If you're traveling outside the country, you've likely plunked down a significant sum on flights, hotels and other travel expenses. Don't make a rookie mistake and bring the wrong credit card.
If you use a bum credit card on an overseas trip, your post-vacation bank statement can deliver a major sticker shock. Many credit cards charge foreign transaction fees, which means that every purchase you make out of the country will get slapped with a fee of around 3 to 5 percent. That really adds up over the course of a week in Paris or Australia.
Here are five credit cards that let you avoid foreign transaction fees:
5 Best Credit Cards with No Foreign Transaction Fees
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Chase Sapphire Preferred Card will not zonk you with foreign transaction fees. With its relatively affordable $95 annual fee, this is a great starter card for travelers on so many levels. You'll earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months. That adds up to $750 that you can redeem and put towards travel, whether it be for car rentals, airfare, hotels, cruises, or more. Additionally, Chase Sapphire Preferred Card members also get two times the points on travel costs and dining—even internationally. Besides what you save on not paying foreign transaction fees, travel rewards stack up fairly quickly with this card.
Renting a car? Among many outstanding perks, this card provides primary collision (CDW) insurance. Most credit cards offer secondary coverage, meaning that it kicks in only after your personal auto insurance coverage has been depleted. The beauty of primary coverage is that if you damage your rental car, you won't have to file a claim with your auto insurance when renting in the U.S..
Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card is a fantastic card for people who hate fees. There is no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees. This card has a sign-up bonus of 30,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 in purchases in the first three months. There are a ton of ways to earn cash back while you're on the go. You'll earn 3x points on dining out, ordering in, gas purchases, ride sharing, transit services, flights, hotels, vacation rentals and more. Other benefits offered by the Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card include 24-hour emergency travel assistance, roadside assistance and emergency towing. If you're flying, there's also insurance for lost and damaged baggage. Cardholders also get Worldwide Travel Accident Insurance coverage up to $150,000.
Renting a car? Like other AmEx cards, the Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card offers secondary car rental insurance for North American rentals and primary coverage for international rentals. Secondary car rental insurance kicks in only after your personal auto insurance coverage has been depleted. If you don't want to risk your auto insurance company getting involved, you should consider buying over-the-counter insurance at the car rental agency.
Chase Sapphire Reserved Card Considered an upgrade from its sister Preferred card, this card is arguably the most coveted credit card for travelers and, no surprise, it does not charge foreign transaction fees. You'll score 3x the points for travel and dining expenses. You'll receive up to $300 in statement credits each year as a reimbursement for travel purchases. And you'll get 50 percent more value when redeeming points for car rentals, airfare, hotels, cruises, and other travel expenses. When comparing this card to the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, you'll have to weigh this card's heftier annual fee against the faster accrual of points.
Renting a car? Like its sister Preferred card, the Chase Sapphire Reserved Card offers primary car rental insurance in the U.S. and secondary everywhere else.
Capital One Venture Card is another terrific card for international travel, as it does not charge foreign transaction fees. Cardholders earn 2x the miles per dollar on every purchase for an unlimited number of miles. This card also pushes travel rewards by offering 10x the points earned when you use it to book hotel rooms. There are countless ways to redeem your points, from rental cars to airlines, hotels and more. Lastly, international travelers can receive up to a $100 credit for certain expedited security screening programs at airports.
Renting a car? This card includes secondary Visa Signature collision and damage insurance.
Costco Anywhere Card by Citi offers a nice array of all-around perks for Costco members. This card has no annual fee for Costco members and no foreign transaction fees. Perhaps the best reason to get the Costco Anywhere Card is that it earns cash back with every purchase. You'll earn 4 percent cash back on the first $7,000 you spend each year on gas (then 1%), 3 percent cash back on dining and eligible travel, 2 percent cash back on Costco purchases and 1 percent cash back on everything else. Other benefits offered by the Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi include trip cancellation and interruption protection. Whether you've experienced health or personal issues, or your travel is interrupted by severe weather or another emergency, you're eligible for up to $3,000 of compensation. Furthermore, this card offers other benefits, like 24/7 roadside assistance anywhere in the U.S., including Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
Renting a car? The Costco Anywhere Card is one of few Citi cards to still offer car rental insurance and other travel benefits. This card offers secondary rental car insurance for domestic rentals and primary coverage for international rentals, covering damages or vehicle replacement up to $50,000.