5 Best Credit Cards with No Transaction Fees When Traveling Abroad

5 Best Credit Cards with No Transaction Fees When Traveling Abroad

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After 17 hours of research evaluating 55 products, we picked Chase Sapphire Preferred® 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.

This article was last updated September 4, 2018 but some terms and conditions may have changed or are no longer available. For the most accurate and up to date information please consult the terms and conditions found on the issuer website.

Why trust us: Faveable has spent thousands of hours researching, interviewing experts, and testing products to come up with carefully selected lists trusted by millions of consumers since 2013.

5 Best Credit Cards with No Transaction Fees When Traveling Abroad

  • 5. HSBC Gold Mastercard® credit card
  • 4. Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Card
  • 3. BankAmericard Travel Rewards Credit Card
  • 2. Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®
  • 1. Chase Sapphire Preferred®

HSBC Gold Mastercard® credit card

HSBC Gold Mastercard® credit card
Variable APR
14.24%, 20.24% or 25.24%
Cash Advance APR
27.24%
Rewards Rate
n/a
Annual Fee
$0
Intro APR
0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months. Variable APR of 14.24%, 20.24% or 25.24% after the Introductory period.
Bonus Offers
n/a
86 % Editor Score
82 % User Score
283 Clicks

Why People Love it

  • Long introductory APR promotion
  • Light on the fees
  • Includes additional travel perks

  • No interest on purchases and balance transfers for 18 months
  • No annual fee or foreign transaction fees
  • Travel accident insurance, lost luggage protection, and more
  • No rewards program
  • Charges a balance transfer fee
Expert Ratings

Application Process: Apply online, and get a decision within 60 seconds or less.

Rewards: None.

Bonus Offers: None.

Annual Fee: None.

Details:HSBC Gold Mastercard® credit card »

Best for Flat-Rate Cash Back

Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Card

Best for Flat-Rate Cash Back: Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Card
Variable APR
24.99%
Cash Advance APR
24.99%
Rewards Rate
1.50%
Annual Fee
$39
Intro APR
n/a
Bonus Offers
n/a
82 % Editor Score
87 % User Score
250 Clicks

Why People Love it

  • Unlimited flat 1.5% cash back rate on all purchases
  • Easily obtainable bonus of $150 when you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months of account opening
  • Value Penguin calls it one of the best cashback cards for low spenders

Travelers will appreciate that there are no foreign transaction fees associated with this credit card. Everyone will appreciate that you don’t have to be purposeful to collect your rewards, as the Quicksilver Cash Rewards Card offers a flat, unlimited 1.5% cash back rate on all purchases.

If you’re new to the world of credit cards, this card might be your perfect match. But if you’re a little more of an experienced user, you can certainly find higher percent cash back credit cards for a small annual fee that will likely be more than justified. A related example? The Capital One Spark Cash for Business credit card. Additionally, you may be interested in using one of the best Capital One credit cards for balance transfers... until you find out that it comes with a 3% balance transfer fee.

Expert Ratings

Application Process: Apply online just as you would with the other best Capital One credit cards on this list.

Annual Fee: Absolutely no annual fees! Definitely a perk of this credit card.

Rewards and Redemption Options: It’s very simple: earn an unlimited flat rate of 1.5% cash back, which does not expire. You can redeem this cash back as a statement credit or cheque.

Bonus Offers: Just about anyone using this credit card will earn a $150 bonus after spending $500 on purchases within 3 months of account opening.

Details:Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Card »

Best No Annual Fee

BankAmericard Travel Rewards Credit Card

Best No Annual Fee: BankAmericard Travel Rewards Credit Card
Variable APR
16.24% - 24.24%
Cash Advance APR
See terms.
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
Rewards Rate
1.5 points per dollar
Annual Fee
$0
Intro APR
0% on Purchases for 12 billing cycles
82 % Editor Score
81 % User Score
128 Clicks

Why People Love it

  • If you’re already planning to spend $1,000 in the first 3 months of using this card, you’ll earn 25,000 bonus points, equivalent to $250 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

This flat-rate travel rewards credit card gives you many of the perks that the other credit cards with no foreign transaction fees on this list do, but at no annual fee. It is good for those that do not have an airline preference and is non-restrictive when it comes to travel rewards. As if that weren’t enough, the rewards rate is competitive, there’s a nice signup bonus, and a 0% introductory APR for the first 12 months.

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.

Expert Ratings

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.

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

Bonus Offers: Earn 25,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 within the first 3 months of opening an account, which is equivalent to $250 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.

Details:BankAmericard Travel Rewards Credit Card »

Best Fixed Value Travel Rewards Card

Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®

Best Fixed Value Travel Rewards Card: Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®
Variable APR
95
Cash Advance APR
90
Rewards Rate
95
Annual Fee
90
Intro APR
90
Bonus Offers
95
Application Process
95
92 % Editor Score
97 % User Score
354 Clicks

Why People Love it

  • Earn a high rewards rate on all your purchases, plus a huge sign-up bonus
  • Get ultimate redemption flexibility for travel purchases
  • Expect miles back every time you redeem

You'll earn 2 miles per dollar on every purchase; no need to worry about bonus rewards categories. Also, no foreign transaction fee, plus international chip and pin capability.

Charges an annual fee, doesn't offer great ways to maximize your rewards, and no luxury perks.

Expert Ratings

Variable APR

9.5 / 10

18.24%, 22.24%, or 25.24%

Cash Advance APR

9.0 / 10

27.49%

Rewards Rate

9.5 / 10

Earn 2 miles per dollar spent, plus get 5% of your miles back every time you redeem.

Annual Fee

9.0 / 10

$89 (waived the first year) - so it could be worse.

Intro APR

9.0 / 10

None.

Bonus Offers

9.5 / 10

Enjoy 70,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 90 days.

(Normally, you can earn 60,000 miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 90 days — worth $600 in travel statement credits.)

Application Process

9.5 / 10

Apply online through the Barclays website.

Details:Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® »

Best for Flexible Redemption

Chase Sapphire Preferred®

Best for Flexible Redemption: Chase Sapphire Preferred®
Variable APR
17.49% - 24.49%
Cash Advance APR
26.49%
Rewards Rate
2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
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®
86 % Editor Score
92 % User Score
379 Clicks

Why People Love it

  • Offers a large signup bonus compared to similar cards
  • You'll get a rewards boost if you use your points to book travel through Chase
  • Redeem points for airlines and hotels, without being tied to any specific companies

  • You can use points to book travel through Chase, get cash back or gift cards, or transfer them to one of Chase's travel partners
  • The card itself is metal instead of plastic
  • You'll get premium travel protections
  • Base rewards rate is mediocre
  • Charges an annual fee
Expert Ratings

Application Process: Online, through Chase.

Rewards: Earn 2X points on travel and dining purchases worldwide, and 1 point per dollar spent elsewhere.

Bonus Offers: Earn 50,000 rewards points for every $4,000 spent for the first three months, which is $625 towards travel when redeemed through the Chase Ultimate Rewards program. If you add an authorized user who makes a purchase within the first 3 months, you’ll earn an additional 5,000 points.

Annual Fee: $0 for the first year, then $95.

 

Details:Chase Sapphire Preferred® »

Faveable Ratings: 5 Best Credit Cards with No Transaction Fees When Traveling Abroad

5 Best Credit Cards with No Transaction Fees When Traveling AbroadVariable APRCash Advance APRRewards RateAnnual FeeIntro APRBonus OffersApplication ProcessOverall
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Thumbnail
Best for Flexible Redemption
#1Chase Sapphire Preferred®
1.7
2.6
0.2
0.0
0.0
0.0
  8
Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® Thumbnail
Best Fixed Value Travel Rewards Card
#2Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®
9.5
9.0
9.5
9.0
9.0
9.5
9.5
93
BankAmericard Travel Rewards Credit Card Thumbnail
Best No Annual Fee
#3BankAmericard Travel Rewards Credit Card
1.6
0.0
0.2
0.0
0.0
2.0
  6
Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Card Thumbnail
Best for Flat-Rate Cash Back
#4Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Card
2.5
2.5
0.2
0.0
0.0
0.0
  9
HSBC Gold Mastercard® credit card Thumbnail
#5HSBC Gold Mastercard® credit card
1.4
2.7
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
  7

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Article Staff

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.

Editor Jenna Holtz
Researcher Ronnie Langston
Art Director Cherry Barbacena

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