14 Best No Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Cards of 2019

14 Best No Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Cards of 2019

credit card advice

Adam West
By: Adam West
Updated: June 10, 2019
Opinions expressed here are ours alone, and are not provided, endorsed, or approved by any issuer. Our articles follow strict editorial guidelines and are updated regularly.

Each year, millions of Americans travel to exotic locations abroad, whether for business or an exciting vacation. But even if it’s thoroughly planned and researched, international travel can be expensive. That’s why savvy travelers do everything they can to cut costs and lower fees when venturing to foreign destinations.

Among the ways to lower your travel expenses is to use a credit card that charges no foreign transaction fees when making purchases or converting to the local currency. With many cards charging as much as a 3% transaction fee on international purchases, you can see how this quickly adds up. Thankfully there are cards made especially for cost-conscious travelers.

Overall | Travel | Cash Back | Points | Business | Student | Visa | Mastercard | Amex | Discover  FAQs

Best “Overall” Cards with No Foreign Transaction Fees

For decades, the foreign transaction fees charged by banks and credit card issuers have been seen as just another cost of international travel. Many of us assumed (incorrectly) that they were like foreign exchange fees — in other words, a legitimate expense.

But transaction fees don’t actually represent a cost incurred by banks; they’re simply another source of revenue. In recent years, travel cardholders have begun to realize this, and have increasingly voted with their wallets.

Here are the top five overall cards with no foreign transaction fees.

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named "Best Premium Travel Credit Card" for 2018 by MONEY® Magazine
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees.
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
18.74% - 25.74% Variable
$450
Good/Excellent
With premium benefits for before, during, and after your trip, this is the card named “Best Premium Travel Card” for 2018 by MONEY Magazine.  The Chase Sapphire Reserve®, which offers up to 3x bonus points, a $300 annual travel credit, and no blackout dates or travel restrictions, is an excellent travel companion.

AIR MILES RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
17.74% - 24.74% Variable
$95
Good/Excellent

Similar to the Sapphire Reserve®, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers 2x points on travel and restaurant purchases, along with other travel benefits for a smaller annual fee than its Reserve counterpart. It’s a superb card for frequent travelers who want more value from their travel rewards card — along with no foreign transaction fees, of course.

AIR MILES RATING

0.0

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn a one-time $300 cash bonus after you spend $3000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 4% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases. Plus, earn 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats through May 2020.
  • Receive a monthly statement credit for a Postmates Unlimited monthly membership through Dec. 2019 with the Capital One Savor Card
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Capital One cardholders get access to premium experiences in dining, entertainment and more
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
16.24% - 25.24% (Variable)
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Excellent, Good

The Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card offers a one-time $300 cash bonus once you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months. Earn unlimited 4% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases.

Discover it® Miles Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

AIR MILES RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • UNLIMITED BONUS: Discover will match ALL the Miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically. For example, if you earn 35,000 Miles, you get 70,000 Miles. That’s $700 towards travel! The more you earn, the more you get.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5x Miles for every dollar spent on all purchases - with no annual fee.
  • No Blackout Dates. Simply pay for travel purchases like airlines, hotels, rental cars, and more with your Discover it® Miles card.
  • Miles Pay You Back. Easily redeem Miles as a statement credit for travel purchases. Or get cash.
  • Freeze your account in seconds with an on/off switch either on the mobile app or website to prevent new purchases, cash advances, and balance transfers.
  • Get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 14 months
10.99% for 14 months
13.74% - 24.74% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

This Discover it® Miles was developed specifically for travelers, with 1.5x miles on all purchases, no airline or hotel restrictions, plus no annual fee. Discover will also match all the miles earned by new cardholders at the end of the first year, automatically. And if that isn’t enough, this card comes with a nice introductory rate for first-time cardholders.

AIR MILES RATING

★★★★★
5.0

OVERALL RATING

4.9/5.0
  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel
  • Earn 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Plus earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels, through January 2020; learn more at hotels.com/venture
  • Named ‘The Best Travel Card' by CNBC, 2018
  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✔®
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime; no blackout dates. Plus transfer your miles to over 12 leading travel loyalty programs
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
17.49% - 24.74% (Variable)
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Excellent, Good

For a great all-around travel card, it’s hard to beat the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card. In fact, this card was named the “Best Travel Card of 2018” by CNBC, thanks in large part to its generous one-time bonus on purchases made in the first three months. It also comes with no annual fee for the first year, followed by a relatively low fee in subsequent years.

Best “Travel Rewards” Card with No Foreign Transaction Fee

Frequent travelers will appreciate this top-tier travel rewards card, with its 3x points on all travel and dining worldwide. Plus, cardholders automatically receive up to $300 in annual travel credit every year as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to the card. And with one of the best bonus point reward plans for meeting the minimum spending requirements, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® will quickly have you earning maximum miles.

AIR MILES RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named "Best Premium Travel Credit Card" for 2018 by MONEY® Magazine
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees.
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
18.74% - 25.74% Variable
$450
Good/Excellent

It’s no wonder MONEY® Magazine named the Chase Sapphire Reserve® their “Best Premium Travel Credit Card” for 2018. Cardholders can also take advantage of 50% more in point redemptions through Chase Ultimate Rewards. That means 50,000 miles will get you $750 toward travel expenses. This card does have a $450 annual fee, and is intended for those with good to excellent credit.

Best “Cash Back” Card with No Foreign Transaction Fee

For travelers who don’t mind keeping track of the quarterly bonus categories, the 5% cash back that you get with the Discover it® Cash Back card can be worth the effort. Every three months the bonus categories rotate, offering 5% cash back at places like gas stations, restaurants, grocery stores, and even Amazon purchases.

One thing to note, however, is that the 5% back applies to just the first $1,500 in spending each quarter, and you must opt-in to these bonus categories each quarter.

Discover it® Cash Back Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

CASH BACK RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

5.0/5.0
  • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate.
  • Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • Redeem cash back any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • Use your rewards at Amazon.com checkout.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 14 months
0% for 14 months
13.74% - 24.74% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

Another feature of this card is the Cashback Match™ program available to new cardholders for the first year. This program is designed to match all of the cash back you’ve received at the end of your first year, automatically. And there’s no limit to how much is matched. Keep in mind that this is an introductory offer, and may be discontinued at any time. The Discover it® Cash Back has no annual fee and comes with a regular APR 13.74% - 24.74% Variable.

Best “Points” Card with No Foreign Transaction Fee

For a flexible travel card that earns 2x points on travel and dining, it’s hard to beat the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. Frequent travelers who don’t want to pony up the $450 annual fee for the Sapphire Reserve can get this one for a more modest $95 annual rate. You’ll still have access to any bonus points earned when you make the minimum purchase amount in the first few months, and you’ll get 25% more value when you redeem using Chase Ultimate Rewards.

POINTS & GIFTS RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
17.74% - 24.74% Variable
$95
Good/Excellent

In addition to the 2x points earned when using this card for travel and dining, you’ll earn 1 point for all other purchases. Points earned using the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card can transfer to other leading frequent travel programs at a 1:1 value if you choose. This card is intended for consumers with good to excellent credit.

Best “Business” Card with No Foreign Transaction Fee

Business travelers will love the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card from Chase for its 3x points on the first $150,000 in combined business and travel purchases made each year. Points never expire and can be redeemed for travel, cash back, gifts, and more. Also, points are worth 25% more when redeemed for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards program.

BUSINESS CARD RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year
  • Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases - with no limit to the amount you can earn
  • Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Redeem points for travel, cash back, gift cards and more - your points don't expire as long as your account is open
  • No foreign transaction fees
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
17.74% - 22.74% Variable
$95
Good/Excellent

The Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card also comes with one of the better introductory period bonus point plans when you meet the minimum spending requirements in the first 3 months. There is a $95 annual fee for this card it is best-suited for business owners with good to excellent credit.

Best “Student” Card with No Foreign Transaction Fee

Students planning a semester abroad would do well to consider taking the Discover it® Student Cash Back along with them. This card offers Discover’s excellent 5% cash back on rotating categories each quarter, such as gas, groceries, restaurants, even Amazon purchases when you opt-in each quarter. You’ll get 1% cash back on all other purchases. Reward points can be redeemed 1:1 for cash in any dollar amount and at any time, and they never expire.

Discover it® Student Cash Back Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

STUDENT RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.5/5.0
  • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • Good Grades Rewards: $20 statement credit each school year your GPA is 3.0 or higher for up to the next 5 years.
  • No annual fee. No late fee on first late payment. No APR change for paying late.
  • Get 100% U.S. based customer service & get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
  • Freeze It® on/off switch for your account that prevents new purchases, cash advances & balance transfers in seconds.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 6 months
10.99% for 6 months
14.74% - 23.74% Variable
$0
Fair/New to Credit

This card also comes with Cashback Match™ from Discover, which matches all the cash back bonuses you’ve earned during the first year of having the card. Students who maintain a 3.0 GPA or higher will also receive a $20 statement credit each year for up to five years. There’s no annual fee for this card, which makes it great for students traveling on a budget.

Best “Visa” Card with No Foreign Transaction Fee

As the largest merchant payment network, Visa-branded cards are accepted virtually anywhere in the world. And if you want a Visa card that’s a great travel companion, you can’t go wrong with the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card. This card gives you 1.25x miles on every purchase and comes with no annual fee. You can use your miles to fly on any airline and stay at any hotel, with no restrictions.

VISA® RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • $0 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
  • Earn a bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel
  • Earn 1.25X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels, through January 2020; learn more at hotels.com/venture
  • Transfer your miles to over 12 leading travel loyalty programs
  • Enjoy 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months; 13.74% - 23.74% variable APR after that
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 12 months
N/A
13.74% - 23.74% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good

The Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card also lets you transfer your miles to many of the leading travel loyalty programs. An introductory rate may be available and is intended for those with excellent, or at least very good credit scores.

Best “Mastercard” with No Foreign Transaction Fee

The Mastercard logo is one of the most recognized in the world, and Mastercard-branded cards are accepted just about anywhere you travel. That’s one reason the makes such a statement. Another reason is the unlimited 1.5x miles you get with this travel card, on every purchase you make. Along with no foreign transaction fees, this card also has no annual fee.

12

HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card

This card is currently not available.

Mastercard® Rating

★★★★★
N/A

OVERALL RATING

N/A
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A

New cardholders earn an introductory 3% cash back on all purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, up to the first $10,000 in purchases. Cardholders also enjoy a 10% anniversary bonus on all cash rewards earned once a year. There is an introductory APR period of 0% for the first 12 months, after which you can expect a regular variable APR depending on your creditworthiness.

Best “Amex” Card with No Foreign Transaction Fee

If you’re looking for an American Express card for travel that comes with no annual fee, then the Hilton Honors Card may be just right for you. With an abundance of bonus points for certain spending categories, you can quickly build up those coveted miles.

13. Hilton Honors American Express Card

Hilton Honors Card

  • 7x points on every dollar spent directly with Hilton-brand hotels and resorts
  • 5x points at restaurants, gas stations, and grocery stores in the U.S.
  • 3x points on all other purchases

New card membership may also lead to bonus points if you spend the minimum required in the first three months. American Express is well-regarded for its focus on customer service, particularly for those traveling abroad. With this card, you can get all of the benefits of membership without paying an annual fee.

Best “Discover” Card with No Foreign Transaction Fee

Travelers who like earning bonus miles on purchases will love the Discover it® Miles card, with its unlimited 1.5x miles on every dollar spent. But that’s not the best part. Discover will match all the miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically.

Discover it® Miles Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

AIR MILES RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • UNLIMITED BONUS: Discover will match ALL the Miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically. For example, if you earn 35,000 Miles, you get 70,000 Miles. That’s $700 towards travel! The more you earn, the more you get.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5x Miles for every dollar spent on all purchases - with no annual fee.
  • No Blackout Dates. Simply pay for travel purchases like airlines, hotels, rental cars, and more with your Discover it® Miles card.
  • Miles Pay You Back. Easily redeem Miles as a statement credit for travel purchases. Or get cash.
  • Freeze your account in seconds with an on/off switch either on the mobile app or website to prevent new purchases, cash advances, and balance transfers.
  • Get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 14 months
10.99% for 14 months
13.74% - 24.74% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

There are no blackout dates with this card, and miles can be used on any airline or at any hotel. It has no annual fee and a 0% introductory rate may be available to new cardholders, followed by a regular variable APR, based on your creditworthiness. This card is intended for those with good to excellent credit.

What is a Foreign Transaction Fee?

Paying a foreign transaction fee used to be one of those things we simply accepted without a thought or question. It must have something to do with currency exchange rates, right?

But if we dig a little deeper into just what takes place when making a card purchase in another country, we get a clearer picture of this fee.

When using your credit card abroad, the dollars you spend are converted into the local currency at a rate that’s set by the bank or card issuer. That’s the currency exchange rate. If your card charges a foreign transaction fee, it is in addition to that exchange rate conversion. So just what is this fee, and where does it go?

Photo of a credit card being swiped

A foreign transaction fee is a charge imposed by banks in addition to the currency exchange rate.

Depending on the card you use and the network it’s on — Visa, Mastercard, Amex, Discover — you may be charged 1% by the network as a foreign bank processing fee. In addition, your card issuer may also charge up to 2% as their own foreign transaction fee.

Do they have to do anything different in processing your charge? Nope. That’s why some card issuers have decided to do away with the foreign transaction fee entirely, even absorbing the 1% network charge.

Something to keep in mind is that you don’t have to actually travel overseas to have a foreign transaction fee charged to your card. If you make a purchase online that goes through a foreign bank or is denominated in a currency other than U.S. dollars, you’ll likely be charged this fee.

The bottom line is that foreign purchase transaction fees are not a requirement, nor a necessary part of using your card overseas. Choosing one of the cards we’ve recommended can help you to avoid this unnecessary expense.

What is the Average Foreign Transaction Fee at Each Bank?

Not all banks and credit card issuers charge a foreign transaction fee. For those banks that do, or only charge this fee on just some of their cards, we’ve listed below the standard fee schedule that applies. Where applicable, we’ve made a distinction between network fees and card issuer fees.

American Express: Amex charges a 2.7% foreign transaction fee for personal and small business cards, and a 2.5% fee for corporate cards. No network fees apply.

Bank of America: There are a handful of Bank of America cards that don’t charge a foreign transaction fee, but many that do. For those cards, the typical transaction fee amount is 3% — 1% charged by the network, and 2% charged by the bank.

Barclays: Not all Barclays cards charge a fee for foreign transactions, but those that do will cost you 2% from the bank plus 1% from the network, for a total transaction fee of 3%.

Capital One: One of the few card companies that charge no foreign transaction fees on any of its cards. Capital One even absorbs the 1% network fee so its cardholders don’t have to pay even that.

Chase: Many of the cards from Chase charge a foreign transaction fee of 3% total — that’s 1% for the network and 2% for the bank. However, there are a handful of premium Chase cards that charge only the 1% network fee.

Citi: Citi is another bank that charges a 3% foreign transaction fee, with the same split between bank and network. However, Citi has also begun absorbing the fee for its premium cards, and charges no foreign transaction fee for these cards.

Discover: Discover is another card issuer that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, however, acceptance of Discover cards overseas can be spotty, depending on where you travel. You can use this tool to see where Discover is accepted.

HSBC: With the exception of premium cards, HSBC charges the same 3% foreign transaction fee that other issuers do, with the same 1% and 2% split.

Wells Fargo: With the exception of a single premium travel card, Wells Fargo also charges the typical 3% foreign transaction fee as most other card issuers.

While a 3% foreign transaction fee may not seem like a tremendous amount, think of all the purchases you make with your card while traveling. When taken as a whole, the fees imposed can really begin to add up. Frequent overseas travelers would do well to find a card that doesn’t charge any fee — so long as that card meets their other needs as well.

Do I Need to Let My Card Company Know I’m Traveling?

If you’ve traveled internationally in the past few years, chances are you’ve been told to let your card company know of your travel plans in advance. The stated reason for this is to avoid having a card deactivated due to fraud prevention measures.

Wells Fargo Travel Tips and Tools

Wells Fargo lets you easily notify them of upcoming travel plans on its website.

Security experts will tell you it’s a good idea to notify your credit card company when traveling abroad, but many also say the current fraud detection systems like EMV chip technology are sufficient protection. Active monitoring for credit card fraud by all major card companies has resulted in far fewer incidents of this type of abuse in recent years.

If you do choose to notify your card company of your travel plans, most will let you do so either online or through a mobile app. And since they make it so easy to do, we say better safe than sorry.

Travel is Expensive Enough — Don’t Pay Extra for It

Avoiding foreign transaction fees can be as easy as choosing the right card, but it can also be a matter of how you spend when you’re traveling. Many experienced travelers choose to pay cash in the local currency, avoiding credit card fees altogether. This can save both fees and time, but it introduces other risks as well.

Ultimately, choosing the right card can help you avoid paying unnecessary foreign transaction fees, while still keeping you safe and protected. By using your card wisely, you can enjoy all of the things that make traveling abroad so appealing — and not pay more than you need to.