No-Foreign-Transaction-Fee Credit Cards
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Table of Contents
- Best Credit Cards with No Foreign Transaction Fees
- What is a foreign transaction fee?
- What is a no-foreign-transaction-fee credit card?
- Should I get a credit card without foreign transaction fees?
- How much are foreign transaction fees?
- When do I pay for foreign transaction fees?
- Does it make a difference if a purchase is in US dollars?
- How do I avoid foreign transaction fees?
When you purchase something in another country or buy from a non-US vendor online, a lot of credit cards will add extra charges onto your purchases in the form of foreign transaction fees. These fees are often equivalent to about 3% of the original purchase amount.
But, fortunately, these foreign transaction fees are easily avoidable. Credit cards with fee-less foreign transactions are available to all kinds of borrowers with all kinds of credit—including bad credit or no credit.
And you don’t even need to look far for these cards. We’ve compiled seven of the best credit cards for no-fee foreign transactions.
So whether you’re a frequent traveler with a trip abroad on the horizon or an online shopper with an overseas spending habit, you’ll be able to shop freely without worrying about surprise fees on your credit card bill.
Best Credit Cards with No Foreign Transaction Fees
Here are our top seven picks of credit cards that won’t charge foreign transaction fees.
Best No-Foreign-Transaction-Fee Credit Card With No Annual Fee
Best No-Foreign-Transaction-Fee Credit Card With 0% APR
Best No-Foreign-Transaction-Fee Credit Card for Bad Credit
Best No-Foreign-Transaction-Fee Credit Card for No Credit
Best No-Foreign-Transaction-Fee Credit Card for Students
Best No-Foreign-Transaction-Fee Credit Card for Travel
Best No-Foreign-Transaction-Fee Credit Card for Online Shopping
What is a foreign transaction fee?
A foreign transaction fee is a charge that your credit card company or bank adds to your purchase when you buy something in a foreign currency or through a foreign bank. This can happen if you use your credit card while you’re travelling internationally or if you buy from a non-US seller online.
When you make a foreign transaction, your credit card issuer will often add a small fee to your purchase to cover the cost of processing an international payment and of converting from one currency to another.
What is a no-foreign-transaction-fee credit card?
A no-foreign-transaction-fee credit card is a card that has no surcharge when you use it to buy goods and services from abroad. If you’re likely to go abroad or to buy from non-US sellers online, it’s a good idea to keep at least one such credit card in your wallet.
Should I get a credit card without foreign transaction fees?
If you’re likely to travel abroad or frequently shop online, you should get a credit card without foreign transaction fees. Credit card foreign transaction fees tend to be 3% of the purchase amount. This number may seem small, but it can add up quickly.
If you go abroad or shop internationally online, we highly recommend getting a credit card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees in order to save yourself money.
How much are foreign transaction fees?
A survey of 165 credit cards by LendingTree found that nearly half of these cards had a foreign transaction fee, and the average fee was 2.61% per foreign transaction. 1 So if your credit card has a foreign transaction fee, it will likely be around 3%.
For example, if you’re on vacation overseas and you use your credit card to pay for a hotel room that costs $100, you’ll probably have to pay around $103 in total once your card issuer adds the foreign transaction fee to your purchase.
When do I pay for foreign transaction fees?
Foreign transaction fees generally appear on your credit card statement at the end of the billing cycle when your credit card statement is generated. You’ll then have to pay them along with the rest of your credit card balance.
Does it make a difference if a purchase is in US dollars?
No, it doesn’t make any difference for foreign transaction fees whether a purchase you make is in US dollars or in a different currency.
Even your purchases in US dollars will be subject to foreign transaction fees if a foreign bank is involved. For example, if you buy something from Ecuador, even though US dollars are the local currency there, the transaction will go through a foreign bank. This means that, unless you have a no-foreign-transaction-fee credit card, you’ll be charged a fee.
How do I avoid foreign transaction fees?
The best way to avoid foreign transaction fees is to find a credit card that waives all foreign transaction fees. In fact, there are some credit card issuers whose cards all offer no foreign transaction fees. For example, you always get fee-free foreign transactions with Discover and (as already mentioned) with Capital One, so try checking these issuers’ websites if you don’t like any of our other recommendations.
You’ll also usually get fee-less foreign transactions included with travel credit cards—also known as travel rewards cards—which are cards that give you points or miles for purchases and then let you spend them on flights, hotel stays, and similar rewards.