NerdWallet’s Best No Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Cards

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Ever felt like you’ve been ripped off when you use your credit card internationally? Chances are, you’re right: most dock 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 signup 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.

NerdWallet’s picks: the best no foreign transaction fee cards
List of all no F/X fee cards
Current foreign transaction fees charged by issuer

A Few of Our Favorite International Credit Cards

Best travel points card with no foreign transaction fee: 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
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on Bank of America's
secure website

The BankAmericard Travel Rewards® Credit Card offers a flat 1.5 points on every dollar you spend and has no annual fee, but provides additional perks for travelers. It has EMV chip technology, too, which is helpful when you’re traveling to Europe. If you have other qualifying Bank of America accounts, you can also get an annual 10% customer points bonus on your total purchases, raising your rate to 1.65 points on every $1 spent. Those points can be redeemed as a statement credit against any travel purchase, including, airfare, baggage fees and hotels. And with an online-exclusive 10,000 bonus points if you make at least $500 in purchases in the first 90 days, there’s a lot to love.

Best signup 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 is another great travel rewards credit card, and our favorite in Chase’s lineup with a fantastic signup bonus of Earn 40,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months. 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 Sapphire’s 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 Freedom points to the Sapphire account to take advantage of the 25% boost, meaning that the Freedom basically earns 6.25% rewards in bonus categories.

Best travel credit card with flat-rate rewards: the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®

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

Barclays Arrival Credit Card
Apply Now

on Barclays's
secure website

The Barclaycard Arrival is one of the best travel credit cards on the market right now: it pays out a full 2.2 miles on every dollar spent when you redeem as a statement credit against any travel expense. It works like this: you earn 2 miles per $1 as a base rate, and 10% of those miles are credited back to your account. That adds up to a solid 2.2 miles per $1 on all purchases. Moreover, the card comes with a bonus. Earn 40,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 or more on purchases in the first 90 days from account opening. The bonus is also worth 10% more when you redeem as a statement credit against travel expenses. It has an $89 annual fee, waived the first year, but that’s more than offset by the high signup bonus and rewards rate. Moreover, it’s a World MasterCard, so you’ll get perks like trip insurance, concierge service and warranty protection. This is a great card for big spenders whose purchases span a range of categories, and is a favorite here at NerdWallet.

Best no annual membership fee, cash-back card: the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Rewards program: cash

Capital One Cash Credit Card Credit Card
Apply Now

on Capital One's
secure website

The Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card doesn’t only help you dodge foreign transaction fees: It also has no annual fee. But this doesn’t mean you’re sacrificing rewards: You get a flat 1.5% cash back on all purchases, plus a bonus – One-time $100 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months. Just because you travel abroad doesn’t mean you have to pay annual fees!

Credit Cards With No Foreign Transaction Fee

These are all credit cards that charge no foreign transaction fees at all. Are we missing anything? Let us know in the comments below.

List current as of June 10, 2014


Current foreign transaction fees for US 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%

 

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  • Guest

    Hi. Our son is going to Ireland for Spring Term(May) and then got a 2 month internship in London. We were looking for a PREPAID with no foreign transaction fees that we can reload on-line in case of an emergency?? The only one I can find is the American Express Prepaid…I have no idea if that is accepted in enough places? Do you know of a visa/mastercard prepaid with no foreign transaction fees? Especially one I could go buy and NOT have to order online?? NEED ASAP he is leaving in 2 weeks for Ireland. THANKS!!!

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

      There aren’t any good Visa or MasterCard no foreign transaction fee prepaid cards that I know of, but you might consider giving him a Capital One 360 debit card that has no foreign transaction fee and refunds ATM fees. That way, you can add money to the account in case of emergencies, but he won’t have access to a line of credit.

      • Sergio de la Barrera

        Hello NerdWallet. I actually have a Capitol One 360 debit card and didn’t know about the no foreign transaction fee feature. I went to the Capitol One 360 debit card FAQ to check and saw that while Capitol One doesn’t charge a fee, they state that “MasterCard may charge as part of converting the purchase to U.S. dollars”. What exactly does that mean? How much would something like that be? And is this a fee I should watch out for in addition to bank-imposed foreign transaction fees? Thank you!

  • Philip Ross

    The Harvard Card is now the Barclaycard Rewards Platinum MC. Same low interest rate and no foreign transaction fee.

  • Sunu

    I use the Chase United MileagePlus Explorer, listed under the Credit Cards With No Foreign Transaction Fee, but while you might expect that of an international airline card… I can assure you they’ll dock you 3% of every dollar you spend overseas.

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

      Hi Sunu,

      As of June 1st, 2013, the Chase United MileagePlus Explorer has no foreign transaction fee.

      Thanks for reading!
      -The Nerds

      • Annie

        Sunu – what do you mean, “they’ll dock you”? I have the same chase card and am traveling to Europe in 2 weeks and was planning on using that card…but if the exchange rate is really bad, I should use something else.

        NerdWallet – I also have an American Express Business Platinum card and a Capital One Business Platinum…are those cards any better?

  • Josh

    hi Nerdwallet team, I’m a US citizen living in australia for the next 3 years. When applying for a AUS credit card, i would like to know upfront which card issuer banks don’t charge foreign transaction fees please? Thanks, Josh.

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

      Hi Josh,

      Capital One is probably your best bet. Discover also waives foreign transaction fees on all their cards, but its international acceptance is limited and isn’t taken in Australia.

      • Josh

        Thanks! Out of curiosity, which issuing banks in other countries do apply these foreign transaction fees even when in own currency? This looks like a massive money maker for doing nothing ;-)

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

          Hi Josh, I’m not sure I understand your question – are you wondering if, say, a bank based in Ireland would charge you for using US dollars?

          • Josh

            Hi, sorry for my unclearity.
            Is there any other issuing bank from other countries than US charging a foreign transaction fee? As far as I know this foreign transaction fee is only imposed by US issuing banks.

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

            Hi Josh – I know that many British banks charge an exchange rate fee, so I don’t think it’s just the US. Hope this helps!

  • algojo

    FYI, even tho Discover doesn’t charge foreign transaction fee, its exchange rate sucks!!! On a same day with a few hours apart when Peruvian Nuevo Soles was ~2.78 / USD. Discover gave me the rate of 2.32, while Capital One gave me 2.78. So stick with Capital One.

    • Jolyn Leung

      is ur capital one card a MC or visa?

  • Henry Clark

    I have a Citi bank for oversees and keep the amount they wanted but I still get charged. They say they don’t do it in Brazil what card could I get to use here

  • DavidL5507

    Please consider the way that the credit card company processes your foreign currency conversion/transaction, then adds on the fees mentioned above. Visa allows each bank to determine its own exchange rate for each country. So with Visa Cards, you will see a wide variation of currency exchange rates from each bank that issues Visa Branded Cards, i.e.. Capital One, Chase, and Bank of America all issue Visa Branded Cards. On the same date, each will have a different spread on a given foreign currency and then add the transaction fee. Mastercard does it differently. MC determines their foreign exchange rate for a given currency on a transaction date and then the issuing banks add on their foreign transaction fee. My experience is that the MC rate is much closer to mid market than any rate from any Visa Card. The difference may be quite significant. When I travel outside the U.S., I use the Capital One Mastercard. This has been the lowest cost card for me. I am not paid nor affliated with Capital One.

    Also, please be aware of one other item when travelling internationally and using your credit cards. The local banks that process your transaction in that foreign country are trying to gouge you. Sometimes, they will do the foreign currency conversion on your receipt and bill you in USD. Stop them. Insist on being billed in their local currency. They are gouging you on that conversion. Tell the merchant to run your credit card transaction in their local currency or pay with cash. Hotels are notorious for this. About ten years ago, a hotel quoted me a room rate in USD, then converted to local currency and then expected to have my credit card convert back to USD. I think that I just paid them in USD cash.

    I realize that this may be long for a post, however, I hope that you find value in this post and take advantage of my knowledge in your travels.

  • Karen Travers

    Hi,
    I need clarification on your “Foreign Transaction Fee Survey Results”. In the last column titled “actual charge for” is that amount determined by adding the FX fee PLUS the amount of the purchase? Thanks!

  • MichaelRC

    Might also wanna check out the rewards calculator at CredìtCardTuneUp. com to see which of these cards with no foreign transaction fee will pay you the most rewards for your expenses abroad.

    It calculates the best card combos for you too.

  • 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?