If you'll be studying abroad, consider taking a credit card with you for both convenience and in case of an emergency. Here are three of the best credit cards for study abroad.

For many American college students, studying abroad is a rite of passage. By living in another country, rather than just visiting, students can earn a deeper understanding and gain a lifetime appreciation for another language and culture.

And for most students, studying abroad will be their first exposure to solo international travel. Of all the things that students will pack on their trip, the right credit card will be one of the most important.

Here are the best credit cards for study abroad.

What makes a good credit card for students living abroad?

The best credit cards for students living in a foreign country will have low fees. In particular, their credit card should have no foreign transaction fees. These are fees imposed by most credit cards on all transactions processed outside of the United States. These fees can apply when paying in US dollars, and can even be imposed on foreign purchases made from home.

For example, if you purchase airfare or a tour online from a foreign company, you might end up with an unwelcome fee on your bill. Typically, foreign transaction fees are three percent of the amount charged, but there are a growing number of credit cards that no longer have this expensive, and unnecessary fee.

Other features to look for are travel emergency assistance services, which can be helpful when students encounter the unexpected.

Finally, students will want a card that they can be approved for, as most are young adults with a limited credit history.

We’ve long recommended Capital One’s travel rewards credit cards for travel abroad, thanks to their widespread acceptance and lack of foreign currency transaction fees.

Capital One Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards Credit Card

Apply Now On the Capital One US Secure Website

In A Nutshell

Students will love the simplicity of this cash back credit card from Capital One. Earn an unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day, and your rewards won’t expire for the life of the account. Plus there’s no annual fee, foreign transaction fees, or other hidden fees to worry about.

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Credit Score Requirements: Credit Score requirements are based on Money Under 30’s own research of approval rates; meeting the minimum score will give you the best chance to be approved for the credit card of your choice. If you don’t know your credit score, use our free credit score estimator tool to get a better idea of which cards you’ll qualify for. *Money Under 30 uses a FICO 8 score, which is one of many different types of credit scores. *A creditor may use a different score when deciding whether to approve you for credit.
Poor 500-599
Fair 600-699
Good 700-749
Excellent 750-850

What We Like:

  • Early Spend Bonus: Earn $50 when you spend $100 in the first three months

  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day

  • Enjoy no annual fee, foreign transaction fees, or hidden fees

  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • Early Spend Bonus: Earn $50 when you spend $100 in the first three months
  • Earn 10% cash back on purchases made through Uber & Uber Eats, plus complimentary Uber One membership statement credits through 11/14/2024
  • Enjoy peace of mind with $0 Fraud Liability so that you won't be responsible for unauthorized charges
  • Enjoy no annual fee, foreign transaction fees, or hidden fees
  • Lock your card in the Capital One Mobile app if it's misplaced, lost or stolen
  • Earn up to $500 a year by referring friends and family when they're approved for a Capital One credit card
  • Build your credit with responsible card use
  • Whether you're at a 4-year university, community college or other higher education institution, this card might be an option for you
Annual Fee
Regular APR
19.74% - 29.74% (Variable)
Intro APR
Intro APR Purchases N/A , N/A
Intro APR Balance Transfers N/A , N/A

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With no foreign transaction fees and 24-hour travel assistance services, the Capital One QuickSilver Student Cash Rewards Credit Card is a great option for heading abroad.

As we mentioned, international surcharges are usually 3% of every purchase, but with this card, they’re waived when paying in a foreign currency. And cardholders can enjoy Complimentary Concierge services like 24-hour assistance when you travel and Mastercard ID Theft Protection — ensuring peace of mind for both you and your parents.

Beyond the card’s travel features, it also offers unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases, every day, with no special or rotating categories to worry about. And right now, it comes with an early spend bonus of $50 when you spend $100 on purchases within 3 months from account opening

Apply for the Capital One Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards Credit Card.

Similarly, the Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards Credit Card also comes with no foreign transaction fees, Complimentary Concierge services like 24-hour assistance when you travel and purchase your airfare with the card.

Where the SavorOne differs is in its rewards. Instead of a flat 1.5% cash back on every purchase, you get 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services, and grocery purchases — which tend to be the most popular categories for many students, anyways. You’ll also get 1% cash back on all other purchases.

But the real stand-out of the SavorOne is for those who are big into concerts and sporting events. The card scores you a whopping 8% cash back on entertainment booked through Capital One Entertainment Portal.

Apply for the Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards Credit Card.

Discover it® Student Chrome

Discover cards are renowned for their excellent customer service and customer-friendly features. Discover also offers two student cards that can be great picks for study abroad trips.

All Discover cards have no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees, making them an economical choice. The Discover it® Student chrome also offers 2% cash back at restaurants and gas stations on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. You also get 1% cash back on all other purchases.

The one drawback is that Discover cards are not widely accepted in all countries — which may be OK if you plan to do most of your spending with cash or a debit card and just want a credit card for emergencies. And while the Discover it® Student chrome does include emergency card replacement, it doesn’t come with travel emergency assistance services.

Alternatives to credit cards for study abroad

If you didn’t find the perfect credit card for studying abroad, check out the other cards we feature. Search based on your credit score (if you don’t know your score, use our quick and free Credit Score Estimator tool.)


Traveling abroad for the first time can be scary, so the last thing you want to worry about is whether you have enough cash on hand. That’s why you should opt for a credit card, even if you only use it for emergencies.

The best credit cards for study abroad won’t charge extra fees every time you use them outside the country. But you’ll also want your card to have a decent line of credit in case you need, for example, to leave a country quickly via an expensive last-minute plane ticket.

If a student card doesn’t meet that need, a parent can easily add their college student to an existing credit card as an authorized user. The student will have full use of the card abroad, but the parent remains responsible for repayment. In some cases, the parent’s timely payments will also be reflected on the student’s credit history, helping to build good credit.

For Capital One products listed on this page, some of the above benefits are provided by Visa® or Mastercard® and may vary by product. See the respective Guide to Benefits for details, as terms and exclusions apply.

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About the author

Total Articles: 33
Jason Steele has been writing about credit cards, travel and personal finance since 2008, and is passionate about using his cards to travel for free. Jason contributes to many of the top personal finance and travel sites and has been widely quoted in mainstream media as a credit card expert. Jason lives in Denver Colorado where he enjoys bicycling, snowboarding and flying. You can follow Jason on Twitter, Facebook or on his website.