When it comes to deciding which card to use for your spending, there are all kinds of things to consider. Maybe you want the best card for everyday spending, maybe you want the best card for a specific bonus category (dining, groceries, gas, etc.), maybe you want the best card with no annual fee, or maybe you want the best card with a reasonable annual fee.
In this post I wanted to take a look at the best cards with no foreign transaction fees, as this can make a huge difference in terms of how you’ll be rewarded for your spending abroad.
What makes a good no foreign transaction fee credit card?
If you’re traveling abroad, you absolutely should get a card with no foreign transaction fees. Don’t worry, this leaves you with lots of options, as there’s everything from no annual fee to uber-premium cards that don’t have foreign transaction fees.
Foreign transaction fees on some cards are roughly 3% of the purchase price, which can quickly negate any rewards you earn. Getting a card with 0% foreign transaction fees can obviously make a significant difference.
What should you be looking for in a card with no foreign transaction fees?
- Find a card that has bonus categories that match your spending profile abroad; many of us largely spend money in the dining and travel category when abroad, so being able to earn bonus rewards in those categories is awesome
- Find a card that has good global acceptance; in general you’ll find that Mastercard and Visa have the best acceptance abroad
- Find a card with an annual fee that you’re willing to pay; don’t worry, there are even several options without annual fees
- Find a card that offers travel perks that could be valuable when traveling abroad, like a Priority Pass membership, travel protection, etc.
Regardless of which card with no foreign transaction fees you choose to use, make sure you always avoid dynamic currency conversion (by paying in the local currency), and generally convert money as efficiently as possible.
The best no foreign transaction fee personal credit cards
Let me share what I consider to be the best personal credit cards with no foreign transaction fees, ranked from highest annual fee to lowest annual fee. These hopefully cover a bit of everything, depending on what categories you spend the most in, and how you’re looking to be rewarded.
Chase Sapphire Reserve Card
The $550 annual fee Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card (review) is the gold standard when it comes to no foreign transaction fee cards, as the card offers 3x Ultimate Rewards points on dining and travel, which I value at a 5.1% return. For many travelers, this covers a vast majority of expenses abroad, as the travel category includes everything from hotels, to rental cars, to flights, to train tickets, to taxis.
Capital One Venture X Card
The $395 annual fee Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card (review) (Rates & Fees) is the best card for non-bonused spending abroad, as the card offers 2x Capital One miles per dollar spent, which I value at a 3.4% return. So while there aren’t any exciting bonus categories here, just earning that return on all spending is tough to beat.
Citi Premier Card
The $95 annual fee Citi Premier® Card (review) has some incredible bonus categories for travel, as the card offers 3x ThankYou points on dining, gas stations, groceries, airfare, and hotels. I value ThankYou points at 1.7 cents each, so to me that’s a 5.1% return on that spending. There aren’t many cards offering bonus points on groceries and gas outside the United States, so that’s a pretty remarkable aspect of the card.
The Bilt Mastercard® (review) has no annual fee, and offers 3x points on dining and 2x points on travel, all with no foreign transaction fees. These points are also extremely valuable, and can be transfered to programs like American AAdvantage and World of Hyatt. Earning this many transferable points with a no annual fee card and “no strings attached” is tough to beat.
Capital One SavorOne Card
The Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card (review) (Rates & Fees) is one of the best no annual fee card for dining abroad, as the card offers unlimited 3% back on dining, grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart and Target), popular streaming services, and entertainment. Finding a no annual fee card with no foreign transaction fees is rare to begin with, let alone to earn such bonus rewards on categories like dining.
The best no foreign transaction fee business credit cards
As you can see, there are quite a few great personal credit cards with no foreign transaction fees, but what about business cards? Fortunately there are also some solid options, so below are my top picks, ranked from highest annual fee to lowest annual fee.
Capital One Venture X Business
The $395 annual fee Capital One Venture X Business (review) (Rates & Fees) is the best business card for non-bonused spending abroad, as the card offers 2x Capital One miles per dollar spent, which I value at a 3.4% return. So while there aren’t any exciting bonus categories here, just earning that return on all spending is tough to beat.
Capital One Spark Cash Plus Card
The $150 annual fee Capital One Spark Cash Plus (review) (Rates & Fees) offers unlimited 2% cash back with no foreign transaction fees, making it the best straight cash back card for spending abroad. The card even offers further spending thresholds for big spenders, and rewards can potentially be converted into Capital One miles, to get even more value.
I know many businesses may make large purchases with suppliers abroad, so this is an unbeatable card in that regard.
Chase Ink Business Preferred Card
The $95 annual fee Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card (review) is one of the all-around best business credit cards, and it’s also rewarding for international spending. The card offers 3x Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on travel, shipping purchases, internet, cable, phone services, and advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines. This applies for the first $150,000 in combined purchases per cardmember year. I value 3x points at a 5.1% return.
Earning that rate of return all with great travel protection is tough to beat.
Capital One Spark Cash Select for Excellent Credit
The Capital One Spark Cash Select for Excellent Credit (review) (Rates & Fees) has no annual fee and offers a flat 1.5% cash back on all purchases, all with no foreign transaction fees. While a 1.5% rate of return might not sound that great, it’s pretty good for a card with no foreign transaction fees. Furthermore, in conjunction with select other cards, rewards can be converted into Capital One miles.
If you travel internationally with any frequency, getting a card with no foreign transaction fees is a must, as it can save you around 3% on transactions. Don’t just settle for any card with no foreign transaction fees, though — get a card that has a rewards structure that matches your spending profile. From premium cards to no annual fee cards, there really are lots of excellent options.
What’s your go-to card for purchases abroad?