Best for cash back on international purchases

Apply now
On Capital One's secure site
Terms Apply
Rewards rate
  • 1.5% Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
Intro bonus
$200 
Annual fee
$0
Regular APR
14.99% - 24.99% (Variable)
Recommended credit
Good to Excellent (670 - 850)
Apply now
On Bank of America's secure site
Terms Apply
Rewards rate
  • 1.5X 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.
Intro bonus
25,000 points 
Annual fee
$0
Regular APR
13.99% - 23.99% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers
Recommended credit
Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

Best for redemption flexibility

Apply now
On Chase's secure site
Terms Apply
Rewards rate
  • 5X Earn 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • 3X Earn 3X points on dining.
  • 2X Earn 2X points on all other travel purchases, plus more.
Intro bonus
60,000 points 
Annual fee
$95
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Recommended credit
Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

Best for customer service

Apply now
On Discover's secure site
See Rates & Fees, Terms Apply
Rewards rate
  • 5% Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate.
  • 1% Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
Intro bonus
Cashback Match™ 
Annual fee
$0
Regular APR
11.99% - 22.99% Variable
Recommended credit
Good to Excellent (670 - 850)
Apply now
On Capital One's secure site
Terms Apply
Rewards rate
  • 5X Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get our best prices on thousands of trip options
  • 2X Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day.
Intro bonus
60,000 miles 
Annual fee
$95
Regular APR
15.99% - 23.99% (Variable)
Recommended credit
Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

Best for foreign travel beginners

Apply now
On Capital One's secure site
Terms Apply
Rewards rate
  • 5X Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get our best prices on thousands of trip options
  • 1.25X Earn unlimited 1.25X miles on every purchase, every day.
Intro bonus
20,000 miles 
Annual fee
$0
Regular APR
14.99% - 24.99% (Variable)
Recommended credit
Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

Best for international dining

Apply now
On American Express's secure site
See Rates & Fees, Terms Apply
Rewards rate
  • 4X Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, including takeout and delivery.
  • 4X Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • 3X Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
Intro bonus
60,000 points 
Annual fee
$250
Regular APR
See Pay Over Time APR
Recommended credit
Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

Best for first-year miles bonus

Apply now
On Discover's secure site
See Rates & Fees, Terms Apply
Rewards rate
  • 1.5X Automatically earn unlimited 1.5x Miles on every dollar of every purchase - with no annual fee.
Intro bonus
Discover Match® 
Annual fee
$0
Regular APR
11.99% - 22.99% Variable
Recommended credit
Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

Best for luxury card perks

Apply now
On Chase's secure site
Terms Apply
Rewards rate
  • 10X Earn 10X total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • 5X Earn 5X total points on air travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • 3X Earn 3X points on other travel and dining.
  • 1X Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
Intro bonus
50,000 points 
Annual fee
$550
Regular APR
16.99%-23.99% Variable
Recommended credit
Excellent (740 - 850)

Best student cash back card

Apply now
On Discover's secure site
See Rates & Fees, Terms Apply
Rewards rate
  • 5% Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate.
  • 1% Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
Intro bonus
Cashback Match™ 
Annual fee
$0
Regular APR
12.99% - 21.99% Variable
Recommended credit
No Credit History 

The information about the Costco Anywhere Visa® Business Card by Citi, Costco Anywhere Visa® Card By Citi, Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®, CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®, Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®, Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card, Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card for Students, and Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.

Comparison of best 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 3.2 / 5
(Read full card review)
Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card $0 No annual fee 3.8 / 5
(Read full card review)
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card $95 Redemption flexibility 4.3 / 5
(Read full card review)
Discover it® Cash Back $0 Customer service 4.2 / 5
(Read full card review)
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card $95 Travel rewards 4.3 / 5
(Read full card review)
Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card $0 Foreign travel beginners 3.6 / 5
(Read full card review)
American Express® Gold Card $250 International dining 4.5 / 5
(Read full card review)
Discover it® Miles $0 First-year miles bonus 3.8 / 5
(Read full card review)
Chase Sapphire Reserve® $550 Luxury perks 4.5 / 5
(Read full card review)
Discover it® Student Cash Back $0 Student cash back card 4.1 / 5
(Read full card review)
Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card for Students $0 Studying abroad 3.4 / 5
(Read full card review)

A closer look at the top no foreign transaction fee credit cards

Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card

Best for cash back on international purchases

  • This card is a good fit for: Credit card beginners seeking a simple, no annual fee card that earns rewards.
  • This card is not a great choice for: Cash back maximizers whose spending skews toward a few particular categories.
  • What makes this card unique? The Quicksilver offers some travel protections, including travel accident insurance and 24-hour travel assistance services, which is notable for a no annual fee card.
  • Is the Capital One Quicksilver worth it? Earning unlimited 1.5 percent cash back on all of your purchases without paying an annual fee makes this card worthwhile for nearly anyone. The uncomplicated rewards structure is especially well-suited to simplicity lovers and credit card beginners.

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

Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card

Best for no annual fee

  • This card is a good fit for: Someone looking for a travel card with nonrestrictive redemption options.
  • This card is not a great choice for: Travelers seeking premium perks or boosted rewards rates in particular categories.
  • What makes this card unique? Bank of America has a pretty broad definition of “travel purchases,” compared to similar cards. Purchases at campgrounds, zoos, art galleries, aquariums, and more can be redeemed for travel statement credits.
  • Is the Bank of America Travel Rewards card worth it? The rewards rate is alright, but you can find better if you’re willing to pay an annual fee. Also keep in mind that the rewards rate jumps from 1.5 points per dollar spent to 3 points per dollar when you use this card to book airfare, hotels or rental cars through the Bank of America Travel Center.

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

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Best for redemption flexibility

  • This card is a good fit for: Occasional to frequent travelers who want flexible redemption options.
  • This card is not a great choice for: Travelers looking for luxury perks, such as airport lounge access or free checked bags.
  • What makes this card unique? The Chase Sapphire Preferred’s sign-up bonus is a steal, competing with bonuses offered by luxury cards with much pricier annual fees. You earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening (worth $750 when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards).
  • Is the Chase Sapphire Preferred worth it? While the rewards rate is good, the real value stems from the variety of redemption options. Chase’s airline and hotel transfer partner list is impressive, and so is the fact that you can transfer your points to any of their partners at a 1:1 ratio. But if you really want to squeeze the most value from your points, redeeming for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards will earn you a 25 percent boost in value. Overall, Chase offers plenty of ways to make this card worthwhile.

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

Discover it® Cash Back

Best for rotating cash back categories

  • This card is a good fit for: Those who enjoy variety or already have a card that rewards the basics.
  • This card is not a great choice for: Someone looking for a low-maintenance rewards strategy.
  • What makes this card unique? This card offers 5 percent cash back (activation required) on up to $1,500 spent in quarterly-rotating cash back categories, then 1 percent.
  • Is the Discover it Cash Back worth it? If you meet the $1,500 spending limit for the 5 percent rate each quarter (activation required, 1 percent after meeting the spending cap), you’ll earn $75 per quarter or $300 annually. As an added bonus, Discover will automatically match all of the cash back you earn at the end of your first year. On the negative side, this isn’t a “set and forget” card. You have to remember to activate the rotating bonus categories each quarter, which may detract from the card’s value for some.

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

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Best for travel rewards

  • This card is a good fit for: Those looking to earn travel rewards on all eligible purchases.
  • This card is not a great choice for: Brand loyalists — If you exclusively fly one airline or stay at one hotel chain, you’re probably better off with their cobranded card.
  • What makes this card unique? A flat, 2X miles on all purchases can be very lucrative, especially because the 2X rate is unlimited. So even if you don’t live a jet-setting lifestyle, your mundane purchases count toward your travel rewards fund just as much as your travel purchases do.
  • Is the Capital One Venture worth it? The $95 fee is pretty standard for a travel rewards card, and the ability to earn miles on all purchases makes it easy to make up that cost and more in rewards. Plus, Capital One miles are pretty flexible. But if you’re fee-averse, consider this card’s little sister, the Capital OneVentureOne Rewards Credit Card.

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

Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card

Best for foreign travel beginners

  • This card is a good fit for: Someone who only travels occasionally and wants to earn miles on everyday purchases.
  • This card is not a great choice for: Travel rewards maximizers. While this is a great card for someone who doesn’t want to worry about offsetting the cost of an annual fee, those who travel often are likely better off with a more premium card.
  • What makes this card unique? A lot of travel rewards cards require you to redeem your rewards through the issuer’s portal, which can limit your options. With the VentureOne, you have the option to redeem your miles as a statement credit to cover travel purchases made on your card within the last 90 days. So whether the best deal is through Capital One, directly with the airline or hotel, or with a third-party site, you can use your rewards to cover the cost.
  • Is the Capital One VentureOne worth it? It’s not a premium travel card, but it’s a good option for an occasional or frugal traveler looking for a flexible travel rewards card.

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

American Express® Gold Card

Best for international dining

  • This card is a good fit 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 at U.S. supermarkets.
  • This card is not a great choice for: Travelers seeking premium perks like airport lounge access.
  • What makes this card unique?: Rewards cards often make you choose between dining at restaurants and cooking at home. It’s rare to find a card that rewards restaurant dining and purchases at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Is the American Express® Gold Card worth it?: The $250 annual fee is more than what a typical travel rewards card charges, but the yearly credits may justify it. The annual dining and Uber credits alone can be worth enough to pay for the annual fee and then some. Plus, the high rewards rate on both travel and U.S. supermarket purchases makes it easy to accrue a hearty stash of points.

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

Discover it® Miles

Best for first-year miles bonus

  • This card is a good fit for: Travelers looking for a simple earning system and flexible redemption options.
  • This card is not a great choice for: Someone looking for travel perks or the ability to transfer miles to airline or hotel loyalty programs. Also, keep in mind that Discover is less accepted overseas than Visa or Mastercard.
  • What makes this card unique? Discover will automatically match all miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year. It’s like a delayed sign-up bonus, which can be a nice rewards boost after you’ve already accrued a year’s worth of miles.
  • Is the Discover it Miles worth it? If you want to earn travel rewards but are hesitant to jump into a confusing rewards program, the Discover it Miles could be a good fit. You earn rewards at a flat, unlimited rate and can redeem them for statement credits to cover travel purchases. Plus, there’s no annual fee. Travel credit cards don’t get much simpler than that.

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

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Best for luxury card perks

  • This card is a good fit for: Frequent travelers looking to capitalize on travel and dining purchases.
  • This card is not a great choice for: Those who only travel occasionally or aren’t comfortable with a hefty annual fee. If you’re not sure you’d get $550 of value out of this card each year, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a better choice.
  • What makes this card unique?: The Chase Sapphire Reserve comes with a $300 annual travel credit, which is automatically applied to your account when you make travel purchases. The Reserve’s credit is much more flexible than the similar credit offered by The Platinum Card® from American Express, which requires you to commit to using your credit with a specific travel provider at the start of the year.
  • Is the Chase Sapphire Reserve® worth it?: Travel rewards beginners and infrequent travelers might find it tough to get more than $550 of value out of this card each year. But if you make use of the credits and additional perks, the Sapphire Reserve is easily worth it. For example, the Priority Pass™ Select membership that comes with the card can’t be purchased on its own, but the comparable “Prestige” membership costs $429 per year. Then there’s the $300 annual travel credit. Between those two perks alone, the card could pay for itself before you even factor in rewards earnings.

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

Discover it® Student Cash Back

Best student cash back card

  • This card is a good fit for: People with no credit history looking to earn cash back.
  • This card is not a great choice for: Those who may forget to activate the card’s rotating bonus categories each quarter.
  • What makes this card unique? Discover offers an interesting perk that’s similar to a sign-up bonus, but perhaps better-suited for credit newcomers. 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.
  • Is the Discover it Student worth it? The rewards card market is slim for people with no credit history, which is why this card’s rotating 5 percent cash back categories (on up to $1,500 each quarter you activate, then 1 percent) are so impressive.

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

Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card for Students

Best for studying abroad

  • This card is a good fit for: Students who want to earn travel rewards on all purchases.
  • This card is not a great choice for: Those who want to redeem for cash back. You’ll get the best rewards value when you redeem for travel statement credits.
  • What makes this card unique? Bank of America offers a special deal to clients who already have an eligible Bank of America account with a qualifying balance. Preferred Rewards members get 25 percent to 75 percent more points for their purchases.
  • Is the Bank of America Travel Rewards for Students worth it? A flat rate of 1.5 points on all purchases is competitive for a student card. And it’s great that you can use this card for everyday essentials, like groceries or school supplies, and then put the rewards toward a getaway. No annual fee and no foreign transaction fee make this card an even more sensible option for the student with wanderlust.

Read our Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card for Students review.


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.

Bankrate insight
Capital One and Discover do not charge foreign transaction fees on any of their credit cards.

The fee usually ranges from 3% to 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
Bankrate insight
It’s a common misconception that paying in U.S. dollars is a way to get out of paying a foreign transaction fee. It isn’t, and paying in U.S. dollars will actually cost you more most of the time 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 that you pay often involves adding the charge from the issuing bank and the processing fee from the payment network (like Visa or Mastercard).

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.

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.

International travelers

The most obvious set of people who should look for a no foreign transaction fee card are those who travel outside of the U.S. often. Being charged a foreign transaction fee on every swipe can amount to hundreds of dollars over the course of a year for a frequent traveler.

Online shoppers

Unfortunately, you can get burned by foreign transaction fees without ever leaving your couch. If you make an online purchase from a non-U.S. merchant, you’ll be charged a foreign transaction fee because the money is still passing through a foreign bank.

Students

Even if you aren’t currently traveling, it’s smart to plan ahead. If you’re a student planning to study abroad or do some post-graduate traveling, a credit card with no foreign transaction fees should be in your wallet.

How to choose a card with no foreign transaction fee

As you search for a card to use for your upcoming international trip, it’s important to fully understand foreign transaction fees, how they work and how you can avoid them. Here are a few things to think about when searching for a card with no foreign transaction fee:

What base rewards come with the card?

If you are looking to get rewarded for how you spend in addition to skipping out on foreign transaction fees, it may be best to look into cards that offer significant rewards that match your spending habits. In addition to travel cards offering points or miles, there are some no foreign transaction fee cards that offer cash back rewards on popular spending categories. No matter what card type you’re considering, be sure to choose a card that rewards the types of purchases you’re already making.

What other travel-related perks are available?

If you are in the market for a travel credit card, make sure you compare the full suite of benefits each one is offering. In addition to base rewards and no foreign transaction fees, top-tier travel credit cards commonly offer trip cancellation insurance, supplemental auto insurance, free checked bags, free amenities, like Wi-Fi or complimentary breakfast, airport lounge access and other notable travel benefits and coverages.

Is there an annual fee?

Annual fees are common among mid-tier and premium travel credit cards, which frequently skip foreign transaction fees. When determining whether to get a card with an annual fee, it’s important to weigh whether that fee can be offset or recouped with reward earnings, added benefits and perks, or if you can just generally shoulder the added cost. Luckily, there are many cards on the market that have no annual fee and no foreign transaction fee. Keep in mind that you may find some cards that do have an annual fee worth it when it comes to accessing more high-end rewards. Be sure to evaluate your own spending habits and budget needs when considering a card with an annual fee.

What other fees should I know about?

Some cards that skip foreign transaction fees also offer other consumer-friendly terms. Others tout no foreign transaction fees as one of many travel perks. In either case, it’s important to know what fees you might incur (and how much you’ll be charged) while comparing options. Common credit card fees include annual fees, late fees (usually around $40 for each missed payment), balance transfer fees (usually 3 percent to 5 percent of the amount you’re transferring), cash advance fees and returned payment fees.

What is the card’s APR?

The annual percentage rate (APR) or interest rate on a card is a key facet to consider when picking a card with no foreign transaction fee. Some rewards credit cards have APRs that are usually on the higher end of average, which can mean a lot when it comes to carrying a balance on the card and what purchases you make abroad. Be sure to know what you’ll be charged if you can’t pay your bills off in full each month.

Foreign transaction fees and credit card issuers

Foreign transaction fees by credit card issuers vary according to different factors, including processing fees. Mastercard and Visa are payment networks, while American Express and Discover are credit card issuers that also have their own payment 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:

American Express

The foreign transaction fee is 2.7%. American Express operates its own payment network, so a network processing fee doesn’t apply. American Express cards that don’t charge foreign transaction fees include:

Bank of America

The foreign transaction fee is 3% (2% by Bank of America, 1% network processing). Bank of America cards that don’t charge foreign transaction fees include:

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

    Capital One

    The foreign transaction fee is 0% — Capital One doesn’t charge the fee and absorbs the 1% network processing fee. Capital One’s no-foreign-transaction-fee cards include:

    Chase

    The foreign transaction fee is 3% (2% by Chase, 1% network processing). Chase cards that don’t charge foreign transaction fees include:

    Citi

    The foreign transaction fee is 3% (2% by Citi, 1% network processing). Citi cards that don’t charge foreign transaction fees include:

    Discover

    The foreign transaction fee is 0% — Discover doesn’t charge the fee and operates its own payment network, so networking processing fees don’t apply. Note: Discover cards are not as widely accepted internationally as cards in the Visa, Mastercard and American Express networks. Discover’s no-foreign-transaction-fee cards include:

    Preparing to use a credit card internationally

    Money talks, but your money needs a translator when it goes overseas. Here’s a list of tips and facts about using a credit card in a different country.

    Contact your bank before you go

    Banks will often freeze an account on suspicion of fraud if they detect unusual activity, such as a purchase being made thousands of miles from the cardholder’s address. You might be able to notify your bank through your mobile app, or you can simply call.

    Check the payment network coverage

    Some regions don’t accept certain credit card networks. Visa and Mastercard payment networks are usually your safest bets but are still not accepted in many parts of Asia. Since acceptance varies even between different regions of the same country, it’s best to contact your credit card issuer about network coverage. When it’s time to travel, you can take credit cards from at least two different networks and always have cash on hand.

    Take your chip and PIN credit card

    Chip and PIN cards were first introduced in Europe, and many other regions of the world have embraced the technology. While magnetic stripe “swipe” cards might still work in some of these countries, using them may slow down the purchase or cause confusion. If you don’t have a chip and PIN or contactless card, you can usually swap out your magnetic stripe card by calling your credit card issuer.

    Credit is the safe way to pay

    If your credit card is lost or stolen, the maximum amount of fraudulent purchases you can be liable for is $50, thanks to the Fair Credit Billing Act. With debit cards, you can be liable for $500 or more, depending on how long it takes you to report the fraud. Cash, while convenient, is easy to misplace and there’s little you can do to replace it if it’s lost or stolen.

    Paying in U.S. dollars could cost you more

    Merchants may ask you whether you’d like to pay in U.S. dollars instead of the local currency. This option requires dynamic currency conversion, and while it may seem appealing to know how much you’re spending upfront, it’s almost always a bad idea. With dynamic currency conversion, you pay a currency conversion fee upfront and banks may still charge foreign transaction fees if the purchase is processed by a foreign bank. Avoid the hassle and fees by paying in local currency with a no foreign transaction fee credit card card.

    How to save money on future international travel

    Avoiding foreign transaction fees should be at the top of your list when looking for a credit card to take with you on your future 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 on 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 the value of your points by 25%-50% depending on which card you have. With certain cards, American Express offers credits up to $100 at Hotel Collection locations.
    • Avoid ATM fees by researching your bank’s network of international ATMs ahead of time. While international ATM fees may be unavoidable with some issuers, others, like Bank of America, provide a list of international partner ATMs where you can withdraw cash without BofA fees.
    • Know what kind of handy travel perks your credit card provides, such as car rental insurance, lost luggage insurance or a TSA PreCheck credit. Whether it’s a card you already have or it’s a card you’re hoping to acquire before your travels, make sure you’re utilizing the built-in benefits that can save you money.
    The more you know…
    Due to 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% got some form of relief, according to Bankrate’s study.

    How we chose our list of best no foreign transaction fee cards

    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.

    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

    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 to consumers.

    More information on overseas travel and credit cards

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


    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 the author
Mariah Ackary is a personal finance writer who specializes in credit card rewards and small business credit. Mariah is a lifelong writer, but she began writing about finance in 2018. She joined the Bankrate team in 2019, excited by the opportunity to directly help people make good financial decisions. Send your questions to mackary@bankrate.com ...
about the editor
Former 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.

* See the online application for details about terms and conditions for these offers. Every reasonable effort has been made to maintain accurate information. However all credit card information is presented without warranty. After you click on the offer you desire you will be directed to the credit card issuer's web site where you can review the terms and conditions for your selected offer.