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Best Credit Cards Without Foreign Transaction Fees in August 2022

[cnet.com]2 weeks ago

A credit card is a must-have when traveling internationally. Not only will it save you from constantly having to convert cash at a bank in a different country, but the right credit card can save you a lot on foreign transaction fees. Foreign transaction fees are added onto your credit card transactions when you're outside of the US. They're charged to cover conversion fees, and usually cost about 3% of the transaction. Some credit cards -- primarily in theĀ travel credit cardĀ domain -- offer no foreign transaction fees as a benefit. If you're only traveling outside the country once in a while, having this type of card could be worthwhile.

Intro OfferEarn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate RewardsĀ®.

APR17.49% - 24.49% Variable

Intro Purchase APRN/A

Recommended Credit Excellent/Good

Reward Rates

  • 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate RewardsĀ®
  • 3x on dining.
  • 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.

Annual Fee$95

Balance Transfer APR17.49% - 24.49% Variable

Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

Foreign Transaction Fees $0

Penalty APR Up to 29.99%

  • 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate RewardsĀ®
  • 3x on dining.
  • 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.

Our Take

The Chase Sapphire PreferredĀ® Card has one of the best value propositions of travel credit cards. It starts with no foreign transaction fees, but the rewards program and welcome bonus are also best in its class. Points are worth 1 cent each if you redeem them for a statement credit, but they'll be worth 25% more if you redeem your rewards for travel booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. The Sapphire Preferred also includes trip cancellation and interruption insurance, an auto rental collision damage waiver and lost luggage insurance. While many travel credit cards offer some of this coverage, they rarely offer the full spread.

Check out more details in our full review of the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.

Intro OfferUnlimited Bonus: Only Discover gives you an unlimited match of all the Miles you've earned at the end of your first year. For example, if you earn 35,000 Miles, you get 70,000 Miles. There's no signing up, no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a Miles-for-Miles match.

APR13.49% - 24.49% Variable

Intro Purchase APR0% Intro APR for 15 months

Recommended Credit Excellent/Good

Reward Rates

  • Earn unlimited 1.5x Miles for every dollar spent on all purchases - with no annual fee.

Annual Fee$0

Intro Balance Transfer APR0% Intro APR for 15 months

Balance Transfer APR13.49% - 24.49% Variable

Balance Transfer Fee 3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)*

Late Payment Fee None the first time you pay late. After that, up to $41.

Foreign Transaction Fees None

  • Earn unlimited 1.5x Miles for every dollar spent on all purchases - with no annual fee.

Our Take

The Discover itĀ® Miles* card offers an excellent welcome bonus after your first year as a cardholder. All Discover cards have no foreign transaction fees, but this one ensures all your international spending is optimized for rewards -- you earn 1.5 miles per dollar on all your purchases. While you don't have to meet any minimum spending thresholds to unlock this welcome bonus like with most other credit cards, you do have to be patient to earn it. Discover will match all of the miles you earn over the course of the first year at the end of your first year.

Intro OfferNew Venture cardholders can earn 75,000 miles once they spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening

APR17.49% - 25.49% (Variable)

Intro Purchase APRN/A

Recommended Credit Excellent, Good

Reward Rates

  • Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day.

Annual Fee$95

Intro Balance Transfer APRN/A

Balance Transfer APR17.49% - 25.49% (Variable)

Balance Transfer Fee $0 at this Transfer APR

Late Payment Fee Up to $40

Foreign Transaction Fees None

Penalty APR None

  • Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day.

Our Take

Capital One loads the Venture Rewards Credit Card with plenty of travel perks to offset the $95 annual fee. Travel anywhere without any foreign transaction fees and earn 2x unlimited miles on all purchases. In addition, Capital One awards you up to a $100 statement credit forĀ Global Entry or TSA PreCheckĀ to help you speed through the airport lines. Venture Miles earned can be redeemed on flights and hotels or used to pay for Amazon.com and PayPal purchases. You can also transfer miles to over 15 hotel andĀ airline programs.

Check out our full review of theĀ Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card.

Intro Offer25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases.

APR16.24% - 26.24% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers

Intro Purchase APR0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases

Recommended Credit Excellent/Good

Reward Rates

  • 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.

Annual Fee$0

Balance Transfer APR16.24% - 26.24% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers

Balance Transfer Fee Either $10 or 3% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater.

Late Payment Fee See terms

Foreign Transaction Fees None

Penalty APR up to 29.99% APR

  • 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.

Our Take

This online only offer may not be available if you leave this page or if you visit a Bank of America financial center. You can take advantage of this offer when you apply now.

The Bank of AmericaĀ® Travel Rewards credit card doesn't come with foreign transaction fees or an annual fee. You'll earn 1.5 points for every dollar you spend, with no limit. The introductory APR offer can provide you with some wiggle room to spread out your card payments without incurring interest charges.

See our full review of the Bank of America Travel Rewards card for more information.

Intro OfferN/A

APR26.99% (Variable)

Intro Purchase APRN/A

Recommended Credit Average, Fair, Limited

Reward Rates

  • Earn unlimited 5% cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options. Terms apply
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day

Annual Fee$39

Intro Balance Transfer APRN/A

Balance Transfer APR26.99% (Variable)

Balance Transfer Fee $0 at this Transfer APR

Late Payment Fee Up to $40

Foreign Transaction Fees None

Penalty APR None

  • Earn unlimited 5% cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options. Terms apply
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day

Our Take

Most cards with low fees and perks are reserved for individuals with stellar credit. The Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card fills an important gap by giving people with limited or fair credit a chance to get started or build with responsible use. Use this card wisely -- you'll automatically get considered for a credit limit increase as soon as six months from approval, potentially boosting your credit score. Spend wisely, enjoy the cash back, make your payments on time and take advantage of unlimited access to your credit report through CreditWise. You'll start to see over time how good financial decisions can impact your credit.

Tips for using a credit card when traveling internationally

Before you get on an airplane, there are a few steps you should take:

  • If you have a mag stripe card, request a chip credit card from your card provider in advance of your trip.
  • Set up a travel alert with your card issuer to notify them of what countries you will be visiting or your card may be flagged for fraud.
  • Take two credit cards and keep them in separate places, in case your wallet is lost or stolen.
  • Sign up for email or text alerts about charges to monitor your card purchases.
  • Use a credit card with no foreign transaction fees.
  • If your card has no transaction fees and you're prompted to choose the payment currency, choose to pay in local rates instead of dollars -- you'll get your bank's wholesale exchange rate, which would be more favorable than the merchant's.
  • Get familiar with the exchange rate for the country you're visiting so you have an idea of how much you're actually spending.

FAQs

What are foreign transaction fees and when are they charged?

Card issuers or banks charge foreign transaction fees to cover the cost of exchanging a purchase from the foreign currency to US dollars. If you make a purchase in foreign currency, it's likely you will be charged for the conversion unless you have a no-transaction-fee credit card.Ā 

One way to avoid having to pay a foreign transaction fee when you're traveling abroad is to choose to pay in US dollars. Many store credit card terminals will recognize your foreign card and prompt you to choose whether you'd like to pay in the local currency or US dollars. If you choose local currency, you may have to pay your bank or card issuer the transaction fee to exchange it. However, if you choose to pay in US dollars, there is no conversion to be performed.Ā 

Keep in mind that if you choose to pay in US dollars, you may save on the transaction fee but the foreign merchant bank may still tack on a commission for the exchange. The best way to avoid unnecessary fees is to pay with a credit card with no transaction fees.

Which credit cards work worldwide?

Mastercard, Visa, American Express and Discover are the four majorĀ credit card processors. Visa and Mastercard are the two most widely accepted credit cards across the world and your best bet if you intend on traveling overseas and paying for goods with a credit card.Ā 

American Express may be popular in the US, but it's not as widely accepted abroad. Discover is even less accepted than American Express outside of the US. To be safe, it's a good idea to carry a Mastercard or Visa as a backup if your primary card is an American Express or Discover.

Do I need a chip-and-PIN credit card when traveling?

Most of Europe has adopted the chip-and-PIN credit card system, which eliminates swiping of magnetic strips and signatures. Instead, card readers will prompt you to insert the card (or tap it for touch-free transactions) to read the chip and prompt you for a PIN as a form of verification. Before you travel overseas, ask your card issuer for a chip card. Otherwise, you may have trouble using a mag-stripe credit card for purchases abroad.

Our methodology

CNET reviews credit cards by exhaustively comparing them across set criteria developed for each major category, including cash back, welcome bonus, travel rewards and balance transfer. We take into consideration the typical spending behavior of a range of consumer profiles -- with the understanding that everyone's financial situation is different -- and the designated function of a card.Ā 

For cash-back credit cards, for example, key factors include the annual fee, the "welcome bonus" and the cash-back rate (or rates, if they differ by spending category). For rewards and miles cards, we calculate and weigh the net monetary value of a card's respective perks. And with balance transfer credit cards, we analyze specs such as the duration of the introductory 0% APR period and the balance transfer fee, while acknowledging secondary factors such as the standard APR and the length of time you have to make a balance transfer after you open the account.

Cards researched

  • Chase Sapphire PreferredĀ® Card
  • Discover itĀ® Cash Back
  • Discover itĀ® Miles
  • Discover itĀ® chrome
  • Delta SkyMilesĀ® Gold American Express Card
  • Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
  • The Platinum CardĀ® from American Express
  • Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card
  • Southwest Rapid RewardsĀ® Premier Credit Card
  • Bank of AmericaĀ® Travel Rewards credit card
  • CitiĀ® / AAdvantageĀ® Executive World Elite MastercardĀ®
  • American ExpressĀ® Gold Card
  • Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
  • IHGĀ® Rewards Premier Credit Card
  • Unitedā„  Explorer Card
  • PetalĀ® 1 "No Annual Fee" VisaĀ® Credit Card
  • Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
  • Hilton Honors American Express Card
  • Marriott Bonvoy BoldĀ® Credit Card
  • U.S. Bank AltitudeĀ® Connect Visa SignatureĀ® Card
  • MastercardĀ® Titanium Cardā„¢

*All information about the Discover it Miles has been collected independently by CNET and has not been reviewed by the issuer.

The editorial content on this page is based solely on objective, independent assessments by our writers and is not influenced by advertising or partnerships. It has not been provided or commissioned by any third party. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products or services offered by our partners.

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