Foreign transaction fees can take a huge chunk out of your vacation budget, and they can nip at you while you’re shopping from home, as well.
Some companies have maintained this practice, but consumers are finding more and more no foreign transaction fee credit cards cropping up.
If you travel or shop abroad frequently and are looking to save hundreds, even thousands of dollars, then check out everything you need to know about this fee and the credit cards that are waiving it for you.
Overview: Best No Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Cards
|Card Name||Best For|
|Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card||Best Premium Travel|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card||Best Sign Up Bonus|
|Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card||Best Flat Cash Back|
|Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card||Best Rewards for Dining|
|Journey Student Rewards from Capital One||Best For Students|
What We Like:
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
2X miles earned for $1 spent on all purchases
Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is an excellent travel card because it comes with so many travel-oriented benefits. To begin with, after signing up, Capital One gives you 75,000 bonus miles if you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from opening the account. That is equivalent to a $750 travel voucher, which can be used for future travel expenses. The card does carry a $95 annual fee.
Rewards program: The rewards program is definitely the most exciting part of the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, though. You’ll earn:
- Two miles for every dollar paid on anything, anytime, anywhere, and those miles are unlimited.
That’s unheard of in the industry.
Obviously, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is a no foreign transaction fee credit card, so you’ll never have to pay for foreign transactions.
Additional perks: You’ll get loads of travel benefits from this card including:
- Auto rental collision damage waivers
- Travel upgrades
- Shopping discounts
- Warranty extensions
What We Like:
A monster of an up-front bonus; 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in the first three months.
5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3X points on dining, 2X points on all other travel purchases, plus more.
Points are worth 25% more when you redeem travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is another attractive no foreign transaction fee credit card. It comes with lots of perks along, and of course you’ll get away with completely avoiding foreign transaction fees.
Rewards program: The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has a generous points system. You’ll earn:
- 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- 3X points on dining
- 2X points on all other travel purchases
- 1 point for every dollar spent on other purchases
Many people prefer to use the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card because it is a credit card that is accepted all over the world. To date, more than 44.4 million merchants accept it, so you are covered pretty much wherever you travel.
Welcome Bonus: You’ll earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months of opening the account.
That’s more points than you get from the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, AND you actually get far more out of this deal because the exchange rate for points to spending is higher with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. In the end, your welcome bonus will give you a travel value of $750 when you book through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. That’s huge!
Additional perks: You will get important insurance coverage such as auto rental collision and baggage delay insurance.
What We Like:
A one-time $200 cash bonus after spending $500 in purchases within the first 3 months
1.5% cash back on all purchases
A 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months – after which, the ongoing APR of 17.99% – 27.99% applies; 3% fee on the amounts transferred within the first 15 months
The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card offers new applicants $200 in cash back after spending just $500 on new purchases within three months of account opening. Plus you get an unlimited 1.5 % cash back rewards on all purchases which is very convenient for your year-round purchases.
And finally, there’s $0 annual fee for this card and no foreign transaction fees.
- Excellent reward rate and cash back does not expire for the life of the account.
- You earn 1.5% cash back on all purchases with no limits to how much you can earn.
- Numerous travel insurance and purchase protection benefits including auto rental collision damage waiver, 24-hour travel assistance services, and roadside assistance.
- No foreign transaction fees when making purchases outside the United States
- $0 annual fee.
What We Like:
Limited Time Offer: Earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. These points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards at thankyou.com
Three points per dollar spent at Gas Stations, Supermarkets, Restaurants, Hotels and on Air Travel
No foreign transaction fees
- For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
- Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
- Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
- Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
- Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
- 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
- No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
- No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
Citi Premier® Card
The Citi Premier® Card offers an incredibly rewarding points system for frequent travelers who also spend big on everyday expenses.
You’ll accumulate 3x ThankYou® Points per dollar spent on travel-related expenses like restaurants, flights, and hotels, but also for everyday purchases at supermarkets and gas stations. Plus, spend $4,000 within your first three months and you’ll get 80,000 bonus points!
Although ThankYou® Points are only worth a half penny each in cash back, they’re worth a penny plus on travel redemption. So using your Citi Premier® Card every day will quickly slash the price of your next travel adventure!
Rewards program: On top of the 80,000-point sign-up bonus, the Citi Premier® Card offers a whopping 3 points per dollar spent on purchases at restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel, and hotels, plus 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases. And although they’re only worth a half penny each in cash, they’re worth at least double that in travel redemption. So you can think of your ThankYou® Points as a piggy bank for your next travel outing.
Welcome bonus: The Citi Premier® Card offers 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points worth $800 in gift card redemption (when redeemed at thankyou.com); that alone could cover the cost of a domestic trip or make an international trip much more affordable.
Additional perks: Further sweetening the pot for frequent travelers, the Citi Premier® Card offers $100 cash back on one hotel visit per year costing $500+. The Citi Premier® Card also charges no foreign transaction fees, and you can transfer ThankYou® Points to participating airline loyalty programs.
Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card
Disclaimer – The information about the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by MoneyUnder30.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.
The Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card offers one of the market’s highest cash rewards rates on dining. Only the Chase Freedom Flex℠ competes. Chase Freedom Flex℠ offers 3% cash back on dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services.
Rewards program: With the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card, you’ll earn:
- 4% on entertainment and dining out, year-round. So if you’re looking for a great cash back program you can use on dining, look no further.
- 3% at the grocery store
- 1% on other purchases.
Welcome Bonus: The Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card boasts a generous sign-up bonus – $300 after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. $300 is a lot of money to receive, and $3,000 isn’t an unrealistic target to hit when you think about the amount you’ll be spending on dining out, groceries, and more.
Fees: The Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card comes with an annual fee of$95. The fee is very reasonable considering how much you’ll save with the cash rewards program.
What We Like:
1% cash back on all purchases and pay on time to get a boost to 1.25% cash back
Be automatically considered for a higher credit line in as little as 6 months
No annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
Having a hard time getting a credit card because of limited credit? The Journey Student Rewards from Capital One is a little different than most of the cards on this list in that it works with people who have less than stellar credit. You can apply and get approved for the card and start building or rebuilding your credit again. It has a lot of benefits which is particularly noteworthy considering it is a card for those rebuilding their credit (those don’t usually come with added benefits).
And if you’re planning to travel on your next semester break, you’ll definitely appreciate that there are no foreign transaction fees with the Journey Student Rewards from Capital One.
Rewards program: What’s even more impressive is that the Journey Student Rewards from Capital One comes with a rewards program. You’ll earn:
- 1 percent cash back on purchases
- You can up your earn rate to 1.25 percent cash back by paying your bill on time. That is very generous.
- the Journey Student Rewards from Capital One doesn’t charge an annual fee, a perk for those struggling with their finances.
- Capital One reviews your credit limit after six months (for a potential increase)
- The card also gives you credit profile monitoring tools and financial education so you can learn how to handle your finances and make smart financial decisions.
Summary: Best no foreign transaction fee credit cards
|Card Name||Minimum Credit Requirement⁺||Unique Feature||Travel Rewards|
|Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card||700+||75,000 bonus miles after spending $4,000 in purchases during the first 3 months.||Earn 2X miles per dollar spent on every purchase, every day.|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card||750+||60,000 points when you spend $4,000 in purchases in the first three months, welcome bonus worth $750 in travel rewards when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®||5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3X points on dining and 2X points on all other travel purchases, plus more.|
|Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card||700+||$200 cash bonus once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening||Unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases|
|Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card||700+||Earn 4% cash back on dining and entertainment year round||Earn unlimited 4% cash back on dining and entertainment, 3% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases|
|Journey Student Rewards from Capital One||600+||High and flexible earn rates and program||1% cash back on all your purchases|
What is a foreign transaction fee credit card?
Before you can decide which is the best no foreign transaction fee credit card for you, you really have to understand what a foreign transaction fee is and what it has to do with your credit card spending. The fee refers to a two-part expense that you get charged whenever you make a transaction in a foreign currency. The two parts are:
- A foreign currency conversion fee. This is usually 1 percent of your purchase, and it gets charged when the card processor has to convert the foreign currency into your home currency (example Euros to dollars).
- A transaction fee. This is usually 2 percent or more and covers the expense of making transactions in another currency.
Altogether, foreign transaction fees can be anywhere from 3 to 5 percent. So, if you spend $100, you could pay $3-$5 for that charge. That doesn’t sound like a lot of money, but when you are traveling abroad for a week or two, those charges add up quickly. Just think about every meal, every souvenir, every tour, and every gift you buy during your trip. That’s a lot of extra money to be charged for which you’re not getting anything.
Something a lot of people don’t know is that you can be charged a foreign transaction fee even if you are shopping within your home country. If you shop online at a foreign retailer, you will still get charged this fee, and you might not even realize it until you browse your credit card statement and see the charge. It might surprise you to find out that you are paying a few extra dollars every time you purchase from your favorite online site.
A no foreign transaction fee credit card alleviates this massive expense and gives you a more accurate picture of how much you are really spending at the end of the day. More cards are offering this fee waiver, and you can see whether or not a foreign transaction fee is charged by visiting a credit card’s details page.
We looked into various credit cards and only rated those that waived the foreign transaction fees for this comparison. Cards ranked higher if they also had additional travel benefits, favorable terms, and good bonus features.
Should you use cash or credit?
Many travelers wonder if it’s better to avoid these issues by just using cash all the time. The problem with this is that cash is not a safe option. For one thing, most people wouldn’t feel comfortable walking around with a large wad of cash, and leaving your money in the hotel room leaves you vulnerable to theft.
What’s more, cash is easily lost, and once lost, it’s gone forever (unlike credit cards that can be replaced). Also, if your cash is stolen and used, the money is gone. With a credit card, you have fraud protection, so even if it is used for illegal charges, you won’t have to pay for them.
Converting your dollars into local currency can also get annoying and sometimes costly if you don’t find a reputable exchange service.
Credit cards are more convenient, safer, and smarter for travel expenses, and with a no foreign transaction fee credit card, you even get the savings you deserve.
Most important features of no foreign transaction fee credit cards
While all perks are an added bonus, the most important features to consider when comparing no foreign transaction fee credit cards are:
Paying astronomical interest will offset any savings you make. Look for lower APRs or cards with good introductory offers. Or better yet, pay your balance off in full each month to avoid interest charges all together.
Travel rewards package
Since foreign transaction fees are generally charged when abroad, you want good travel benefits as well as the fee waiver. Travel benefits include auto insurance, baggage, insurance, trip delay or cancellation insurance, and emergency assistance.
A card that doesn’t charge an annual fee or charges a low one earns more rewards because it is more beneficial for most people.
FAQ on no foreign transaction fee credit cards.
If I’m purchasing something online with one of these credit cards, and the company I’m buying from is foreign, will I have to pay a transaction fee?
What do I need in order to apply for a no foreign transaction fee credit card?
Will I be charged a foreign transaction fee if I buy clothing from Argos in GBP while shopping in the USA?
Which is better, to convert my purchase into my home currency or leave it in the local currency?
Should you get a no foreign transaction fee credit card?
A no foreign transaction fee credit card holds a lot of value for anyone who travels or shops abroad frequently.
With these cards, you may get a lot of benefits like cash rewards and 0 percent APR on new purchases. There are other cards that are more specialized for poor credit, low interest, or cash rewards, but these no foreign transaction fee credit cards bundle all of these benefits into one card, making them a lucrative deal for anyone looking to save.
Not sure you want a no foreign transaction fee credit card? Finding the right credit card for you is much simpler if you know your credit score, and can narrow your search to only the cards you know you’ll get approved for. We’ve made it easy for you. If you don’t already know your score, use our quick and free Credit Score Estimator tool-–then find the perfect card for you!