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Best no foreign transaction fee credit cards
Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card: Best for cash back
The Quicksilver is an easy-to-understand rewards card: It gets unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases and has a sign-up bonus of $200 for spending $500 in the first 3 months. As an added welcome, this flat-rate card offers a 0% intro APR offer on purchases for 15 months (15.49% – 25.49% variable rate thereafter) – a perfect window to purchase a trip to be paid off in increments. In addition, this card features no annual fee. While its flexible, simple rewards and achievable intro offer make this an easy-to-use card, there are more valuable rewards out there for experienced cardholders. Read our full review.
Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card: Best for travel rewards
A rewards rate of 1.5 points per dollar spent makes it easy to stack up travel rewards, even if you’re not already a frequent traveler. The Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card makes travel rewards even more accessible by allowing you to redeem your points as a statement credit for any travel purchase made on the card within the last 12 months. If you’re already a Preferred Rewards member, you may be able to boost your rewards by 25%-75%, depending on your account balance. Read the full review.
Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card: Best for flat rewards rate
The VentureOne offers travelers a 1.25X miles rate on all purchases, plus no annual fee. Miles don’t expire for the life of the account and there’s no limit to how much you can earn with this card. To welcome new cardholders, Capital One awards 20,000 miles after spending $500 in the first 3 months (a $200 value). You also get Visa Signature benefits, such as warranty manager service and travel and emergency assistance. On top of the travel benefits, the card comes with an intro 0% APR offer on purchases for 12 months, followed by a regular APR of 15.49%-25.49% (variable). Read our full review.
Citi Premier® Card: Best for hotel rewards
You’ll not only earn 3X points per dollar spent at hotels, but this flexible rewards card offers the same at restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations and air travel. Also, once a year, get $100 off a single hotel stay of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, when you book through thankyou.com or 1-800-THANKYOU. The annual fee is quite low, at $95, for the rewards you get, which include a sign-up bonus of 60,000 points after a $4,000 spend within the first 3 months. Read our full review.
American Express® Gold Card: Best for no blackout dates
Not only does the American Express Gold Card offer no blackout dates, it provides cardholders with bountiful rewards and hard-to-miss bonus categories. Earn a welcome offer of 60,000 points after you spend $4,000 within the first 6 months of card membership. Also, earn 4X points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year, then 1X point). Finally, earn 4X points at restaurants, including takeout and delivery, 4X points on Uber Eats purchases, as well as 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com. This card also offers no foreign transaction fees (see rates and fees). While the annual fee of $250 may make you hesitate, these rewards are bodacious. Read our full review.
Discover it® Cash Back: Best for rotating bonus categories
One of a select few offering its level of rewards, the Discover it Cash Back offers 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in spend each quarter on rotating categories such as restaurants, wholesale clubs and even online retailers (activation required). After hitting the $1,500 threshold in a quarter, the rewards rate drops to 1% (the same as all other purchases). Your earnings will be matched at the end of your first year as a cardholder thanks to Discover’s Cashback Match, which can reward moderate spending with as much as $600 cash back when capitalizing on rotating categories (when you hit the required spend threshold each quarter). One thing to remember is that you’ll have to enroll for the boosted rewards before each quarter. Plus, due to limited international availability, you may have to do research on whether Discover it is accepted wherever you’re traveling. On the bright side, Discover is opening 2021 with easy-to-earn bonus cash back at grocery stores, Walgreens and CVS, from now until the end of March. Read our full review.
The Platinum Card® from American Express: Best for lounge access
With the Platinum Card in your wallet, you’ll enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, which Amex says is the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary locations around the world. The high-end card also offers flexibility while traveling, with 5X points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel (starting 1/1/21, earn 5X points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year) and 5X points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel. This option also features unlimited points that won’t expire, a welcome bonus of 75,000 points after a $5,000 spend within the first 6 months and no foreign transaction fees (see rates and fees). The Platinum Card does not come cheap – bringing along a $550 annual fee – but does its best to directly make up for it with up to a $100 fee credit for Global Entry/TSA PreCheck, and Uber and hotel credits (enrollment required). Read our full review.
Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card: Best for Marriott rewards
With no annual fee, the Marriott Bonvoy Bold rewards both for loyalty spending and general travel spending. Earn up to 14X points at over 7,000 hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy™. Also, earn 2 points for every dollar spent on other travel purchases, including airfare, taxis and trains. The sign-up bonus is a bit low: For a limited time, earn 50,000 points after a $1,000 spend within the first 3 months. Read our full review.
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card: Best for sign-up bonus
The Venture Rewards’ sign-up bonus is straightforward and plentiful – earn 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. It does come with a $95 annual fee, but this card also offers 2X miles on all purchases, plus convenient features like TSA PreCheck credit and easily transferable miles. In addition, the Venture card features no blackout dates, no expiration dates and no limits on earning miles. On the downside, miles transfer at a less-than-ideal 2:1.5 ratio with most transfer partners, and the Venture’s list of airline partners in the U.S. is limited. Read our full review.
Chase Sapphire Reserve®: Best for international travelers
Unlike most, this card features an annual travel credit of $300 for cardholders to spend anywhere in the world. The Sapphire Reserve rewards cardholders with 3X points on travel and 3X points on dining after going through your travel credit, plus 10X points on Lyft through March 2022 and 1X points elsewhere. The $550 annual fee may give you pause. But here’s the kicker: Points are unlimited, don’t expire and receive a 50% boost on travel rewards when redeeming through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. As a sign-up bonus, Chase offers 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months. That means your sign-up bonus is worth $900 when you redeem for travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Read our full review.
Discover it® Miles: Best for new cardholders
If you’re looking for a travel credit card but you don’t want to get locked into confusing points offers or an annual fee, the Discover it Miles just may have what you’re looking for. Earn 1.5X miles on all purchases, then get your miles matched at the end of your first year. The icing on the cake: There are no annual fees, no miles limits, flexible redemption options and no foreign transaction fees. Read our full review.
Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card: Best for credit building with responsible use
The Capital One QuicksilverOne is a great card for the consumer looking to build credit while also learning about rewards. Your fair credit score may be accepted, and you can earn 1.5% cash back on all purchases. There’s also the opportunity to gain a higher credit line after your first 6 months of on-time payments. There is no sign-up bonus offer, however, and there’s an annual fee of $39. Read our full review.
Compare the best no foreign transaction fee credit cards of 2021:
|Credit Card||Best For:||Annual Fee||Creditcards.com’s Review Score|
|Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card||Cash back||$0||3.4 / 5|
|Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card||Travel rewards||$0||3.4 / 5|
|Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card||Flat rate rewards||$0||3.0 / 5|
|Citi Premier® Card||Hotel rewards||$95||3.8 /5|
|American Express® Gold Card||No blackout dates||$250 ||4.3 /5|
|Discover it® Cash Back||Rotating bonus categories||$0||4.3 / 5|
|The Platinum Card® from American Express||Lounge access||$550||4.5 / 5|
|Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card||Marriott rewards||$0||3.1 /5|
|Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card||Sign-up bonus||$95||4.2 / 5|
|Chase Sapphire Reserve®||International travelers||$550||4.6 / 5|
|Discover it® Miles||New cardholders||$0||4.0 /5|
|Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card||Credit building with responsible use||$39||4.1 /5|
What is a foreign transaction fee?
Foreign transaction fees are charges that credit card issuers and payment networks place on purchases made in a foreign currency or on purchases that involve a foreign bank. Usually, a foreign transaction fee is around 3% of the purchase price. So for every $100 you spend, you would have to pay an extra $3 in foreign transaction fees.
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.
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.
How to choose the right credit card with no foreign transaction fee
- Make sure the card fits your lifestyle. Before anything else, you want to be certain that a new credit card is affordable, your typical purchases are rewarded and that any additional benefits serve your needs.
- Check for additional fees. Even if you’re saving on foreign purchases, an insurmountable annual fee or extreme penalty fees may be cause to look elsewhere for certain cardholders. A few no foreign transaction fee credit cards come with hefty annual fees, something to look for if you’re not a heavy spender or luxury traveler.
- Check where the card is accepted. When looking to apply for a card to take on your travels, be sure it’s accepted in the countries you’re interested in exploring. Most options have widespread acceptance, but it’s especially important to check if you’re looking to spend in Africa, Asia and lesser-traveled parts of the world.
- Find rewards that fit you. With such a wide range of cards offering no foreign transaction fee, you’ll want to look at the variety of rewards being offered. Where you spend most often is where you want to be rewarded, so search for a card that hits on the categories that fill up your budget. Plus, you may want to make sure the card allows for rewards on international purchases.
- Note any additional benefits. Thanks to the nature of no foreign transaction fee cards, many options give cardholders perks that make travel a bit easier. Add-ons like free checked luggage, priority boarding, trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance and more are common with these cards; looking through all your options may reveal a benefit you didn’t know you needed.
Which credit cards are the most internationally accepted?
While Visa is number one in most parts of the world, Mastercard and UnionPay are usually next in line, according to 2020 data from The Nilson Report. Visa and Mastercard have a long-established international presence – both are accepted by tens of millions of vendors across 200+ countries and territories worldwide. The big exceptions to the Visa/Mastercard dominance are Asia, where UnionPay makes up about 70% of all card spending, and Canada, where Interac comes in second with 47% of the market there.
When traveling, a good rule of thumb is to diversify the credit cards you’re carrying. That means you should carry cards from more than one issuer and network, just in case your favorite card isn’t accepted.
Do I need a chip-and-PIN card?
It’s a good idea for overseas travelers to have a chip-and-PIN card, but not necessarily a requirement.
Until a few years ago, U.S.-issued cards were swiped using magnetic stripe technology. Now, like Europe, our credit cards have an EMV chip. What happens after you insert the chip differs depending on where you are. While U.S. merchants will usually ask for your signature, European merchants may ask for a four-digit PIN.
The PIN provides an added layer of security and may be required at some overseas vendors — for example, at European train kiosks. However, the problem was more widespread when the technology first emerged. Nowadays, most merchants can bypass the pin portion of the transaction if you don’t have one.
More information on travel rewards
Maybe you’ve decided that, in addition to no foreign transaction fees, you’d like a card with travel, hotel or airline rewards. Check out our library of product-specific reviews to help you narrow down your choice.
Travel credit card news and advice
Want to study up on the world of travel rewards? Our dedicated experts have created the guides you need to become a points and miles aficionado. Here are a few of our favorite articles to help you get started.
Research methodology: How we chose the best no foreign transaction fee credit cards
Rewards: rates, type, ease of redemption
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 high rewards rates in spending categories to match, like business rewards and travel benefits.
One reason you may be hoping to avoid foreign transaction fees is that you have international travel plans. Some of the travel perks you’ll find among our top credit cards with no foreign transaction fee include free checked bags, rental car insurance, airport lounge access and TSA PreCheck credits.
Sign-up bonus value
Many of the best credit cards with no foreign transaction fees also come with lucrative sign-up bonuses. We compared the value of cash, airline mile and point bonuses to ensure you’re getting the most overall value from these picks.
Number of no foreign transaction fee cards we analyzed: 938
All 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.