Top Credit Cards With No Foreign Transaction Fees
Your credit card might come with some nice rewards for your spending. It might even offer some nice travel benefits. But if it carries a foreign transaction fee, that means that every charge you make while outside the US is subject to an extra fee, usually 3%. Think of it this way: for every $100 in overseas charges you make, you’ll be spending another $3 in fees.
Spend enough on purchases outside the country, and foreign transaction fees will eat into whatever net benefit your card use would have otherwise brought you. Thankfully, the solution is clear. If you’re going to be using your credit card outside the US with any frequency, use a credit card with no foreign transaction fees.
Most credit card companies offer both cards that carry a foreign transaction fee and cards that don’t. However, there are two prominent exceptions to this general rule: Capital One and Discover. Neither credit card issuer charges a foreign transaction fee on any of their cards, making their credit card lineups particularly appealing to the traveler who spends a significant amount of time and money outside the US.
Let’s survey the landscape and highlight the best credit cards with no foreign transaction fees.
|Credit Card||Best For|
|Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards||Cash Back with No Annual Fee|
|Chase Ink Business Preferred||Business|
|Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards||Average Credit|
|Barclays Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard||Travel Rewards|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred||Transferable Travel Rewards|
|The Platinum Card from American Express||Luxury Travel Benefits|
|Discover it Cash Back||Rotating 5% Cash Back Categories|
Table of Contents
- Best For Cash Back With No Annual Fee: Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards
- Best For Business: Chase Ink Business Preferred
- Best For Average Credit: Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards
- Best For Travel Rewards: Barclays Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard
- Best For Transferable Travel Rewards: Chase Sapphire Preferred
- Best For Luxury Travel Benefits: The Platinum Card from American Express
- Best For Restaurants/Dining: Uber Visa Card
- Best For Rotating 5% Cash Back Categories: Discover it Cash Back
- Final Thoughts
Best For Cash Back With No Annual Fee: Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards
The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards card is a great cash back credit card for the international traveler who can’t be bothered with category restrictions on earning cash back and just wants to earn cash back at a flat rate — all without paying an annual fee.
The highlight of this card is undoubtedly the unlimited 1.5% cash back you’ll earn on every purchase, everywhere. You won’t have to worry about spending categories and there is no limit on the amount of cash back you can earn. You won’t have to weigh the benefits you’ll accrue against foreign transaction fees or an annual fee either, as there are no such fees.
Another great feature of the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards card is the 15-month 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers. Most credit cards offer an introductory 0% APR for a year or less (if they offer one at all), so with the Quicksilver card, you’ll get an extra buffer period before you’ll have to start thinking about monthly interest charges.
Best For Business: Chase Ink Business Preferred
Chase Ink Business Preferred
18.24% - 23.24%, Variable
Chase Ink Business Preferred is a business credit card that confers some nice travel benefits. One of these benefits, of course, is the lack of a foreign transaction fee.
Ink Business Preferred offers an eye-catching bonus offer: 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. When redeemed for travel, that’s a $1,000 reward. That’s because points are worth 25% more when you redeem them for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
On the subject or points-earning, you’ll earn 3 points per $1 on your first $150,000 spent in combined purchases on travel, shipping purchases, Internet, cable/phone services, and on social media/search engine advertising each year. You’ll earn 1 point per dollar spent on everything else.
Not only will you get a 25% boost to your points value when booking travel via Chase’s travel portal, but you can transfer your points on a 1:1 basis to the travel rewards programs of partners like United Airlines and Marriott.
The Ink Business Preferred does, however, carry a $95 annual fee.
Best For Average Credit: Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards
Not to be confused with Capital One’s other Quicksilver card, the QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards credit card is one of the few credit cards out there that both lacks a foreign transaction fee and is available to applicants with average credit.
The Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards card offers the same unlimited 1.5% cash back as the Quicksilver Cash Rewards card. Not bad for a card available to people with average credit!
Of course, there are some trade-offs to be made here. Unlike Capital One’s other Quicksilver card, this card offers no introductory 0% APR, an annual fee of $39, and a high variable APR that currently stands at 26.99%. The high APR combined with the lack of an intro 0% APR period means that you’ll want to avoid carrying a significant balance on this card from month-to-month. You’ll also need to spend at least $2,600 a year in order to earn enough cash back to make up for the annual fee.
Best For Travel Rewards: Barclays Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard
The Barclays Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard makes some tantalizing offers to the frequent traveler. Along with no foreign transaction fees, this card offers three big perks for the international traveler.
- Earn 70,000 bonus miles when you spend at least $5,000 on purchases in the first 90 days — the equivalent of a $700 travel statement credit
- Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase
- Get 5% of your miles back to use toward your next redemption each time you redeem them
The 2X miles you’ll earn with every purchase is one of the highest flat earning rates of any travel credit card. And since you’ll get 5% of your miles back whenever you redeem them, the cash back rate is effectively 2.1%.
What’s more, your miles can be redeemed for a lot more than just airfare. You can redeem them for hotel stays, car rentals, trains, buses, taxis, and more. You can even use your miles to pay the $89 annual fee (the fee is waived the first year), though hopefully, you can find something more exciting to use them on!
Another nice card feature: If you transfer a balance to this card within 45 days of your account opening, you’ll pay a 0% introductory APR on that balance for 12 months.
Best For Transferable Travel Rewards: Chase Sapphire Preferred
The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is another travel rewards card with no foreign transaction fee. With Sapphire Preferred, not only can you redeem your rewards through Chase’s travel portal — you can also transfer your points on a 1:1 basis to the following airline and hotel travel partners:
- Aer Lingus, AerClub
- British Airways Executive Club
- Flying Blue AIR FRANCE KLM
- Iberia Plus
- JetBlue TrueBlue
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
- Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
- United MileagePlus
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
- IHG Rewards Club
- Marriott Rewards
- The Ritz-Carlton Rewards
- World of Hyatt
The Chase Sapphire Preferred card features a bonus offer of 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. (Offer expired.) Thanks to the 25% value bonus you’ll get when redeeming your points for travel via Chase Ultimate Rewards, these 50,000 points can become $625 for travel expenses.
You’ll also earn 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants and 1X points on everything else.
Unfortunately, the card carries a $95 annual fee (waived the first year) and lacks an introductory 0% APR period.
Best For Luxury Travel Benefits: The Platinum Card from American Express
The Platinum Card from American Express may not have a foreign transaction fee, but it does sport a $550 annual fee. That should tell you who this card is aimed at. It’s not the average traveler looking to earn some points/miles on the side. This card is for the well-heeled traveler seeking the finest in travel perks.
Of all the travel benefits this card offers, the best benefit might just be the 1,200+ airport lounges worldwide you’ll gain access to via the American Express Global Lounge Collection. It’s the largest airport lounge network around. I may not have any personal experience with these exclusive lounges, but I’m sure they’re spectacular.
The card comes with a host of other travel perks befitting a card with such a high annual fee. You’ll earn 5X Membership Rewards points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel and on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com. You’ll get a fee credit of up to $200 a year to cover checked bags and in-flight food and drinks. You’ll be enrolled in the Fine Hotels & Resorts program, giving you access to travel amenities with an average value of $550/year.
The card currently offers quite the bonus offer: 75,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $5,000 on purchases on your new card in your first 3 months.
Just keep in mind that the Platinum Card is a charge card, meaning you won’t be able to carry a balance from month to month.
Best For Restaurants/Dining: Uber Visa Card
The Uber Visa card, a joint venture of Uber and Barclays, is a new credit card that offers great value to those who love to go out and live it up without worrying about things like foreign transaction fees or an annual fee.
The card offers an amazing 4% back on restaurants, takeout, and bars (UberEATS included), making the Uber Visa a compelling choice for you nightlife lovers. The card also offers 3% back on airfare and hotel stays, 2% back on all online purchases (yes, including Uber), and 1% back on all other purchases.
That’s not all. There’s a signup bonus of 10,000 points ($100) after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 90 days. There’s a cellphone protection plan that offers up to $600 if your phone is broken or stolen (conditions apply). There’s even a $50 credit toward digital subscriptions you’ll get if you spend at least $5,000 on your card each year.
With a system that rewards going out for food and drinks, online shopping, and offers cellphone protection, this card seems targeted at millennials, or at least the few millennials who aren’t drowning in debt already. One thing that won’t appeal to millennials, however, is the card’s lack of an introductory 0% APR.
Best For Rotating 5% Cash Back Categories: Discover it Cash Back
The Discover it Cash Back card allows those who don’t mind tracking rotating spending categories the chance to earn 5% cash back on their purchases.
With the Discover it Cash Back, you’ll earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases each quarter on selected spending categories. The 5% categories for 2019 are:
- January to March: Grocery stores
- April to June: Gas stations, Uber, and Lyft
- July to September: Restaurants
- October to December: Amazon.com
Of course, you’ll earn 1% cash back on all other purchases.
What makes this Discover card an even better cash back value is the fact that Discover will match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year, thus doubling your first year’s cash back haul.
Beyond that, this card is a simple, reasonable credit card. There’s no annual fee, a competitive regular APR, a 0% intro APR for 14 months on purchases and balance transfers, and you can access your FICO score for free.
One word of caution: Though there is no foreign transaction fee, international acceptance of Discover cards can be hit-or-miss.
If you spend a significant amount of time outside the US, an ordinary credit card will have you needlessly paying 3% extra to your credit card company in the form of foreign transaction fees.
Don’t be a sucker. When spending money abroad, use a credit card that doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee. Thankfully, the number of such cards has been expanding in recent years and you now have a wide range of choices!
Not sure which cards you’ll qualify for? Check out these helpful resources!