Best International Credit Cards With No Foreign Transaction Fee

Whether you're buying postcards or pastries, using an international credit card with no foreign transaction fee can get you the best exchange rate

If you plan on traveling overseas for any reason, you’ll want to make sure you have at least one international credit card that doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee. Since most traditional credit cards charge a fee equal to 1%-3% of every purchase you make in a foreign country, you can save money and expand your travel budget by packing any one of these cards on your trip.

Many of the cards mentioned are on our list of the best travel cards.

The Simple Dollar’s Top International Credit Cards for 2017

Here are our picks for the top no foreign transaction fee credit cards this year:

Best All-Around International Credit Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Apply Now on Chase.com's secure website

Card Highlights

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is listed as our best travel card year after year for several reasons. First, the card belongs to one of the most versatile rewards programs out there – the Chase Ultimate Rewards program. That means that, with this card, you’ll earn Ultimate Rewards points for each purchase, and those points can be redeemed in a number of ways.

For starters, if you don’t like to spend your rewards on travel, you can easily redeem your Ultimate Rewards points for gift cards, cash back, or merchandise. Meanwhile, if you love to travel, you’re in luck. With the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, the points you earn can be transferred to a number of hotel loyalty and frequent flyer programs – or used to book travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal at a 20% discount.

Earning points with this card is easy too. At the moment, you’ll earn 2 points per dollar spent on travel and dining, plus 1 point per dollar spent on everything else. The sign-up bonus this card offers is simply icing on the cake.

Best No Annual Fee International Credit Card

Discover it® Miles – Unlimited 1.5x Rewards Card

Apply Now Learn more about this card

Card Highlights

Our favorite credit card with no annual fee is the Discover it® Miles card. In addition to offering 1.5 miles per dollar spent, this card offers an additional 1.5 miles per dollar spent after 12 months of card ownership for new card members. That means you’ll net a full 3 miles per dollar spent when all is said and done, which is one reason this card made it onto our list of best travel cards.

While points are easy to earn, they are also easy to redeem. Once you begin accruing miles, you can opt to redeem them as a statement credit or for any travel purchases you happen to make with the card. This type of flexibility is incredibly useful if you’re not sure how you want to spend your rewards and don’t want to be tied down later.

Please note: Acceptance varies from country to country.

Runner-Up: Best All-Around International Credit Card

Capital One® Venture℠ Rewards Credit Card

Apply Now on CapitalOne.com's secure website

Card Highlights

If you’re looking for a card with no foreign transaction fees from Capital One, look no further than the Capital One® Venture℠ Rewards Credit Card. This card offers a big “bank for your buck” when it comes to its rewards program, in addition to points that are extremely easy to earn and use.

Here’s how it works: You earn unlimited 2 miles per dollar spent on all purchases. Once you earn them, you can then redeem them for any type of travel – with any hotel or airline – and with no blackout dates or capacity controls. The fact that this card comes with no foreign transaction fees also makes it a great option for travel abroad.

Runner-up: Best No Annual Fee International Credit Card

BankAmericard Travel Rewards® Credit Card

Apply Now Learn more about this card

Card Highlights

The BankAmericard Travel Rewards® Credit Card is another solid option among cards that don’t charge foreign transaction fees. This card charges no annual fee as well, which is yet another perk.

The rewards program is easy to understand and decipher. With the BankAmericard Travel Rewards® Credit Card, you earn 1.5 points per dollar spent on all purchases no matter what category they fall in. You’re then able to redeem points for a statement credit to pay for flights, hotels, vacation packages, cruises, rental cars, or baggage fees. All of those options can help you save on the total cost of your trip – no matter where you go.

Honorable Mention: Best No Annual Fee International Credit Card

Discover it® Cashback Match™

Apply Now Learn more about this card

Card Highlights

Please note: Acceptance varies from country to country.

Best Hotel Card With No Foreign Transaction Fee

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

Apply Now on AmericanExpress.com's secure website

Card Highlights

The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express recently joined the list of cards that don’t charge foreign transaction fees. Even better, this card offers a ton of redemption options within the Starwood Preferred Guest loyalty program.

Free hotel nights start at just 2,000 points per night for Category 1 properties, but climb to 35,000 points for premier resorts. However, you can stretch your points further with Starwood’s 5th night free promotion for Category 3-7 properties. Meanwhile, a healthy sign-up bonus can put you on the path toward free hotel stays and plenty of perks rather quickly.

Runner-up: Best Hotel Card With No Foreign Transaction Fee

Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card

The Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card is another hotel credit card that makes it easy to earn points and redeem them for free hotel stays – and all without foreign transaction fees. In addition to earning 2 points per dollar spent at rental car agencies, airlines, and restaurants and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases, you also get a free night at a Category 1-5 property just for signing up.

Marriott points can be redeemed at properties all around the world – from Caribbean resorts to Europe, the Middle East, and Australia. Another perk that makes the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card is chip-and-pin technology, which is widely used (or even required) overseas.

Best Airline Credit Card With No Foreign Transaction Fee

British Airways Visa Signature® Card

There’s a reason Time Magazine rated the British Airways frequent flyer program the best program of all time. With the British Airways Visa Signature® Card, you’ll earn 1 Avios point for all purchases, plus 3 Avios for all purchases made directly with the airline.

However, what sets apart this program is its distance-based reward chart. For flights shorter than 600 miles, you’ll only have to pay 4,500 Avios plus government-mandated taxes and fees. The fact that you can also use these miles on partner airlines such as American make them extremely valuable to those who travel a lot within the United States as well as abroad.

The fact that this card doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees also makes it a good option for overseas travel. Meanwhile, smart chip technology makes it especially useful in places like Europe where credit cards without this technology may not be accepted.

Runner-up: Best Airline Credit Card With No Foreign Transaction Fee

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

Apply Now on Chase.com's secure website

Card Highlights

Another card getting rave reviews for domestic travel in the United States as well as throughout the Caribbean is the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card. With this international credit card, you’ll enjoy no foreign transaction fees and earn points you can redeem for travel, merchandise, rental cars, or hotel stays.

Rapid Rewards points are probably best redeemed for airfare, however. Since the Rapid Rewards programs comes without black-out dates or capacity controls, the points you earn are incredibly easy to redeem – even for large families. And if you earn 110,000 Rapid Rewards points in one calendar year, you can earn the Southwest Companion Pass – a perk that allows your “companion” to travel for free, whether you pay with cash or points.

Directory of All Card Issuers and their Foreign Transaction Fees

If you’re interested in learning more about cards that don’t charge any type of foreign transaction fee, this directory can help. Listed below are all of the top credit card issuers, the respective foreign transaction fees they charge, and the cards they offer that don’t charge this fee. As you’ll probably notice, Discover and Capital One don’t charge foreign transaction fees on any of their cards.

Card Issuer Standard Foreign Transaction Fee Exceptions
American Express 2.7% Platinum, Centurion, and Delta cards
Bank of America 3% BankAmericard Travel Rewards card; several American Express cards offered through Bank of America (Accolades American Express, Accelerated Rewards and Cash Rewards American Express cards, Virgin Atlantic American Express, and Asiana Airlines American Express) also charge only a 1% fee
Capital One None None (all Capital One cards have no foreign transaction fee)
Chase 3% Chase Priority Club Select Visa, Ink Bold, Ink Plus, Chase Sapphire Preferred, J.P. Morgan Select, J.P. Morgan Palladium, Marriott Rewards Premier, British Airways Visa Signature, Fairmont Visa Signature, Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier, United Mileage Plus Club, United Mileage Plus Explorer, and Hyatt credit cards
Citi 3% Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve, Citi Prestige, Citi ThankYou Premier, and Citi Executive AAdvantage card
Discover None None (all Discover cards have no foreign transaction fee)
Wells Fargo 3% Wells Fargo Propel 365 and Propel World American Express cards

Best International Credit Cards: Summed Up

International Credit Cards With No Foreign Transaction Fee Best For…
1 Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

All-Around Use
2 Capital One® Venture℠ Rewards Credit Card All-Around Use
3 Discover it® Miles – Unlimited 1.5x Rewards Card No Annual Fee
4 BankAmericard Travel Rewards® Credit Card No Annual Fee
5 Discover it® Cashback Match™ No Annual Fee
6 Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express Hotel Card With No Foreign Transaction Fee
7 Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card Hotel Card With No Foreign Transaction Fee
8 British Airways Visa Signature® Card Airline Card With No Foreign Transaction Fee
9 Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card Airline Card With No Foreign Transaction Fee

Tips for Using International Credit Cards

Once you decide which international credit card might work best for your situation, it’s time to put that card to good use. Here are some tips that can help you make the most out of your travel rewards card when you use it abroad- or at home:

Always call your card issuer before you travel overseas. When you plan to use your international credit card outside of your home country, state, or province, it’s important to call the number on the back of your card and let your card issuer know. This is especially crucial if you plan to travel internationally. The last thing in the world you want is to be stranded in your destination without a reliable credit card.

Bring several payment options with you. Even when you inform your card issuer of your travel plans, there are times when you won’t be able to use your card. Perhaps your international purchase set off a fraud alert – or maybe your card quit working. Whatever the reason, it is crucial to have other payment options with you. In addition to having other credit cards from different card issuers, you’ll want to bring some cash and an ATM card.

Buy everything in the local currency. When you’re making purchases abroad, foreign merchants will sometimes offer to push the transaction through in U.S. dollars, whether for your convenience — or to take advantage of your naivete. This is often a bad deal, as the rate may be rounded up to something easy to calculate at the register. Fortunately, credit card transactions are typically processed at a very competitive exchange rate. So as long as your international credit card doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, you can make your purchase in the local currency at the marked price without worry.

Consider cards with chip-and-pin technology. While you still just swipe your credit card at most checkouts in the U.S., most new credit cards now offer the more secure chip-and-pin technology that is more common overseas. These cards offer increased protections and security measures that can decrease the chance of fraud for users.

No matter where you’re going, any of these cards with no foreign transaction fees can make travel easier and less expensive. That’s why it’s important to sign up for a new card now, before you go. Once you do, you can relax and know that at least that part of your trip is taken care of.

Simple Share Buttons
Simple Share Buttons