Updated on Feb 6, 2020

Best No Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Cards

Choose a card with $0 foreign transaction fees to save on your next trip abroad.
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Credit cards with no foreign transaction fees allow you to spend abroad and shop from international retailers without having to worry about extra charges. The best credit cards with no foreign transaction fees can also provide nifty rewards, like cash back or travel perks. Here are our best picks for no foreign transaction credit cards for 2020.

Summary

The Best No Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Cards of 2020

The Best No Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Cards

Using a credit card with no foreign transaction fees can save you time and money. With online sales exploding, no foreign transaction fee credit cards are ideal to use when shopping from international retailers.

According to a November 2019 report from U.S. Census Bureau News, ecommerce sales have been steadily rising since 2010, with the total for the third quarter of 2019 alone reaching $154.5 billion. Online shopping can result in foreign transaction fees when you’re buying from international retailers or retailers that route payments through foreign banks.

If you travel often or are planning to live abroad for a certain amount of time, consider these no foreign transaction fee credit cards to save money and be rewarded.

Apply Now on Capital One's secure website

Best for flat-rate cash back

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Rewards summary Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
Foreign transaction fees None

Current Offer $150 cash bonus
Annual Fee $0
Highlights Provided by Capital One Show Highlights
  • One-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus, cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months; 15.49%-25.49% variable APR after that
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months; 15.49%-25.49% variable APR after that; 3% fee on the amounts transferred within the first 15 months
  • Pay no annual fee or foreign transaction fees
  • Issuer: Capital One
  • Rewards Details: 1.5 % Cash Back on every purchase, every day. $150 Cash Back after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Balance Transfer Fee: 3%
  • Cash Advance APR: 25.49% (Variable)
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: None
  • Introductory APR: 0% intro on purchases
  • Introductory APR Period: For 15 Months
  • Introductory Balance Transfer APR: 0% intro on balance transfers
  • Introductory Balance Transfer Period: For 15 Months
  • Ongoing APR: 15.49% - 25.49% (Variable)
  • Penalty APR: None

Our two cents

Who should get it

The Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card cash back card is an ideal option for credit card users with good to excellent credit looking for flat-rate rewards on everyday purchases like gas, dining and other living expenses.

How to use it
The Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card offers an uncapped 1.5% cash-back reward on all purchases. There’s no limit to what you can earn and no quarterly spending category bonuses to monitor — a real benefit to the less detail-oriented among us.
Consider this

  • Other cards have longer 0% APR intro periods
  • No rotating rewards
  • Requires good to excellent credit

Why you'll love it

The Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card has set the bar for standardized cash back rewards on all purchases at a rate of 1.5%. Cardholders can earn on an unlimited amount, and there are no revolving spending categories or extra steps needed to redeem rewards.

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Pro tip: With the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card, you can gain access to a higher credit line after you pay your first five bills on time. You’ll also have unlimited access to your credit score.

Best for rotating bonus categories

Discover it® Cash Back

Rewards summary 5% cash back at different places each quarter; 1% on all other purchases.
Foreign transaction fees None

Current Offer First-year Cashback Match™
Annual Fee $0
Highlights Provided by Discover Show Highlights
Card Highlights Provided by Discover:
  • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.
  • Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, select rideshares and online shopping, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate.
  • Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • Redeem cash back any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • Use your rewards at Amazon.com checkout.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
  • No annual fee.
  • Issuer: Discover
  • Rewards Details: 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, select rideshares and online shopping, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Balance Transfer Fee: 3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)*
  • Cash Advance APR: 26.49% Variable
  • Introductory APR: 0%
  • Introductory APR Period: 14 months
  • Introductory Balance Transfer APR: 0%
  • Introductory Balance Transfer Period: 14 months
  • Ongoing APR: 13.49% - 24.49% Variable

Our two cents

Who should get it

If you’re looking for a no foreign transaction fee card with cash back match, the Discover it® Cash Back card is a good choice.

How to use it
With the Discover it® Cash Back, you can earn up to 5% cash back each quarter at various places including grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, select rideshares and online shopping, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
Consider this

  • You’ll have to remember to activate the cash back every quarter.
  • If you travel often, you might get more cash value in travel rewards with a different card.
  • This card has no travel-specific perks, like hotel deals or airport lounge access, which some other travel cards do.

Why you'll love it

The Discover it® Cash Back card is not strictly a travel rewards card but, if you love to travel, then there’s plenty to love about this card. This card makes it easier to save up for your next trip with its signature cash back feature, where all your cash back is matched at the end of your first year.

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Learn More on creditcards.com's secure website

Best for travel and dining

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Rewards summary 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
Foreign transaction fees Not Applicable

Current Offer 60,000 bonus points
Annual Fee $95
  • Spend $4,000 on purchases in your first three months to earn 60,000 bonus points. That’s $750 in travel!
  • Get 25% more in redemption value when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards. You can redeem for airfare, hotels, cruises and car rentals.
  • Transfer points to other travel rewards programs for a 1:1 value.
  • Refer friends and receive 15,000 bonus points for each friend who gets approved, up to 75,000 bonus points.
  • Issuer: Chase
  • Annual Fee: $95
  • Balance Transfer Fee: Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • Cash Advance APR: 26.49% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: $0
  • Introductory APR: N/A
  • Introductory APR Period: N/A
  • Introductory Balance Transfer APR: N/A
  • Introductory Balance Transfer Period: N/A
  • Ongoing APR: 17.49% - 24.49% Variable
  • Penalty APR: None

Our two cents

Who should get it

If you are a frequent traveler and dine out often, you can earn 2x points on travel and dining with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, plus 1x point per dollar spent on all other purchases. Get 25% more value when you redeem points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal for travel purchases. The annual fee of $95 can quickly be recovered when you use the card for travel rewards.

How to use it
The best way to optimize the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is to use it primarily for travel and dining out. Earned points can be used to book travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. If you’re in a specific frequent flyer or hotel program, you can transfer earned points at a 1:1 ratio, as long as it’s one of Chase’s travel partners.
Consider this

  • No intro APR on purchases
  • Annual fee: $95
  • No premium travel perks

Why you'll love it

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has an attractive bonus offer of 60,000 bonus points after cardholders spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months after the account has opened. That’s equivalent to around $750 for travel expenses when the points are redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

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Pro tip: Use the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card for all travel bookings to ensure you get the trip protection features.

Apply Now on Capital One's secure website

Best for frequent flyers

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Rewards summary 2X miles on every purchase, every day
Foreign transaction fees $0

Current Offer 50,000 miles
Annual Fee $0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Highlights Provided by Capital One Show Highlights
  • 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.
  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime; no blackout dates. Plus transfer your miles to over 12 leading travel loyalty programs
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Named ‘The Best Travel Card' by CNBC, 2018
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that
  • Issuer: Capital One
  • Rewards Details: 2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day. 50000 Miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.
  • Annual Fee: $0 intro for first year; $95 after that
  • Balance Transfer Fee: $0
  • Cash Advance APR: 24.49% (Variable)
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: None
  • Introductory APR: N/A
  • Introductory APR Period: N/A
  • Introductory Balance Transfer APR: N/A
  • Introductory Balance Transfer Period: N/A
  • Ongoing APR: 17.24% - 24.49% (Variable)
  • Penalty APR: None

Our two cents

Who should get it

It’s easy to rack up the miles when you add authorized users to the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card. Get unlimited 2x miles for every dollar on all transactions with your card. If you love to travel, the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card will help you save big when you book trips.

How to use it
There are two big perks with the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card – 50,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 in your first three months and 2x miles per dollar on every purchase.
Consider this

  • You’ll need excellent credit to qualify for this card.
  • The $0 intro for first year; $95 after that annual fee might be tough for some to offset.
  • If you’re unsure about how much you’ll travel, a cash back rewards card puts more cash directly in your pocket to spend on what you want.

Why you'll love it

The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card gives you the opportunity to earn great rewards and rack up an unlimited amount of miles that you can use to travel more frequently. An added bonus is that the rewards next expire.

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Pro tip: You can transfer your miles to any of Capital One’s travel partners or use Venture miles on flights, hotels and more. Capital One offers extra bonus miles when you book certain promotional travel or hotel reservations.

Best for no annual fee

Discover it® Miles

Rewards summary 1.5X Miles on every purchase
Foreign transaction fees None

Current Offer First-year mile-for-mile match
Annual Fee $0
Featured perk Redeem miles as a travel statement credit for airline tickets, hotel rooms, online travel sites, and more.
Highlights Provided by Discover Show Highlights
Card Highlights Provided by Discover:
  • UNLIMITED BONUS: Discover will match ALL the Miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically. For example, if you earn 35,000 Miles, you get 70,000 Miles. That’s $700 towards travel! The more you earn, the more you get.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5x Miles for every dollar spent on all purchases - with no annual fee.
  • No Blackout Dates. Simply pay for travel purchases like airlines, hotels, rental cars, and more with your Discover it® Miles card.
  • Miles Pay You Back. Easily redeem Miles as a statement credit for travel purchases. Or get cash.
  • Freeze your account in seconds with an on/off switch either on the mobile app or website to prevent new purchases, cash advances, and balance transfers.
  • Get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
  • Issuer: Discover
  • Rewards Details: 1.5 Miles per dollar on all purchases. .
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Balance Transfer Fee: 3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)*
  • Cash Advance APR: 26.49% Variable
  • Introductory APR: 0%
  • Introductory APR Period: 14 months
  • Introductory Balance Transfer APR: 10.99%
  • Introductory Balance Transfer Period: 14 months
  • Ongoing APR: 13.49% - 24.49% Variable

Our two cents

Who should get it

If you want a straightforward travel card with no annual fee and a 0% intro purchase APR period for 14 months (then ongoing 13.49% - 24.49% Variable APR), the Discover it® Miles card should be your top pick.

How to use it
Everybody’s got a dream vacation, and with the Discover it® Miles card, you can actually make it happen. Discover will automatically match all miles earned at the end of your first year, seriously reducing transportation costs. Earn unlimited 1.5x miles for every dollar spent for all transactions. You can redeem miles as a statement credit for travel or get cash for your miles, which is a good option for times when you’re not traveling as often.
Consider this

  • There’s no annual fee.
  • If you want a card that has a higher cash back rewards structure, there are better options out there.
  • Other travel cards may offer perks like hotel upgrades, accident insurance and rental vehicle waivers. This card doesn’t.

Why you'll love it

If you love the ease and flexibility, then the Discover it® Miles might just be the perfect travel companion. You’ll be able to fly by the seat of your pants and pay as you go without sacrificing your independence.

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Pro tip: To maximize the miles match, you’ll want to use the Discover it® Miles card for as many purchases as possible in your first year having it.

Partner Offer Apply Now on American Express's secure website

Best for premium travel perks

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Rewards summary 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights
Foreign transaction fees None (See Rates & Fees)

Current Offer 60,000 Membership Rewards® points
Annual Fee $550 (See Rates & Fees)
Highlights Provided by American Express Show Highlights
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
  • Issuer: American Express
  • Annual Fee: $550 (See Rates & Fees)
  • Balance Transfer Fee: N/A*
  • Cash Advance APR: 26.74% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: None
  • Introductory APR: See Rates & Fees
  • Introductory Balance Transfer APR: N/A*
  • Ongoing APR: N/A
  • Penalty APR: N/A

Our two cents

Who should get it

Frequent travelers who want luxurious perks might like the The Platinum Card® from American Express. There are plenty of rewards points options, like 5x points on flights booked directly with airlines or with amextravel.com, 5x points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com and 1x points for each dollar of eligible purchases.

How to use it
The Platinum Card® from American Express cardholders also get a $100 hotel credit on qualifying charges. Additionally, cardholders receive a $200 airline fee credit per calendar year for incidental fees, as well as $15 in Uber Cash for U.S. rides every month, plus a bonus $20 in December. Cardholders earn 60,000 Membership Rewards Points after using the card to make $5,000 in purchases in the first three months.
Consider this

  • $550 (See Rates & Fees) annual fee
  • The 26.74% Variable APR for cash advances is higher than other travel cards.
  • This card is a charge card, not a credit card, which means you’ll need to pay off the charges in full each billing period to avoid the cash advance interest fees.

Why you'll love it

The Platinum Card® from American Express is a travel rewards card aimed at those who take multiple trips each year, use Uber for transportation while traveling and prefer airport lounges over hanging out with the general population while waiting for their flight. Not only do you get 5x the points when you use the card for most travel costs, but you’ll also get up to a $200 annual airline fee credit per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.

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Pro tip: Book at Hilton and Marriott hotels if you have the The Platinum Card® from American Express to get cardholder advantages, including room upgrades, access to the spa, food and beverage credits.

Learn More on creditcards.com's secure website

Best for international travelers

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Rewards summary 3X points on travel
Foreign transaction fees Not Applicable

Current Offer 50,000 bonus points
Annual Fee $550
  • Spend $4,000 on purchases in your first three months to earn 50,000 bonus points. That’s $750 in travel!
  • Annual travel credit of $300 given as statement credit.
  • Get 50% more in redemption value when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards. You can redeem for airfare, hotels, cruises and car rentals.
  • Earn 3x points on travel after earning your $300 travel credit. Earn 3X on dining and 1x points on all other purchases.
  • Issuer: Chase
  • Annual Fee: $550
  • Balance Transfer Fee: Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each balance transfer, whichever is greater
  • Cash Advance APR: 26.49% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: $0
  • Introductory APR: N/A
  • Introductory APR Period: N/A
  • Introductory Balance Transfer APR: N/A
  • Introductory Balance Transfer Period: N/A
  • Ongoing APR: 18.49% - 25.49% Variable
  • Penalty APR: None

Our two cents

Who should get it

Planning on traveling a lot this year? Transform frequent flights into rewards with the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. For those who love to travel or are required to do so for work, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card has benefits that could far outweigh the $550 annual fee.

How to use it
Not only does the Chase Sapphire Reserve® offer a huge sign up bonus, but you earn 3x points per dollar spent on travel (immediately after earning your $300 travel credit) and dining and 1x point per dollar on all other purchases. With the ability to rack up points at a fast pace, you have the potential to earn considerably more free travel and hotel stays. If you have other Chase cards in your wallet, your earnings opportunities increase substantially.
Consider this

  • High annual fee: $550
  • Above-average APR
  • No intro APR on purchases

Why you'll love it

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® should be a strong contender for those who travel, dine out and use credit cards frequently. The travel rewards program is one of the best available today. You’ll get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. If you use the sign-up bonus on travel with Chase, it’s worth $750.

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Pro tip: With the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card, you’ll have access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide after enrolling in Priority Pass Select and up to $100 application credit to get Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.

Learn More on creditcards.com's secure website

Best for sign up bonus

Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card

Rewards summary 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent
Foreign transaction fees Not Applicable

Current Offer 80,000 bonus points
Annual Fee $95
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year
  • Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases - with no limit to the amount you can earn
  • Issuer: Chase
  • Annual Fee: $95
  • Balance Transfer Fee: Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • Cash Advance APR: 26.49% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: $0
  • Introductory APR: N/A
  • Introductory APR Period: N/A
  • Introductory Balance Transfer APR: N/A
  • Introductory Balance Transfer Period: N/A
  • Ongoing APR: 17.49% - 22.49% Variable
  • Penalty APR: None

Our two cents

Who should get it

Business owners with lots of travel needs may love the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card. The card rewards cardholders with 3x points per $1 on select business categories each account anniversary year. The 3x points are eligible on every $1 on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases in these categories.

How to use it
You may be wondering what else the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card has to offer. The card features a triple bonus rate on specific purchase categories with a very high combined purchase limit of $150,000 annually.
Consider this

  • Business expenses may not match bonus categories
  • No intro APR on purchases
  • Annual fee of $95

Why you'll love it

The Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card offers one of the highest sign up bonuses, compared to other Chase credit cards. The card’s combination of benefits make it a fine option for small business owners looking to maximize potential earnings and unlock valuable rewards through the Ultimate Rewards program.

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Pro tip: If you do plan on having some business travel, you could use the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card exclusively for travel purchases. You may benefit from combining this card with other types of business rewards cards to maximize your earnings.

Compare the best rewards credit cards

Credit Card Travel Rewards Rate Annual Fee Welcome Bonus
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card — Best for general travel and dining Earn 2x points on travel and dining. $95 Get 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from the account opening
Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card — Best for sign up bonus Earn 3x points on travel and other select business categories. $95 Get 80,000 bonus points after spending $5,000 in transactions in the first three months from the account opening.
The Platinum Card® from American Express — Best for premium travel perks Earn 5x points on flights booked directly with airlines or with amextravel.com. Earn 5x points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com. Terms Apply. $550 (See Rates & Fees) Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards Points after spending $5,000 in transactions in the first three months from the account opening. Terms Apply.
Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card — Best for flat-rate cash back Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase. $0 Earn a one-time $150 cash bonus when you spend $500 on purchases within three months from the account opening.
Chase Sapphire Reserve® — Best for international travelers Earn 3x points on travel and dining. $550 Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from the account opening.
Discover it® Miles — Best for no annual fee Earn 1.5 miles for every dollar spent on all purchases. $0 Get all miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year matched automatically.
Discover it® Cash Back — Best for rotating bonus categories Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, select rideshares and online shopping, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically. $0 Get all cash back earned at the end of your first year matched automatically.
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card — Best for frequent flyers Earn unlimited 2x miles per dollar on every purchase. $0 intro for first year; $95 after that Earn 50,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three months from the account opening.

FAQs

If you’re considering a credit card with no foreign transaction fee, you’ll want to analyze your whole financial picture. Depending on how often you travel abroad, you’ll want to compare cards to make sure you’re getting the most value. Here are some frequently asked questions about no foreign transaction fee cards to consider.

What is a foreign transaction fee?

A foreign transaction fee is a fee charged by a credit card issuer when a purchase is made in a foreign country or the purchase is routed through a foreign bank. Foreign transaction fees are usually a percentage of each purchase. A foreign transaction fee typically costs around 3% per purchase, but some can be set as low as 1%, depending on the card issuer.

Which credit cards are the best for international travel?

The best card for international travel will depend on how often you fly abroad and the rewards you want. You’ll want to compare how much international travel you plan to do and how many miles you’ll be booking to what rewards you can score. If you’re only taking one international trip a year, for example, you may want to consider a different card.

When choosing a credit card with no foreign transaction fee, you’ll want to consider the annual fee, APR rate, bonus offer and rewards. Your choice will be influenced by your lifestyle. If you want a card with no foreign transaction fees because your favorite online retailers are outside the U.S., a cash back card may provide you with better rewards. But if you’re a business owner, a business credit card with no foreign transaction fee may benefit you greatly.

Is a credit card with no foreign transaction fee worth it?

A credit card with no foreign transaction fee is worth it, especially if you plan on living or traveling abroad for an extended period of time. Using a credit card for travel can save you in foreign currency conversion fees, too. When you need to change your cash for a new currency, you’ll most likely be charged a fee. Using a credit card with no foreign transaction fee for purchases can help you avoid unnecessary costs.

Is it better to use cash or a credit card abroad?

It makes sense to use your card instead of cash in cases where credit cards are accepted. The first reason is that you’ll avoid currency conversion fees. Secondly, your purchases can earn you rewards like cash back or miles.

Carrying cash in a foreign country can also be risky as you could lose it or have it stolen. If you lose your credit card, you can immediately call the issuer to freeze or cancel the card.

In terms of card issuers that are accepted abroad, Visa and Mastercard are the most widely accepted card networks on a global scale, according to an October 2019 report by Nilson. You can get Visa and Mastercard credit cards from Capital One and Visa cards from Chase.

Fewer international merchants will accept Discover and American Express, though these types of cards are increasing in merchant acceptance around the world. You may want to carry a backup Visa or Mastercard credit card when traveling as a precaution.

Do travel credit cards have foreign transaction fees?

Most travel credit cards don’t have foreign transaction fees because they’re designed for globe trotters. However, always read up on your card’s rates and fees. A credit card you assume is a “travel credit card” may actually have a foreign transaction fee that could charge you every time you make a purchase outside the U.S.

Foreign transaction fees by card issuer

Here’s a breakdown of foreign transaction fees by the card issuer:

  • Capital One: Capital One U.S.-issued credit cards don’t have international transaction fees.
  • Chase: Chase charges a 3% foreign transaction fee on purchases on certain credit cards.
  • Discover: Discover U.S.-issued credit cards don’t have international transaction fees.
  • American Express: American Express charges a 2.7% foreign transaction fee on some personal and small business cards and a 2.5% foreign transaction fee for some corporate cards.
For rates and fees of the The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here

Editorial Note: Compensation does not influence our recommendations. However, we may earn a commission on sales from the companies featured in this post. To view a list of partners, click here. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by our advertisers. Reasonable efforts are made to present accurate info, however all information is presented without warranty. Consult our advertiser's page for terms & conditions.