Travel abroad is now scheduled again after being postponed for more than two years. However, that means that credit card international transaction fees—a bothersome aspect of traveling overseas—return.
For purchases made outside the nation, many American credit card companies pass on foreign transaction fees, which can add up to 4% to each purchase you make overseas. These fees are not paid by the store, merchant, or restaurant you’re purchasing from. Even if you purchase anything online from a retailer with international headquarters, these costs still apply.
Luckily, most travel rewards credit cards waive these fees, so if you have a credit card that doesn’t charge international transaction fees, eliminating these costs should be pretty simple. You could lose a lot of money if you make additional mistakes when making payments overseas, even if you have the correct credit card in your wallet.
Let us now discuss some of our top credit cards that do not charge foreign transaction fees, as well as some general advice on how to get cash and make payments when traveling abroad.
Our Top Credit Cards That Don’t Charge Foreign Transaction Fees
The greatest travel rewards credit cards available today all waive foreign transaction fees. These credit cards frequently have annual fees of $95 or more, although not always. Foreign transaction fees are waived on an increasing number of no-annual-fee travel credit cards. You’re set if you own any Capital One credit cards: For all credit card products offered by the bank, there are no foreign transaction fees! These are a few of our top credit cards that have no foreign transaction fees.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
When it comes to credit cards that don’t charge foreign transaction fees, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is among our top choices. We think it’s a great credit card for those just starting in travel rewards. No matter where you go, the Sapphire Preferred credit card will always be accepted by a wider range of retailers because it is a Visa credit card.
The card does have an annual cost of $95, but considering the benefits it offers, that’s a little thing to pay. You can easily come out much ahead, from the points to the credits that save you money. Another excellent choice without international transaction fees is the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. Consider it the Sapphire Preferred’s more benevolent older sibling, with an annual fee of $550.
The Venture X Rewards Credit Card from Capital One
Foreign transaction fees are waived for the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card, just like they are for all Capital One credit cards. However, that only scratches the surface of the incredible advantages the card offers.
It is not inexpensive, with an annual charge of $395. However, a few of the features alone certainly make up for the annual cost, if not more. First and foremost, every year you own the card, you will receive a $300 travel credit that may be applied to Capital One reservations for hotels, rental vehicles, and airfare. When you deplete that, the yearly charge approaches $95. It is distributed via the Visa payment network, which is the most widely used credit card worldwide.
Credit Card Capital One Venture Rewards
For those who prefer a credit card without international transaction fees, Capital One Venture Rewards is an excellent choice.
Not only does it not have as many features as the Capital One Venture X, but it is also less expensive, with an annual charge of just $95. Like all Capital One cards, this one is also issued via the Visa payment network, the most widely recognized credit card worldwide.
The American Express® Gold Card
The American Express® Gold Card is the last but certainly not least credit card on our list of top choices that waives foreign transaction fees. We enjoy the Gold card since it delivers one of the finest returns on your daily spending combined with many other fantastic features, even if many Amex travel cards waive them.
Firstly, you will receive 4x points for every dollar spent at restaurants worldwide and 4x points for every dollar spent at U.S. supermarkets on purchases up to $25,000 annually (after which they will only be 1x). In both categories, that is an amazing return.
It should be noted, however, that the Gold card’s waiver of foreign transaction fees does not guarantee international use. Even while American Express is typically being accepted in more and more places in the world, many foreign retailers still do not take it as payment. Thus, it could be a good idea to have an extra card in your wallet.
Three Pointers for Sending Money Abroad
If you are planning any kind of international trip, getting a credit card that waives foreign transaction fees is a terrific place to start. However, before traveling overseas, there are a few more things you should know.
Make sure to always pay with local currency
This is a crucial one. You might have to choose between paying with US dollars or the local currency while using your credit card overseas. Select the local currency at all times.
Why? A process known as dynamic currency conversion. The conversion rate on payment networks is bad, so even though you can pay in US dollars, you’ll always end up paying more. It would be more cost-effective to pay in local currency as you won’t be incurring any foreign transaction fees.
Even though using your credit card to make payments in US dollars can appear handy, doing so will just increase your expenses. Make your payment using the local currency to save money.
Obtain a Debit Card Free of Foreign Transaction Fees as well
It is imperative to have a credit card that does not impose international transaction fees when visiting foreign countries. It is also a good idea to have a debit card that does not impose fees from ATMs or foreign transactions in case you need cash.
The Charles Schwab debit card is essential if you intend to travel overseas, even sometimes. Any traveler’s wallet needs to have this free international checking account since it guarantees that you won’t ever pay ATM fees—either domestically or abroad—or foreign transaction costs. To promote this card, we are not compensated. For travelers looking to make money while on the road, this is simply the greatest option.
Never Depend on American Express
Even while American Express offers several fantastic credit cards for travel rewards—such as the American Express® Platinum Card® and the American Express® Gold Card—that do not charge foreign transaction fees, it is still a good idea to make sure you have a Visa or Mastercard with you before you fly.
This is due to the possibility that a large number of foreign retailers do not now take American Express. Why? In the past, American Express has imposed significantly higher merchant fees, which are the costs that retailers must pay to card payment networks like American Express to accept their cards for payment. The standard cost range for Visa, Mastercard, and Discover cards is 1.5% to 2.5% of the total transaction amount; American Express fees were between 2.5% and 3.5%.
As a result of the increased costs, American Express is accepted by fewer businesses domestically and internationally than Visa or Mastercard.