No Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Cards

Traveling is expensive enough. Save money with a credit card that has no foreign transaction fee. Whether you’re sampling local cuisine or shopping online abroad, these are the best cards that give you one less thing to worry about. And for even more travel perks, check out our list of the best travel credit cards from our partners.

Traveling is expensive enough. Save money with a credit card that has no foreign transaction fee. Whether you’re sampling local cuisine or shopping online abroad, these are the best cards that give you one less thing to worry about. And for even more travel perks, check out our list of the best travel credit cards from our partners.

By: Laura Mohammad

|

May 21, 2020

Summary

Best Credit Cards with No Foreign Transaction Fees

  • Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card: Best for no annual fee
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: Best for travel rewards
  • Discover it® Cash Back: Best for rotating bonus categories
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve®: Best for international travelers
  • The Platinum Card® from American Express: Best for lounge access
  • Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card: Best for cash back
  • Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card: Best for dining
  • Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card: Best for flat rate rewards
  • Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card: Best for sign-up bonus
  • Capital One Spark Cash for Business: Best for business travel

Excellent

Credit Recommended (740-850)

Apply Now

Rewards Rate

3X
3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit
3X
3X points on dining at restaurants
1X
1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases

At A Glance

Intro Bonus
50,000 points
Annual Fee
$550
Regular APR
16.99% - 23.99% variable
See Rates & Fees, Terms Apply

Good to Excellent

Credit Recommended (670-850)

Rewards Rate

5X
5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
5X
5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.

At A Glance

Intro Bonus
60,000 points
Annual Fee
$550
Regular APR
N/A
See Rates & Fees, Terms Apply

Good to Excellent

Credit Recommended (670-850)

Rewards Rate

3X
Earn 3X Membership Rewards® Points on Restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery.
3X
Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on all eligible travel, from subway swipes and window seats to hotel stays and city tours.

At A Glance

Intro Bonus
30,000 points
Annual Fee
$150
Regular APR
See Rates & Fees

Good to Excellent

Credit Recommended (670-850)

Apply Now

Rewards Rate

1.5X
Earn unlimited 1.5x Miles for every dollar spent on all purchases - with no annual fee.

At A Glance

Intro Bonus
Discover Match®
Annual Fee
$0
Regular APR
11.99% - 22.99% variable

No Credit History

Apply Now

Rewards Rate

2%
Earn 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter.
1%
Earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.

At A Glance

Intro Bonus
Cashback Match™
Annual Fee
$0
Regular APR
22.99% variable

Excellent

Credit Recommended (740-850)

Apply Now

Rewards Rate

2X
Earn 2 miles per $1 spent at restaurants and on hotel stays
2X
Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on purchases from United
1X
1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases

At A Glance

Intro Bonus
40,000 miles
Annual Fee
$95, waived first year
Regular APR
16.49% - 23.49% variable

Excellent

Credit Recommended (740-850)

Apply Now

Rewards Rate

3X
3 Avios per $1 spent on purchases with British Airways, Aer Lingus, Iberia, and Level.
2X
2 Avios per $1 spent on hotel accommodations.
1X
1 Avios per $1 spent on all other purchases.

At A Glance

Intro Bonus
Up to 100,000 Avios
Annual Fee
$95
Regular APR
15.99% - 22.99% variable
See Rates & Fees, Terms Apply

Good to Excellent

Credit Recommended (670-850)

Rewards Rate

4X
Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points on Restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery.
4X
Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3X
Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.

At A Glance

Intro Bonus
35,000 points
Annual Fee
$250
Regular APR
See Rates & Fees

Excellent

Credit Recommended (740-850)

Apply Now

Rewards Rate

2X
2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases
1X
1 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on other purchases

At A Glance

Intro Bonus
50,000 miles
Annual Fee
$450
Regular APR
15.99% - 24.99% (Variable)
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Editorial disclosure: All reviews are prepared by CreditCards.com staff. Opinions expressed therein are solely those of the reviewer and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, presented in the review is accurate as of the date of the review. Check the data at the top of this page and the bank's website for the most current information.

All information about Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business, Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card, Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card, Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card, Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card, Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card, Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card, Chase Sapphire Preferred®, Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Credit Card have been collected independently by CreditCards.com and has not been reviewed by the issuer.


Choosing the best credit card with no foreign transaction fee

Any time you make an electronic purchase in foreign currency, your financial institution may charge you a foreign transaction fee, usually 1% – 3% of the purchase price. Purchases on both credit cards and debit cards are subject to foreign transaction fees.

Foreign transaction fees are fast disappearing among 100 favorite credit cards that we surveyed late 2019. In fact, the number of cards with no foreign transaction fee hit 54 out of 100 in 2019, up from 48 in 2018, according to the CreditCards.com card fee survey. Some credit card issuers, like Capital One and Discover, waive foreign transaction fees on all cards.

Whether you’re a business owner with overseas vendors or you’re planning a vacation for later in the year, a card with no foreign transaction fees can help you avoid unnecessary charges. Many of the best business credit cards and best travel credit cards come with no foreign transaction fees. Here, we not only explain what you need to know about foreign transaction fees, but also how to plan for your overseas travel financial strategy, and pick the right card to accompany your travels. Take a look below:


best credit cards with no foreign transaction fee

Best no foreign transaction fee credit cards

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Why it’s the best no foreign transaction fee credit card for travel rewards

The best no foreign transaction fee credit card is hands down the Sapphire Preferred; it also happens to be the best for travel rewards. The 2X points back on worldwide travel and dining out are some of the best travel rewards out there. And because of the Sapphire Preferred’s unique position as a Chase Ultimate Rewards card, you can earn a 25% bonus when redeeming points for travel on the Ultimate Rewards portal.

Pros

With some of the best travel and shopping benefits on the market, there’s a little-known benefit of the Sapphire Preferred – you can get primary rental car waiver damage, which means this insurance is used even before your personal auto insurance.

Cons

As great as the Chase Ultimate Rewards program is, this card only gives boosted rewards for travel and dining, while other travel cards, such as the Venture Rewards, reward at a higher rate for other types of spending.

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card

Why it’s the best no foreign transaction fee credit card for no annual fee

Not only does the Propel feature excellent rewards that can be enjoyed both domestically and abroad, it offers no annual fee to boot.

Pros

The Propel’s 3X points per dollar spent on travel and dining is a surefire way to rack up rewards on your business trip or vacation. If you know you’ll be making a major international trip soon, you’ll want to take advantage of its 20,000-point sign-up bonus for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months – that is a $200 cash redemption value.

Cons

While there are boosted travel categories galore with this card, other categories such as Amazon.com and home improvement stores are slim.

Discover it® Cash Back

Why it’s the best no foreign transaction fee credit card for rotating bonus categories

The Discover it Cash Back is one of the few cards out there that offers 5% back on up to $1,500 in spend each quarter that you activate on rotating categories such as restaurants, wholesale clubs and even Amazon.com.

Pros

With Discover’s famous Cashback Match, this card’s rewards are tough to beat. After activating, you can earn up to $300 for the year if you use the 5% rotating categories to the maximum of $1,500 a quarter (then 1%), then another $300 back the end of your first year due to the Cashback Match.

Cons

Discover cards are accepted at fewer international locations than a credit card in the Visa or Mastercard network. If you have upcoming trips to a specific destination in mind, it’s a good idea to do some research on how commonly accepted Discover is in that region.

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Why it’s the best no foreign transaction fee credit card for international travelers

With 3X points on international travel after your $300 travel credit and 3X points on international dining, the Sapphire Reserve rewards mightily for these types of international spending, as well as domestically.

Pros

There are 2 features with this card that make it worthy of your attention – the $300 annual travel credit and the boosted rewards when you redeem your points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.

Cons

The annual fee can be a bit of a shocker. Also, the sign-up bonus (50,000 points) is actually lower than the Sapphire Preferred (60,000 points), even with the same parameters of a $4,000 spend within the first 3 months, although it’s true that the Reserve’s Ultimate Rewards boost is higher than that of the Preferred.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Why it’s the best no foreign transaction fee credit card for lounge access

It’s hard to find a better card than The Platinum Card for international travel when you are searching for lounge access. Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, which Amex says is the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.

Pros

This high-end card offers flexibility while traveling, with 5X points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel and on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com. The introductory bonus of 60,000 points after a $5,000 spend within the first 3 months is also worth a second look.

Cons

The Platinum Card from American Express’ annual fee is a pricey $550, enough to give any cardholder pause.

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Why it’s the best no foreign transaction fee credit card for cash back

The Quicksilver competes head-on with other flat-rate rewards cards: It gets 1.5% back on all purchases and has a sign-up bonus of $150 for spending $500 in the first 3 months.

Pros

Perfect for the cardholder with a large purchase to make, this card offers an intro APR of 0% intro on purchases for 15 months. It’s 15.49% - 25.49% (Variable) APR after that.

Cons

While we give the Quicksilver top marks for rewards flexibility and features, the rewards value is a paltry 1.9 out of 5 stars.

Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Why it’s the best no foreign transaction fee credit card for dining

The SavorOne is a great choice for travel abroad – its 3% cash back on dining and entertainment can really shine if you take it with you on vacation domestically or overseas. Also, Capital One now partners with OpenTable with its Premium Access program, which allows you to make fee-free reservations at select, elite restaurants throughout the U.S.

Pros

With its other features so prominent, you could almost miss the fact that the SavorOne comes with no foreign transaction fee, as well as no annual fee. Its intro APR of 0% intro on purchases for 15 months is also worth a look. It’s 15.49% - 25.49% (Variable) after that.

Cons

While the SavorOne competes nicely in ongoing rewards with other cash back cards, you might do better when compared to a travel card, such as the Venture Rewards, if you are comfortable with an annual fee.

Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

Why it’s the best no foreign transaction fee credit card for flat rewards rate

The VentureOne is a fine choice for the occasional traveler, in large part because of the 1.25X miles rate on all purchases. Add to that, it offers no annual fee, a rarity among travel cards.

Pros

Miles don’t expire for the life of the account and there’s no limit to how much you can earn with the VentureOne. You also get Visa Signature benefits, such as extended warranty and complimentary concierge service.

Cons

Although this card offers no annual fee, other no foreign transaction fee cards offer better rewards. For example, the sign-up bonus is better with the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card.

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Why it’s the best no foreign transaction fee credit card for sign-up bonus

The Venture Rewards’ sign-up bonus is straightforward and plentiful – earn 50,000 miles after spending $3,000 within the first 3 months of card membership.

Pros

Convenient features of the Venture Rewards include a credit up to $100 for Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check and the ability to transfer miles to a multitude of airline partners.

Cons

While the Venture Rewards’ ongoing rewards has its advantages over the Sapphire Preferred, the Chase card’s sign-up bonus is superior, as are its travel and dining options.

Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business

Why it’s the best no foreign transaction fee credit card for business travel

With unlimited 2% cash back on every purchase for your business, you can spend now on purchases you need to operate close to home, then redeem later for travel when travel restrictions free up. That’s in addition to the no foreign transaction fee.

Pros

Earn $500 after spending $4,500 within the first 3 months of card membership. This card’s annual fee of $95 is waived the first year.

Cons

The Spark Cash for Business has an unfortunately high regular APR of 20.99% variable when compared to other business cards and offers no 0% intro APR on purchases or balance transfers.

Compare the best no foreign transaction fee credit cards of July 2020:

Credit Card Best For: Annual Fee Creditcards.com’s Review Score
Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card No annual fee $0 3.5 /5
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card Travel rewards $95 3.9 / 5
Discover it® Cash Back Rotating bonus categories $0 4.3 / 5
Chase Sapphire Reserve® International travelers $550 4.6 / 5
The Platinum Card® from American Express Lounge access $550 4.5 / 5
Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card Cash back $0 3.4 / 5
Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card Dining $0 3.7 / 5
Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card Flat rate rewards $0 3 / 5
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card Sign-up bonus $95 4.2 / 5
Capital One® Spark Cash® for Business Business travel $0 intro for first year; $95 after that 4.1 / 5

Research methodology: How we chose the best no foreign transaction fee credit cards:

One factor we considered when choosing the best no foreign transaction fee credit cards was rewards type. There are a variety of people who can benefit from avoiding foreign transaction fees, from small business owners to travel enthusiasts. We chose credit cards with rewards spending categories to match, like business rewards and travel benefits. We also considered ease of rewards redemption, sign up bonus value, and several other factors listed below.

Number of no foreign transaction fee cards we analyzed: 938

Criteria used: Rates and fees, rewards rates, rewards categories, sign-up bonuses, point values, redemption options, redemption flexibility, credit needed, travel benefits, transfer partners, international customer service, security, ease of application.

What is a foreign transaction fee?

Foreign transaction fees are charges – usually around 3% of the total amount – that many credit card issuers and payment networks place on purchases made in a foreign currency or on purchases that involve a foreign bank.

A foreign transaction can be a purchase processed through a foreign bank (such as when you buy something from a non-U.S. retailer website), or when you travel overseas, including when you use an ATM. Note that there can actually be multiple fees at a foreign ATM, including a flat-rate international ATM surcharge as well as an ATM access fee.

Further reading: Learn more about foreign transaction fees and how to avoid them.

How much is the typical foreign transaction fee?

Often, the foreign transaction fees have two parts: one charged by the payment network, such as Visa and Mastercard, and one charged by the card issuer, which can be anything from a bank like Chase to a brand like Hilton.

Networks Visa and Mastercard typically charge a 1% fee for each foreign transaction. Issuers might tack on an additional 1% to 2%. American Express, which doesn’t use Visa or Mastercard’s payment system, often tacks a foreign transaction fee of 2.7% onto its cards.

Foreign transaction fees by card issuer

Below are the standard foreign transaction fees for top issuers. Some issuers, like Capital One and Discover, elect not to charge a foreign transaction fee on any of their credit cards. Of course, even different cards from the same brand can vary in their fees.

Card Issuer Foreign Transaction Fee
American Express 2.7%
Barclays 3%
Bank of America 3%
Capital One 0%
Chase 3%
Citi 3%
Discover 0%
HSBC 0%
USAA 0%
U.S. Bank 3%; 2% for U.S. dollar transactions
Wells Fargo 3%

Though most card issuers have a standard foreign transaction fee, many also offer cards that are exceptions to their fee:

American Express credit cards with no foreign transaction fees

Bank of America credit cards with no foreign transaction fees

All information about Bank of America Cards has been collected independently by CreditCards.com and has not been reviewed by the issuer. Bank of America Cards are no longer available through CreditCards.com

Capital One credit cards with no foreign transaction fees

Chase credit cards with no foreign transaction fees

Citi credit cards with no foreign transaction fees

Discover credit cards with no foreign transaction fees

Wells Fargo credit cards with no foreign transaction fees

Which credit cards are the most internationally accepted?

While Visa is number one in most parts of the world, Mastercard is usually second, according to The Nilson Report’s 2018 data, which was reported throughout 2019. The big exceptions to the Visa/Mastercard dominance are Asia, where UnionPay makes up about 80% of all card spending, and Canada, where Interac comes in second with 30% of the market there.

The general rule is to have two types of cards in your wallet, just in case your favorite card isn’t accepted. That means different issuers and different card networks.

“My biggest tip for spending overseas is to diversify; always carry both cash and credit,” says Lyn Alden, world traveler and founder of Lyn Alden Investment Strategy. “Credit cards are safer, more convenient and give better rewards, so I use them as my primary spending method. But when you’re outside of your country, it’s critical to have backups, and to have alternate ways to spend.”

Generally, you will find that major hotels, restaurants and other locations that tourists frequent are accustomed to accepting credit cards. It gets tricky when you go off the beaten path. That’s why it’s a good idea to have cash on hand if you plan to “experience like the locals.”

international market share by card network

Tips for spending internationally (before, during and after travel)

  • Know your card terms. If you can’t readily find information about foreign transaction fees, pick up the phone and call the number on the back of your card. It should also be displayed with your “rates and fees” clause. Note that terms of cards from the same issuer can vary. If you travel often, it may make sense to apply for a credit card that does not charge foreign transaction fees.
  • Research your overseas bank network. Check if your bank is part of a global ATM network that you can use to access cash overseas for free – or at least at a lower cost.
  • Always pay in the local currency. Sometimes, foreign merchants will offer to convert your purchase to U.S. dollars before you pay with your card. Decline so that you avoid dynamic currency conversion costs that you’ll have to shoulder. “So many places try to say ‘convenience,’ but the rate is not favorable to the traveler,” says travel blogger Suzanne Wolko of PhilaTravelGirl.com.
  • About those traveler’s checks. “Don’t bother; they are too much of a hassle,” says Wolko.
  • Call your bank. Make sure they are aware that you may use your ATM card in the country you will be traveling to, says Wolko.
  • Use only credit abroad. Some travel experts actually advise that you not use a debit card in a foreign country. That’s because you are protected when there is an unauthorized charge on your credit card, and you might be protected if a product isn’t delivered as promised. A debit card, with your PIN, can mean free money for the bad guys, if your bank doesn’t have protections in place for you. Check with your financial institution.
  • Try local apps. Wolko advises that you use apps tied to your credit card to avoid dealing with cash or credit cards, such as Uber, Lyft or MyTaxi.

How to choose the right credit card with no foreign transaction fee

  1. Does the card fit your lifestyle? OneSavvyDollar.com founder Ogechi Igbokwe says he knew that once he graduated from grad school, he planned to travel overseas, so a card with no foreign transaction fee made sense.
  2. Does it come with an annual fee? Says Igbokwe: “Golden rule when making a purchase: The cost of getting a thing must never outweigh the benefit.” So, make sure you will recoup on the annual fee or that the card has an advantage that makes the fee worthwhile.
  3. Is it widely accepted? “A no foreign transaction fee card is only good if it is accepted everywhere you go,” says Natasha Rachel Smith of TopCashback.com.
  4. Any rewards? Because there is such a wide range of cards offering no foreign transaction fee, you’ll want to look at rewards that are offered. However, “Prior to applying for any card, check the terms and conditions to make sure the card allows you to receive rewards on international purchases,” says Smith.
  5. What other features are there? Krista Canfield McNish, of travel website and blog FoodWaterShoes.com, has a card that covers up to $1,500 in trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance per trip for nonrefundable expenses due to personal or family injury, illness, or death if you booked your trip with your card, which she says is a handy bonus.
  6. Have you done your research? “Keep in mind that not every country is U.S. credit card-friendly (for example, European cards are more likely to work in countries like Cuba than U.S. credit cards), so it’s a good idea to do your homework before you take off,” says McNish.

More information on travel rewards

Once you narrow your choice down to a few products, you can find product-specific reviews for travel cards, hotel cards and airline cards. Use these reviews to help make your final application decisions!


Laura is an editor and writer at CreditCards.com. She has written extensively on all things credit cards and works to bring you the most up-to-date analysis and advice. Laura’s work has been cited in such publications as the New York Times and Associated Press. You can reach her by e-mail at laura.mohammad@creditcards.com and on Twitter @creditcards_lm.


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