Credit cards to use overseas

Avoid international transaction fees or enjoy complimentary travel insurance with a credit card on your next holiday.

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There are many ways for holidaymakers to take money with them on holiday, including credit cards designed for overseas use. These credit cards generally charge low or no foreign transaction fees, no currency conversion fees and no ATM withdrawal fees while offering travel-centric perks such as complimentary travel insurance, rewards programmes and airline lounge passes. But these cards aren’t entirely cost-free. As the best credit card for you will depend on where you’re travelling, your spending plans and your financial situation, you can use this guide to compare your options and find the right card for your needs.

Comparison of credit cards with no charge for overseas transactions

Comparison ordered by representative APR with affiliated products shown first.
Updated July 16th, 2019
Name Product Purchases Balance transfers Annual/monthly fees Rep. APR Incentive Representative example
9.9%
6.9%
£0
9.9% p.a. (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 9.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 9.9% APR (variable).
9.9%
6.9%
£0
9.9% p.a. (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 9.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 9.9% APR (variable).
24.9%
N/A
£0
24.9% p.a. (variable)
No fees for making purchases or withdrawing cash abroad – currencies are converted at the standard Mastercard exchange rate.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 24.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 24.9% APR (variable).
9.9%
9.9%
£0
9.9% p.a. (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 9.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 9.9% APR (variable).
9.9%
9.9%
£0
9.9% p.a. (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 9.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 9.9% APR (variable).
9.9%
6.9%
£0
9.9% p.a. (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 9.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 9.9% APR (variable).
14.9%
14.9%
£0
14.9% p.a. (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 14.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 14.9% APR (variable).
0% for 12 months reverting to 15.9%
0% for 12 months reverting to 15.9%
£0
15.9% p.a. (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 15.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 15.9% APR (variable).
0% for 12 months reverting to 18.9%
0% for 1 months reverting to 18.9%
£0
18.9% p.a. (variable)
Retailer offers - 5 Welcome offers of up to 25% cashback at well-known retailers (must switch on Retailer Offers within 60 days of activating card).
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).
18.9%
N/A
£0
18.9% p.a. (variable)
0.5% after £1 of monthly spend. Cashback paid Monthly into Card Account.
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).

Compare up to 4 providers

Approval for any credit card will depend on your status. The APR shown represents 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.

creditcard-inserted-in-passport

How to compare credit cards for overseas travel

With certain credit cards on the market specifically designed for overseas use, there are some important features you should compare to find the right one for you.

International acceptance

In your hunt for a credit card to use overseas, one of the first features to consider is international acceptance. Credit cards with affiliation to Visa or Mastercard find acceptance in most countries around the world, at ATMs and chip and PIN payment terminals alike. Acceptance of Diners Club and American Express cards is not as widespread and their use could attract higher fees.

Credit card fees

To understand how much your card could cost you, consider the following fees when comparing which cards to use outside the UK:

  • Foreign transaction fees. When you make an international purchase using your card, your British pounds are converted to the local currency. When this happens, you’re usually charged a fee between 2% and 3%. If you want to avoid this fee each time you make a transaction overseas, consider a credit card that doesn’t charge a foreign currency conversion fee.
  • Annual fees. If you have a card that’s designed for overseas use and it comes with extra features, it’s likely that it could also come with an annual fee. Before you apply, make sure the value you get from the card outweighs the cost. Some cards also come with no annual fees for a promotional period or for the life of the card, so you should also factor this into your comparison.
  • ATM withdrawal fees. If you use your credit card to withdraw funds overseas, you might be charged a few different fees. Firstly, most credit cards charge a cash advance fee when you use your card for ATM withdrawals (whether you’re in the UK or overseas). As well as the cash advance fee, you’ll immediately attract the cash advance interest rate. Secondly, many banks charge an overseas ATM withdrawal fee when using your card for withdrawals outside of the UK. Thirdly, the local ATM provider might also charge a withdrawal fee. If you want to avoid this last fee, consider using a credit card that belongs to an ATM alliance.

Complimentary insurance

If you’re travelling overseas, you’re going to have to organise international travel insurance. Using a credit card that offers complimentary insurance can help you save the time and money you’d otherwise spend on standalone cover. Depending on the card, the international travel insurance usually includes overseas medical insurance, transit accident insurance and travel delay insurance to name a few. The cover might also extend to your spouse or any dependent children travelling with you. As well as travel insurance, some credit cards offer purchase security insurance and extended warranty so you can shop with peace of mind. Complimentary insurance is often a feature of platinum credit cards, so make sure the feature is worth the cost of the card before applying.

Frequent flyer rewards

Using a frequent flyer credit card is an easy way to pick up reward points as you spend overseas. Depending on the card, you might be able to redeem these points for flights with a specific airline, accommodation with partner hotels, travel vouchers, cash back on your account or products from a rewards store. If your card is designed for overseas use, you could earn more points on foreign purchases. Compare frequent flyer credit cards with no foreign transaction fees to earn points without paying an extra cost overseas.

San Francisco bridge

What should I be aware of when using a credit card overseas?

  • Merchants or banks that offer to convert the currency for you. Once you’ve sorted yourself out with a card offering fee-free spending overseas, there’s one last crucial point to remember. Whenever you’re presented with the option to pay in the local currency or for the local merchant/bank to convert your funds to the local currency for you, choose to pay in the local currency (otherwise the it will be the local bank or merchant whose currency conversion fee structure will apply, rather than your card issuer’s).
  • Adding funds to your credit card. There are certain people who add funds to their credit cards accounts before they leave for overseas, and they then make use of these funds through their card in the form of a debit card. By doing this, you can avoid paying interest. What you should know is that 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.
  • Consider other options. Using your credit card is not the only way you can spend money overseas. You can turn to traveller’s cheques and travel money cards, and you can even consider using a Mastercard or Visa debit card. In fact, it’s wise to organise more than one travel money option before travelling to ensure you’re not stranded without cash in case your card is lost or stolen.
  • Excessive debt. A credit card may tempt you to overspend while on holiday. It’s important to remember that you have to repay everything you charge (plus interest in most cases), so make sure that you’re spending with a budget in mind so that your balance doesn’t get out of control.

What are the pros and cons of using a credit card overseas?

Pros

  • Global acceptance. If you’re using a Mastercard or Visa credit card, you’ll be able to use your credit card in millions of locations around the world. American Express and Diners Club cards are also accepted worldwide, though in fewer places than Visa or Mastercard.
  • Travel perks. Credit cards designed for overseas use often come with travel-related benefits such as frequent flyer rewards programs, complimentary insurance and airline lounge passes.
  • Security of credit. When you’re travelling overseas, it’s wise to have more than one way to access your cash. Even if you have a prepaid card or debit card organised for everyday spending, a credit card can be used as a backup and the security of credit could come in handy in an emergency.

Cons

  • Fees. Depending on the card, using your credit card overseas can come with many costs. Make sure you understand exactly what you’ll pay when using your card for foreign transactions before you apply.
  • Limitations. Some cards come with limitations, including eligibility requirements, restrictions on how and where you can use the card.
  • Temptation to spend. While a line of credit can provide you with peace of mind, it might also tempt you to spend money that you don’t really have. Remember that you’ll have to pay back everything you charge (plus interest if you don’t pay your balance in full).

As you’ve probably gathered by now, the ideal credit card you can use overseas is one that best suits your unique requirements. Given the many options on offer, it’s worth taking some time to compare a few.

How to use a credit card in …

*Disclaimer: The offers compared on this page are chosen from a range of products whose details Finder has access to track; they don't represent all the products available in the market. Unless indicated otherwise, products are displayed in no particular order or ranking. The terms "best", "top", "cheap" (and variations) are not product ratings and are subject to our terms of use. You should consider seeking independent financial advice and consider your personal financial circumstances when comparing products.

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2 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    LindaAugust 21, 2018

    Which credit card would you recommend for travel to Australia?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JhezAugust 22, 2018Staff

      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

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