Best No Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Cards – Info Money Manage
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.
For a quick reference, here are the best no foreign transaction fee credit cards on the market right now:
Best All Around
This offer requires Excellent/Good credit.
Best Premium Travel Use
This offer requires Excellent/Good credit.
- 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 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Plus earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels; learn more at hotels.com/venture
- Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
- View Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card details and how to apply »
Best Sign Up Bonus Offer
This offer requires Excellent Credit credit.
- 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®
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® named a ‘Best Travel Credit Card’ by MONEY® Magazine, 2016-2017
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- View Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card details and how to apply »
Best For Travel Rewards
This offer requires Excellent, Good credit.
- INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the Miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically. For example, if you earn 30,000 Miles, you get 60,000 Miles.
- Earn unlimited 1.5x Miles for every dollar spent on all purchases all with no annual fee.
- No Blackout Dates – fly any airline, stay at any hotel.
- View Discover it® Miles details and how to apply »
Best Loyalty Bonus
This offer requires Good/Excellent credit.
Best No Annual Fee
This offer requires Excellent/Good credit.
- 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
- NEW OFFER: 25,000 online bonus points if you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening – that can be a $250 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
- View Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card details and how to apply »
Best For Cash Back
This offer requires Good, Excellent credit.
- 3% cash back at restaurants and 2% cash back on gas and at grocery and drug stores, up to $1,500 spend per quarter in these combined purchase categories
- 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases
- Earn a new account bonus worth $100! Earn 10,000 bonus points which can be redeemed for $100 cash back, simply spend $1,000 within 90 days of opening your account
- View TRIO® Credit Card from Fifth Third Bank details and how to apply »
Best For Students
This offer requires Average/Fair/Limited credit.
Best No Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Cards Overview
Best All Around: Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card
The first card on our list might possibly put all other cards to shame. That’s because the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card has no foreign transaction fee (of course), but it’s got so much more to offer the avid traveler as well.
The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card has an excellent rewards program that is actually better than most competing offers
Earn 3x rewards points (two bonus points + one standard rewards point) for every dollar you spend on:
- Travel – This is a huge category, that covers tons of fringe benefits. For example, the travel category includes airline tickets, hotels, rental cars, cruises, travel agencies, travel sites, and campground purchases.
- Eating out – This category includes restaurants, bars, pubs, caterers, and even grocery store meals.
- Gas station purchases – This surprisingly includes things like transportation costs, so you can get bonus points when you pay for taxis, railways, ferries, highway tolls, parking lots, auto repair shops, and car washes.
- Streaming services – This includes Apple Music, Hulu, Netflix, Pandora, and Spotify Premium.
Every other purchase rewards you with one point per dollar.
There is no limit to the number of points you earn and no expiration, either.
By the way, the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card offers you 30,000 bonus points when you sign up and spend $3,000 in the first three months. That’s equivalent to $300 in cash!
You’ll also enjoy travel benefits like up to $150,000 travel accident insurance and roadside assistance. With no annual fee, an attractive 0% APR introductory offer on all purchases and balance transfers, and those sweet new buys you get while traveling abroad, along with excellent shopping benefits like price protection and extended warranty, the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card is a shoo-in for top no foreign transaction fee card.
Read our full Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card review here
Best Premium Travel: Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is an excellent travel card because it comes with so many travel-oriented benefits. To begin with, just for signing up, Capital One gives you 50,000 bonus miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases within three months from opening the account, that is equivalent to a $500 voucher, which can be used for travel expenses. What’s more, you don’t have to pay an annual fee for the first year. After that, the fee is $95, a very reasonable rate for such a lucrative card.
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.
- 10 miles for every dollar you spend on hotel bookings through Hotels.com/Venture.
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.
Additionally, you’ll get loads of travel benefits from this card including:
- Auto rental collision damage waivers
- Travel upgrades
- Shopping discounts
- Warranty extensions
Read our full Capital One® Venture® Credit Card review here
Best Sign Up Bonus Offer: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
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.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has a generous points system. You’ll earn:
- 2 points for every dollar spent on travel and dining. That includes hotels, airfare, taxis, buses, and dining out all over the world.
- 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.
You’ll earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months of opening the account.
While that’s the same amount of points you get from the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Card, you actually get 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 cash value of $625 when you book through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. That’s huge!
In addition, you will get important insurance coverage such as auto rental collision and baggage delay insurance.
Read our full Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card review here
Best For Travel Rewards: Discover it® Miles
Discover it® Miles is easily one of the most impressive cards on the market. While the earn rate is a little lower, the rest of the benefits certainly make up for it. For one thing, there is no annual fee for the Discover it® Miles, so it’s free to own no matter what you do with it. That automatically saves you a lot of money each year and offsets the slightly lower earn rate for the bonus program.
Discover it® Miles has bonus program where you can earn at a rate of 1.5 miles on for every dollar you spend. While that’s not as high as the 2 miles per dollar on travel and dining you’ll get from the Chase Sapphire Preferred® card, it is still a solid rewards offer. Plus, you don’t have to worry about categories. It’s 1.5x miles on every purchase no matter what.
This card also offers the best welcome bonus of all. Discover will automatically match your miles at the end of the first year. So, if you earned 10,000 miles, you’ll receive an additional 10,000 (for a total of 20,000) miles after the first year.
Another amazing thing about the Discover it® Miles is that you can use your bonus miles flexibly. There are no blackout dates on flights or hotel reservations, so you can fly and stay where and when you want without any restrictions.
The Discover it® Miles also offers an instant account freeze, something that’s invaluable if you are in a foreign country and can’t find your credit card. Even if you’re staying at home, the Discover it® Miles is a good deal, with 0 percent APR on new purchases for the first 14 months, then 13.74% – 24.74% Variable after that.
Read our full Discover it® Miles review here
Best Loyalty Bonus: Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard®
The Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard® has a higher than average annual fee, but the benefits pay for themselves, especially if you’re a frequent traveler. For one thing, the card gives you a recurring bonus at the end of each year. You can earn up to 25,000 bonus miles every year (depending on your spending habits) aside from the bonus miles you earn from each purchase. That’s a really big deal.
The Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard® offers a nice earn rate of two miles per dollar spent. This is regardless of category, and miles never expire.
Barclays Arrival® Plus World Elite Mastercard® also has a great redemption policy. You can trade in miles for:
- Credit on your statements
- Travel rewards
- Gift cards
- Cash back.
That gives you the flexibility to spend your bonus miles on whatever you want.
The Barclays Arrival® Plus World Elite Mastercard® also has other benefits you’ll enjoy like a $100 statement credit once every five years for Global Entry and VIP airport lounge entrance around the world. Let’s not forget the free FICO report, $0 fraud liability insurance, and international chip technology that ensures your card is accepted (and secure) all over the world.
Read our full Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard® review herebwzdcyfdaqcfvf
Terms and conditions
Best No Annual Fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
If you are looking for a good all-around card, the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card is a good choice. It’s the kind of card that keeps giving you bonuses, rewards, and kickbacks throughout the entire lifecycle, not just for the first year of signing up.
The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card has a strong rewards program. You’ll earn:
- 1.5x bonus points for every purchase, without exception.
- Another 10 percent back on every purchase when your card is linked to an active Bank of America account. You can even earn up to 75 percent more bonus points by joining the Preferred Rewards program. That’s a tremendous offer.
The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card does offer a nice welcome bonus as well. You’ll get 25,000 points when you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days. You can use bonus points for flights, baggage fees, vacation packages, and much more. Plus, you can enjoy 0% Introductory APR on purchases for the first 12 billing cycles after opening your account.
The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card also comes with no annual fee, so it’s always free to hold onto the card, and no foreign transaction fees, a huge savings. Additionally, you’ll be able to book your trip for any time, and at any hotel you’d like without exceptions.
Read our full Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card review here
Best For Cash Back: TRIO® Credit Card From Fifth Third Bank
Another no foreign transaction fee credit card for people with good credit, the TRIO® Credit Card From Fifth Third Bank is popular for its impressive rewards program. To kick things off, you’ll get 10,000 bonus points when you sign up and spend $1,000 on your card in the first 90 days.
Next, there are three ways to earn cash rewards whenever you spend like so:
- 3 percent cash back rewards whenever you use your card at restaurants
- 2 percent cash back rewards when you use your card to purchase groceries or drug store purchases
- 1 percent cash back rewards on all other purchases
The first two earn tiers are capped at $1,500 per quarter, but the final category earns you unlimited points whenever you spend.
The TRIO® Credit Card From Fifth Third Bank has other things going for it, too. There’s no annual fee and 0 percent APR on balance transfers for the first 12 months. You also get added shopping benefits from the TRIO like an extended warranty on purchases and digital wallet payments. Enjoy price protection and MastercardID theft protection, too.
Read our full TRIO® Credit Card from Fifth Third Bank review here
Best For Students: Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®
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).
To start with, the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® doesn’t charge an annual fee, a perk for those struggling with their finances. Also, it’s a no foreign transaction fee credit card, so you won’t have to pay that added fee either. After five consecutive months of on-time payments, the card will give you a higher credit limit.
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, plus you can up your earn rate to 1.25 percent cash back by paying your bill on time. That is very generous. 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.
Read our full Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® review here
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.
Frequently asked questions
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about 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?
No. All of the cards mentioned on this list waive the foreign transaction fee, passing the savings on to you.
What do I need in order to apply for a no foreign transaction fee credit card?
You’ll need some basic information like your social security number and annual income. Depending on the card, you will need a specific credit score. We organized the cards chart so you can see which cards work with higher and lower credit scores.
Will I be charged a foreign transaction fee if I buy clothing from Argos in GBP while shopping in the USA?
If you use one of these cards, you will not be charged a foreign transaction fee regardless of where you are shopping and which currency the item is being sold in.
Which is better, to convert my purchase into my home currency or leave it in the local currency?
It’s always better to leave the charge in the local currency. While this requires a little math on your part to figure out how much you are paying, it is an easy way to save on a bad exchange rate that the retailer might charge you while converting the 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!
Article Prepared by Ollala Corp