The best no foreign transaction fee credit cards 2021

Whether it’s for business or pleasure, there’s a lot to juggle when you’re planning a trip abroad — including how you’re going to pay for everything while you’re there. If you’ll be using a credit card overseas, it’s important to find out if your credit card company adds a fee for international transactions.

Unfortunately, many U.S.-issued credit cards include a foreign transaction fee when you use them abroad. Typically, the fee is small (between 1-3% of your purchase), but it can quickly add up over the course of your trip. The same applies if you’re based in the U.S. but frequently buy from international retailers.

The good news is that there are a number of credit cards that don’t have foreign transaction fees. However, these cards can vary quite a bit in terms of annual fees, sign-up bonuses, and rewards rates, so it’s imperative to do your research before signing up. Below, you’ll find a list of top cards to consider so you can determine the best no foreign transaction fee credit card for your needs.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® credit card

Attractive sign-up bonus and flexible redemption options for travelers

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Chase

Chase Sapphire Preferred is an extremely popular rewards credit card — and it’s easy to understand why. The card comes with tons of perks, including an impressive sign-up bonus of 100,000 points if you spend $4,000 within three months of opening your card.

You can maximize your points earnings when you spend in certain categories, including dining, online grocery shopping, and travel. When you’re ready to redeem, you can transfer them to your airline or hotel rewards programs or use them to reserve travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal (for 25% more value). Or, if you don’t want to redeem your points for travel, you can swap them for cashback or put them toward other purchases in the Chase shopping portal.

With an annual fee of just $95, it’s hard to beat the Chase Sapphire Preferred in terms of value — especially for frequent travelers. It could also be a good option if it’s your first rewards credit card because it strikes a good balance between perks and an affordable annual fee.


Pros:

  • Fantastic sign-up bonus

  • Extra incentives for booking travel through Chase

  • Bonus points for spending in certain categories

Cons:

  • Need to meet the minimum spend to qualify for the sign-up bonus

  • Can’t transfer points to a certain airline or hotel loyalty programs

  • Higher annual fee than some other cards


Capital One Venture Rewards

Straightforward rewards card that offers 2x miles on all purchases

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Capital One

It can be confusing with some credit cards to remember how many bonus points you’ll earn on different types of transactions. But this isn’t the case with the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, which offers two miles per dollar spent across every purchase you make.

If you’re thinking about saving your miles for a few years to splurge on a business class flight or a honeymoon, the Venture card could be a smart choice. As long as your account stays open, your rewards won’t expire, and there’s no limit on how many points you can accrue. When you’re ready to use your miles, you can book directly with your provider and receive a statement credit. Alternatively, you can opt to transfer your points to one of Capital One’s travel partners (including JetBlue, British Airways, and Qantas).

At $95, Venture’s annual fee is similar to its competitors. Overall, it’s an interesting option if you’re a regular traveler looking for a simple, easy-to-understand rewards card with a decent sign-up bonus.


Pros:

  • 2x miles per dollar on every purchase

  • Includes statement credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck access

  • 60,000 point sign-up bonus when you spend $3,000 in the first three months

Cons:

  • No special bonus point categories

  • Capital One’s travel partners do not include major U.S. airlines

  • Not the best option for infrequent travelers


American Express® Gold Card

Tons of value for travelers who like to dine out or order in

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American Express credit cards are often recognized for their generous perks, and the Gold Card is no exception — especially if you like to eat. With this card, you’ll earn 4x points at restaurants (including takeout and delivery), as well as 4x points at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per calendar year). On top of that, you can earn monthly statement credits from select restaurants and food delivery services.

In terms of travel, you’ll get 3x points on flights (as long as you book through an airline or the American Express travel portal). If you’re a regular Uber user, you can also rack up monthly credits for Uber’s rideshare or food delivery services. And when it’s time to redeem your points, you can either book travel through the AmEx portal or by transferring to the company’s travel partners.

At $250, the Gold Card’s annual fee is higher than most other cards on this list. However, there are simple ways to offset the cost. Between the dining bonuses, the travel perks, and the 60,000-point welcome bonus, the Gold Card is certainly worth considering.


Pros:

  • Earn extra points on dining, groceries, and flights

  • Opportunities to earn monthly Uber and dining credits

  • Choose card color (gold or rose gold)

Cons:

  • High annual fee

  • Some international merchants won’t accept American Express

  • Supermarket bonus earning only valid for U.S. grocery stores


Bank of America® Travel Rewards

No annual fee and extra rewards for Bank of America customers

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There’s a lot to love about the Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card. For starters, you’ll accrue 1.5 points for every dollar that you spend (with no limits on how many points you can earn). Even better? If you’re in the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program, you’ll earn 25-75% more on each purchase.

When you’re ready to trade in your points, there’s no need to book through a special portal or transfer your points to a loyalty program. Instead, you can exchange your points for a statement credit to cover the travel or dining expenses you’ve charged to your card.

For most cardmembers, the most compelling perk of this credit card is the $0 annual fee. In general, we don’t think that an annual fee should be a deterrent if there’s a credit card that’s a great match for your spending habits. However, we recognize that some people would prefer a card without a fee. If that’s you, consider the Bank of America Travel Rewards card.


Pros:

  • No annual fee

  • Easy and flexible point redemption

  • The generous sign-up bonus for a card with no annual fee

Cons:

  • Best suited for Bank of America customers

  • Lower rewards rates than other cards

  • It might offer less value than a card with an annual fee


Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards

Treat yourself to cash back on all purchases

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Capital One

It can be tricky to find a credit card that offers both cashback and no foreign transaction fee, but the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards does just that. It’s a great option if you’d rather get cashback for your purchases instead of collecting points for travel.

With this card, you’ll get 1.5% cashback on every transaction, both at home and overseas. Plus, there’s no maximum on how much you can earn. On top of that, you’ll get an extra $200 one-time statement credit if you spend at least $500 within three months of opening your card.

Unlike many other rewards credit cards, the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards has a $0 annual fee. We think it’s worth checking out if points and travel rewards aren’t your thing, but you still want a card that won’t charge you a fee for international transactions.


Pros:

  • $0 annual fee

  • Unlimited cashback on all purchases

  • 0% introductory APR for first 15 months

Cons:

  • Flat earning and redemption rates

  • Can’t transfer points to travel partners

  • Not the best for earning higher-tier status with airline or hotel loyalty programs


Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Premium rewards card for frequent travelers

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Chase

As the premium version of the Chase Sapphire Preferred, the Chase Sapphire Reserve is the ultimate credit card for travelers. Some highlights of this card include massive rewards rates for travel bookings, an annual travel credit, and airport lounge access.

As a card member, you’ll receive up to $300 in statement credit each year for travel purchases. Once you exceed $300 in travel expenses in a year, you’ll graduate to higher rewards rate tiers, earning 5x points on flights and 10x points on hotels and car rentals (as long as you purchase through Chase Ultimate Rewards). Plus, you’ll get 10x points on Chase Dining and 3x points on other restaurants and delivery services.

With all of these incredible perks, it’s not surprising that the annual fee for the Chase Sapphire Reserve is a hefty $550. But if you’re a frequent traveler, it’s easy to get your money’s worth from this card — and that’s not even including the 60,000-point welcome offer.


Pros:

  • Annual $300 travel credit

  • Exceptional rewards rates

  • Priority Pass membership for airport lounge access

Cons:

  • High annual fee

  • Not worth the cost unless you’re a frequent traveler

  • Only for applicants with excellent credit


Ink Business Preferred®

Ideal for maximizing business-related purchases

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Shutterstock

If you’re a business owner, it makes sense to have a reliable credit card that rewards you for business expenses — and the Chase Ink Business Preferred is a solid option. When you open your account, you’ll receive 3x points on essentials like shipping, advertising, utilities, and travel, up to $150,000 each calendar year.

What really sets this card apart, however, is the sign-up bonus. After you spend $15,000 in the first three months of opening your card, you’ll earn 100,000 bonus points to redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards or transfer to the company’s travel partners. You can even open cards for your employees at no extra cost, helping you earn rewards faster.

The Chase Ink Business Preferred has a $95 annual fee, which is reasonable when you consider the card’s perks. All in all, we think it’s worth exploring — as long as you have enough business expenses to earn the welcome bonus.


Pros:

  • Massive sign-up bonus

  • High rewards rate for certain business expenses

  • Points are worth 25% more when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards

Cons:

  • Has an annual fee

  • It doesn’t include extra rewards for dining

  • Only for business owners


How did we choose these products?

The process for choosing the best no foreign transaction fee credit cards involved comprehensive research from a number of sources, including credit card issuer websites, expert review guides, and customer reviews. From there, we narrowed down our list to include a few cards for each use case (more on that in the next section).

In the end, we created a well-rounded list with options for all types of travelers or international shoppers.

We evaluated each card based on the following criteria:

  • Annual fee

  • Welcome bonus

  • Rewards rates

  • Additional incentives (for example, Priority Pass memberships or Uber credit)

  • Reviews

Which is the right one for you?

We know that there are different reasons that someone might need a credit card with no foreign transaction fees, so we’ve selected these products with several use cases in mind.

For example, if you go overseas multiple times per year, you might consider a card that rewards you for travel-related expenses (like the Chase Sapphire Preferred). Whether you’re traveling for work or leisure, these credit cards allow you to earn extra points on flights, hotels, and car rentals, which you can ultimately redeem for future travel purchases. They’ll usually come with high annual fees, but you can typically offset the costs if you use your card in the right way.

On the other hand, you might not travel abroad regularly, but you still want a card with no foreign transaction charges. Maybe you’re saving up for an international trip in the future, or you buy from overseas retailers. In either case, you’ll probably want to look for a card with no annual fee that still rewards you for spending (like the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards).

The best no foreign transaction fee credit cards FAQ

How much are foreign transaction fees?

Most U.S.-based issuers will charge a 3% fee if you use your card with an overseas merchant (unless you have a no foreign transaction fee credit card). For example, you’d end up paying an additional $6 foreign transaction fee on a $200 hotel room in London.

Do I need a no foreign transaction fee credit card to travel abroad?

It’s not a requirement, but we strongly recommend it. Although a 3% foreign transaction fee seems small, it can add up when you’re using your card multiple times per day on a trip.

Are foreign transaction fees influenced by exchange rates?

No. Foreign transaction fees are a fixed-percentage charge (typically 3%) added to the price of your purchase. Your credit card company assesses these fees as the cost of sending a payment to an overseas merchant.

Are there alternatives worth considering?

In this review, we wanted to appeal to a broad audience of international travelers and shoppers. As a result, we didn’t include any airline- or hotel-specific credit cards. But if you travel exclusively with a certain airline or stay at a particular hotel chain, it might make sense to consider a co-branded card, such as:

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