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Finding the best credit card for overseas travel

Credit cards that offer 0% foreign transaction fees, rewards and travel perks can give you more value when you’re overseas – here’s how to pick one.

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Credit cards with 0% foreign transaction fees

If you're trying to save money the best credit card to use overseas is likely one with 0% foreign transaction fees. If you want a card that can help you earn points and get you there for free, compare frequent flyer credit cards.

1 - 10 of 23
Name Product Foreign currency conversion fee Interest-free period Purchase rate p.a. Annual fee
Bankwest Zero Platinum Mastercard
0%
Up to 55 days on purchases
14.99%
$0
Get 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 34 months (with a 2% BT fee), ​an ongoing $0 annual fee and 0% foreign transaction fees.
CommBank Low Fee Gold Credit Card
0%
Up to 55 days on purchases
19.74%
$0 for the first year ($89 thereafter)
Save with an ongoing annual fee waiver when you meet the spend requirement. Plus, $300 cashback when you spend $1,500 in the first 90 days.
NAB StraightUp Card
0%
0%
$0
Save with 0% interest charges and 0% foreign transaction fees. Plus, $0 monthly fees when you don't use the card or carry a balance.
Coles Rewards Mastercard
0%
Up to 55 days on purchases
19.99%
$99
Get 40,000 bonus Flybuys points when you spend $3,000 on eligible purchases in the first 90 days.
Westpac Lite Card
0%
Up to 45 days on purchases
9.9%
$108
Keep credit card costs low with a maximum credit limit of $4,000, a 9.9% p.a. purchase interest rate and no foreign transaction fees.
ANZ Rewards Travel Adventures card
0%
Up to 55 days on purchases
20.24%
$120
Receive 40,000 bonus Reward Points, complimentary international travel insurance, and save with 0% foreign transaction fees.
Latitude 28° Global Platinum Mastercard
0%
Up to 55 days on purchases
21.99%
$0
Save with 0% foreign transaction fees on purchases. Plus, complimentary flight delay passes and a global wifi access.
CommBank Ultimate Awards Credit Card with Qantas Points
0%
Up to 55 days on purchases
20.24%
$450
Receive 70,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $5,000 in the first 90 days. Plus, 0% foreign fees.
Westpac Flex Card
0%
0%
$120
Offers a $1,000 credit limit, 0% foreign transaction fees and $0 monthly fee when you pay the previous month's balance in full.
CommBank Ultimate Awards Credit Card
0%
Up to 55 days on purchases
20.24%
$420
Earn 100,000 bonus Awards points when you spend $5,000 in the first 90 days. Plus, 0% foreign fees.
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Types of travel credit cards

You can use any credit card when you travel overseas. But credit cards with features especially for travel will help you save on overseas costs or get value from perks such as rewards points, airport lounge passes and international travel insurance.

Is Visa or Mastercard better for international travel? What about American Express?

There isn't much difference with Visa and Mastercard credit cards when you're overseas: both operate in over 200 countries and offer fraud protection.

American Express is accepted in over 130 countries and also offers fraud protection that's similar to Visa and Mastercard.

Bottom line? Depending on where you're travelling, you'll be able to use any of these types of cards. If you're not sure the places your going will accept your card, contact your provider or Visa, Mastercard or Amex to find out.

Pros and cons of using a credit card overseas

Pros

  • Global acceptance. Australian credit cards can be used in most hotels, restaurants, stores around, travel agencies and entertainment venues around the world.
  • 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 or emergencies. A credit card can come in handy when you need to cover unexpected or emergency costs while you're travelling overseas. If your card is lost or stolen, you can report it at any time of the day and get the account locked. Credit card zero liability policies also mean fraudulent transactions will be refunded.

Cons

  • Fees. Depending on the card you choose, you may be charged a foreign transaction fee or surcharge for using a credit card overseas. This typically adds 2-3% to the transaction cost.
  • Limitations. You'll need to meet eligibility requirements (such as a minimum annual income and credit score criteria) to be approved for a credit card.
  • Risk of debt. While a line of credit is handy and offers some peace of mind, it can also lead to overspending, interest charges and ongoing debt

How to compare credit cards for overseas travel

With any credit card, it's important to look for features that you know you'll use and costs that are affordable for you. For travel credit cards specifically, here are some of the key features to consider:

Credit card fees

When you're travelling overseas, there are two main credit card fees to watch out for:

  • Foreign transaction fees. When you pay for something in another currency, your Australian dollars are converted to the local currency. This typically attracts a fee between 2% and 3% of the transaction (both when you're overseas and shopping online with international merchants). You can avoid this fee with a credit card that doesn't charge a foreign currency conversion fee.
  • ATM withdrawal fees. Even if your credit card doesn't have ATM fees, using it to withdraw cash will attract a cash advance fee and interest charges. The only way to avoid these charges is to use a debit card or prepaid travel card when you want to withdraw cash.

Tip: Don't forget about annual fees

When you're comparing credit cards for travel, remember to check the annual fee costs. Some cards with rewards and travel perks can have annual fees worth $400 or more.

For some people, the value from perks will justify the cost of the annual fee but for others a card that offers a $0 annual fee will make more sense.

Rewards

Using a frequent flyer credit card is an easy way to earn points for reward flights or other travel perks. If you're collecting points through a few frequent flyer programs, you could also look at a rewards credit card that lets you transfer points to partnered airline or hotel loyalty programs.

Bonus point offers

You can often get thousands of bonus points when you sign up for a new frequent flyer or rewards credit card. Usually, you'll need to meet a spend requirement to get them, such as spending $3,000 in the first 3 months.

Sometimes, you'll even earn enough bonus points to fly overseas – so keep an eye out for these introductory offers.

Complimentary insurance

Using a credit card that offers complimentary international travel insurance can help you save money on buying cover.

The complimentary travel insurance usually covers overseas medical insurance, transit accidents and travel delay. The cover usually extends 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.

Does credit card travel insurance cover coronavirus?

Usually, no. This is because coronavirus is a pandemic and most travel insurance policies don't offer cover for pandemics or epidemics.

But it can depend on the policy and the type of claim, so it's worth checking the insurance policy booklet or contacting the insurance provider to check. If you definitely want cover that's specific to coronavirus, Finder's guide details on your options.

Airport lounge passes and other travel perks

You can escape the chaos of the airport and relax before your flight with a credit card that offers complimentary lounge passes.

Some credit cards in Australia offer invitations to Qantas Club, Virgin Australia, American Express and Priority Pass lounges in Australia and around the world. The perks will vary between lounges but you can usually expect complimentary food, beverages and access to high-speed Wi-Fi, comfortable seats and workstations.

Tip: Look for other travel perks too

Some credit cards also offer flights or yearly travel credit, concierge services to help with travel bookings, entertainment and restaurant reservations while your away or more points per $1 spent overseas and on bookings with an airline partner.

These perks can add even more value and help justify the typically higher annual fees that some more premium cards charge.

What to think about when you're travelling with a credit card

  • Take a few travel money options

Instead of putting all of your eggs in one basket, you should take at least two travel money options with you. This may include a credit card or prepaid travel card, your debit card and some cash. That way you'll have a backup if your card is lost or stolen and can avoid being charged credit card fees withdrawing cash from an ATM.

  • Track your debt

Create a travel budget and use your credit card to spend responsibly. You have to repay everything you put on the card – plus interest if you don't pay your balance in full.

  • Making repayments

If you are sent a credit card statement while you are travelling, you will need to make a payment by the due date as usual. If you have access to a secure Internet connection, you can do this through online or mobile banking.

Alternatively, you could call your bank to pay by phone. If you're earning money overseas, this Finder guide looks at ways to make foreign currency repayments.

  • Adding extra funds to your credit card

Some travellers add money to their credit cards accounts before they go overseas. Then they use their card like a type of debit card to pay with their own cash rather than credit, helping them avoid interest charges.

Not all credit card accounts let you do this and transaction limits may apply. You should talk to your credit card provider or check your credit card product disclosure statement (PDS) for details on how this type of balance is treated – it's usually referred to as a "positive balance".

Planning your next trip? Check out our selection of frequent flyer credit cards and see if you can get a few thousand bonus Qantas or Velocity Points when you book your trip.

More guides on Finder

  • LoungeKey Airport Lounge Program

    Compare credit cards that offer LoungeKey membership and learn how you can enjoy airport lounge access when you travel all around the world.

  • Priority Pass Credit Cards

    Want to relax in style before your next flight? Compare credit cards that offer complimentary Priority Pass access.

  • Credit cards with free flights or travel credits

    Whether you’re flying interstate or overseas, having a credit card that offers complimentary flights or travel credit can help you save on your costs every year.

  • Credit cards with lounge access

    Find out how you can enjoy the luxury and services of airport lounges all around the world with a credit card that offers complimentary airport lounge access.

  • Hotel credit cards

    Compare hotel credit cards and learn how you can use reward points to get free hotel stays all around the world.

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16 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    ValerieAugust 30, 2019

    Are there any credit cards that offer travel insurance for over 80?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JeniAugust 31, 2019Staff

      Hi Valerie,

      Thank you for getting in touch with Finder.

      As of this writing, there are some credit cards offering travel insurance for over 65. NAB covers up to 90 years old while Virgin Money, HSBC, and Citi did not include the traveler’s age limit so long that there’s no pre-existing medical condition.

      It is recommended that you contact your chosen provider on this matter for further clarification. Once you have decided which credit card to apply with, 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.

      I hope this helps.

      Thank you and have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Jeni

  2. Default Gravatar
    JennyJuly 1, 2017

    What is Travelex card like?

  3. Default Gravatar
    BebeJuly 3, 2015

    If I have a 28 degrees Mastercard, does it mean when I withdraw cash from an overseas ATM that there will not be a withdrawal fee?
    Thanks for your help in clarifying my query.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JonathanJuly 6, 2015Staff

      Hi Bebe, thanks for your inquiry!

      The 28 Degrees MasterCard provides no international transaction fees on purchases, which only covers currency conversion rate charges. Overseas ATM withdrawals may still incur a charge, depending on the local ATM’s withdrawal policies and fees.

      Cheers,

      Jonathan

  4. Default Gravatar
    TonyDecember 29, 2014

    Hi,

    Is there any card that offers zero foreign transaction fee, and currency conversion fees? If not what card offers the lowest fees.

    Regards
    Tony

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      ElizabethDecember 29, 2014Staff

      Hi Tony,

      Thanks for your question.

      You can compare a range of cards that charge no foreign currency conversion fees or transaction fees.

      I hope this will help.

      Thanks,

      Elizabeth

  5. Default Gravatar
    nNovember 28, 2014

    Hi,
    Can I obtain cash out at the point of purchase in the USA like we can here in Oz?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      ElizabethNovember 28, 2014Staff

      Hi N,

      Thanks for your question.

      This is possible, but it’s up to the discretion of the retailer.

      I hope this has helped.

      Thanks,

      Elizabeth

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