreign bank or is in a currency other than the U.S. dollar (USD).

Here’s where it gets worse:

Online shopper? Some companies even charge you when purchasing something online that does not have a US-based website!

In general, most US credit cards charge a foreign transaction fee around 3%, which is composed of 2 parts:

  1. The fee charged by the credit card network (Visa, Mastercard, etc). This is usually around 1%.
  2. The fee charged by the bank/card issuer (Chase, Citibank, etc). Some issuers add 2-3%. Some, like Capital One, don't add anything at all and just absorbs the network’s fee.

NerdWallet provides this more detailed breakdown of general foreign transaction fees, by credit card provider:

  • American Express: 2.7%
  • Bank of America: 3%
  • Barclaycard: 3%
  • Capital One: 0%
  • Chase: 3%
  • Citi: 3%
  • Discover: 0%
  • US Bank: 3% (2% for transactions abroad in U.S. dollars)
  • Wells Fargo: 3%

Here’s the bottom line:

All of the no foreign transaction fee credit card options on this list provide additional perks, besides just saving the annoying foreign transaction fee.

Whether you’re looking for the “budget” option, heavy travel option, or most secure option, we’ve got the best credit cards with no foreign transaction fees for your individual needs.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.


Editorial staff

Quick Look: 4 Best Credit Cards with No Transaction Fees When Traveling Abroad
BankAmericard Travel Rewards Credit Card
  • If you’re already planning to spend $1,000 in the first 3 months of using this card, you’ll earn 20,000 bonus points, equivalent to $200 of travel credit
  • No foreign transaction fee, no annual fees, and 12 months of 0% APR
  • If you're a Bank of America customer your points are worth even more; regardless, the flat 1.5% cashback rate makes it easy to earn rewards
Check on Bankofamerica
Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card
  • No annual fee, no foreign transaction fee, and an introductory 0% APR period
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases
  • One of the easiest signup bonuses in the world—$150 after spending $500 in 3 months
Check on Capitalone
Capital One Venture Miles Rewards Credit Card
  • Save time and effort redeeming rewards with the simple earning structure and redemption process
  • Redemption is flexible: miles don't expire and there are no blackout dates
  • Low fees and great rewards provide a good balance where the scales tip in your favor
Check on Capitalone
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
Check on Creditcards.chase
4 Best Credit Cards with No Transaction Fees When Traveling Abroad

4 Best Credit Cards with No Transaction Fees When Traveling Abroad

Read Video Infographic Tips

After 17 hours of research evaluating 55 products, we picked Chase Sapphire Preferred Card as our top choice.

International traveler? You’ll want a no foreign transaction fee credit card to complement your lifestyle.

Otherwise, you’ll get hung up on having to calculate the exchange rate of each purchase on top of this extra fee to access your money abroad.

It adds up, especially if you’re a frequent traveler with exotic tastes.

It's better to choose one of the best credit cards with no foreign transaction fees currently available.

Foreign transaction fees are one of the most unnecessary expenses you can possibly incur. Note that these aren't foreign conversion charges.

Rather, these are surcharges that appear on your bill when you make a purchase that passes through a foreign bank or is in a currency other than the U.S. dollar (USD).

Here’s where it gets worse:

Online shopper? Some companies even charge you when purchasing something online that does not have a US-based website!

In general, most US credit cards charge a foreign transaction fee around 3%, which is composed of 2 parts:

  1. The fee charged by the credit card network (Visa, Mastercard, etc). This is usually around 1%.
  2. The fee charged by the bank/card issuer (Chase, Citibank, etc). Some issuers add 2-3%. Some, like Capital One, don't add anything at all and just absorbs the network’s fee.

NerdWallet provides this more detailed breakdown of general foreign transaction fees, by credit card provider:

  • American Express: 2.7%
  • Bank of America: 3%
  • Barclaycard: 3%
  • Capital One: 0%
  • Chase: 3%
  • Citi: 3%
  • Discover: 0%
  • US Bank: 3% (2% for transactions abroad in U.S. dollars)
  • Wells Fargo: 3%

Here’s the bottom line:

All of the no foreign transaction fee credit card options on this list provide additional perks, besides just saving the annoying foreign transaction fee.

Whether you’re looking for the “budget” option, heavy travel option, or most secure option, we’ve got the best credit cards with no foreign transaction fees for your individual needs.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.


Editorial staff

Quick Look: 4 Best Credit Cards with No Transaction Fees When Traveling Abroad
BankAmericard Travel Rewards Credit Card
  • If you’re already planning to spend $1,000 in the first 3 months of using this card, you’ll earn 20,000 bonus points, equivalent to $200 of travel credit
  • No foreign transaction fee, no annual fees, and 12 months of 0% APR
  • If you're a Bank of America customer your points are worth even more; regardless, the flat 1.5% cashback rate makes it easy to earn rewards
Check on Bankofamerica
Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card
  • No annual fee, no foreign transaction fee, and an introductory 0% APR period
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases
  • One of the easiest signup bonuses in the world—$150 after spending $500 in 3 months
Check on Capitalone
Capital One Venture Miles Rewards Credit Card
  • Save time and effort redeeming rewards with the simple earning structure and redemption process
  • Redemption is flexible: miles don't expire and there are no blackout dates
  • Low fees and great rewards provide a good balance where the scales tip in your favor
Check on Capitalone
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
Check on Creditcards.chase

Best No Annual Fee

Best No Annual Fee: BankAmericard Travel Rewards Credit Card
Apply Now
On Card Issuer’s Secure Website
  • Variable APR
    16.24% - 24.24%
  • Cash Advance APR
    See terms.
  • Rewards Rate
    1.5 points per dollar
  • Annual Fee
    $0
  • Intro APR
    0% on Purchases for 12 billing cycles
  • Bonus Offers
    20,000 online bonus points if you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $200 statement credit toward travel purchases

Pros

  • If you’re already planning to spend $1,000 in the first 3 months of using this card, you’ll earn 20,000 bonus points, equivalent to $200 of travel credit
  • No foreign transaction fee, no annual fees, and 12 months of 0% APR
  • If you're a Bank of America customer your points are worth even more; regardless, the flat 1.5% cashback rate makes it easy to earn rewards

Cons

For all its perks, this credit card has a fairly high APR when compared to many of the others on this list. And honestly? It’s not the best card for those that travel a lot by airplane—there are other cards that can cater better to frequent flyers.

Details

  • Earn unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases, with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees and your points don't expire
  • 20,000 online bonus points if you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $200 statement credit toward travel purchases
  • Use your card to book your trip how and where you want – you’re not limited to specific websites with blackout dates or restrictions
  • Redeem points for a statement credit to pay for flights, hotels, vacation packages, cruises, rental cars, or baggage fees
  • Comes with chip technology for enhanced security and protection at chip-enabled terminals
  • 0% Introductory APR for 12 billing cycles for purchases, then 16.24% - 24.24% Variable APR
  • Get an additional 10% customer points bonus on every purchase when you have an active Bank of America® checking or savings account
  • If you’re a Preferred Rewards client, you can increase that bonus to 25% - 75%

Application Process: Apply online as per usual or call their toll-free number if you prefer a more low-tech application process.

Annual Fee: None and this is one of the few credit cards with no foreign transaction fees on this list that can make this claim.

APR: Delight in a 0% introductory APR for the first 12 months, then a variable APR of 15.99% to 23.99% once that time has passed.

Rewards: Points can be redeemed for travel statement credit that can be used on flights, hotels, rentals and more.

Bonus Offers: Earn 20,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 within the first 3 months of opening an account, which is equivalent to $200 of travel credit. Not bad if you were already planning to spend that amount in that timeframe.

You’ll also receive an additional 10% in bonus customer points if you have an active Bank of America checking or savings account. Even better? Preferred Rewards clients can get between 25-75% bonus points. The Simple Dollar calls this out as one of the main reasons why you might consider this no foreign transaction fee credit card.

Best Cashback Credit Card

Best Cashback Credit Card: Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card
Apply Now
On Card Issuer’s Secure Website
  • Variable APR
    14.24% - 24.24%
  • Cash Advance APR
    24.24%
  • Rewards Rate
    1.50%
  • Annual Fee
    $0
  • Intro APR
    0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 9 months
  • Bonus Offers
    One-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening

Pros

  • No annual fee, no foreign transaction fee, and an introductory 0% APR period
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases
  • One of the easiest signup bonuses in the world—$150 after spending $500 in 3 months

Cons

If you want to nitpick, you could say that rewards redemption is pretty plain—your options are a statement credit or cheque.

Details

  • One-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • Use your Quicksilver card and get 50% back as a statement credit on your monthly Spotify Premium subscription, now through April 2018
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus, cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 9 months; 14.24%-24.24% variable APR after that
  • Balance transfers also have a 0% intro APR for 9 months; 14.24%-24.24% variable APR after that; a 3% fee applies to each balance transferred
  • Pay no annual fee or foreign transaction fees

Application Process: Online, quick and easy.

Annual Fee: None! And no foreign transaction fees either (obviously).

APR: Relish in the 0% introductory APR for purchases and balance transfers for your first 9 months. After reality sets in, you’ll be assessed a variable APR between 13.99% and 23.99%.

Rewards: Fairly straightforward, and redeemable as statement credit or as a cheque.

Bonus Offers: Receive a $150 one-time cash bonus upon spending $500 within 3 months of account opening.

Best for Easy Travel Redemption

Best for Easy Travel Redemption: Capital One Venture Miles Rewards Credit Card
Apply Now
On Card Issuer’s Secure Website
  • Variable APR
    14.24% - 24.24%
  • Cash Advance APR
    24.24%
  • Rewards Rate
    2 miles per dollar
  • Annual Fee
    $0 for the first year, then $95
  • Intro APR
    n/a
  • Bonus Offers
    Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel

Pros

  • Save time and effort redeeming rewards with the simple earning structure and redemption process
  • Redemption is flexible: miles don't expire and there are no blackout dates
  • Low fees and great rewards provide a good balance where the scales tip in your favor

Cons

If you can truly call it a “con”, there are no airline specific perks if you're partial to a specific airline. Furthermore, the credit card’s greatest strength lies in travel rewards—the cash back rewards are pretty weak. Finally, you’ll want to do your research to see if the travel categories are relevant to your life, or not. After all, amusement parks, tourist attractions, and RV rentals are not considered under the umbrella of “travel”.

Details

  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • New! Earn 10 miles per dollar on hotels when you pay with your Venture card at hotels.com/venture; learn more at hotels.com/venture
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime
  • Travel when you want with no blackout dates
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that

Application Process: Online, through Capital One’s portal.

Annual Fee: You’ll get free access during your first year, then the card is $59 per year after that. If that’s still too much, Money Under 30 recommends the card’s cousin: the Capital One VentureOne Rewards card.

APR: No special deals during signup. Instead, a variable rate between 13.99% to 23.99% will be assessed, and there’s a cash advance APR of 23.99%.

Rewards: There are two ways to claim rewards using Capital One’s Venture Miles Rewards credit card:

  • Use the rewards platform to find hotel, flight, and rental car deals, or...
  • Use Capital One’s Purchase Eraser to get statement credit for a flight or hotel stay made with the card. The Purchase Eraser is different from the aforementioned option because there is no minimum for full travel statement credit options, just a 2,500 mile minimum for partial travel credit redemptions.

Bonus Offers: Receive a one-time bonus of 40,000 miles when you spend $3,000 with the card in the first 3 months of account opening, which is equal to $400 in rewards.

Best Sign-up Bonus/Best Overall

Best Sign-up Bonus/Best Overall: Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
Apply Now
On Card Issuer’s Secure Website
  • Variable APR
    17.24% - 24.24%
  • Cash Advance APR
    26.24%
  • Rewards Rate
    1 point per dollar
  • Annual Fee
    $0 for the first year, then $95
  • Intro APR
    n/a
  • Bonus Offers
    Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

Pros

  • Rack up points quickly with a flat rate of 2x the points per $1 spent in related categories, and extra value when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • You’d be hard-pressed to find a signup bonus this big elsewhere (worth $625 in travel rewards)
  • Value Penguin calls it, “One of our favorite travel rewards cards”, and not just because of the fact that it’s a no foreign transaction fee credit card

Cons

Not a good deal for those spending less than $10,000 per year on the card, as you’ll need to spend between $3,800 and $7,600 annually to offset the annual fee. Fortunately, this is perhaps the worst thing that can be said about this no foreign transaction fee credit card.

Details

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards

Application Process: Online, more or less the same as other Chase credit cards.

Annual Fee: As with many options on this list, there is no fee for the first year. Reality strikes in the second year (and then on) with an annual fee of $95.

APR: Expect a variable rate between 16.99% to 23.99%. And of course, no foreign transaction fee!

Rewards: Redemption options are flexible. When you redeem them through Chase Ultimate Rewards, you essentially get a 20% discount. This makes it so that each point will then be worth extra. When redeeming travel rewards, you will be led to a travel portal (kind of like Expedia) where you can book your flights or hotels while comparing different airlines and hotels at a 1:1 ratio. This means that you won't lose any points in the process of converting them.

Partner airlines include major players like Air France/KLM, British Airways, Korean Air, United, and Virgin Atlantic. Major hotel chain partners include the likes of Marriott, Hyatt, and Ritz-Carlton.

You can also redeem rewards as statement credits and cash back, but their value remains steady as a 1 cent:1 point ratio.

Bonus Offers: You’ll want to get this credit card right before a major purchase, because you’ll earn 50,000 rewards points if you spend $4,000 on the card within the first three months. This results in $625 towards travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Additionally, if you add an authorized user who makes a purchase within the first 3 months, you’ll earn an additional 5,000 points. Just realize that you won’t receive any bonuses if you’ve done so from another Chase card in the past 24 months.

Maddy Osman creates engaging content with SEO best practices for marketing thought leaders and agencies that have their hands full with clients and projects. Learn more about her process and experience on her website, www.The-Blogsmith.com and read her latest articles on Twitter: @MaddyOsman.

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