Skip to Main Content

Best no-foreign-transaction-fee credit cards of January 2023

Updated February 02, 2023

Foreign transaction fees are just one of a number of unnecessary charges travelers and online shoppers are likely to come across. This surcharge can add up to 3 percent to the costs when making international purchases or withdrawing funds from a foreign ATM. Here’s what you need to know about our best credit cards for no foreign transaction fees and some tips on how to avoid other unnecessary fees when making international purchases.

Image of Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card

Best for cash back on international purchases

Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card

Apply now Lock
On Capital One's secure site
Rating: 3.8 stars out of 5
3.8 Bankrate review
Info

Intro offer

$200
Info

Annual fee

$0

Regular APR

19.24% - 29.24% (Variable)

Recommended credit

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info
Image of Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Best for redemption flexibility

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Apply now Lock
On Chase's secure site
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
5.0 Bankrate review
Info

Intro offer

60,000 points
Info

Annual fee

$95

Regular APR

20.24% - 27.24% Variable

Recommended credit

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info
Image of Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

BEST FOR PREMIUM TRAVEL BENEFITS

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

Apply now Lock
On Capital One's secure site
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
5.0 Bankrate review
Info

Intro offer

75,000 miles
Info

Annual fee

$395

Regular APR

21.24% - 28.24% (Variable)

Recommended credit

Excellent (740 – 850)
Info
Image of Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Apply now Lock
On Bank of America's secure site
Rating: 4.1 stars out of 5
4.1 Bankrate review
Info

Intro offer

25,000 points
Info

Annual fee

$0

Regular APR

18.24% - 28.24% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers

Recommended credit

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info
Image of Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card

Best for foreign travel beginners

Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card

Apply now Lock
On Capital One's secure site
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
4.5 Bankrate review
Info

Intro offer

20,000 miles
Info

Annual fee

$0

Regular APR

19.24% - 29.24% (Variable)

Recommended credit

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info
Image of Discover it® Cash Back

Best for customer service

Discover it® Cash Back

Apply now Lock
On Discover's secure site
Rating: 4.4 stars out of 5
4.4 Bankrate review
Info
See Rates & Fees

Intro offer

Cashback Match™
Info

Annual fee

$0

Regular APR

16.24% - 27.24% Variable APR

Recommended credit

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info
Image of Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Apply now Lock
On Capital One's secure site
Rating: 4.9 stars out of 5
4.9 Bankrate review
Info

Intro offer

75,000 miles
Info

Annual fee

$95

Regular APR

20.24% - 28.24% (Variable)

Recommended credit

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info
Image of American Express® Gold Card

Best for international dining

American Express® Gold Card

Apply now Lock
On American Express's secure site
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
5.0 Bankrate review
Info
See Rates & Fees , Terms Apply
See if you're pre‐approved for this card with Approval Odds

Intro offer

60,000 points
Info

Annual fee

$250

Regular APR

20.49% - 27.49% Variable

Recommended credit

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info
Image of Discover it® Student Cash Back

Best student cash back card

Discover it® Student Cash Back

Apply now Lock
On Discover's secure site
Rating: 4.3 stars out of 5
4.3 Bankrate review
Info
See Rates & Fees

Intro offer

Cashback Match™
Info

Annual fee

$0

Regular APR

17.24% - 26.24% Variable APR

Recommended credit

No Credit History
Info
Image of Discover it® Miles

Best for first-year miles bonus

Discover it® Miles

Apply now Lock
On Discover's secure site
Rating: 3.9 stars out of 5
3.9 Bankrate review
Info
See Rates & Fees

Intro offer

Discover Match®
Info

Annual fee

$0

Regular APR

16.24% - 27.24% Variable APR

Recommended credit

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info
Image of Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Best for luxury card perks

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Apply now Lock
On Chase's secure site
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
5.0 Bankrate review
Info

Intro offer

60,000 points
Info

Annual fee

$550

Regular APR

21.24% - 28.24% Variable

Recommended credit

Excellent (740 – 850)
Info

Compare Bankrate’s top no-foreign-transaction-fee credit cards

Card name Annual fee Best for Bankrate review score
Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card $0 Cash back on international purchases 3.8 / 5
(Read full card review)
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card $95 Redemption flexibility 5.0 / 5
(Read full card review)
Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card $395 Premium travel benefits 5.0 / 5
(Read full card review)
Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card $0 No annual fee 4.1 / 5
(Read full card review)
Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card $0 Foreign travel beginners 4.5 / 5
(Read full card review)
Discover it Cash Back $0 Customer service 4.4 / 5
(Read full card review)
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card $95 Travel rewards 4.9 / 5
(Read full card review)
American Express Gold Card $250 International dining 5.0 / 5
(Read full card review)
Discover it Student Cash Back $0 Student cash back card 4.3 / 5
(Read full card review)
Discover it Miles $0 First-year miles bonus 3.9 / 5
(Read full card review)
Chase Sapphire Reserve $550 Luxury perks 5.0 / 5
(Read full card review)

A closer look at Bankrate's top no-foreign-transaction-fee credit cards

Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card: Best for cash back on international purchases

  • What we love about the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards card: You can automatically redeem your cash back earnings, making this one of the most streamlined rewards experiences out there.
  • Who this card is good for: Simplicity lovers and credit card beginners, as this card provides a simple solid rewards structure for no annual fee.
  • Alternatives: If you’re looking to maximize cash back earnings in multiple categories or have a higher rewards rate, we would suggest the Discover it Cash Back card.

Read our Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card review.
Jump back to offer details.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card: Best for redemption flexibility

  • What we love about the Chase Sapphire Preferred card: The Chase Sapphire Preferred’s sign-up bonus is a steal, competing with bonuses offered by luxury cards with much higher annual fees. You can also enjoy ongoing elite value at a budget price with its robust travel protections and 25 percent redemption boost toward Ultimate Rewards travel.
  • Who this card is good for: Occasional travelers seeking flexibility, as points transfer at a 1:1 ratio when booking hotels and airlines with Chase’s extensive list of travel partners.
  • Alternatives: Travelers looking for luxury perks such as airport lounge access or free checked bags may prefer the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card or the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card.

Read our Chase Sapphire Preferred Card review.
Jump back to offer details.

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card: Best for premium travel benefits

  • What we love about the Capital One Venture X Rewards card: It strikes a unique balance between premium and mid-tier travel card features. You’ll still get plenty of top-of-the-line travel benefits without having to pay extra for niche perks that you may not use often.
  • Who this card is good for: Frequent travelers who want to cash in on essential travel benefits but don’t need elite cards’ bloated features and annual fees over $500.
  • Alternatives: If you’re looking for travel that rewards your particular travel habits, there are cards with more brand-specific perks on things like booking with certain airlines or hotels, such as the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card.

Read our full Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card review.
Jump back to offer details.

Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card: Best for no annual fee

  • What we love about the Bank of America Travel Rewards card: If you book travel through Bank of America Travel Center, you can earn an additional 1.5 points per dollar for a total of 3 points per dollar spent on airfare, hotels and rental cars. Plus, purchases made at campgrounds, zoos, art galleries, aquariums and more can be redeemed for travel statement credits.
  • Who this card is good for: People looking for travel rewards in solid spending categories and nonrestrictive redemption options.
  • Alternatives: This credit card lacks premium perks like airport lounge access that many luxury travelers are looking for, so a traveler searching for premium rewards and perks might find a card like The Platinum Card from American Express to be a better fit.

Read our Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card review.
Jump back to offer details.

Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card: Best for foreign travel beginners

  • What we love about the Capital One VentureOne Rewards card: Capital One lets you redeem miles as statement credits to cover travel purchases made in the previous 90 days. This feature gives you extra flexibility to hunt for deals on third-party sites or book travel before you’ve earned all the miles you’d need to book through the portal.
  • Who this card is good for: Someone who only travels occasionally but wants to earn miles on everyday purchases, as cardholders will earn a respectable 1.25X miles on all purchases.
  • Alternatives: While this is a great card for someone who doesn’t want to worry about offsetting the cost of an annual fee, travel rewards maximizers who travel often are likely better off with a more premium card such as the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® card.

Read our Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card review.
Jump back to offer details.

Discover it Cash Back: Best for rotating cash back categories

  • What we love about the Discover it Cash Back card: This card’s terrific category variety, rock-bottom rates and fees, first-year Cashback Match™and bonus category calendar announced for the full year give it an exclusive edge.
  • Who this card is good for: People who enjoy bonus category variety to cover popular seasonal expenses or already have a card that rewards staple categories year-round, like purchases on groceries.
  • Alternatives: The Discover it rewards program requires that cardholders activate a bonus category each quarter, track their spending and potentially change how they spend to maximize rewards, so the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card may be more suitable if you’re looking for a more low-maintenance rewards strategy.

Read our Discover it Cash Back review.
Jump back to offer details.

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card: Best for travel rewards

  • What we love about the Capital One Venture Rewards card: You can earn unlimited 2X miles on all purchases, which can be very lucrative even without a jet-setting lifestyle since your everyday purchases rack up as many bonus miles as your travel purchases.
  • Who this card is good for: Occasional travelers in search of a high rewards rate and generous sign-up bonus (you’ll rack up unlimited 2X miles toward your next trip on all eligible purchases, plus 5X miles on hotels and rental cars through Capital One Travel for the road; you can also earn 75,000 bonus miles if you spend $4,000 within the first three months).
  • Alternatives: If you exclusively fly one airline or stay at one hotel chain, you’re probably better off with a co-branded card — and if you don’t like annual fees, consider this card’s low-cost alternative, the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Card.

Read our Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card review.
Jump back to offer details.

American Express Gold Card: Best for international dining

  • What we love about the American Express Gold card: Although a few cards reward dining both at home and in restaurants, this card’s generous annual foodie-related credits are harder to come by.
  • Who this card is good for: Foodies who want to earn travel rewards on their meals at home and abroad (you’ll earn boosted points on dining at restaurants, Uber Eats and U.S. supermarkets).
  • Alternatives: For travelers seeking premium travel perks like airport lounge access, you’d be better off with the Chase Sapphire Reserve, as it comes with some of the highest rewards for travel and dining compared to other luxury travel cards.

Read our American Express Gold Card review.
Jump back to offer details.

Discover it Student Cash Back: Best student cash back card

  • What we love about the Discover it Student Cash Back card: The Cashback Match is an unlimited dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year. Unlike a sign-up bonus, there’s no spending minimum, so there’s less pressure to overspend.
  • Who this card is good for: Students with a limited credit history ready to dive into the world of credit card rewards. Along with a generous cash back program, this card boasts Discover’s acclaimed customer service and minimal fees, making it an ideal starter pick for credit newbies.
  • Alternatives: If you don't want to activate the card's rotating bonus categories each quarter, the Discover it® Student chrome, which has a more simplified rewards program, is a better alternative.

Read our Discover it Student Cash Back review.
Jump back to offer details.

Discover it Miles: Best for first-year miles bonus

  • What we love about the Discover it Miles card: Discover will automatically match all miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year, which could prove even more valuable than a traditional sign-up bonus. It’s also one of the few travel cards to let you redeem miles for cash back without sacrificing rewards value.
  • Who this card is good for: Occasional travelers looking for a simple rewards program and flexible redemption options.
  • Alternatives: If you’re looking for travel perks or the ability to transfer miles to airline or hotel loyalty programs, cards like the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card or the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card may be better suited for your needs.

Read our Discover it Miles review.
Jump back to offer details.

Chase Sapphire Reserve: Best for luxury card perks

  • What we love about the Chase Sapphire Reserve card: The Chase Sapphire Reserve comes with a $300 annual travel credit, which is much more flexible than many of the credits you’ll find on competing cards. Your points are also worth 50 percent more when you redeem for travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal.
  • Who this card is good for: Frequent travelers looking to capitalize on travel and dining purchases.
  • Alternatives: If you only travel occasionally, aren’t comfortable with a hefty annual fee or you’re not sure you’d get $550 of value out of this card each year, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a better choice.

Read our Chase Sapphire Reserve review.
Jump back to offer details.


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 the credit card issuer pays various costs associated with currency conversion, including transferring money through a foreign bank and more.

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

Currency conversion vs. foreign transaction fees: What’s the difference?

If you're traveling abroad, you may see a dynamic currency conversion (DCC) option on your credit card statement. Currency conversion converts an overseas credit card transaction into your home currency. Merchants market DCCs as a convenient way to help travelers understand the cost of a foreign purchase in real-time. 

For example, if you were to spend €450 on a purchase overseas, merchants can automatically display that price as $478.08 with DCC (not including the possible conversion fee).

However, DCCs are optional, and you should typically decline them. They won’t help you avoid foreign transaction fees and may even come with a conversion fee that can be as high as 7 percent to 8 percent of the purchase price. As a result, if you are charged both a foreign transaction fee and a currency translation fee on purchases, your debt can undoubtedly skyrocket.

How much are foreign transaction fees?

Depending on the issuer and card, a foreign transaction fee typically ranges from 1 percent to 3 percent, but it can go as high as 5 percent. Here’s what that might look like:

Foreign purchase in dollars +3% foreign transaction fee +5% foreign transaction fee
$50 $50.50 $51.50
$100 $101 $103
$500 $505 $515

On its own, one or two foreign transaction fees may seem reasonable, but the more you spend, the more those fees start to add up. To make matters worse, you may also have to deal with other common credit card fees that can erode your purchasing power. When traveling overseas or shopping with international vendors, watch out for other common fees, including cash advance fees, ATM fees and conversion fees.

Lightbulb

Bankrate Insight

It’s a common misconception that paying in U.S. cash is a way to get out of paying a foreign transaction fee. It isn’t, and paying in U.S. dollars will more than likely cost you more because the price will include a currency conversion fee.

Why do banks charge a foreign transaction fee?

Overseas transactions are a bit more complex than standard transactions as they require banks to convert the money spent into U.S. dollars. Foreign transaction fees are essentially a charge for this service. The total fee you pay often involves adding the charge from the issuing bank and the processing fee from the payment network (like Visa or Mastercard). However, Capital One and Discover do not charge foreign transaction fees on any of their credit cards.

Foreign transaction fees are becoming less common, particularly among premium or travel credit cards, due to automation improvements in the global banking system. However, many cards still impose the charge.

When can banks apply foreign transaction fees?

It can be hard to avoid foreign transaction fees when making purchases abroad. Unless you pay with a credit card that waives this fee, you’ll likely be charged a foreign transaction fee for:

  • Hotel bookings: While it largely depends on the location of the hotel and the specific travel provider, you may be charged a foreign transaction fee when you book a stay in another country.
  • Online purchases: If you purchase something from a seller based outside the U.S. and your transaction is processed abroad, you may be charged a foreign transaction fee — even if you’re shopping from the comfort of home.
  • Debit card, charge card or gift card purchases: Unfortunately, you can't escape foreign transaction fees just by using a different type of card. Credit cards, debit cards, charge cards and even prepaid gift cards commonly charge foreign transaction fees.

Who should get a no-foreign-transaction fee credit card?

One less fee to worry about is always a nice thing, but do you really need to prioritize no foreign transaction fees when looking for a credit card? For some people, this feature can save hundreds of dollars.

Depending on your specific needs, we propose the following cards for:

Top credit card issuers' foreign transaction fees

Foreign transaction fees by credit card issuers vary widely. Issuers like Amex and Discover have their own payment networks while other issuers, like Capital One or Chase, use Visa’s or Mastercard’s networks. Also, it’s not unusual for an issuer to charge a foreign transaction fee with some cards but not with others.

Here's a quick look at how the fee structure breaks down among several major credit card issuers:

How to save on credit card fees when traveling abroad

When using your credit card internationally, follow these tips to ensure you’re spending your money wisely and not racking up unnecessary fees.

  • Have a mix of credit cards. The excessive cost of foreign transaction fees can ruin a great experience when traveling abroad. While traveling internationally, you should use at least one credit card that doesn't charge foreign transaction fees if you want to keep these charges to a minimum. Be aware that not every credit card will work in every country, so before you go on your trip, make sure at least a couple of your credit cards use networks available in the places you’ll visit.
  • Avoid cash advance fees. Withdrawing cash from an ATM with your credit card could cost you up to 5 percent of the amount withdrawn with each transaction. On top of that, you’ll also be on the hook for interest charges that are typically higher than the normal interest charges you pay for carrying a balance. Try to avoid having to take out a cash advance by keeping some cash or a debit card on hand for emergencies.
  • Avoid dynamic currency conversion. Overseas merchants may offer to convert your credit card transaction to your local currency using dynamic currency conversion. Dynamic currency conversion almost always costs the consumer more than what the credit card issuer charges and you’ll likely still be charged a foreign exchange fee since a foreign bank will process the transaction. Paying in the local currency will usually be the less expensive option.
  • Exchange currency before you travel. It’s a good idea to have some local currency on hand in case you're shopping somewhere that doesn’t accept credit cards. Before you travel, stop by your local bank and ask to exchange your dollars for your destination’s currency. Your bank will likely charge lower exchange fees than you’ll find at the airport (or none at all).
  • Check if you’re eligible for VAT refunds. VAT or value-added tax is a flat tax levied on purchases. The consumer owes the full amount of the tax to the government at the time of purchase. Some destinations offer visitors a refund on value-added tax for goods or merchandise. Details will vary by country, but typically you’ll need to ask the merchant to help you fill out a tax form and then show that form to customs upon your departure.
  • Have a chip-and-PIN credit card. If it's time for you to get a new card, go for one that has both a chip and a PIN — as it can save you from having to get cash from an ATM when you're visiting another country, and the transaction fee might be less than the foreign exchange fee the bank tacks on to your withdrawal. These cards are also more secure in general if you don’t want to worry about any fraudulent activity like stolen card data or a stolen physical card.
Lightbulb

Bankrate Insight

Due to the impacts of the pandemic, many cardholders requested a fee waiver for items such as annual fees or late payment fees. Of those who asked for a waiver, 82 percent got some form of relief, according to Bankrate’s study.

How we chose our top credit cards with no foreign transaction fees

Bankrate uses a comprehensive system to evaluate credit cards and produce a 5-star score. 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 international purchases.
  • Checkmark
    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.
  • Checkmark
    Rewards value
    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.
  • Checkmark
    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 to consumers.

More information on credit cards with no foreign transaction fees


Have more questions for our credit cards editors? Feel free to send us an email, find us on Facebook, or Tweet us @Bankrate.

Frequently asked questions about no foreign transaction fee credit cards