Advertiser Disclosure

It doesn’t matter if you’re touring Europe or backpacking through Asia: Coughing up an extra 1% to 3% in foreign transaction fees for every purchase you make is a needless expense. Before taking off on your next international adventure, consider applying for a credit card with no foreign transaction fee to avoid these pesky charges.

Here are the best no foreign transaction fee credit cards in a crowded field.

Best sign-up bonus

Chase Sapphire Preferred®

Apply Now on Chase's secure website

Pros

  • A large bonus
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Cool factor - metal card
  • Rewards redemption bonus through Ultimate Rewards

Cons

  • Has annual fee
  • Best for savvy travelers

Bonus Offer

Earn 50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening

Annual Fee

Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95

Intro APR Promotions

None

APR

  • APR: 16.24%-23.24% Variable
  • Cash Advance APR: 25.24%, Variable

Card Details

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named a 'Best Credit Card' for Travel Rewards by MONEY Magazine
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • $0 foreign transaction fees, plus chip-enabled for enhanced security and wider acceptance when used at a chip card reader
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading frequent travel programs at full value - that means 1,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points equal 1,000 partner miles/points
  • Travel and shop with confidence with premium Travel and Purchase Protection Benefits, including Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Purchase Protection and more
  • Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95

Earn 50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. The card has an Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95.

Benefits of the Chase Sapphire Preferred®

  • You’ll be able to transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to several loyalty programs, including United MileagePlus, Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards, and British Airways Executive Club, at a 1:1 ratio.
  • When you redeem for travel through Chase, you’ll get 25% more for your money. That means points are worth 1.25 cents each, a competitive value. You can earn 2 points per dollar spent on restaurant dining and travel and one point per dollar spent on everything else.
  • The generous sign-up bonus for this card is worth $625 when redeemed through Chase.

Drawbacks of the Chase Sapphire Preferred®

  • Points transferred to a loyalty program might not be considered the same as points earned within that program. For instance, if you transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest Rapid Rewards points, they won’t count toward a Southwest Companion Pass, a special status that lets someone accompany you on flights for free for a full year.
  • The spending requirement for the sign-up bonus is relatively high. If you’re frugal, you may have a hard time reaching it.
  • The annual fee is steep. Sign-up bonus aside, you’d have to spend $3,800 on travel and dining every year before earning enough rewards to break even on the deal.

The bottom line

For a serious traveler, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® offers considerable value with its flexible rewards, high earning rates and huge sign-up bonus. Among credit cards with no foreign transaction fees, this card has more 1:1 transfer partners than almost any other card offered on NerdWallet, a boon to those wanting to optimize their redemptions.

If you’re a one-vacation-per-year type of person, though, you may want to go with a cash-back card instead. But as noted, if you plan to spend well over $3,800 in travel and dining each year, this offer can speed you on your way to big rewards.

Easiest travel redemption

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Apply Now on Capital One's secure website

Pros

  • High rewards rate
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Flexible redemption for travel

Cons

  • Has annual fee

Bonus Offer

Enjoy a one-time bonus of 40,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months, equal to $400 in travel

Annual Fee

$0 intro for first year; $59 after that

Intro APR Promotions

None

APR

  • APR: 13.24% - 23.24% (Variable)

Card Details

  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 40,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months, equal to $400 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime
  • Travel when you want with no blackout dates
  • Miles don't expire and there’s no limit to how many you can earn
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $59 after that

Enjoy a one-time bonus of 40,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months, equal to $400 in travel. Annual fee is $0 intro for first year; $59 after that.

Benefits of the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

  • You earn 2 miles per dollar on every purchase, worth 1 cent each when redeemed for travel, giving the card a high rewards rate.
  • You don’t need to worry about blackout dates or limited availability with this card. You can redeem miles as a travel statement credit with Capital One’s Purchase Eraser or book trips through the portal operated by Orbitz and Capital One, giving you plenty of flexibility.
  • The card comes with a generous early spend bonus and a comparatively low annual fee.

Drawbacks of the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

  • The most value you can get out of any mile is 1 cent, so this might not be the right card for those looking to maximize their rewards.
  • Early-spend bonus aside, you’ll only come out ahead on this deal if you put at least $2,950 a year on this card (based on the card’s annual fee). If you plan to spend less, consider another card.
  • You can’t transfer your points to other loyalty programs.

The bottom line

Among cards that let you redeem miles as a travel statement credit, the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card has one of the highest rewards rates on the market. If you have kids in school and tend to vacation when everyone else does, this card can make booking travel much easier; you won’t have to worry about finding enough frequent flier seats on each flight. Keep in mind that if you want to use the Purchase Eraser, you’ll only be able to do it on travel purchases made on the card within the preceding 90 days.

This isn’t a good deal for people who want to transfer points, because this card has no transfer partners. And if you rarely go on vacation, you may be better off with a cash-back offer. But for someone who prizes this kind of versatility in travel rewards, this card could be the way to go.

Best for no annual fee

BankAmericard Travel Rewards® Credit Card

Apply Now on Bank of America's secure website, or call (800) 211-3740

Pros

  • No annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
  • Generous flat rewards rate on all purchases
  • Flexibility to book travel how you want
  • Rewards accelerator if you bank with Bank of America or Merrill Lynch

Cons

  • Not great for travel hackers
  • More restrictive than a straight cash back card
  • If you're a big spender with excellent credit and willing to pay an annual fee, there are cards with higher rewards

Bonus Offer

20,000 online bonus points if you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days - that can be a $200 statement credit toward travel purchases

Annual Fee

$0.00

Intro APR Promotions

0% Introductory APR on purchases for 12 billing cycles

APR

  • APR: 15.24% - 23.24% Variable APR
  • Penalty APR: up to 29.99% APR
  • Cash Advance APR: See Terms

Card Details

  • Earn unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases, with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees and your points don't expire
  • 20,000 online bonus points if you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days - that can be a $200 statement credit toward travel purchases
  • Use your card to book your trip how and where you want – you’re not limited to specific websites with blackout dates or restrictions
  • Redeem points for a statement credit to pay for flights, hotels, vacation packages, cruises, rental cars, or baggage fees
  • Now with chip technology for enhanced security and protection at chip-enabled terminals
  • 0% Introductory APR for 12 billing cycles for purchases, then 15.24% - 23.24% Variable APR
  • Get an additional 10% customer points bonus on every purchase when you have an active Bank of America® checking or savings account
  • If you’re a Preferred Rewards client, you can increase that bonus to 25% or more. Click “Apply Now” to learn more about Preferred Rewards

The annual fee is $0.00. 20,000 online bonus points if you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days - that can be a $200 statement credit toward travel purchases. Bank of America® account holders get an extra 10% rewards bonus.

Benefits of the BankAmericard Travel Rewards® credit card

  • Bank of America® customers with an active checking or savings account earn 10% more points. If you have other accounts with the bank with higher balances, you can earn even larger bonuses through the Preferred Rewards program.
  • You’ll earn 1.5 points per dollar spent, and each point is worth 1 cent. This is a relatively high rewards rate for a card with an annual fee of $0.00.
  • You can redeem your points for a travel statement credit, giving you the freedom to book travel during any season, with any carrier or hotel chain you prefer. And there’s no need to rush, either — you can make these redemptions on any travel purchases made in the past 12 months on your card, a much longer timeline than other cards.
  • The card comes with a generous 0% APR offer: 0% Introductory APR on purchases for 12 billing cycles, and then the ongoing APR of 15.24% - 23.24% Variable APR.

Drawbacks of the BankAmericard Travel Rewards® Credit Card

  • This card’s sign-up bonus is relatively low.
  • If you don’t have a Bank of America® account, the maximum you’ll be able to get for redemption is 1 cent per point. This limits the earning power of this card considerably.
  • Big spenders could earn larger rewards with other offers.

The bottom line

For Bank of America® customers, especially those with a lot of money in the bank, the BankAmericard Travel Rewards® credit card offers competitive value. With no annual fee, you won’t have to spend thousands of dollars before coming out ahead on this deal. You won’t have to contend with limited ticket availability during peak season, either, since you can redeem points with a travel statement credit.

Without a Bank of America® account, though, you’ll lose out on a big part of this card’s value. Big spenders may also be better off with a credit card that offers a higher earning rate, too, even if those credit cards do charge annual fees. But if you’re looking for an affordable travel card and you’re a Bank of America® customer, this one could be a good pick.

Best for cash back

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Apply Now on Capital One's secure website

Pros

  • High rewards rate
  • No annual fee
  • 0% intro on purchases until November 2016 and 0% intro on balance transfers until November 2016
  • No foreign transaction fee

Bonus Offer

One-time $100 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months

Annual Fee

$0

Intro APR Promotions

0% intro on purchases until November 2016 and 0% intro on balance transfers until November 2016

APR

  • APR: 13.24% - 23.24% (Variable)

Card Details

  • One-time $100 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months
  • 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 doesn’t expire and there’s no limit to how much you can earn
  • 0% intro APR on purchases until November 2016; 13.24%-23.24% variable APR after that
  • Balance transfers also have a 0% intro APR until November 2016; 13.24%-23.24% variable APR after that; a 3% fee applies to each balance transferred
  • Pay no annual fee or foreign transaction fees

One-time $100 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months. The annual fee is $0.

Benefits of the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

  • This card comes with an excellent introductory APR offer: 0% intro on purchases until November 2016 and 0% intro on balance transfers until November 2016, and then the ongoing APR of 13.24% - 23.24% (Variable). If you’re planning on making a lot of big purchases in the first few months, this card will let you pay them off over time without racking up interest.
  • You can get your cash-back rewards as a check or statement credit.
  • Because the card is chip-and-signature enabled, it’s more widely accepted abroad.

Drawbacks of the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

  • The early-spend bonus is modest compared with other offers.
  • Unlike with some travel rewards cards, where you can stretch the value by redeeming points or miles selectively, this card doesn’t offer the same possibilities. You can’t get more than 1.5 cents back per dollar spent.
  • This card requires excellent credit. Make sure your credit score is up to par before applying.

The bottom line

If you’re a frugal spender, the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card is an easy way for you to pinch pennies. You won’t even have to worry about rotating bonus categories, since the card earns a flat 1.5% cash back on all purchases. If you spend heavily on travel, or if you want to maximize points earned in a certain loyalty program, you may do better with a travel rewards card instead. But if you’re looking for a no-frills way to save a little bit with every purchase, this credit card may be the one for you.

Best for free FICO score

Discover it® Miles-Double Miles your first year

Apply Now on Discover's secure website

Pros

  • High rewards rate
  • No annual fee
  • 10.99% for 12 mos on transfers
  • No foreign transaction fee

Bonus Offer

We'll DOUBLE all the Miles you've earned at the end of your first year. So if you've earned 20,000 Miles, we'll double it to 40,000 Miles - Automatically. Only for new cardmembers.*

Annual Fee

$0

Intro APR Promotions

0% on purchases for 12 months and 10.99% on balance transfers for 12 months

APR

  • APR: 11.24% – 23.24% Variable*
  • Cash Advance APR: 25.24%, Variable

Card Details

  • We'll DOUBLE all the Miles you've earned at the end of your first year. So if you've earned 20,000 Miles, we'll double it to 40,000 Miles - Automatically. Only for new cardmembers.*
  • No annual fee* & unlimited 1.5x Miles on every dollar you spend on purchases. 0% intro APR* on purchases for 12 months—then a variable purchase APR applies, currently 11.24% – 23.24%.
  • Discover pays you back for your in-flight Wi-Fi fees—up to $30 a year—with an automatic statement credit.*
  • 100 Miles = $1 value. Redeem Miles in any amount toward travel purchases on your statement. Or get cash as a direct deposit to your bank account.*
  • Freeze It℠ on/off switch lets you prevent new purchases, cash advances & balance transfers on misplaced cards in seconds by mobile app & online.* Plus get 100% U.S.-based service.
  • Track your recent FICO® Credit Scores for free in one easy-to-read chart on monthly statements & online.*
  • Free overnight shipping of replacement cards to any U.S. street address at your request.* And you’re never responsible for unauthorized purchases on your Discover card.
  • Click "Apply Now". *See rates, rewards, FICO® Credit Score terms & other information.

Free FICO score. We'll DOUBLE all the Miles you've earned at the end of your first year. So if you've earned 20,000 Miles, we'll double it to 40,000 Miles - Automatically. Only for new cardmembers.* The annual fee is $0.

Benefits of the Discover it® Miles-Double Miles your first year

  • The card comes with a big sign-up bonus: We'll DOUBLE all the Miles you've earned at the end of your first year. So if you've earned 20,000 Miles, we'll double it to 40,000 Miles - Automatically. Only for new cardmembers.* This offers huge earning potential — especially since the annual fee is $0.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5 miles per dollar spent on all purchases, a relatively high rewards rate for a no-fee card. You can redeem these as statement credits for travel purchases made within the preceding 180 days.
  • If you lose your card, you can “freeze” it to make sure people don’t make purchases with it. Here’s how it works.
  • The card comes with an excellent 0% APR offer: 0% on purchases for 12 months and 10.99% on balance transfers for 12 months, and then the ongoing APR of 11.24% – 23.24% Variable.
  • You can redeem miles in any amount, a somewhat rare feature for travel credit cards. The points can also be redeemed for commuter travel costs, such as fares for buses, taxis or trains, another feature that can’t be found on most cards.

Drawbacks of the Discover it® Miles-Double Miles your first year

  • Discover is not as widely accepted as MasterCard and Visa outside the United States. In some countries, you might have a hard time using your card.
  • If you’re a big spender, or if you travel frequently, you could earn more rewards with a different credit card.
  • To maximize your sign-up bonus earnings, you’d have to use this card exclusively for a whole year. If that seems completely unrealistic to you, you might be better off with another offer.

The bottom line

While other cards on this list provide proprietary credit scores, the Discover it® Miles-Double Miles your first year is the only one that gives cardholders actual FICO scores for free, a valuable offering for credit-conscious consumers. Its unusual sign-up bonus could also translate to huge first-year earnings for some cardholders, particularly because the annual fee is $0. With an ongoing rewards rate of 1.5 miles per dollar spent on all purchases, this card also offers big long-term value.

Because Discover isn’t accepted as widely as Visa and MasterCard, you may have a hard time using this card in some countries. But if you want a free FICO score and tend to travel in areas that do accept Discover, this offer could be a good match.

Major issuers’ foreign transaction fees

Here’s a look at the standard foreign transaction fees charged by major U.S. credit card issuers. It’s important to note that many issuers waive the foreign transaction fee on certain cards, including the ones listed above. Some major issuers, such as Capital One and Discover, don’t charge foreign transaction fees on any of their cards.

Air Force Federal Credit Union:  1%
American Express:  2.7%
Bank of America:  3%
Barclaycard:  3%
BB&T:  3%
Capital One:  0%
Chase:  3%
Citi:  3%
Citizens Bank:  3%
Comerica Bank:  2% of transactions in U.S. dollars; 3% in other currencies
Commerce Bank:  1% of transactions in U.S. dollars; 2% in other currencies
Discover:  0%
KeyBank:  3%
Fidelity:  1%
Fifth Third Bank:  3%
HSBC:  0%
Navy Federal Credit Union:  0%
Pentagon Federal Credit Union:  0%
PNC Bank:  3%
Simmons Bank:  3%
Santander Bank:  3%
TD Bank:  0%
US Bank:  2% of transactions in U.S. dollars; 3% in other currencies
USAA:  0%
Wells Fargo:  3%
Zions Bank:  3%

Rates updated February 4, 2016

Methodology

NerdWallet’s credit cards team selects cards in each category based on overall consumer value. Factors in our evaluation include fees, promotional and ongoing APRs, and sign-up bonuses; for rewards cards, we consider earning and redemption rates, redemption options and redemption difficulty. A single card is eligible to win in multiple categories.  

Last updated January 14, 2016.

Claire Tsosie is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: claire@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @ideclaire7.