Which Credit Cards Do NOT Charge a Foreign Transaction Fee?

[Disclosure:  Emily and I get a referral for all cards in the post except for the Southwest Premier, Chase Priority Club, Chase Fairmont, Chase United Club, Citi Thank You Premier (better than my affiliate link), Citi American Airlines Executive, and the American Express Mercedes-Benz Platinum]

No Foreign Transaction Fee Cards

Readers often ask which credit cards do not charge the 1% to 3% foreign transaction fee for using the card for transactions in foreign currency.  Most credit cards will charge you a fee for purchases in a foreign currency.

So I’ve made a new page on the Travel Credit Cards tab for No Foreign Transaction Fee cards!

No-Foreign-Transaction-Fee-Cards

No Foreign Transaction Fee Tab!

The cards listed on that page do NOT charge a foreign transaction fee if you use them for transactions in foreign currencies.

My favorite no-foreign transaction fee card is the Chase Sapphire Preferred which offers double points for travel (airfare, hotel, car rental, parking etc.) and dining.  And you almost certainly are spending most of your money on travel and dining when you’re on vacation!

However, sometimes it could be worth paying the foreign transaction fee if you’re trying to hit the minimum spending required to get a large sign-up bonus on a new credit card.

I’ve also listed the cards in a table in this post to make it easier to sort through.

 
Sign-Up Bonus
Minimum Spending
Annual Fee
Chase Sapphire Preffered40,000 Points$3,000 In 3 Months$95 (waived for the 1st year)
Chase Ink Bold50,000 Points$5,000 In 3 Months$95 (waived for the 1st year)
Chase Ink Plus50,000 Points$5,000 In 3 Months$95 (waived for the 1st year)
Chase Hyatt2 Free Nights$1,000 In 3 Months$75
Chase British Airways50,000 Points$2,000 In 3 Months $95 NOT waived
Chase Southwest Premier25,000 Points (Every few months there is a 50,000 point offer)$1,000 In 3 Months$99 NOT waived
Chase Priority Club60,000 Points (There may be an 80,000 point offer as well)$1,000 In 3 Months$49 (waived for the 1st year)
Chase Marriott Premier50,000 Points + 1 Free Night (Category 1 to 4)$1,000 In 3 Months$85 (waived for the 1st year)
Chase Fairmont2 Free Nights$1,000 In 3 Months$95 NOT waived
Chase United Explorer25,000 Miles + 5,000 for an additional user (Look for a targeted offer for 50,000 miles)$1,000 in 3 Months$95 NOT waived
Chase United ClubLounge AccessNone$395
Chase Ritz Carlton70,000 Points$2,000 In 3 Months$395 NOT waived
Citi Hilton Reserve2 Free Weekend Nights$2,500 In 4 Months$95 NOT waived
Citi Thank You Premier30,000 Points$2,000 In 3 Months$125 (waived for the 1st year)
Citi American Airlines Executive30,000 Miles + Lounge Access$1,000 In 3 Months$450 NOT waived
American Express Mercedes-Benz Platinum$475 NOT waived
American Express PlatinumOffer not currently available
American Express Business Platinum25,000 Points + Lounge Access$5,000 In 3 Months$450 NOT waived

American Express

The American Express Platinum is not currently available.

I found it interesting that the only American Express credit card which does not charge a foreign transaction fee is the American Express Platinum (business and personal) card which has a high annual fee of $450 for the regular Platinum card and $475 for the Mercedes Benz (personal) version.  All the other American Express cards have foreign transaction fees which make them uncompetitive compared to Chase, Citi, and Capital One.

Yup, even the American Express Delta Reserve with a $450 annual fee charges a 2.7% foreign transaction fee!

Chase

Chase has the most credit cards which do not charge foreign transaction fees, which includes the Chase Sapphire Preferred, United Club , British Airways, Southwest Premier, Hyatt, Marriott Rewards Premier, Fairmont, Ritz-Carlton, Priority Club, Ink Plus, and Ink Bold cards.

And the British Airways, Marriott & Hyatt cards even have a chip, but as I wrote earlier, I wouldn’t go out of my way to get a US credit card with a chip since US cards don’t use the Chip and PIN version used in Europe.

Citi

Citi doesn’t have as many no foreign transaction fee cards as Chase, but the Citi Hilton Reserve, Thank You Premier, and American Airlines Executive card don’t charge foreign transaction fees.  Of these cards, the Citi Hilton Reserve is my favorite since you get 3 points per $1 spent and the sign-up bonus includes 2 free Hilton weekend nights.

And the Thank You Premier & Hilton Reserve cards even have a chip, but as I wrote earlier, I wouldn’t go out of my way to get a US credit card with a chip since US cards don’t use the Chip and PIN version used in Europe.

Capital One & DiSCOVER

Capital One & Discover cards also don’t charge foreign transaction fees across all their cards, but they earn cash back instead of airline and hotel points.  I prefer earning miles and points to cash back, but they could be useful to some, especially since their cards don’t have an annual fee.

Dynamic Currency Conversion

But you may still be charged a 3% fee when traveling if you use a no foreign transaction fee credit card!  Usually businesses will ask you, or the credit card reader will prompt you, to select your bill in either the foreign currency (say euros) or your home currency (US Dollars).

However, if you choose US dollars instead of the local currency, you pay a premium in addition to the exchange rate included by Visa and MasterCard and the foreign transaction fee charged by the bank which issued your credit card.

Seeing a foreign transaction in your US dollars is a benefit for many travelers who don’t like to do the math while shopping, but it will cost you 3% or more for the convenience.  Even if you have a credit card with no foreign transaction fees.

See this post for more details on why you should always pay for foreign purchases in the local currency and not US dollars.

Bottom Line

Cards which don’t charge foreign transaction fees can save you money when traveling, but be sure to always choose to be billed in the local currency to avoid the extra fee!

I’m curious which credit cards readers use when they travel!

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These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

71 Responses to Which Credit Cards Do NOT Charge a Foreign Transaction Fee?

  1. I know it’s hard to say everything in a succinct sentence, but those ripoff fees apply not only to transactions in foreign currencies, but also to transactions made abroad in those several countries which actually use the U.S. dollar as their own currency. Boycott those banks and cards when traveling abroad. I always use my Chase Sapphire Preferred card or CapitalOne Venture card when traveling abroad. I may have another card along as backup in case of emergency, but it stays unused.

  2. In Thailand many stores charge the user with the fees, as a percentage of the charged amount, that are levied on them by the credit card companies for accepting that card. Using credit cards also makes it more difficult to bargain in Thailand as well.

  3. I believe the Amex platinum “Corporate” card does charge the foreign transaction fee, while the business and personal versions of the card do not. This will mostly affect businesses but I thought it was worth pointing out for those considering getting this version of the card.

  4. D- I think your list should include which prepaid and gift cards dont have a forex…..

  5. The United Explorer card does charge foreign transaction fees (different from the United Club card you mentioned).

  6. 1. AmEx Platinum now comes with the option of having a chip with chip & signature
    2. I’ve heard that Chase conversions are higher than most. Thoughts?

  7. could you please comment on whether it makes sense to hold Capital One and Discover Card credit cards due to the no-foreign-transaction fee feature, since their credit cards do not count against the number of cards you could have with Amex/Citi/Chase? Wouldn’t that be good for your overall credit score to have a card in the drawer that increases you over all credit limit and reduces your credit utilization ratio? Just a thought. Or perhaps I’m way off base.

  8. Remember though banks can also shaft you on the exchange rate too. That’s why I just use ATMs and get cash (aghast!). You get the best exchange rate and if you belong to a credit union most do not charge foreign transaction fees on ATM withdrawal (but check with your lender). This is pretty much the only area of my life where I use cash over a credit card.

  9. Just a reminder for your Canadian readers….the Marriott Rewards Premier Visa is the only Canadian credit card with no foreign transaction fee charge. I wish there were a couple others but that is the only one that I am aware of.

  10. I forgot to mention the Canadian Marriott Visa card is with Chase Bank.

  11. Darius,

    Thanks for this list.
    As you probably know – even if these cards do not charge foreign transaction fees – they can tinker with the exchange rate they use to convert your purchase to USD.
    This one would be a bit more labor intensive but I would love to know the exchange rate these banks use and what that mark-up is as a percentage.

  12. The Chase Marriott Premier card also has a chip and signature, they recently made that the default card and it feels metally similar to the CSP. If you have the plastic version, you can call the Chase number on the back and request the newer card.

  13. One card that didn’t make your list is the BankAmericard Travel Rewards Visa. It comes with 10K bonus points that could be used for $100 off your next travel purchase, also has the EMV chip. You earn 1.5 points per $1 on purchases and travel. $0 Annual fee and No FOREX.

  14. Courtney Crook

    Hey D,

    I just got the Chase Priority CLub visa for 80,000 points, but it’s after $1000 in 3 months- not first purchase. I don’t know if that’s just a targeted offer for me or not, but I’m pretty sure it’s the 60,000 point card that requires only a first purchase. Just saying! :-)

  15. @DaveS - That’s true. Even a purchase in the US, but processed in foreign currency gets charged those fees.

    @Spokane Al – That’s true in many parts of Asia and Africa and expect a fee to be added on for using a credit card in small shops.

    @Papergirl - Thanks! I couldn’t find the terms and conditions online, but edited the post to indicate that only the business and personal waive the foreign transaction fee.

    @mike fein – That’s a good idea for another post!

    @Lively – That’s correct. The United Explorer card charges the fee, but the United Club card waives the fee.

    @noah @JB – I’ll work on a post on the actual conversion rate.

    @Danny – If you don’t want to pay annual fees and don’t cycle through cards, it could make sense to have a Capital One or Discover card to use because of the no foreign transaction fees.

    @Scott - Good point. I’ll look into the different rates charged.

    @Anne – Thanks for the reminder!

    @Grant – Thanks! I updated the post to mention that the Marriott card now offers a chip.

    @wade- Thanks! I thought of adding that card, but you can get 2% cash back with the Capital One Venture or Spark and the Discover which is better than the 1.5% on the Bank of America card.

  16. It’s a shame you don’t mention the PenFed cards (Amex and Visa) which (1) have no FOREX, (2) have no annual fees and (3) offer competitive rewards (either cash or travel points)

  17. Does the Chase Freedom card have any advantages of any sort??

  18. At least you got “transaction” spelled right the majority of the time. Good effort!!

  19. Daraius,

    For the Chase Hyatt card, you state the annual is “potentially waived with $100 statement credit”. Is that credit per year or just a one time deal upon initial approval?

    In other words, have you had success is getting the annual fee rebated?

  20. @Jerry – With the Chase Freedom card you are going to pay a 3% foreign transaction fee. The benefits of the card is you do the the quarterly bonus categories which will get you 5% back on those purchases. If you save all of the points you acquire with the chase freedom card, you can transfer them to your ink bold or chase sapphire if and when you get those cards from chase.

    Hope I helped you out.

    Scott

  21. Hey Daraius,

    Thanks a lot for this list. I have 3 questions for you:

    1. I want to apply for Chase Priority Club for 80,000 Points: but when I clicked on this link, it shows 60,000 points not, 80,000. Do you have another link for a better sign up promotion?

    2. Chase Ink Card Bold: Do you think I will still get X5 points on internet etc. if I use in Canada? I wonder X5 only applies in US.

    3. I have 3 Chase VISA cards so far, usually how many more can I get? I’ve applied 2 new card last year and got both of them instantly and now have three cards. But I’d like to get more! :-)

  22. I’ve already have a Chase Sapphire Preferred Visa card and want to apply either Chase Ink Plus or Chase Ink Bold. Which one is better? I always pain in full so charge card or not does not matter for me. I just want to pick a right card since I am not going to get both.

    Chase Ink Plus or Chase Ink Bold? what do you think?

  23. I used my Sapphire all over Vancouver and Whistler this fall. We intended to get cash, but every ATM we went to was either broken or down for service. It was weird! So I ended up going the whole week on credit only. I don’t expect to do the same in Europe next month, but I will put the bulk of my spending on the card and only use cash for those chip-necessary or small vendor transactions. I’ll probably bring the Southwest card as backup.

    The conversion rates are competitive – they are printed right on my statement, and I’ve checked. Besides, I’d rather earn the points. I won’t get those with cash transactions.

  24. That is one of the things I find disappointing about American Express. They tout themselves as global and being on the higher end, but only a very few have no foreign transaction fees. Even cards with very high fees do not take off the foreign transaction fee. To me, it is baffling that AmEx does that.

  25. amex plat is used for foreign travel as my amex gold has a fee for international

  26. The Discover It card is a NO ANNUAL FEE and NO Foreign transaction fee card. The only problem is that places might not accept Discover card overseas. I’ve been using this card for the quarterly 5X bonuses, an alternative to the Chase Freedom.

  27. There is a general myth that NO FOREIGN TRANSACTION (NFT) fees is better than being charged the fees. Most banks simply charge a move favorable exchange rate for NFT compared to a car with fees. The result is you pay about the same, but you think you saved. You probably did not.

    I have verified this with Chase with a few simple tests. While traveling in several foreign countries I used a NFT chase card to make a purchase and then made a second purchase of the same item with a Chase card with transaction fees. When I got my statement the NFT charge was the same as the non-NFT charge + transaction fee.

    Try it yourself if you have any doubts.

  28. @Mike – that is a good point. I just use my Fidelity Cash ATM card, and it gives me the going rate without fees. I just pay with Cash overseas, feel safer that way.

  29. I’ve found that the “corporate” Amex platinum lacks most of the benefits of the personal and business versions — no global entry, no airline credit, and add on foreign exchange fees, no sign up bonus — definitely not as valuable, but I guess less liability. We thought these benefits would apply when we got our cards, but its only when you call customer service they tell you it doesn’t apply.

  30. @bluecat – The Penfed cards are good category cash back cards (gas and groceries), but aren’t the best no foreign transaction cash back cards since you only earn 1 point or 1% cash back with them. Compare this to up to 2% cash back for travel on the Capital One and Discover cards.

    @Jerry - As Scott points out, the Chase Freedom charges a 3% foreign transaction fee, so it is not the best card to use overseas.

    @A Kimyai - The $100 credit is only 1-time, and I haven’t tried getting the annual fee waived yet.

    @Scott - Thanks for helping out!

    @Kim – Check out the link in the Hotel Credit Card tab. I don’t see a restriction that the internet and cable has to be in the US, but I don’t have personal experience with 5X points outside the US.

    @Carter – They both have the same sign-up bonus, so I don’t think it matters what card you get.

    @Lisa - I agree! I don’t like carrying around lots of cash while traveling either so I’d rather use a card and earn points.

    @Robert S - Perhaps they will improve their lineup soon. The Starwood card desperately needs to not charge foreign transaction fees.

    @Mike – Thanks for sharing. I’ll run a test on my own!

    @dot cahill – I’d do the same thing to save the transaction fee.

    @Papergirl – This link seems to suggest that you get the lounge access etc. with the corporate platinum card, but I don’t have any personal experience with it.

  31. My CapitalOne Venture card does earn points and has no foreign transaction fee. They can’t be transferred like UR but you can book travel with them or get a statement credit.

  32. Hi Daraius,

    Thanks a lot for sharing. You make dreams come true a lot sooner. I enjoy your every single post. Do you have a chart or could you make a chart lists airlines miles can transfer to/from hotels? I noticed 5000 Hawaiianmiles can transfer to 10000 Hilton points but a lot lesser if transfer back.

  33. @kim and daraius- data point- I have an office overseas and use ink cards to pay the phone bills and get 5x on those phone bills. Just has to be recognized by chase as coded as a phone company.

  34. I usually use the Sapphire Preferred, however sometime it may not be accepted because of its thickness. Every time that it is not swiped (e.g train ticket self service, parking, highway etc) it won’t work.

  35. @Sara K @SAN @Claire – Thanks for sharing!

    @milesrookie – Thanks for reading! I don’t have such a list, but Loyalty Traveler focuses on hotels and may have such a resource on his blog.

    @mike fein – Thanks for confirming.

  36. @Courtney Crook, how did you get 80,000 bonus point? I used to get that emails offer but not for the past 2 months.

  37. Hello D – quick question for you on SW card.
    I have SW Personal Plus CC for which I have a $20K credit line( opened Nov 2011, fees due). Also have a SW Business Premium CC for which I have $10K credit line ( opened Dec 2012). I don’t want to keep the personal card since I am charged $69 but don’t want to loose the credit limit either. Thoughts? Suggestion? I didn’t know where to post and hence posting it here. Thanks in advance for your help.

  38. @Carter – There’s a link to the 80K offer on the hotel credit card tab.

    @Mr.D - You could call the reconsideration line and have them move the credit to another Chase card and then call back to cancel the card.

  39. The capital one venture that pays out 2 points per dollar does have an annual fee.

  40. As to getting 5 points per dollar in other countries with the Ink Cards, you need to keep on top of it. Sometimes they don’t give it to you and you need to call in.

  41. The Alitialia American Express card for U.S. residents charges no foreign transaction fee.

  42. OMG! I’m so confused. going to Europe in July & looking for a card w/ no NFT. some of our spending will occur on line- eg: train ticket; apartment/houseboat rental. our Fidelity Visa has NFT – we pay the whole amt monthly- no interest charges. other than this trip, we often cruise to the Bahamas/Caribbean & charged the foreign fee. I don’t want to disturb our credit by having another card but don’t want to pay the fees…any suggestions? I’ve looked at capital One options; thanks winnie

  43. @Winnie Shosie – The Fidelity Visa does charge foreign transaction fees, so a Capital One card (any of them) could work since they don’t charge fees. I like the Chase Sapphire Preferred since it has no foreign transaction fees and double points on travel and dining, but the $95 annual fee is waived only in the 1st year.

  44. Great list and very helpful! On a related point, I actually prefer cash back to points and miles because you do not have to worry about redemption, expiration and devaluation. Also CapOne has lots of cards and to that point here are some additional cards > http://www.cardhub.com/credit-cards/foreign-transaction-fee/

  45. @Joe – Cash back is great for folks who don’t want the hassle of tracking their airline and hotel points, but folks who read the blog love airline and hotel points!

  46. Please don’t tell people to use “No foreign transaction fee” cards. That may still mean a 4% virtual fee.

    Years ago, I used my bank ATM card and my CapitolOne card in France and then compared the exchange rate on transactions made the same day with each card.

    The CapitolOne card’s exchange rate was bad. It cost me 4% more than the better exchange rate on the plain bank ATM card. Better to use a plain ATM card with a 1% fee (the best I could find) and pay cash than use a “no fee” credit card but pay 4% more for your purchases and currencies. Also, Discover now has no foreign transaction fee, but there’s a 5% fee on cash advances, so if you get currency, you’re paying a 5% virtual fee on top of 24% interest. Finally, Discover won’t tell you their exchange rate and CapitolOne wouldn’t, either.
    This foreign exchange thing is a quagmire!

  47. D. Sewell – Thanks for the feedback. The Charles Schwab account doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees and reimburses you ATM fees as well!

  48. Chase Sapphire – what’s not mentioned is that they charge 5% for ATM cash withdrawals when traveling internationally! The no-transaction fee deal is only for purchases. I called to verify, given that this important component seemed conspicuously absent from their card terms. So, plan accordingly.

  49. @Jenny – You should never use a credit card to withdraw money from an ATM because you will pay a very high interest rate!

  50. Would a mileage credit card, Citibank AmericanAdvantage Platinum, charge a foreign transaction fee for flights booked on a non American airline, but the cost is in US dollars? What about booking hotels on websites based in foreign countries, but the cost is listed inUS dollars?
    Thanks for any and all feedback.

  51. @Vivienne - If you’re booking, say, a Delta flight on Expedia in the US from the Expedia US site, there won’t be a foreign transaction fee. But if the charge is in foreign currency, you will pay the foreign transaction fee.

  52. Can anyone tell me which prepaid credit cards are out there that charge no foreign transaction fees. I purchase alot of goods internationally and NetSpend is killing me with those charges , i want to move to another prepaid Credit Card that does not charge foreign transaction fees. Thanks.

  53. @John - I don’t believe Bluebird charges foreign transaction fees.

  54. @John, the Amex reloadable prepaid gift cards do not.

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  57. Bank of America has added a Visa Travel card that has no transaction fees and has a chip in the card.

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  59. Your “No Foreign Transaction Fee” like is broken , would you please fix this ?

  60. @Pankaj – I took down that post b/c all the cards were mentioned in this post. I’m working on an automated way to update the card information on certain pages and will put the No Foreign Transaction Fee tab back next year.

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  68. Hi Dauius-
    Your website has helped us book travel first class to Europe on United: SFO – Munich, open jaw Vienna to Istanbul, and back for free on points, free hotels for 19 days for our 20th wedding anniversary. Working on the SFO-Honolulu, one-way final open jaw/ stop over. Just checked with Barclay – You may want to update your site to add Barclay Arrival Plus Mastercard to the No foreign transaction fees list (we will use on travel for credits) – it has no no chip, but the World Elite does have a chip and you can be automatically upgraded depending on your credit score. Thanks so much.

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