Best No Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Cards of 2018
Make sure you’re not carrying on any extra fees. Lighten your load with these well-traveled options.
Easy travel redemption
This card has long been the champion of flexible travel rewards and has set the standard for a slew of similar cards. Its relatively low annual fee and high flat-rate rewards keep it at the top. It earns 2 miles per $1 spent on all purchases, and miles can be redeemed for 1 cent each as a credit against most travel expenses — including hotel stays and airfare booked through any travel site, as well as timeshares, cab fares and cruises. You can also book travel directly through Capital One. Compared with other travel cards that offer 2%, this one offers the lowest annual fee. It also comes with a generous sign-up bonus.
What really sets this card apart is its enormous sign-up bonus and rewards transfer options. The bonus: Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards® When using the card, you’ll earn 2 points per $1 spent on travel and dining, and 1 point per $1 everywhere else. Points are generally worth 1 cent, but they’re worth 25% more when used to book travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. They can also be transferred at 1:1 rate to several loyalty programs, including Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, and Hyatt hotels. Finally, we should mention that fans of this card love the high-end impression it makes when they pull it out — it’s made of metal, not plastic.
The best cash back cards make rewards easy to redeem, and this card does that better than most: There’s no minimum redemption for cash back. That’s music to a frugal traveler’s ears. This card also comes with an excellent 0% APR period and a fair cash back sign-up bonus: One-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening. You can get your cash back rewards as a check or statement credit. Among cash back cards with no foreign transaction fees, it offers the best rewards and benefits and is widely accepted overseas.
No annual fee
This card gives you many of the perks of a travel card without the price tag: It has an annual fee of $0. It also happens to have one of the broadest definitions of “travel” in the industry. You’ll get 1.5 points per $1 spent on anything. You can redeem travel credit at 1 cent per point to cover travel expenses — not just flights, hotels and other routine expenses, but also the cost of visiting an amusement park, an aquarium or a fortuneteller. The sign-up offer adds 20,000 online bonus points if you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $200 statement credit toward travel purchases. Bank of America® customers with an active checking or savings account can earn 10% more points, and if you maintain high balances in affiliated accounts, you can earn 25% to 75% more through the Preferred Rewards program.
With the chip-and-PIN-enabled Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®, you’ll be able to pay by card just about anywhere abroad — even at parking meters, toll roads and subway kiosks that might not take chip-and-signature cards. Among cards in the U.S. with chip-and-PIN capability, it also boasts the largest sign-up bonus: Enjoy 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days — that's enough to redeem for a $400 travel statement credit toward an eligible travel purchase. You earn 2 miles per dollar spent on all purchases, and get a 5% bonus toward your next redemption when you redeem. Miles can be redeemed as a credit against travel purchases — just book your travel, pay with the card and then claim your credit.
This card pays an outstanding 1.5% cash back on all purchases, making it one of the most valuable cards available for those with average credit. Like other Capital One cards, it doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees or impose redemption minimums. You can redeem cash back in any amount.
The Deserve® Edu Mastercard for Students doesn’t require cardholders to have a co-signer, security deposit or Social Security number. That makes it a little easier to get approved — even for students with limited credit histories. Plus, it comes with a solid 1% back on all purchases and a one-time reimbursement for Amazon Student Prime. The annual fee is $0.
Top credit card 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 don’t charge foreign transaction fees on any of their cards.
|Bank of America®||3%|
|U.S. Bank||3% (2% for transactions in U.S. dollars)|
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 Feb. 8, 2018
To recap our selections...
NerdWallet's Best No Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Cards of 2018
- Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card: Best for easy travel redemption
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: Best for sign-up bonus
- Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card: Best for cash back
- Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card: Best for no annual fee
- Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®: Best for chip-and-pin
- Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card: Best for average credit
- Deserve® Edu Mastercard for Students: Best for students