We’ve all been there at one point or another. You’re traveling abroad and haven’t planned to use a credit card or forgot to bring the right one. But then, emergency strikes, and cash is no longer an option. You pull out a credit card and pay knowing there will be extra fees added on to the next statement. IF only there was a no foreign transaction fee credit card when you need one!?
This was an all too common scene for U.S. travelers in the 1990s and 2000s, yet, unimaginably, thousands of travelers still don’t pay attention to foreign transaction fees. Simply put, credit card companies charge an extra fee for transactions that take place outside of the United States, and in some cases, on websites based outside of the U.S. These fees average ~3% but can be much higher.
Keep in mind, the foreign transaction fee is not the currency exchange fee. This is what the financial services company charges to change the currency you are purchasing in to U.S. dollars. While you can’t do much about banks taking a cut of the currency exchange, there is absolutely no excuse to pay a foreign transaction fee.
If you’ll be leaving the U.S. even once in the next year, you need a credit card that offers no foreign transaction fees. It’s your lucky day, as we’ve done the (firsthand) research for you! Read about our take on the 3 best no foreign transaction fee credit cards.
At a $550 annual fee, the Amex Platinum better offer no foreign transaction fees. As expected, it does not charge foreign transaction fees. Our pick for one of the two best travel rewards credit cards, The Amex Platinum is for the frequent global travelers among us.
New card members earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after making $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. On top of the generous welcome bonus, you also get 5X Membership Rewards points on flights booked directly with airlines or Amex, as well as prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com. Plus, get Uber VIP status and take advantage of up to $15 in free U.S. rides per month, plus a bonus $20 credit in December ($200 in annual Uber savings).
Additional perks include a $200 annual airline fee credit, a $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit, and global access to Amex Centurion and Priority Pass Select lounges. You also get discounted access to Delta SkyClubs when flying Delta, as well as automatic Hilton Honors Gold and Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status. So you can see that the annual fee begins to look much more palatable in light of these significant travel bonuses.
If you are looking for the international travel card that can do it all, look no further than The Platinum Card from American Express.
Don’t need all of the perks the Amex Platinum provides? The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great alternative, and at only a $95 annual fee, it still provides great travel benefits. Which pushes it near the top of credit cards with no foreign transaction fees.
The Sapphire Preferred offers 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. That’s $750 in travel when redeemed through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Portal. You can also transfer these points on a 1:1 basis to the plethora of travel partners Chase offers (i.e. United, Southwest). With unlimited 2X point earnings on travel and dining purchases worldwide, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a staple in our team’s wallet.
An added bonus? The Sapphire Preferred was named Best Credit Card for Flexible Point Redemption by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance (2018).
For those dead set against an annual fee, the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Card is for you. On top of no foreign transaction fees, the card offers 20,000 bonus Venture miles (equal to $200 in travel) once you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months.
Plus, you earn an unlimited 1.25 Venture miles per dollar on every purchase, as well as 10X miles on thousands of hotel booking made through Capital One’s partnership with hotels.com (through January 2020). Capital One allows you to transfer your Venture miles to over 12 leading travel loyalty programs, or redeem them for statement credit on travel purchases instead.
Having a credit card with no foreign transaction fees is a must for any frequent traveler. Foreign transaction fees are wasted money, even those who only leave the country once per year. The cards above are your 3 best choices for credit cards with no foreign transaction fees. Use these cards to earn rewards that lead to free trips, and then use them to avoid the foreign transaction fee abroad!
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American Express Platinum
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Chase Sapphire Preferred
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Capital One VentureOne