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Best no foreign transaction fee credit cards of August 2019 from our partners

Last Updated, August 13, 2019

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Best no-foreign-transaction-fee credit cards of 2019Consider this: If your card charges a 3% foreign transaction fee and you spend $2,000 on your card while you're enjoying your trip, you'll end up paying another $60 in fees. It's not a ton of money in the grand scheme, but still, why pay it if you don't have to? According to the National Travel and Tourism Office, more than 93 million Americans traveled abroad in 2018 (the last full year for which data is currently available). We don't have statistics for how many of those people were traveling WITHOUT a no foreign transaction fee credit card, and who were therefore paying fees on every foreign purchase made on their trip, but we think it's say to say that most of those people would have preferred to have kept that extra money to themselves. Traveling with the right credit card can help you do just that.

With the right no foreign transaction fee credit card, you could potentially save yourself hundreds of dollars next time you travel abroad. Set yourself up for this success by browsing (and using) our top picks for the best foreign transaction fee credit cards:

BEST NO FOREIGN TRANSACTION FEE CREDIT CARDS

NO FOREIGN TRANSACTION FEE CREDIT CARDS FOR CONSUMERS | NO FOREIGN TRANSACTION FEE CREDIT CARDS FOR BUSINESSES

BEST NO FOREIGN TRANSACTION FEE CREDIT CARDS FOR CONSUMERS

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Why We Like It: Sure, it's nice to avoid foreign transaction fees, but wouldn't it be nice if your card also rewarded you for traveling and – since you know you want to – sampling the local cuisine while you're there.

The Bonus: Rake in 60,000 bonus Chase Ultimate Rewards® points (worth $750 in travel) after you spend $4,000 in the first three months.

The Rewards: Earn two points per $1 spent on travel and dining out as well as one point per $1 on all your other purchases. And, by the way, your points are worth 25% more if you redeem them for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Read our full Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card review.

Annual Fee: $95

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Why We Like It: If you're someone who enjoys the finer things when you travel, you'll appreciate this luxury card that not only allows you to avoid paying foreign transaction fees but also ensures you're being well rewarded all along your jet-setting ways. You'll also enjoy saving some money with a $300 statement credit reimbursement each cardholder anniversary year to cover travel costs. And, this card was named "Best Premium Travel Credit Card" for 2018 by MONEY® Magazine.

The Bonus: Enjoy 50,000 bonus Chase Ultimate Rewards® points (worth $750 in travel) after you spend $4,000 in the first three months. Your points are worth 50% more if you redeem them for travel via Chase Ultimate Rewards®, hence 50,000 points is worth $750. Those points could be worth even more, however, if you choose to transfer them 1:1 to one of multiple airline loyalty programs.

The Rewards: Earn three points per $1 spent on dining out and on travel that isn't eligible for the annual $300 travel statement credit reimbursement, and one point per $1 on all your other purchases. Remember, too, that they're worth 50% more, if you redeem for travel through Ultimate Rewards®. Read our full Chase Sapphire Reserve® review.

Annual Fee: $450

Credit Needed: Excellent

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card

Why We Like It: This is a no-annual-fee card that offers top-of-the-line rewards on your travel purchases to the tune of three points per $1 spent. That's on top of the other categories in which you can quickly rack up rewards

The Bonus: Rake in 30,000 bonus points after your spend $3,000 in the first three months. Additionally, you won't pay interest on purchases or balance transfers for an introductory 12 months, making this a great option for taking on that overseas trip and spending a few extra months paying off a splurge while on vacation. After the intro period the APR becomes 15.99%-27.99% Variable.

The Rewards: Earn three points per $1 spent on travel, which includes flights, hotels, homestays and car rentals. You'll also earn three points per $1 spent at gas stations and on rideshares and transit purchases, as well as on popular streaming services. Furthermore, feel free to dine out or order in while on vacation as you'll earn three points per $1 on those purchases, too. All your other purchases earn one point per $1. Read our full Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card review.

Annual Fee: $0

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good

Citi Premier Card

(This card is not currently available on CardRatings)

Why We Like It: A modest annual fee, solid signup bonus, easy rewards earning and, of course, no foreign transaction fees.

The Bonus: Rake in 60,000 ThankYou® points (worth $750 in airfare when redeemed through the ThankYou® Travel Center) after you spend $4,000 in the first three months of account opening. Alternatively, the bonus is worth $600 if redeemed for gift cards through ThankYou.com.

The Rewards: Earn three points on travel purchases, including at gas stations; two points on dining out and entertainment; and one point on all your other purchases. Read our full review of the Citi Premier Card.

Annual Fee: $95. Citi is a CardRatings advertiser

Credit Needed: Excellent

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Why We Like It: We love a card with an easy rewards structure when it comes to both earning those rewards and redeeming them. The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card checks both those boxes. You can fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime and not have to worry about blackout dates. Plus, you can transfer your miles to over 12 leading travel loyalty programs. It also offers you a Global Entry or TSA Pre✔® application fee reimbursement, a perk that's rare among cards with this low of an annual fee.

The Bonus: Enjoy a 50,000-mile bonus (worth $500 in travel) after you spend $3,000 in the first three months.

The Rewards: Earn two miles per $1 spent on all your purchases. Plus, you'll earn 10 miles per $1 spent when you use your card to book stays via Hotels.com/Venture. That's in addition to the Hotels.com rewards program through which you earn a free night for every 10 nights you stay through the site.

Redeem your rewards for statement credit to cover a variety travel purchases including those with airlines, hotels, car rental agencies, cruise lines, travel agencies and more. There are no blackout dates or value conversion formulas to worry about. Your miles are always worth $.01 each when you redeem them for statement credit to cover travel purchases. For example, a $500 travel purchase would require 50,000 miles to cover the full cost. Read our full Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card review.

Annual Fee: $0 intro for first year; $95 after that

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good

American Express® Gold Card

Why We Like It: Once again, this is a card with a higher-than-typical annual fee, but it offers plenty of solid perks and rewards to justify it, plus that whole, "no foreign transaction fees" part. American Express is a CardRatings advertiser.

The Bonus: Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $2,000 on eligible purchases with your new card within the first three months of card membership. Terms apply. 

The Rewards: Earn four Membership Rewards® points per $1 spent at restaurants worldwide as well as four points per $1 at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in supermarket purchases, then one point). Earn three Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com. You can also earn up to $10 total in statement credits monthly, that's up to $120 each year, when you pay with your card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Boxed, Ruth's Chris Steak House and participating Shake Shack locations (enrollment required). Lastly, you can save with up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year to cover incidental fees with one pre-selected qualifying airline. Terms apply. Read our full review of the American Express® Gold Card.

Annual Fee: $250. Terms apply.

Credit Needed: Good, Excellent

Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®

(This card is not currently available on CardRatings)

Why We Like It: A reasonable annual fee, easy rewards earning and redemption, a solid bonus AND 5% of your miles back to use on a future redemption each time you redeem.

The Bonus: Earn 70,000 bonus miles – worth $700 in travel – after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 90 days.

The Rewards: Earn two miles per $1 spent on all your purchases – no categories or limits to keep track of. When you redeem your rewards, you'll receive 5% of them back to use on a future redemption. Read our full Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® review.

Annual Fee: $89 (waived first year). See Rates and Fees

Credit Needed: Good/Excellent

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Why We Like It: Thanks to no rotating categories or spending caps, the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card makes earning cash back simple. With unlimited 1.5% cash back earned on every dollar this card rewards you for every purchase you make, no matter the amount, no matter the category. And, unlike most cash-back rewards cards, this one doesn't charge foreign transaction fees, so it's a great option if you're planning on traveling abroad.

The Bonus: Earn a one time $150 cash bonus once you spend $500 with the card within your first three months of opening an account. Also enjoy an introductory 0% purchase and balance transfer APR for 15 months – a 16.24% - 26.24% (Variable) APR will apply after the first 15 months.

The Rewards: Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase made. Read our full review of the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card.

Annual Fee: $0

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good

Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Why We Like It: The Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card is a top choice for foodies. It offers a cash back reward on dining and entertainment that is unmatched by other cards. It also comes with a host of benefits that include complimentary concierge service, travel accident insurance and extended warranty protection on purchases. Rewards don't expire, and the annual fee is waived for the first year.

The Bonus: Earn a $300 cash bonus when you spend $3,000 within three months of opening an account.

The Rewards: Earn an unlimited 4% cash back on dining and entertainment purchases. Plus, you get 2% cash back at the grocery store and 1% back on all other purchases.

Annual Fee: $0 intro for first year; $95 after that

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Why We Like It: As a premier luxury card, this card comes loaded with benefits. It offers airport lounge access, a travel concierge service, elite status with partnering hotel brands Marriott and Hilton, up to $200 a year in statement credits to cover incidental airline charges, like baggage fees and in-flight refreshments, charged on the card with a pre-selected airline, and more. All that comes at a cost in the form of a higher annual fee but for the frequent traveler, the benefits might be worth the price. Terms apply.

The Bonus: Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend $5,000 within the first three months of opening your account. Terms apply.

The Rewards: Earn five points per $1 spent on flights booked directly with airlines or through American Express Travel as well as five points per $1 spent on prepaid hotels booked through amextravel.com. All other eligible purchases earn one point per $1 spent. Terms apply. Read our full The Platinum Card® from American Express review.

Annual Fee: $550

Credit Needed: Good, Excellent

Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card

Why We Like It: With this card, it pays to be a loyal customer. And, since there is no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees, all the rewards you earn can go directly toward your next great trip.

The Bonus: Earn 25,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days – that can be a $250 statement credit toward your travel purchases.

The Rewards: Earn 1.5 points for every $1 you spend. Read our full Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card review.

Annual Fee: $0

Credit Needed: Excellent/Good

TRIO® Credit Card from Fifth Third Bank

(This card is not currently available on CardRatings)

Why We Like It: If you're traveling abroad, you're likely also spending a lot of time eating out. That's why the bonus rewards on restaurant purchases (among other things) are so intriguing with this card.

The Bonus: Earn 10,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days. That's worth $100 in cash back.

The Rewards: Earn 3% back at restaurants and 2% back on gas and grocery and drug stores (up to $1,500 combined spending quarterly for these categories).

Annual Fee: N/A

Credit Needed: Good, Excellent

Please Note: Fifth Third Bank is a regional institution that serves customers in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Florida, Tennessee, Georgia and North Carolina. Readers residing outside that region are not eligible for Fifth Third credit card offers. You can browse additional no-foreign-transaction-fee credit card offers here.


BEST NO FOREIGN TRANSACTION FEE CREDIT CARDS FOR BUSINESSES

Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card

Why We Like It: This card is a top choice for small business owners. It has a modest annual fee, a stellar sign-up bonus and a unique cell phone insurance benefit that covers both yours and your employees' devices. You can also request free cards for your employees and set individual limits on each one to make it convenient to control and track business spending.

The Bonus: Earn an impressive 80,000 bonus points when you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening your account. Those points are worth $1,000 in travel rewards through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® program.

The Rewards: Earn three points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent each account anniversary year on travel, shipping, social media and search engine advertising and internet, cable and phone services. You'll get an unlimited one point per $1 spent on all other purchases. Points never expire, and they are worth 25% more when redeemed for travel. Learn more in our full Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card review.

Annual Fee: $95

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good

Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business

Why We Like It: Part of why we like this card is its simplicity. It focuses on the benefits small business owners need - such as free employee cards, year-end summaries and easy accounting - without all the extras that can inflate the annual fee on other cards.

The Bonus: Spend $4,500 in purchases in the first three months of opening an account and earn 50,000 bonus miles worth $500 in travel.

The Rewards: Earn an unlimited two points per $1 spent on all purchases. 

Annual Fee: $0 intro for first year; $95 after that

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good

American Express® Business Gold Card

Why We Like It: The American Express® Business Gold Card grabbed our attention with its flexible rewards categories and payment options. Its annual fee is a little higher than other cards on this list, but its generous rewards program helps to make up for the difference. Terms apply.

The Bonus: Earn up to $500 in statement credits when you purchase qualifying services with FedEx using your new card within the first three months of card membership (offer ends Nov. 6, 2019). Terms apply.

The Rewards: Earn four points per $1 spent, up to $150,000 each calendar year, for two select categories in which your business spends the most. Eligible categories include airfare purchased directly from airlines, U.S. grocery store purchases and U.S. gas station purchases among others. All other purchases earn an unlimited one point per $1 spent. Terms apply. See our full American Express® Business Gold Card review.

Annual Fee: $295

Credit Needed: Good, Excellent

The Business Platinum® Card from American Express

Why We Like It: This card carries a hefty annual fee, but it can be worth it if you are a frequent business traveler. The Business Platinum Card comes with a lucrative rewards program, airport lounge access, elite status with hotel brands Marriott and Hilton and business platinum travel service. You'll also get a $200 airline fee credit each year and a year of Platinum Global Access from WeWork. Terms apply.

The Bonus: Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $10,000 within the first three months of opening your account. Earn an additional 25,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend $10,000 more during that same time period. Terms apply.

The Rewards: Earn five points per $1 spent on flights and prepaid hotels booked through amextravel.com. You can earn 50% more points on purchases of $5,000 or more. When points are redeemed for eligible airfare, you'll get 35% of the points back, up to 500,000 points per calendar year. Terms apply. The Business Platinum® Card from American Express review.

Annual Fee: $595

Credit Needed: Good, Excellent


CHOOSING THE BEST CREDIT CARDS FOR INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL

Having the right credit card in your pocket can make traveling overseas all the more enjoyable. Not only does it minimize the need to exchange currency, but many cards also come with extra perks like trip interruption insurance and baggage insurance.

If you plan to travel outside the country, selecting a card that doesn't charge foreign transaction fees is essential. Otherwise, you could easily add 3% or more to the cost of your trip in fees alone.

Beyond that, choosing the best credit cards for international travel comes down to the following factors:

  • Credit score: You'll need to find a card that matches your credit profile. We've included credit guidelines for all the cards listed above.
  • Destination: Make sure your card will be accepted in the locations you plan to visit. Visa and Mastercard are often more widely accepted than Discover and American Express.
  • Features: Depending on the credit card, you may get access to airport lounges, car rental insurance, trip interruption insurance or baggage insurance among other benefits. Look for a card that has the features you're most likely to use.
  • Rewards: If a card offers rewards, be sure they are applicable to your travel plans. Consider signing up for a card that earns points that can be used across multiple airline and hotel brands.
  • Fees: Finally, don't overlook fees. While a card may not have foreign transaction fees, it may charge an annual fee, cash advance fees and balance transfer fees among others.

While almost every new credit card issued today comes with chip technology, not all are Chip and PIN cards. A PIN is often necessary to complete transactions in many countries so be sure your new card is PIN enabled for overseas travel.


BENEFITS OF THE BEST NO FOREIGN TRANSACTION FEE CREDIT CARDS

There are many reasons to use one of the credit cards listed above on your next vacation or business trip. The benefits of the best no foreign transaction fee credit cards include excellent rewards, wide acceptance overseas and plenty of customer support no matter where you travel. There's also the added security of using a card instead of cash while traveling. Think about it; if you lose cash, or if it's stolen while you're traveling, you're out of luck. If you lose your credit card, or if it's stolen, your situation won't be quite as dire. You might be without your card for a bit, but at least you aren't out that money.

What's more, many of these cards have additional features, like travel insurance, as mentioned above. Look for a rewards card with great benefits and you could save money now while racking up points for your next getaway.


MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR NO FOREIGN TRANSACTION FEE CREDIT CARD

Even if you pick one of these "no-FTF" credit cards for your next international adventure, you could still get socked by fees from local banks or retailers. Here's how to keep your trip surcharge-free:

  • Merchants don't always welcome every American credit card equally. It used to be that American credit cards lacked some of the safety features required to use a card overseas (this is pre-chip-and-PIN technology becoming more common in the U.S.); these days, American credit cards generally have the technology needed to travel abroad. The only real thing you'll likely need to consider is whether your issuer is widely accepted. As we already mentioned, Visa and Mastercard have the highest acceptance rates around the world, BUT, Discover and American Express have been busy expanding their networks in the past few years as well, so don't be so quick to rule these issuers out. With that said though, some stores might request or require that you use a card that transacts on their preferred network, so it might be safe to carry a back up card from a different issuer just in case.
  • Watch for "dynamic currency conversion" offers. Point-of-sale systems in tourist havens often use an unfavorable exchange rate while tacking on processing fees. Ask to do business in local currency and let your bank save you money.
  • Keep your receipts. You never know if you're going to need them for clearing customs or discussing a charge with your credit card company after you get home. It's always better to be safe than sorry.
  • Use ATM cash advances for emergencies only. Even credit cards with no foreign transaction fees can charge hefty cash advance processing fees. Plus, you'll usually have to pay a surcharge to a local ATM operator that can run as high as $20 in tourist districts. Instead, drop cash into an online checking account with a no-fee debit card. Even if there is a fee to withdraw money using your debit card, you'll likely still save money this way. Especially because many U.S. banks have parnter banks abroad who reduce or waive the fee for partner users.
  • Finally, protect yourself against pickpockets by writing down your credit card companies' emergency phone numbers and key account details before you leave. Keep a copy separate from your wallet or valuables. If your card gets lost or stolen, your bank's emergency assistance team can help replace your card or provide an emergency cash advance much more quickly than if they have to look up and verify your account information.

To see the rates and fees for the American Express card mentioned in this post, please visit the following links: American Express® Gold Card: See Rates and Fees; The Platinum Card® from American Express: See Rates and Fees; American Express® Business Gold CardSee Rates and Fees; The Business Platinum® Card from American Express: See Rates and Fees

 

Disclaimer: The information in this article is believed to be accurate as of the date it was written. Please keep in mind that credit card offers change frequently. Therefore, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information in this article. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. See the online credit card application for full terms and conditions on offers and rewards. Please verify all terms and conditions of any credit card prior to applying.

This content is not provided by any company mentioned in this article. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed here are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any such company. CardRatings.com does not review every company or every offer available on the market.

Comments
2 Comments

  1. Curtis Arnold
    July 20, 2015 - 7:32 pm
    Mark- the card companies generally get preferred exchange rates due to their size. So, you can get you cake and eat it too in some cases!

    Curtis Arnold
      Reply »  
  2. Mark Jeffrey
    March 31, 2015 - 3:52 pm
    I am going to Mexico. The present exchange rate is 15.30 per 1 USD. I am thinking of getting one of these cards. Is there a way to find out what the credit card company will charge the card holder for the daily exchange rate? In other words, I can't believe I can use their card, not pay any FTF and still be billed at the 15.30 peso rate.

    Perhaps this is a free lunch!

    Regards,

    Mark
      Reply »