Avoid these fees when you travel abroad

The best no foreign transaction fee credit cards

Photo Credit: Fay Cornish

Visiting a different country can be exhilarating, nerve wracking, enlightening, and… expensive. Flights, hotels, meals, souvenirs — the expenses quickly pile up. One thing that doesn’t need to be on that list? Foreign transaction fees. These fees charged by your credit card are typically 3% of the purchase price, and are easily avoidable. If you make purchases outside of the US, whether online or in person, you may want to consider getting a credit card that doesn’t charge you extra for making those purchases.

That’s often easier said than done — there are hundreds of credit cards out there, after all. We decided to make your job a little easier by doing the research for you. Specifically, we found the best credit cards that have both no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees.

Without further ado, here are the best cards we found.

Note: we are in no way affiliated with these credit cards; we are not getting paid for this.

Credit Cards Without Foreign Transaction Fees

BankAmericard Travel Rewards Card

Penny Grade: A

  • Annual Fee — $0
  • Bonus — 20,000 points ($200 equivalent) if you spend $1,000 within 90 days
  • Rewards — 1.5 points per dollar
  • Introductory APR — 0% for 12 months

If you’re already a Bank of America customer, then this is probably the best card for you. BofA adds 10–75% more points on all purchases for people that already have a checking account with them as part of their Preferred Rewards program. That makes the BankAmericard Travel card good for anyone, but great for BofA banking customers.

Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Card

Penny Grade: A-

  • Annual Fee — $0
  • Bonus — $100 cash back if you spend $500 within 90 days
  • Rewards — 1.5% per dollar cash back
  • Introductory APR — 0% for 9 months

Capital One has several credit card options, and none of them have foreign transaction fees. Their cards offer a wide variety of rewards structures, bonuses, and annual fees.

This is a great card for cash back purchases. If you don’t want to worry about finding ways to spend miles or points, this may be the card for you. You get a 1.5% back on all purchases which you can redeem at anytime. The introductory bonus ($100) is the lowest on this list, but it’s also the easiest to achieve.

Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard

Penny Grade: B

  • Annual Fee — $0
  • Bonus — 20,000 miles ($200 equivalent) if you spend $1,000 within 90 days
  • Rewards — 2 miles per $1 on travel and dining, 1 mile per $1 on all other purchases
  • Introductory APR — None

Do you travel or eat out more than your friends? This card helps you take advantage of that. The rewards program is heavily slanted towards those always away from home by granting 2 miles per $1 spent on travel and dining. Unfortunately, you only get 1 mile for all other purchases.

A big miss for the Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard is no introductory APR period which seems standard for most new credit cards.

Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card

Penny Grade: B

  • Annual Fee — $0
  • Bonus — 50,000 miles if you spend $2,000 within 90 days
  • Rewards — 2 points per $1 on Southwest Airlines, 1 point per $1 on all other purchases
  • Introductory APR — None

Just like any merchant specific credit card, this is only a good deal if you happen to fly Southwest frequently. In that case, your bonus points and the 2 points per $1 rewards will be put to good use. Otherwise, $1 per point isn’t very good at all for all of your other purchases. Depending on the destination, you could get a round trip flight on Southwest for as little as 10,000 miles. That means this bonus could equal FIVE round trip flights — that’s pretty impressive!

Similar to the previous card on this list, Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier card doesn’t offer an introductory APR.

Discover it Miles Card (Discover not widely accepted overseas)

Penny Grade: B-

  • Annual Fee — $0
  • Bonus — Matches all miles earned at end of first year
  • Rewards — 1.5 points per dollar
  • Introductory APR — 0% for 12 months

If you’re a big spender, this card offers an awesome first year bonus. With Discover Match, all of your miles earned for the first 12 months will be matched. For example, if you make $30,000 worth of purchases in the first year, you will earn 45,000 miles, since you get 1.5 miles per dollar. Then, Discover will match that and gift you another 45,000 miles at the end of the year. Pretty nice deal if you have some large purchases coming up, and you’re willing to wait a full year to cash in on the signup bonus.

It’s well known that Discover has poor international coverage, but it’s improving. Just be sure to double check before you travel if your card will be accepted in your destination country.

We’ve covered a range of banks to find the best credit cards without foreign transaction fees. If you have a favorite credit card without foreign transaction fees or an annual fee, and you think it should be on this list, let us know. We’ll be happy to consider adding it.

Tap the ❤️ to help spread the word! And if you thought this post was helpful, check out Penny, the easiest way to keep track of your finances.