Best Credit Cards with No Foreign Transaction Fees

International travel can be thrilling, but paying a pesky little fee just to use your credit card in another country is about as unglamorous as it gets. Luckily, many credit cards don’t charge fees for overseas purchases. Check out our top picks for credit cards with no foreign transaction fees from our partners — and bon voyage!

Best No Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Cards

Best for foreign travel beginners

Capital One Image

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

Apply Now On Capital One's secure website

Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

Rewards Rate:
Earn 1.25X miles on every purchase, every day.
Welcome Offer:
20,000 miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
Annual Fee:
$0
Purchase Intro APR:
0% intro on purchases for 12 months
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
N/A
Regular APR:
13.74% - 23.74% (Variable)

Card Details

  • $0 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
  • Earn a bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel
  • Earn 1.25X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Travel when you want with no blackout dates and fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Transfer your miles to over 12 leading travel loyalty programs
  • Enjoy 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months; 13.74% - 23.74% variable APR after that
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Best for overseas shopping

Capital One Image

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

Apply Now On Capital One's secure website

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Rewards Rate:
Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
Welcome Offer:
$150 after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
Annual Fee:
$0
Purchase Intro APR:
0% intro on purchases for 15 months
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
0% intro on balance transfers for 15 months
Regular APR:
15.74% - 25.74% (Variable)

Card Details

  • One-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
  • 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 won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months; 15.74%-25.74% variable APR after that
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months; 15.74%-25.74% variable APR after that; 3% fee on the amounts transferred within the first 15 months
  • Pay no annual fee or foreign transaction fees
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Best for straightforward rewards

Bank of America Image

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

Apply Now On Bank of America's secure website

Bank of America® Travel Rewards Visa® credit card

Rewards Rate:
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
Welcome Offer:
25,000 online bonus points if you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases
Annual Fee:
$0
Purchase Intro APR:
0% Introductory APR on purchases for 12 billing cycles
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
N/A
Regular APR:
16.49% - 24.49% Variable APR on purchases

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
  • 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 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
  • 0% Introductory APR for 12 billing cycles for purchases. After the intro APR ends, 16.49% - 24.49% Variable APR will apply
  • If you’re a Preferred Rewards member, you can earn 25% - 75% more points on every purchase
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Best for 0% intro APR offer

Capital One Image

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

Apply Now On Capital One's secure website

Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Rewards Rate:
Earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining and entertainment Earn 2% at grocery stores Earn 1% on all other purchases
Welcome Offer:
$150 after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
Annual Fee:
$0
Purchase Intro APR:
0% intro on purchases for 15 months
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
0% intro on balance transfers for 15 months
Regular APR:
15.74% - 25.74% (Variable)

Card Details

  • Earn a one-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months; 15.74% - 25.74% variable APR after that
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months; 15.74% - 25.74% variable APR after that; 3% fee on the amounts transferred within the first 15 months
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • No annual fee
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Best for entertainment and dining enthusiasts

Capital One Image

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

Apply Now On Capital One's secure website

Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Rewards Rate:
Earn unlimited 4% cash back on dining and entertainment Earn 2% at grocery stores Earn 1% on all other purchases
Welcome Offer:
$300 after you spend $3000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
Annual Fee:
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Purchase Intro APR:
N/A
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
N/A
Regular APR:
16.24% - 25.24% (Variable)

Card Details

  • Earn a one-time $300 cash bonus after you spend $3000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 4% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases. Plus, earn 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats through May 2020.
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Capital One cardholders get access to premium experiences in dining, entertainment and more
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year, $95 after that
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Best for travel rewards

Capital One Image

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

Apply Now On Capital One's secure website

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Rewards Rate:
Earn 2X miles on every purchase, every day.
Welcome Offer:
50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
Annual Fee:
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Purchase Intro APR:
N/A
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
N/A
Regular APR:
17.49% - 24.74% (Variable)

Card Details

  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel
  • Earn 2X miles on every purchase, every day.
  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime; no blackout dates. Plus transfer your miles to over 12 leading travel loyalty programs
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Named ‘The Best Travel Card' by CNBC, 2018
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Best for first-year miles bonus

Discover Image

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

Apply Now On Discover's secure website

Discover it® Miles

Rewards Rate:
Earn unlimited 1.5x Miles for every dollar spent on all purchases - with no annual fee.
Welcome Offer:
Discover will match all the Miles you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. For example, if you earn 35,000 Miles, you get 70,000 Miles. That's $700 towards travel!
Annual Fee:
$0
Purchase Intro APR:
0% for 14 months
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
10.99% for 14 months
Regular APR:
13.49% - 24.49% Variable

Card Details

  • Unlimited Bonus: Discover will match all the Miles you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. For example, if you earn 35,000 Miles, you get 70,000 Miles. That's $700 towards travel! The more you earn, the more you get.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5x Miles for every dollar spent on all purchases - with no annual fee.
  • No Blackout Dates. Simply pay for travel purchases like airlines, hotels, rental cars, and more with your Discover it® Miles card.
  • Miles Pay You Back. Easily redeem Miles as a statement credit for travel purchases. Or get cash.
  • Freeze your account in seconds with an on/off switch either on the mobile app or website to prevent new purchases, cash advances, and balance transfers.
  • Get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.

Best for redemption flexibility

Chase Image

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

Apply Now On Chase's secure website

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Rewards Rate:
2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases
Welcome Offer:
Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
Annual Fee:
$95
Purchase Intro APR:
N/A
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
N/A
Regular APR:
17.49% - 24.49% Variable

Card Details

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Best for customer satisfaction rating

Discover Image

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

Apply Now On Discover's secure website

Discover it® Cash Back

Rewards Rate:
Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate. Earn 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
Welcome Offer:
Discover will match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.
Annual Fee:
$0
Purchase Intro APR:
0% for 14 months
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
0% for 14 months
Regular APR:
13.49% - 24.49% Variable

Card Details

  • Intro Offer: Discover will match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate.
  • Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
  • Redeem cash back any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • Use your rewards at Amazon.com checkout.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
  • No annual fee.

Author: Barry Bridges | bbridges@bankrate.com


 

Bankrate’s guide to no foreign transaction fee cards

Bankrate research helps you find the credit cards that best fit your needs, but that’s not all. In addition to analyzing the best cards with no foreign transaction fees, we also dig deep into the subject of international travel to reveal information that you can put to use on your next trip — and every trip.

Comparison of best no foreign transaction fee credit cards

Card Name Bankrate Score Best for
Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card 4.1/5 Foreign travel beginners
Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card 4.8/5 Overseas shopping
Bank of America® Travel Rewards Visa® credit card 4.2/5 Straightforward rewards
Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card 4.7/5 0% into APR offer
Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card 4.6/5 Entertainment & dining enthusiasts
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card 4.6/5 Travel rewards
Discover it® Miles 4.7/5 First-year miles bonus
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card 4.7/5 Redemption flexibility
Discover it® Cash Back 4.7/5 Customer satisfaction rating

Methodology

In the case of no-foreign-transaction-fee cards, we’ve emphasized the criteria most relevant to consumers looking to maximize the value of their travels and avoid paying extra for overseas purchases. Our Bankrate Scores for this category are weighted according to several specific factors:

Annual fee: Most cards on our list are free of both annual fees and foreign transaction fees. However, some annual-fee cards offer incentives, like a large welcome or introductory offer, that offset the yearly cost of membership. For this category, we evaluated whether the total value justifies the cost of using the card.

Rewards value: Instead of worrying about hidden fees, we place priority on cards that put money back in your wallet — regardless of whether you’re using it in Tucson or Tuscany. For each card, we’ve evaluated the earnings rate and corresponding redemption value to identify the cards that accomplish more than just offering a line of credit.

Additional perks: Travel perks may not be your main motivation for getting a no-foreign-transaction-fee card, but they often provide additional benefits that increase the card’s total value. Several credit card issuers offer additional features, like travel accident insurance or trip delay insurance, to make their cards more useful (and attractive) to consumers.

A closer look at the best no foreign transaction fee cards

Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

Why you’ll love it

With no foreign transaction fee, Capital One VentureOne offers an economical way for international travel rookies to get their feet wet. The card also makes it easy to earn miles whether you’re staying at an international hotel or making everyday purchases at home. Plus, the 20,000-bonus mile welcome offer (equal to $200 in travel) is easily attainable, with a threshold of $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months.

What you might not love

Other cards in the no-foreign-transaction fee category offer higher rewards rates and richer welcome offers, including big brother Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card. It may have a $95 annual fee (waived the first year), but the Capital One Venture Rewards also delivers 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Plus, it earns higher rewards on all purchases (2 miles per dollar vs. 1.25 miles per dollar.)

The bottom line

The VentureOne card is a great fit for casual international travelers who have little interest in dealing with complex rewards programs geared toward big spenders. The lack of foreign transaction fees only increases its appeal to travelers who put a premium on simplicity and low maintenance.

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Why you’ll love it

Three things make the Capital One Quicksilver a compelling choice for overseas shoppers. First, the unlimited 1.5% cash back rate applies to eligible international purchases just as it does with purchases made stateside. Second, Visa credit cards like this one are among the most widely accepted in the world — more than 200 countries. Third, the lack of foreign transaction fees means you avoid the whole issue of paying for currency conversion.

What you might not love

Many credit cards have more travel-specific rewards programs with higher rewards rates, plus greater value on rewards when you redeem them through the issuer’s travel portal. You’ll even find several on this page’s list of cards that, like the Capital One Quicksilver, don’t charge foreign transaction fees.

The bottom line

Consider making the Quicksilver your designated cash back card for souvenirs, clothing and other retail purchases while pairing it with a second card that earns a higher rewards rate on specific travel, lodging and/or dining purchases. International shoppers could find the combination not just a bargain but potentially quite lucrative.

Bank of America® Travel Rewards Visa® credit card

Why you’ll love it

If you’re a BofA Preferred Rewards member who travels abroad, this card may be one you can bank on. The Preferred Rewards bonus gives the 1.5x rewards rate quite the boost — 25-75 percent, depending on which tier you qualify for. With no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees added to the mix, world travelers who bank and invest with BofA will find a lot to like.

What you might not love

You have to be a Preferred Rewards member to benefit from the bonus at all, and your bonus mileage on every purchase will vary significantly depending on your tier (Gold = 25 percent, Platinum = 50 percent and Platinum Honors = 75 percent). In other words, only a select few will be able to fully maximize the benefits of this particular card.

The bottom line

If you have a Preferred Rewards portfolio, this card provides an easy and convenient way to earn travel rewards. No foreign transaction fees translate to less hassle and less expense for international travelers who bank and invest with BofA.

Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Why you’ll love it

The SavorOne offers many things that international leisure travelers will like (including generous reward rates on dining and entertainment) while sparing them from some of the things that could give them heartburn (such as foreign transaction fees and annual fees). Most of all, the 15-month 0% intro APR offer on purchases (15.74% – 25.74% variable thereafter) creates an opportunity to pay for a big trip over time while avoiding interest charges.

What you might not love

Consider the premier version of this card, the Capital One Savor. You may find yourself debating whether its $95 annual fee (waived the first year) truly justifies opting for the SavorOne despite higher reward rates and a larger welcome offer.

The bottom line

Rewards on dining and entertainment and at grocery stores. No foreign transaction fees. A generous introductory APR offer. It seems like the SavorOne could offer a good fit for budget-conscious foodies who’ve been looking for innovative ways to finance an international vacation.

Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Why you’ll love it

Fans of culinary tourism will find this card plenty tasty. The Capital One Savor Cash Rewards card offers unlimited 4% cash back on dining and entertainment, along with 2% at grocery stores and 1% on everything else. The sign-up bonus of $300 after you spend $3,000 within the first 3 months of opening the card is a sizable and achievable bonus. Having no foreign transaction fee is a nice additional perk to an already long list of attributes. This card could more than pay for itself if you spend substantially on dining and entertainment.

What you may not love

Although the annual fee is waived the first year, you’ll have to pay $95 annually starting in your second year of card ownership. The robust dining and entertainment rewards help offset that cost, but every year after your inaugural season you would effectively be starting $95 in the hole.

The bottom line

The Capital One Savor Cash Rewards is a great fit for a particular kind of international traveler: the foodie who enjoys a side dish of entertainment. If you fit that profile, this card offers a great way to see (and taste) the world without foreign transaction fees.

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Why you’ll love it

The 2X miles reward rate on all purchases is very generous and the travel category is broadly defined by Capital One, which should make this your go-to travel card. Plus, the flexible redemption options, no foreign transaction fees and generous welcome offer help sweeten the deal.

What you might not love

The $95 annual fee (waived the first year) may not suit your tastes. If that is the case consider the VentureOne.

The bottom line

The no foreign transaction fees plus 19,000 hotel locations equals extra appeal for international travelers.

Discover it® Miles

Why you’ll love it

If you can handle some delayed gratification, Discover it Miles could be worth the wait. Discover automatically matches all the miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year. For example, 35,000 Miles would become 70,000 Miles, worth $700 toward travel. In the meantime, you’ll earn unlimited 1.5x miles per $1 on all purchases.

What you might not love

Compared with some of the other travel cards on this list, the 1.5x rewards rate isn’t that competitive. Also, most credit card welcome offers pay off within the first 3 months as long as you meet the spending requirements. If your patience wavers as you wait for the year-end miles match, you could experience some buyer’s remorse. Also, Discover is not as commonly accepted abroad as other networks, such as Visa and Mastercard.

The bottom line

This card is well suited for someone who has a big international trip planned for late 2020 or beyond and won’t mind waiting for the miles match. All in all, Discover it Miles is a low-maintenance travel card that goes easy on the fees, including foreign transaction and annual. Good things can come to those who wait.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Why you’ll love it

A big bonus with bang for the buck — that’s a lot of B’s to describe an A-list card. Even more impressive than the size of the bonus (60,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months) is the value. When you redeem points for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, you get a 25 percent boost in points value. That boost turns 60,000 points into $750 toward travel when you redeem the sign-up bonus. Perhaps more importantly, it also adds 25 percent value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

What you might not love

The annual fee will cost you $95 every year, with no first-year waiver. After riding the initial wave from the sign-up bonus in 2019, you’ll have to rely solely on rewards and perks (including the lack of foreign transaction fees) to offset the cost of the annual fee.

The bottom line

The Chase Sapphire Preferred has a solid all-around rewards game, and the extra redemption value of Chase Ultimate Rewards helps compensate for areas where the card is less flashy than competitors.

Discover it® Cash Back

Why you’ll love it

In addition to charging zero foreign transaction fees, the Discover it Cash Back has other qualities that make it an outstanding international credit card. They include Discover’s top rating for customer satisfaction among U.S. issuers by J.D. Power. Earning 5% cash back in rotating bonus categories when you activate each quarter (up to the quarterly maximum, then 1%) and having Discover match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year also sweeten the deal.

What you might not love

Cards with rotating bonus categories require time and attention to get maximum value. You have to keep track of the categories and activate each quarter. If you’re not prepared to put the work in, consider an alternative that offers a flat rate on general purchases year-round.

The bottom line

If you’re traveling overseas or just making purchases from an international vendor, you could find yourself out of your element. Superior customer support might take on added importance in situations where you need advice or assistance, conceivably giving the Discover it Cash Back and other Discover cards an edge over competitors.

What are foreign transaction fees?

When you use a credit card overseas to buy something in the local currency, your credit card issuer has to convert the money you’ve spent into U.S. dollars to properly bill you. It may seem like any other transaction from your perspective, but behind the scenes the credit card issuer pays various costs associated with currency conversion, transferring money through a foreign bank and so on.

Many issuers offset these costs by charging a foreign transaction fee for every overseas purchase.

The fee usually ranges from 3%-5% of the amount spent on each transaction, which means the cost to you can really add up:

Foreign purchase in dollars +3% foreign transaction fee +5% foreign transaction fee
$50 $51.50 $52.50
$100 $103 $105
$500 $515 $525

Fortunately, a number of credit card issuers have stopped charging foreign transaction fees. The cards profiled on this page offer several examples of issuers banking on the idea that consumers will appreciate issuers absorbing those costs rather than passing them along.

Foreign transaction fees and credit card rewards

Foreign transaction fees don’t apply to rewards spending, since they’re not part of the purchase price. Using the chart above as an example, consider how it would work with a 1 point per dollar credit card charging a 5% foreign transaction fee. A $500 overseas purchase would show up as $525 on your bill, but you’d earn 500 rewards points instead of 525.

In other words, you could:

  • Spend 444 euros (about $500 U.S.) for a hotel on a vacation to Barcelona
  • Owe your credit card issuer $525 for that purchase, counting the foreign transaction fee
  • Earn 500 rewards points, leaving a potential 25 points (5%) on the table

Foreign transaction fees by issuer

Foreign transaction fees among credit card issuers vary according to different factors, including processing fees from payment networks. This chart shows how much several issuers charge for foreign transaction fees (for their cards that have them).

Issuer

Issuer fee

Mastercard/Visa fee

Total

American Express

2.7%

N/A

2.7%

Bank of America

2%

1%

3%

Capital One

None

1%; absorbed by Capital One

0%

Chase

2%

1%

3%

Citi

2%

1%

3%

Discover

None

N/A

0%

Credit cards with no foreign transaction fees (by issuer)

Cards that don’t charge foreign transaction fees include:

American Express

  • American Express® Gold Card
  • The Platinum Card® from American Express
  • Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express
  • Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

Bank of America

  • Bank of America® Travel Rewards Visa® credit card
  • Bank of America® Premium Rewards® Visa® credit card
  • Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card

Capital One

  • Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card
  • Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card
  • Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card
  • Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
  • Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

Chase

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Citi

  • Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®
  • CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®
  • Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®
  • Costco Anywhere Visa® Card By Citi
  • Costco Anywhere Visa® Business Card by Citi

Discover

  • Discover it® Miles
  • Discover it® Cash Back

How to save money while traveling internationally

Avoiding foreign transaction fees should be at the top of your list when looking for a credit card to take with you on an overseas trip. Here’s some advice to help save even more:

  • Use a specialization strategy. If you venture abroad with multiple no-foreign-transaction-fee credit cards, think about using the right card to maximize your rewards. For example: The Capital One Savor has a rewards rate of 4 percent cash back in dining and entertainment. A second, flat-rate card such as the Capital One Quicksilver would earn more than the Savor (1.5 percent cash back vs.1 percent cash back) on other purchases. You could use Savor for dining and entertainment and make Quicksilver your general-purpose card.
  • Know how your rewards programs define “travel” beyond airfare and hotels. Many rewards cards offer bonus points on smaller travel purchases, but issuers have their own definitions of travel. Some issuers put expenses such as rideshares and parking fees in the travel category, while others don’t. Pay attention to the specifics of your rewards program to earn the most points.
  • Book through rewards portals or affiliate sites that add value. If you book a hotel room through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, you may be able to boost your points value by 25%-50% depending on which card you have. With certain cards, American Express offers credits up to $100 at Hotel Collection locations.

Compare different payment options for foreign travel

No single payment option offers an ideal solution for every possible set of circumstances, especially when you’re traveling abroad. Consider the pros and cons of your various options. Depending on your destination and personal preference, you may find that a combination of payment methods proves most useful.

Credit cards

  • Pro: They’re safer than cash or a debit card. With a credit card, you can dispute and resolve fraudulent charges before your statement closes or freeze your card before thieves get a chance to use it.
  • Con: They’re not accepted everywhere, particularly in rural areas.

Debit cards

  • Pro: Convenience is probably their best attribute.
  • Con: Even though they’re safer than cash, they have fewer protections against theft than credit cards — and a worse exchange rate.

Cash

  • Pro: Cash is still king in some settings, including open-air markets where chip readers can be hard to come by.
  • Con: Unlike electronic payment methods, cash is untraceable. If your wallet is stolen, the cash inside is likely gone forever.

Cryptocurrency

  • Pro: It’s very fraud-resistant, since it doesn’t involve giving a merchant access to your full credit line.
  • Con: A number of countries don’t recognize cryptocurrency as a legal medium for transactions. Be sure to do your research ahead of time.

Travelers checks

  • Pro: (Yes, they still exist.) They’re secure, replaceable if lost or stolen and accepted at many places worldwide.
  • Con: They may involve fees and commissions. Also, you may take a hit on the exchange rate.

Which credit cards are best for international travel?

Let’s start with the stipulation that the best international travel cards don’t charge foreign transaction fees. From there, you can narrow your focus to decide which card has the most appeal based on your interests and priorities.

Booking flexibility (no blackout dates)

  • Discover it Miles

Cuisine and culture

  • Capital One Savor
  • Capital One SavorOne
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred

Hotel rewards

  • Capital One Venture
  • Capital One VentureOne

Lucrative signup bonus

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred
  • Discover it Miles

Shopping

  • Capital One Quicksilver

More information on overseas travel and credit cards

If you still need to do some research, check out these resources from Bankrate:


Senior Editor Barry Bridges has been writing about credit cards, personal loans, mortgages and other personal finance products since 2017. Before joining Bankrate, he was an award-winning newspaper journalist in his native North Carolina. Send your questions about credit cards (and fantasy baseball) to bbridges@bankrate.com.

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Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, is accurate as of the publish date. All products or services are presented without warranty. Check the bank’s website for the most current information.