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NerdWallet’s Best No Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Cards, 2015

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Best No Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Cards

Many credit cards charge you 3% of every dollar you spend overseas. But these cards will save you a pretty penny with waived foreign transaction fees, bonus travel rewards, killer sign-up offers and more. Read on for our review of our favorite credit cards with no foreign transaction fee, as well as a comprehensive, continuously updated list.

Our favorite international credit cards
Credit cards with no foreign transaction fees
Current foreign transaction fees for U.S. card issuers

A few of our favorite international credit cards

Best sign-up bonus: the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Transfer points 1:1 to United MileagePlus, Southwest, British Airways, Korean Air, Ritz-Carlton, Marriott, Hyatt, Priority Club, Amtrak

Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card
Apply Now

on Chase's
secure website

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is a great travel rewards credit card, and our favorite in Chase’s lineup with a fantastic sign-up bonus: Earn 40,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. The points are worth 25% more when you redeem them for travel through Chase’s booking tool, an opportunity offered on no other personal Chase credit card. The card also earns 2 points per $1 on travel and dining and 1 per $1 everywhere else. With the 25% travel boost, your rewards rate could be as high as 2.50% and 1.25%. It has an Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is perfect for rewards chasers who want to transfer their points to an airline or hotel program, and is also great if you have the Chase Freedom®, which earns 5% cash back in bonus categories. You can transfer your Chase Freedom® points to the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card account to take advantage of the 25% boost, meaning that the Chase Freedom® basically earns 6.25% rewards in bonus categories.

Triple Crown of Travel — No foreign transaction fee and no annual fee with EMV Chip: the BankAmericard Travel Rewards® Credit Card

Use points on: Any airline or hotel – points are redeemed against any travel expense

Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card
Apply Now

on Bank of America's
secure website
Or call (800) 211-3740

The BankAmericard Travel Rewards® credit card offers a flat 1.5 points on every dollar you spend and has a $0 annual fee, but provides additional perks for travelers. For instance, it has EMV chip technology, which is helpful when you’re traveling to Europe.

What’s more, if you’re a Bank of America® banking customer, you’ll have the opportunity to earn a points dividend of 25%, 50% or 75% through the Preferred Rewards program. The bonus you’ll receive depends on the type of account you have and the total amount of your assets. But even if you don’t qualify for Preferred Rewards status, just having a Bank of America® checking or savings account will give you a boost: You’ll get a 10% dividend on the points you earn.

Those points can be redeemed as a statement credit against any travel purchase, including, airfare, baggage fees and hotels. It also comes with a decent sign-up bonus: 20,000 online bonus points if you make at least $1000 in purchases in the first 90 days - that can be a $200 statement credit towards travel purchases.

Best travel credit card with flat-rate rewards: the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Use miles on: Any travel expense – redeem as a statement credit.

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Apply Now

on Capital One's
secure website

The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is one of the best travel rewards cards on the market today. It’s one of the very few that give a full 2% rewards on all purchases, and comes with a host of traveler-friendly perks, including a generous early spend bonus: 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. Most importantly, the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card, like all Capital One cards, has no foreign transaction fee. In addition, it gives concierge service and travel accident insurance. Relative to the other rewards cards out there, which dole out restrictive airline miles or points, charge for overseas purchases or give lower rewards rates, the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card stands out as the best choice for the most people.

Credit Cards With No Foreign Transaction Fee

Here are some more credit cards that charge no foreign transaction fees:

From American Express:

From Bank of America:

From Barclaycard:

From Capital One:

From Chase:

From Citi:

From Comenity Capital Bank:

From Discover:

From Pentagon Federal:

From U.S. Bank:

From Wells Fargo:

Current foreign transaction fees for U.S. card issuers

It’s important to note that many of the issuers listed below waive foreign transaction fees on certain cards, but unless this is specifically stated, assume that the fee schedule below applies.

Issuer Foreign Transaction Fee
Air Force Federal Credit Union 1%
American Express 2.7%
Bank of America 3% (Visa/MC), 1% (American Express)
Barclays 3%
BB&T 3%
Capital One 0%
Chase 3%
Citibank 3%
Citizens Bank 2.9%
Comerica Bank 3%
Commerce Bank 1% of transactions in USD; 2% of transactions in other currencies
Discover 0%
Heartland Bank 1%
KeyBank 3%
Fidelity 1% (American Express) 3% (Visa)
Fifth Third Bank 3%
First National Omaha Bank 3%
Horizon Bank 3%
HSBC 0%
Navy Federal 1%
Nordstrom 0%
Pentagon Federal Credit Union 0%
PNC 3%
Simmons Bank 3%
Santander Bank (formerly Sovereign) 3%
State Farm 1%
US Bank 3%
USAA 1%
Wells Fargo 3%
Zion’s Bank 3%

 

  • http://batman-news.com Brett

    U.S. Bank JUST eliminated the tran fee on the Flexperks Travel Rewards card. EMV chipped and $400 bonus after $3500 is spent. Also no fee for 2 years with account at US Bank, 1st year no fee, $50 fee thereafter payable with 3500 points (Free 3500 points if you spend $23K/yr).

  • Amy

    I’m traveling to Europe in October and am looking for a credit card with no intl transaction fees that offers cash back rewards. Not sure if AE is a good choice or is Visa the best for international. I’ve been searching quite a bit and have read lots of reviews…so many confusing options, really need expert opinion what would be the best option for us. Travel is already booked and paid, but our bank cards offer us nothing in return. We would really like to earn some kind of perk perhaps to spend when we travel. I feel like we are not taking advantage of options. Any advice is greatly appreciated!!

    • HikerGirl

      Go with the Capital One Venture Card. No hassles.

  • McKala

    I’m going to Indonesia this summer and I need a card that will work with someone with very little credit. I’m young so I’m trying to build my credit.

    • Travelhopper

      Definitely Capital One. But I’m not really an ATM type, so I always use my mobile app CoChange to locate the most suitable currency exchange offices nearby. I tried it in Jakarta and it worked really well with the card at the exchange office.

  • Chris H.

    Traveling to France, Spain, Italy, Croatia and Montenegro in October. I have 3 different chip cards, and no two look alike (chip sizes and contact layout are all slightly different). Which of these will actually *work* in Europe for in-person retail transactions?

    Chase Sapphire Preferred Visa Signature
    Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite MasterCard
    USAA Visa Signature

    Thanks in advance for any advice!

  • Amy S

    Which is the best card to get if you are a student with no credit yet and are going abroad?

    • TomAtkinson

      One good option would be the Journey card from Capital One since it has no foreign transaction fee and can net you 1.25% cash back.

      You can also use the reward calculator at CreditCardTuneUp. com to see which student reward cards will pay you more in reward value for your travel expenses and regular expenses.

    • Alice Ding

      I think Discover is good good for you~

  • Michelle

    I am going to London in September, I don’t have a credit card nor do I want one. I have a visa debit card through my bank which will charge me 1% per transaction. I’m not sure if I should just stick with my visa debit card while abroad or exchange currency. Any advice would be much appreciated I’m starting to stress on the issue.

    • http://www.nerdwallet.com/ NerdWallet

      Hi Michelle. Feel free to email us at support@nerdwallet.com and we’ll be happy to point you in the right direction. Alternatively, you can use our chat box during normal business hours and you can speak with someone from the NerdWallet team.

    • iquack

      I’d recommend the excellent, Visa ATM (debit) card from the Charles Schwab Bank. Schwab charges no fee, and reimburses the cardholder for fees imposed by banks whose ATMs you use. Also, there’s no foreign transaction fee added on. I prefer to use credit cards to debit cards for purchases, but the Schwab debit card can be used either way. Note that Schwab is a brokerage firm, but Schwab has a separately-chartered Charles Schwab Bank. Google Schwab for more info.

  • CJ West

    my son is on a church mission in El Salvador. He has a Chase college student account with a regular Visa debit card. Every time he makes a withdrawal he’s hit with a $5 non-Chase ATM fee AND a $3.39 FTF. So $8.39 for EVERY use of his card! he tried to take out one cash withdrawal per month but I hate him taking out large quantities at once because of all the violence and theft down there. Any better options? Keep in mind he is already there in ES and cannot set something up himself. So if theirs a better option I would likely put it in my name and just send him the card.

    • http://www.nerdwallet.com/ NerdWallet

      Hi CJ – thanks for reaching out to us. Please email us at support@nerdwallet.com and we’ll be able to point you in the right direction.

  • iquack

    Wells Fargo has a “By Invitation Only” Visa card with 3% cash back from travel charges (airfare, hotels, etc.), 2% cash back on restaurant meals, and 1% cash back on everything else. No foreign transaction fee with this Wells Fargo credit card. There’s no annual fee, but you must be a substantial Wells Fargo customer to qualify.
    Citibank’s Double Cash MasterCard is very good with 2% cash back on paid charges (1% earned when a purchase is made with the card, and another 1% as charges are paid off. So, if you pay your full balance every month, you’ll have earned 2% after balance is paid. This is a good deal for people who pay off their credit card balances every month, Citibank DOES charge the rip-off 3% foreign transaction fee.

  • sgrandin

    As a long time U.S. Bank customer, I was shocked to learn recently that it will not send an email if there’s question about a transaction or they block the card until clarification, but only make an automatic call to the holder’s phone of record. Since I plan to pick up a new sim card in southern Africa and then France – how unusual! – they told me that I should call home regularly to check. Quite a small-minded bank. It definitely ruled out carrying a U.S. Bank card or applying for their travel signature card.

  • Colorpencilart

    1 percent fee I love USAA has been the choice of our family for everything.

  • MRV

    Just adding my two cents:

    I am travelling in Europe. I lost my card and called Capitol One to have them mail the replacement to my vacation home in Switzerland. They tell me that as a matter of policy they do not mail cards overseas. Only to my registered US address !!!?? And this is supposed to be a Capitol one card designed for foreign travel. I am also cancelling and going with another issuer.

  • John Schafer

    I agree – I’m confused by this article because in the beginning, Discover card is listed as not charging any foreign transaction fees, but in the section listing standard FTF’s, it lists Discover Card as having 2% standard fee. I’ll give Discover Card a call and get the straight answer, but you may want to address this issue in your article to clarify the fee for others.

  • http://www.nerdwallet.com/ NerdWallet

    Hi John, thanks for catching the error! Discover now has no FX fees on all of its credit cards.

  • http://www.nerdwallet.com/ NerdWallet

    Hi there,

    Check out our comparison of hotel credit cards and see if any catch your eye – they tend to give great rewards rates when you spend at their namesake hotels: http://www.nerdwallet.com/credit-card/category/hotel-credit-cards

  • James

    Chase Sapphire Preferred Visa is a good card. Decent rewards also.

  • Jolyn Leung

    which one is it?

  • PaulH

    Be aware that as of November 2013, BofA DEBIT cards now charge a 3% Foreign Transaction fee everywhere abroad! You only avoid the $5 sky high ATM fee that BofA charges at non-global alliance ATMs. Most CREDIT cards additionally charge huge cash advance fees!

    From BofA site:

    “Keep in mind that when you use your debit card to withdraw money
    from an international ATM, Bank of America will assess an international
    transaction fee of 3% of the converted U.S. dollar amount.”

  • David

    @Wendy – I’m not sure if they have Charles Schwab in Canada, but they do offer a debit card that reimburses ATM fees that you incur both domestically and internationally. It’s worth looking into. As for credit cards, while card issuers like Discover and Capital One don’t charge FTF’s, they don’t support Chip & Pin techology. The best option I’ve found is the Visa Azure card from UNFCU. They do require you open an account, but the process is quite seamless. The card charges no FTF’s and it also supports Chip & Pin technology.

  • https://www.unfcu.org/ United Nations FCU

    @david – Thank you for the mention. We do not charge foreign transaction fees on our Visa Elite credit card that is also a chip and PIN card. On the Azure card, we charge the fees assessed by Visa.