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.
0% foreign fees credit cards
Compare credit cards with 0% foreign fees and save money when you shop or travel overseas.
If you travel often or buy items from overseas businesses, then you’ll want to avoid costly foreign transaction fees.
As the best credit card for you will depend on where you’re travelling, your spending plans and your finances, 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 foreign transactions
How do credit cards with no foreign fees work?
When you travel or shop online with a store that’s based abroad, many cards will charge a foreign transaction fee worth around 2–3% of your purchase. But credit cards with 0% foreign fees waive this cost, helping you save on charges when you make overseas purchases.
How much can I save with a 0% foreign fees card?
The savings you can get on a credit card with no foreign transaction fees depend on how much you spend overseas and the fees you’d pay on a different credit card. For example, if you spent £5,000 on a credit card with a foreign transaction fee of 3%, you would pay £150 more than you would if you used a card with a 0% foreign transaction fee.
How to compare 0% foreign fee credit cards
A bunch of credit cards offer 0% foreign transaction fees, so what else should you compare when considering a credit card to use overseas?
- Overseas cash withdrawal fees. Getting cash out of a machine overseas can also attract a fee worth at least £3 or between 2-4% of the total transaction. Choosing a card that offers £0 international cash machine withdrawals can allow you to avoid this charge.
- Cash advance fees. Even if you get a credit card that doesn’t charge foreign usage cash fees, using it to withdraw cash can attract a cash advance fee that’s typically worth between 2-4% of the transaction. You’ll also be charged interest at the cash advance interest rate, which is higher than the purchase rate on most credit cards. So if you need to get cash when you’re overseas, you might want to consider using a debit card or prepaid travel card instead.
- Purchase rate. Unless you pay your credit card balance off in full by the due date on each statement, your overseas spending will attract interest at the card’s standard rate. In some cases, this could reduce the value you get from having no foreign transaction fees, so make sure you consider this when you’re comparing different cards.
- Annual fees. Weighing the cost of any annual fee against the potential savings you could get from paying 0% foreign transaction fees will help you find a card that’s affordable for you.
- Other travel benefits. Some cards offer additional perks, such as complimentary travel insurance, upgrades, airport lounge access or frequent flyer points for your spending. Make sure you check what requirements you need to meet to use these perks, otherwise they won’t add to the value of the card.
The table below serves as an example of how much extra you may pay to use your credit card abroad.
What is APR?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 each other. It takes into consideration the default interest rate plus any mandatory, regular account fees.
However, APR doesn’t take into account other fees, such as those you may or may not be charged when you travel abroad. A 0% foreign fees credit card may have a higher APR than other types of credit cards, but it will save you quite a lot in fees if you travel often and don’t carry a balance on the card. So, while a handy figure to compare the cost of borrowing with different cards, the APR doesn’t tell the whole story.
Finally, always keep in mind that credit card companies only have to offer their advertised 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).
What else do I need to think about?
When you’re travelling or shopping online with an international store, keeping certain factors in mind can help you get the most out of your 0% foreign transaction fee credit card.
- Currency conversion. When you use a UK credit card to make a transaction in another currency, it will be converted back to UK sterling based on the exchange rate that’s applicable for your credit card. For example, if you spent US$100 and the applicable exchange rate was US$1.31 to £1, this transaction would show up on your credit card account as £76.45.
- Local currency vs UK sterling payments. Sometimes when you’re travelling, a shop or business will give you the option of paying in the local currency or in UK sterling. While this might sound like a good deal, you’ll actually end up getting a worse exchange rate, and you might also end up paying currency conversion fees. Whenever you’re presented with an option, always choose to pay in the local currency.
- Other travel money options. It’s often useful to have a couple of different ways to spend money when you’re travelling. As well as taking a credit card, you may want to buy foreign currency before you go or take a debit card in case you end up needing cash when you’re away. Another option is to get a prepaid travel card that lets you spend money in different currencies, which would give you another way to avoid foreign transaction fees.
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 are accepted in most countries around the world, at ATMs, contactless and chip and PIN payment terminals alike. Diners Club and American Express cards are not as widely accepted and their use could attract higher fees.
If you’re a frequent traveller or regularly shop online with international retailers, a credit card that has 0% foreign transaction fees could help you keep your costs to a minimum. Just remember to compare a range of options and look at the other features available so that you can find a credit card that really suits your needs.
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