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What Is The Best Credit Card For Overseas Travel

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What’s The Best Credit Card For International Travel? Credit Card Insider
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Best Aeroplan Credit Card For Daily Spending

  • Earn a total of 30,000 MR points upon spending $500 in each of the first 12 months
  • Plus, earn an additional 20,000 MR points upon spending $3,000 within the first three months
  • Earn 5x MR points on groceries, restaurants, bars, and food delivery
  • Earn 3x MR points on eligible streaming services
  • Earn 2x MR points on gas, transit, and travel purchases
  • Transfer MR points to Aeroplan, Avios, or Marriott Bonvoy
  • Enjoy the exclusive benefits of being an American Express cardholder
  • Bonus MR points for referring family and friends
  • Monthly fee: $12.99

At 5 points per dollar spent on groceries and restaurants, the American Express Cobalt Card is unsurpassed when it comes to rewards on everyday spending.

Since August 16, Amex has removed the Select distinction from the points earned by the Cobalt Card, and you can transfer the points to other airline partners, similar to the premium American Express Platinum Card.

If youre looking to rack up a large Aeroplan balance powered by your grocery bill and restaurant spending, consider getting the Cobalt Card and using it as much as you can for the 5x categories.

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Bank Of America Travel Rewards Credit Card

Our pick for: No-annual-fee travel rewards

One of the best no-annual-fee travel cards available, the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card gives you a solid rewards rate on every purchase, with points that can be redeemed for any travel purchase, without the restrictions of branded airline and hotel cards. Bank of America® has an expansive definition of “travel,” too, giving you additional flexibility in how you use your rewards. Read our review.

Too Many Recent Credit Card Applications

17 Best Credit Cards for âInternational Travelâ? (2019)

If youre a travel rewards junkie, you most likely have several credit cards in your wallet. It is recommended that you keep tabs on how many applications you have in the most recent 24 months. After 24 months, the credit card inquiry drops off your credit report.

Usually, if the bank decides you have too many recent applications, your application gets declined. The only thing you can do is wait until your hard inquiry count drops. These are two of the bank rules you should know about:

  • Chase: The Chase 5/24 Rule is the most well-known rule. If you apply for at least 5 credit cards in the last 24 months, your application for select Chase cards is declined. Being listed as an authorized user counts as one of the 5 applications too. And, it doesnt matter which bank is offering the credit card. Some of the cards subject to the 5/24 rule include the Sapphire Reserve and Preferred application rules, Ink Business Preferred, and some of the co-brand credit cards.
  • Bank of America: The BofA has a2/3/4 rule. You cant apply for more than 2 BofA credit cards every 2 months. You also cant apply for more than 3 cards in a year or 4 cards in two years.

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Are There Additional Fees For Using Your Debit Card Internationally

Banking fees can vary widely from institution to institution. While your bank may make it easier and safer to make purchases when youre out of the country, they could be charging you a lot on the back end.

Have you ever withdrawn cash from an out of network ATM when youre in your hometown? A lot of banks will charge you $3 to $5 to do that even if youre just blocks from home. Those fees can increase exponentially when you leave the country.

Making an ATM withdrawal when youre out of the country is no different than when youre in the states. The fees you pay, though, will depend on the bank and you should definitely check before you go on vacation.

You can expect to pay fees that range from $2 to $5, plus an additional 2% to 3% of the total withdrawal amount.

Ready to see how your bank stacks up? Heres a list of nationwide banks that charge fairly hefty fees for international ATM use.

BANK
$5 3%

If you make an ATM withdrawal of $100 from an ATM in another country and you use any of these banks you could be paying up to 8% just for the privilege of accessing your own money.

Sure there are premier checking accounts and preferred cards for some customers, but if youre just a regular guy or gal then you can expect to pay a lot.

Debit cards are definitely the easiest ways to access cash when youre out of the country but it is going to cost you unless you pick the right bank.

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Best Business Credit Cards For International Travel

Whether you want cash or travel rewards, one of these small business credit cards for travel can be a perfect fit for your business.

Despite being business credit cards, only try for them if you dont have at least 5 new credit cards in the last 24 months to stay below the Chase 5/24 rule. You will also need a 740 credit score to qualify for these cards.

Ink Business Preferred Credit Card

The best travel cards to use overseas: Credit card vs Debit card vs Prepaid vs Smart

Our pick for: Business travel

The Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card starts you off with one of the biggest sign-up bonuses of any credit card anywhere , then gives you bonus rewards in common business spending categories. Points are worth 25% more when redeemed for travel booked through Chase, or you can transfer them to about a dozen airline and hotel partners. Read our review.

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Top Credit Card Issuers Foreign Transaction Fees

Heres a look at the standard foreign transaction fees charged by major U.S. credit card issuers. Its important to note that many of these issuers waive the foreign transaction fee on certain cards. Further, some major issuers dont charge foreign transaction fees on any of their cards.

The standard foreign transaction fee for American Express is 2.7%. However, Amex does not charge a foreign transaction fee for cards like The Platinum Card® from American Express and the American Express® Gold Card.

The standard foreign transaction fee for Bank of America® is 3%. That said, if you have a Bank of America® credit card such as the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card or the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card do not charge foreign transaction fees.

The standard foreign transaction fee for Barclaycard is 3%.

The standard foreign transaction fee for all Capital One cards is 0%. So, if you have the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card or another Capital One card entirely, you wont pay any international transaction fees.

The standard foreign transaction fee for Chase is 3%. So, for the Chase Freedom card, for instance, the foreign transaction fee is 3%. However, if you have certain Chase credit cards, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you wont pay any international transaction fees.

Best Credit Card For International Travel With A Large Sign

The right credit card sign-up bonus goes a long way toward financing the trip of a lifetime. Why not pad your travel budget with a little extra cash, just for signing up?

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card offers the best sign-up bonus in our ranking, at an enormous 100K bonus points after spending just $4K on the card in the first three months after opening the account. Youll reach that goal by just booking the airfare and lodging for your trip.

Whats more, those points are worth an additional 25% when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards, with plenty of travel-related perks to choose from. They can also be transferred at a 1:1 value to a broad range of airline and hotel loyalty programs. And if that werent generous enough, Chase offers 2X points on every dollar spent on travel and dining, anywhere in the world, with 1 point for each additional dollar spent across all categories.

With this card, there also are no foreign transaction fees to worry about, and chip-enhanced technology keeps you safe no matter where you roam. For this reason, you can also feel confident the card will be accepted wherever you happen to be.

There is a $95 annual fee associated with the Chase Sapphire, but thats not too bad considering all the other travel benefits associated with it, and the excellent credit thats required to be approved for it. Regular APR ranges from 15.99% to 22.99%, which is a bit lower than average. You can also count on 24/7 customer service anywhere in the globe.

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Journey Student Rewards From Capital One

Whether you’re an international student or are studying abroad, the Journey Student Rewards from Capital One is truly your best bet. No matter the purchase whether it’s a textbook or a late-night snack you’ll earn 1% Cash Back on all purchases 0.25% Cash Back bonus on the cash back you earn each month you pay on time.

This card offers the necessities for students just starting out with credit: a $0 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees. Since this card is a Visa, you should have relatively no problems finding acceptance abroad.

Major Airline Credit Cards

Best Credit Cards for International Travel 2019

Read more: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card review

The card earns 2 miles per dollar on everything the simplest rewards structure among travel credit cards. You can also redeem Capital One miles at a fixed rate of 1 cent each toward travel purchases made with your card, without having to worry about award charts and blackout dates.

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Best Travel Credit Cards Of September 2021

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ALSO CONSIDER: Best credit cards of 2021 || Best rewards credit cards || Best airline credit cards || Best hotel credit cards

A travel rewards credit card brings your next trip a little closer every time you use it. Each purchase earns points or miles that you can redeem for travel expenses. If you’re loyal to a specific airline or hotel chain, consider that company’s branded credit cards. Otherwise, check out the general-purpose travel cards on this page, which give you flexible rewards that you can use without the restrictions and blackout dates of branded cards.

Some of our selections for the best travel credit cards can be applied for through NerdWallet, and some cannot. Below, you’ll find application links for the credit cards from our partners that are available through NerdWallet, followed by the full list of our picks.

ALSO CONSIDER: Best credit cards of 2021 || Best rewards credit cards || Best airline credit cards || Best hotel credit cards

Heres How To Calculate Exchange Rates:

  • Check your card networks website. Visa and Mastercard publish daily exchange rates from U.S. Dollars to all other major currencies. Discover and Amex dont, but card network exchange rates tend to be very similar.
  • The formula for calculating exchange rates is: Starting Amount / Ending Amount = Exchange Rate. For example, if you exchange 100 U.S. Dollars for 80 Euros, the exchange rate would be 1.25. But if you exchange 80 Euros for 100 U.S. Dollars, the exchange rate would be 0.8.
  • To calculate how much of a foreign currency youll get with a particular exchange rate, divide the amount of money youre starting with by the exchange rate.

While its good to be conscious of exchange rates when you go abroad, using a credit card to automatically access the best conversion rates is a great way to make things simple and relatively inexpensive.

Just make sure to avoid Dynamic Currency Conversion. Thats when a foreign merchant converts your purchase total to U.S. Dollars, supposedly as a convenience but really to apply a high exchange rate and turn a bigger profit. So always pay in the local currency.

There can be fees for international credit card use. But theyre avoidable if you make the right moves, starting with picking the right credit card. Foreign transaction fees are the main concern. Nine in 10 credit cards charge them. But since WalletHub tracks 1,000+ credit cards, weve got plenty of no foreign fee cards for you to consider.Furthermore, you need to watch out for:

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Prepaid Debit Cards And Gift Cards

Prepaid debit cards used to be a great way to move money across borders. Theyre cheap, anonymous, and you can purchase and redeem them almost anywhere. While they had limits on the amount of cash you could load onto them, you could just buy a whole bunch of them at once.

The problem is that the anonymity and ease of use with prepaid debit cards werent just popular with tourists and travelers. They were also incredibly popular with drug dealers.

So in 2009, Congress got wind of this and passed the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility Disclosure Act. Besides enacting consumer protections against hidden fees and expiration dates, it also made prepaid debit cards largely unusable outside of the United States.

You can still use a prepaid Visa or MasterCard, they just have to be associated with a name and ID and are typically issued by a bank.

Watch Out for Higher Exchange Rates

You can use these cards just like a debit or credit card to make purchases or a cash withdrawal. A quick look at rates, however, reveals that the exchange rate for these debit cards is about 5.5% higher than the actual exchange rate.

A comparison at the time of writing showed an exchange rate of $1,000 USD to $769.60 Euro on Travelex.com backed by MasterCard.

The actual exchange rate of the day was $1,000 USD to $834.70 Euro. Thats a pretty hefty sum and while it changes daily, most companies are very vague about what they charge.

Travel Credit Card Versus Prepaid Travel Card

Best Credit Cards for International Travel 2019

Aside from a regular or travel credit card, or simply using your debit card, theres another option you might want to consider. Prepaid travel cards, like regular prepaid cards, allow you to add funds from various sources and wont let you spend more than you put on the card. And like travel credit cards, they offer you competitive charges for using the card abroad.

Unlike a travel credit card, however, prepaid travel cards allow you to choose to convert your pounds into euros or dollars when you add the money to the card, rather than when you use the card abroad, which can allow you to take advantage when the exchange rate is at its best. Some cards will even allow you to put multiple types of currencies on them. Youll have to check carefully to see if the prepaid travel card you want offers any different currency option.

However, prepaid credit cards also have their downsides compared to travel credit cards. For one, you wouldnt be able to spend even just a little bit extra once the prepaid card is empty, youll have to put more money on it before you can use it again, which could be laborious or even impossible while youre still abroad.

Another potential downside is the charges that may come with these prepaid travel cards. Aside from the foreign exchange fees, which both kinds of cards may or may not have, there may be additional transaction fees, ATM charges and a fee just for getting the card.

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