Best credit cards to use abroad for 2024

Pick a card with no foreign transaction fees and save big. We've rated 20+ cards for spending abroad and listed the best 5. Updated daily.

Table: sorted by representative APR, promoted deals first
1 - 9 of 24
Name Product Finder Score Foreign transaction fee Foreign cash transaction fee Interest-free days on foreign transactions Interest-free days on foreign cash transactions Incentive Representative example Link
Santander All in One Credit Card
4.5
★★★★★
0%
3% (min. £3)
Up to 56 days
0 days
0.5% after £1 of monthly spend. Maximum of £10 cashback paid per month. Cashback paid monthly into Card Account. Maximum spend for cashback purposes is limited to credit limit.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 23.9% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £3 per month, your representative rate is 29.8% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
View details
Yonder Credit Card
Finder Award
Yonder Credit Card
4.5
★★★★★
0%
0%
0 days
0 days
First month free for new members, £15 p/m thereafter. Plus, 10,000 bonus points. Earn 5 points per £1 spent and up to 25 points per £1 at selected partners. Membership includes worldwide travel insurance, no FX fees and use your points towards any flight.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 29.94% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £15 per month, your representative rate is 66.7% APR (variable).
Go to site
View details
Additional account needed
Santander Edge Credit Card Mastercard
4.5
★★★★★
0%
3% (min. £3)
0 days
0 days
Limited time offer: Switch to Santander Edge or Edge Up current account and get £175 cash. Existing Santander Edge current account customers can also receive £18 for opening a Santander Edge credit card between 21 May and 2 July 2024. T&Cs apply.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 23.9% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £3 per month, your representative rate is 29.8% APR (variable).
Go to site
View details
The Royal Bank Credit Card
4.7
★★★★★
0%
3%
Up to 56 days
0 days
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 12.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 12.9% APR (variable).
View details
NatWest Credit Card
4.7
★★★★★
0%
3%
Up to 56 days
0 days
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 12.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 12.9% APR (variable).
View details
Royal Bank of Scotland Reward Black Credit Card
4.0
★★★★★
0%
3%
Up to 56 days
0 days
Earn 1% back at supermarkets and 0.5% back everywhere else, including supermarket petrol stations. At selected retailers, you could earn 1-15% back.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 21.9% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £84 per annum. Reward Black Current Account holders: £0 per annum, your representative rate is 40.7% APR (variable).
View details
NatWest Reward Black Credit Card
4.3
★★★★★
0%
3%
Up to 56 days
0 days
You'll earn 1% back at supermarkets and 0.5% back everywhere else, including supermarket petrol stations. At selected retailers, you could earn 1-15% back.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 21.9% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £84 per annum. Reward Black Current Account holders: Year 2 onwards - £0 per annum, your representative rate is 40.7% APR (variable).
View details
The Ulster Bank Credit Card Mastercard
4.7
★★★★★
0%
3%
Up to 56 days
0 days
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 12.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 12.9% APR (variable).
View details
Metro Bank Personal Credit Card Mastercard
4.0
★★★★★
0% within the EU and 2.99% in other countries
0%
Up to 56 days
0 days
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 18.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 18.9% APR (variable).
View details
loading

Approval for any credit card depends on your status. The representative APRs shown represent the interest rate offered to most successful applicants. Depending on your personal circumstances, the APR you're offered may be higher, or you may not be offered credit at all. Fees and rates are subject to change without notice. It's always wise to check the terms of any deal before you borrow. Most of the data in Finder's comparison tables is provided by Moneyfacts.

Choosing the wrong credit card can be incredibly costly if you get caught by expensive foreign transaction fees when you’re off catching some winter sun or shopping for some last minute gifts from an overseas business. The credit cards featured on this page are specifically designed to avoid costly conversion fees.

Top 5 best credit cards for spending abroad June 2024

Finder's pick #1

Barclaycard Rewards Visa

0%

Balance transfer fee

28.9%

Representative APR

0%

Foreign transaction charge

£0

Account fee

Get 2% cashback on all BT or EE spend. T&Cs apply. Offer ends 29 September 2023. Selected Barclaycard members will also receive a free accounting plan from FreshBooks. FreshBooks reserves the right to terminate free accounts that don’t belong to an existing Barclaycard customer and partners may receive a revenue share from each other on approved applications.
  • No fees for foreign transactions
  • No interest is charged on cash withdrawals if balance is repaid in full
  • 0.25% cashback on spending
  • No annual fee
  • Longer cashback deals on the market
  • Strict eligibility criteria - you must be aged 21 and over, have good credit, have at least 4 years’ experience managing credit and have a personal income of more than £20000 a year
  • Late payment fees apply
Minimum income 20000
Availability Available to new customers
Foreign usage charge (EU) 0%
Cash advance fee 28.9%
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 28.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 28.9% APR (variable).

Finder's pick #2

Halifax Clarity Credit Card Mastercard

0%

Balance transfer fee

23.9%

Representative APR

0%

Foreign transaction charge

£0

Account fee

There are no foreign transaction fees for purchases and no fees for cash withdrawals either with the Halifax Clarity card. However, interest will be charged on cash withdrawals from the date of the transaction, even if you pay off your balance in full
  • No fees for foreign transactions, including purchases and cash withdrawals
  • Any money spent abroad will be set by the Mastercard exchange rate on that day
  • No annual fee
  • Interest will apply to purchases if you don’t clear your balance each month
  • Interest will be charged on cash withdrawals from the date of the transaction, even if you pay off your balance in full
  • No additional perks
Availability Available to new customers
Foreign usage charge (EU) 0%
Cash advance fee 23.94%
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 23.94% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 23.9% APR (variable).

Finder's pick #3

NatWest Credit Card

0%

Balance transfer fee

12.9%

Representative APR

0%

Foreign transaction charge

£0

Account fee

There are no foreign transaction fees when you use your NatWest credit card for purchases. However, unlike the above cards, a fee of 3% will apply to any cash withdrawals you make. What’s more, you’ll be charged interest on cash withdrawals from the day of the transaction and at a higher rate than purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees for purchases abroad
  • Low interest rate on purchases
  • No annual fee
  • 3% (min. £0) fee applies to cash withdrawals
  • Interest will be charged on cash withdrawals from the date of the transaction, even if you pay off your balance in full
  • Interest will apply to purchases if you don’t clear your balance each month
Minimum income 10000
Availability Available to new customers
Foreign usage charge (EU) 0%
Cash advance fee 26.9%
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 12.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 12.9% APR (variable).

Finder's pick #4

118 118 Money Guaranteed Rate Card

0%

Balance transfer fee

49%

Representative APR

0%

Foreign transaction charge

£0

Account fee

With this credit card from 118 118 Money, there are no annual fees, no fees for cash withdrawals and no foreign transaction fees. However, interest will be charged on cash withdrawals from the moment you get your cash, and it will also apply to purchases if you don’t pay off your balance in full. What’s more the interest rate on this card is higher than many of its competitors. But the good news is it could be a better option for those with a lower credit rating.
Minimum income 8400
Availability Available to new customers
Foreign usage charge (EU) 0%
Cash advance fee 49%
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 49% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 49% APR (variable).

Finder's pick #5

Zopa Credit Card Visa

34.9%

Representative APR

0%

Foreign transaction charge

£0

Account fee

Up to 56 days

Interest-free each billing period

There is no foreign transaction fee when you use this credit card to make purchases overseas. However, you will be charged £3 every time you withdraw cash. What’s more, interest will apply to cash withdrawals from the day you withdraw your money, even if you pay off your balance in full that month. You will also be charged interest on purchases if you don't clear your balance. The rate of interest is also higher than some of its competitors.
  • No foreign transaction fee on purchases
  • No annual fee
  • Cash Cushion feature lets you set aside some of your available credit balance for when you really need it
  • Fee applies to cash withdrawals
  • Interest will be charged on cash withdrawals from the date of the transaction, even if you pay off your balance in full
  • Interest will apply to purchases if you don’t clear your balance each month
Minimum income 10000
Availability Available to new customers
Foreign usage charge (EU) 0%
Cash advance fee 34.9%
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 34.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 34.9% APR (variable).

What is a travel credit card?

A travel credit card is simply a credit card that’s specifically designed for overseas use. Unlike standard credit cards, a travel credit card can help you avoid paying hefty foreign transaction fees when you spend or withdraw cash on your credit card abroad.

It’s important not to confuse travel credit cards with airline credit cards which offer rewards such as air miles.

How do travel credit cards work?

A travel credit card works in much the same way as any other credit card. You can spend on your credit card as and when you need to, up to your set credit limit, and then you repay the amount borrowed in flexible monthly repayments. If you don’t pay off the balance in full each month, interest is usually charged.

Where they differ is that travel credit cards won’t charge a foreign transaction fee when you spend on the card overseas. Some also won’t charge a fee when you withdraw cash from an ATM. However, in most cases, interest is still charged on cash withdrawals from the moment you get your cash – even if you pay off your balance in full that month.

The fees you could incur when travelling

There are different fees you could end up paying on your credit card when you travel overseas. These include the following:

  • Foreign transaction fee

    (charged by your card issuer)

    Most credit cards in the UK market charge you a fee for every non-sterling transaction. Usually this is between 2% and 3% of the amount spent. For example, if your card had a fee of 3%, and you made a purchase for £100, this would cost you £3 in fees.

    Best way to avoid this fee: Opt for a credit card that doesn’t charge foreign currency conversion fees.

  • Foreign cash advance fee

    (charged by your card issuer)

    Withdrawing cash on a credit card at home or abroad is usually a bad idea because you’ll be charged a fee of around 3%. Even cards that bill themselves as specifically designed for travel may still charge this. When abroad, you’ll be charged this fee on top of any foreign transaction fee, which means if you withdraw £100, you could be charged a 3% fee for the cash withdrawal (£3) and a 3% foreign transaction fee (£3), bringing your total charges to £6.

    Note that cash advances are also usually exempt from any interest-free days, which means you’ll be charged interest from the date of the transaction – even if you pay off your balance in full that month. Interest rates are usually higher too.

    Best way to avoid this fee: Look for an ATM that won’t charge you for withdrawing cash.

  • Cash machine fee

    (charged by the cash machine provider)

    Some ATMs will also charge you a fee of around £3 for withdrawing cash so make sure you check before carrying out your transaction.

    Best way to avoid this fee: Either don’t use a credit card to withdraw cash or look for machines attached to banks. If the ATM flags that it’s going to charge you a fee, consider looking for another.

  • Dynamic currency conversion fee

    (charged by the merchant’s bank)

    Ever been asked by a merchant if you’d like to pay for your goods in sterling rather than the local currency? If you have and you accept, the retailer will do the currency conversion for you but at a less competitive exchange rate. This means you’ll pay more than necessary for your purchase.

    Best way to avoid this fee: Always pay in the local currency.

And a final extra “pro tip”: if you’re an Uber user and you get yourself a dedicated card with no fees on overseas spending, set it up as your default payment option before you go (because you’ll get billed in the local currency).

Here’s a section from a popular credit card’s summary box which serves as an example of how much extra you could pay to use your credit card abroad.

a lose-up on a credit card summary box document showing the fee structure for overseas transactions

Fee-free exchange rates

Underlying each credit card’s exchange rate is the network’s exchange rate. When you use a Visa card to pay for something in a different currency, Visa’s exchange rate is used. When you use a Mastercard, it’s Mastercard’s exchange rate that applies. Card issuers then normally add their own charge on top of this, but if you’re using a card that doesn’t charge non-sterling transaction fees (like those listed on this page), you’ll enjoy the network’s exchange rates with nothing added on top.

Alternatively, if you’re on Team Amex, here’s our guide to using your American Express card abroad.

How to compare the best credit cards to use abroad

If you’re looking for a credit card to take with you on holiday, you’ll need to consider the following when carrying out your comparison:

  • Is there a foreign transaction fee? Look for a credit card that won’t charge you for spending on your credit card abroad. The cards we’ve listed in the table above all waive the foreign transaction fee.
  • Is there a foreign cash withdrawal fee? There are a handful of credit cards that also won’t charge you for withdrawing money at a cash machine. If you think you’re likely to withdraw cash abroad, look for a card without fees.
  • Will you get interest-free days on foreign transactions? Almost all cards on the UK market offer up to 55 or 56 days where you won’t pay interest on your purchases. But to enjoy this benefit, you must have cleared your balance in the previous billing cycle and you must clear your balance each month. Crucially, while almost all cards offer this benefit, not all extend it to cover non-sterling transactions. You can find this information in a card’s “summary box”
  • Is interest charged on cash withdrawals? In the case of almost all UK credit cards, you’ll be charged interest on cash withdrawals from the moment you get your cash, but it’s still worth checking. The Barclaycard Rewards Visa card is the exception here.
  • What’s the interest rate? Most travel credit cards do not offer 0% interest deals on purchases, so you’ll need to pay your balance off in full each month to avoid interest charges. Bear in mind that if you have bad credit, you may be offered a higher rate (or your application may be declined).
  • Is there an annual fee? Double check whether your card charges an annual fee and whether this is worth paying.
  • Are there any additional perks? Check whether your card offers cash back or other travel benefits such as frequent flyer points. A few credit cards might also come with travel insurance, but be aware that these cards usually charge annual fees and might have stricter eligibility criteria.

APR and foreign transaction fees

Credit card promotions have to include an annual percentage rate (APR) which all card issuers must calculate in the same way.

Credit card fee structures can get fiddly, so the APR’s designed to benchmark the yearly cost to borrow, with a view to helping consumers compare cards against one another. It takes into consideration the default interest rate plus any mandatory, regular account fees.

However, be aware that APR doesn’t take into account other fees such as those you may be charged when you travel abroad. A credit card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees might have a higher APR than other types of credit cards, but it will save you a lot in fees if you regularly travel abroad. Provided you clear your balance each month, the fact it doesn’t charge fees will be of more importance than the APR.

Finally, always keep in mind that credit card companies only have to offer their advertised representative APR to 51% of the people who are approved for the card. The rest may get a higher rate depending on their circumstances. That’s why it’s usually referred to as “representative” APR.

Looking for a travel debit card instead?

Travel credit cards aren’t for everyone and you typically need to have a pretty healthy credit rating to receive the most competitive rates. With a travel debit card, fee-free overseas spending is still possible, and you won’t have to worry about going into debt (unless you go into an unplanned overdraft).

You can use our guide to compare a range of low or no-fee debit cards.

Need to know when using a credit card overseas

Before you apply for a travel credit card, there are a few key points to be aware of.

For a start, while using a credit card can enable you to side-step sneaky foreign transaction fees, it can also encourage you to spend money you don’t have. If you don’t pay off your balance in full each month (or you withdraw cash on your card), the amount of interest you’ll pay can far outweigh any benefits of using the card itself. For this reason, it’s important to stick to a budget, make sure you don’t overspend and always do your best to clear your balance each month.

If you’re worried about this, you might prefer to use a prepaid currency card or a debit card instead. Some of these cards can also help you to avoid paying foreign transaction fees, but make sure you check first. Prepaid cards can be loaded up with currency before you go on holiday and you can then only spend what’s on the card, making them a good option for budgeting. A debit card lets you spend the money you have in your current account.

Technically, you can add funds to your credit card account before you go on holiday too, and then spend these funds in the same way as a debit card. This can help you to avoid paying interest.

However, card providers don’t take any responsibility for funds you add to your credit card account. So, if your card is lost or stolen and used for unauthorised transactions, you might lose out on valuable funds.
Finally, be aware that while a travel credit card can offer you a good deal while you’re abroad, it might not offer the best solution when you’re back home. For this reason, you might want to keep your travel credit card for overseas spending only, and use a different type of credit card when you’re home.

Pros and cons of using a travel credit card

Pros

  • Global acceptance. If you’re using a Mastercard or Visa credit card, you’ll be able to use it in millions of locations around the world. American Express and Diners Club cards are also accepted worldwide although in fewer places than Visa or Mastercard.
  • Fee-free foreign transactions. Many travel credit cards can enable you to avoid paying expensive fees for spending and withdrawing cash abroad.
  • Security. A credit card can be safer than carrying around a wallet full of cash when you’re on your travels. They can also be used as a backup in an emergency if you lose your cash or debit card. Most cards also now come with an app that you can use to freeze and unfreeze your card if you misplace it or it’s stolen.
  • Purchase protection. Even when spending abroad, you’ll still benefit from protection under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. This means purchases costing more than £100 and up to £30,000 are covered if something goes wrong.
  • Competitive exchange rates. Many credit cards offer competitive exchange rates when you spend abroad

Cons

  • Can be expensive. If you’re not careful, you could end up paying high rates of interest on your purchases, as well as any cash withdrawals you make.
  • Can encourage you to overspend. It can be easy to spend more than you can afford to pay back on a credit card.
  • You’ll often need a good credit rating. Most of the top deals require that you haven’t had credit problems in the past.

Compare more travel money options

Ethical or sustainable credit cards

Though credit cards don’t typically appear ethical nor different to a non-ethical card, what makes a credit card sustainable rests in the hands of the provider. Ethical providers or banks are those who refuse to invest in industries or take part in activities that cause harm to communities and the environment. You can learn more about ethical credit cards in our full guide.

Below we have outlined ethical cards good for using abroad:

NatWest Credit Card

NatWest Credit Card

  • Finder score: ★★★★★
  • Benefits: 0% foreign usage charge
  • Account fee: £0.
  • Why we like it: NatWest are green lenders meaning that they don't lend to industries which may cause harm to society or the environment. NatWest are also Cogo partners which lets you track your spending's carbon footprint.
  • Need to know: There are other cards which offer more travel perks.
  • Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 12.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 12.9% APR (variable).
Metro Bank Personal Credit Card

Metro Bank Personal Credit Card

  • Finder score: ★★★★★
  • Benefits: 0% EU foreign usage charge
  • Account fee: £0.
  • Why we like it: Metro Bank is a community bank which has operated using 100% renewable energy since 2021 and pledge to be net zero by 2050. The card offers low rates, no annual fee and no charge when spending in the EU.
  • Need to know: It does charge 2.99% on purchases made outside of the EU
  • Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 18.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 18.9% APR (variable).

Bottom line

If you’re a frequent traveller or regularly shop online with international retailers, using a credit card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees can save you a lot of money.

When deciding which card is right for you, check exactly what fees you could be charged and whether you will benefit from any perks such as cashback on purchases or reward points.

Keep in mind that even if your card doesn’t charge a fee for cash withdrawals, this type of credit card transaction is usually best avoided as you are likely to be charged interest from the date of the withdrawal.

Once you’ve done your homework, the next step is to use an eligibility checker to find out which cards you’ll get approved for. If you haven’t done so already, it’s worth checking your credit score and report first so that you know how likely you are to get accepted. The better your credit score, the higher your chances of acceptance.

Frequently asked questions

travel essentials

Using a credit card in specific countries

We show offers we can track - that's not every product on the market...yet. Unless we've said otherwise, products are in no particular order. The terms "best", "top", "cheap" (and variations of these) aren't ratings, though we always explain what's great about a product when we highlight it. This is subject to our terms of use. When you make major financial decisions, consider getting independent financial advice. Always consider your own circumstances when you compare products so you get what's right for you. Most of the data in Finder's comparison tables has the source: Moneyfacts Group PLC. In other cases, Finder has sourced data directly from providers.

More guides on Finder

4 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    KeithNovember 19, 2019

    Can I use a prepaid Post office card in Barbados?

      AvatarFinder
      nikkiangcoNovember 22, 2019Finder

      Hi Keith,

      Thanks for getting in touch! Hope you are doing well.

      As a prepaid post office card is a Mastercard, yes, merchants that take card payments will more than likely accept it. You can’t load it up with Barbados dollars, however, so there are likely to be currency conversion charges involved. Although Barbados dollars is pegged to US dollars, merchants will by default try to charge customers’ accounts in Barbados Dollars.

      I hope this helps and feel free to reach out to us again for further assistance.

      With care,

    Default Gravatar
    LindaAugust 21, 2018

    Which credit card would you recommend for travel to Australia?

      AvatarFinder
      JhezelynAugust 22, 2018Finder

      Hello Linda,

      Thank you for your comment.

      Please note that we can’t recommend which credit card is the best for you to use in Australia. When comparing credit cards, especially if this is going to be used overseas, you’ll need to watch out for these fees:

      – Foreign transaction fees
      – Annual fees
      – ATM withdrawal fees

      Also, consider choosing a card with rewards. You may compare credit cards on this page. Please make sure though to read the eligibility criteria, features and details of the card, as well as the relevant PDS/ T&Cs of the card before making a decision and consider whether the product is right for you.

      Should you wish to have real-time answers to your questions, try our chat box on the lower right corner of our page.

      Regards,
      Jhezelyn

Go to site