What is the Best Credit Card* to use Overseas?

best credit cards for travelAvoid currency conversion and overseas ATM fees or receive complimentary travel insurance with a credit card on your next holiday.

There are many ways for Australians to take their cash 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 programs and airline lounge passes. Unfortunately, these cards aren't entirely cost-free though. As the best* credit card for you to use overseas will depend largely on where you're travelling, how you plan on spending and your financial situation, you can use this guide to compare your options and find the right card for you.

Bankwest Zero Platinum Mastercard

Bankwest Credit Card Offer

With the Bankwest Zero Platinum Mastercard, you pay no annual fee ever and also save on foreign transaction fees on purchases.

  • $0 p.a. annual fee
  • 17.99% p.a. on purchases
  • 2.99% p.a. for 9 months on balance transfers
  • Cash Advance Rate of 21.99% p.a.
  • Up to 55 days interest free

Comparison of the best* credit cards to travel with

Compare the list of credit cards below with $0 Foreign Transaction Fees

Rates last updated May 29th, 2017
Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate (p.a.) Annual fee
Bankwest Zero Platinum Mastercard
An introductory offer on balance transfers with $0 annual fee. Complimentary travel insurance & 24/7 Concierge service and $0 foreign transaction fees.
17.99% p.a. 2.99% p.a. for 9 months $0 p.a. Go to site More info
Bankwest Qantas Platinum Mastercard
Enjoy a high credit limit with complimentary travel insurances and earn 0.5 Qantas Points per $1 spent on eligible purchases.
20.49% p.a. 2.99% p.a. for 9 months $160 p.a. Go to site More info
28 Degrees Platinum Mastercard
Benefit from no international transaction fees on purchases, no currency conversion fees and no annual fee.
21.99% p.a. 4.99% p.a. for 6 months $0 p.a. Go to site More info
Bankwest Qantas World Mastercard
Earn uncapped Qantas Points per $1 spent on eligible purchases. Also enjoy no foreign transaction fees on online and overseas spend.
20.49% p.a. 2.99% p.a. for 9 months $270 p.a. Go to site More info

creditcard-inserted-in-passport

How to compare credit cards for overseas travel

Credit cards provide you with access to credit overseas to make purchases. This type of credit card can provide additional benefits including zero fees on overseas purchases, $0 ATM withdrawal fees and complimentary travel insurance. To help make your comparison easier, we've outlined some of the fees and features you can factor into your comparison to find the right card for you.

Features of travel credit cards

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 EFTPOS terminals alike. Acceptance of Diners Club and American Express cards is not as widespread, and their use could attract higher fees.

Credit card fees

The fees you have to pay when you use your credit card overseas can have a significant effect on how much you end up repaying on your credit card account, so make sure you pay due attention to this. Here are some of the fees you can expect when using your credit card outside Australia:

  • Foreign transaction fees. When you make an international purchase using your card, the money goes through currency changes. Your credit card, for example, converts Australian dollars to US dollars first, and then proceeds to convert the US dollars to the required 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 a higher annual fee. Before you apply, make sure the value you get from the card's features outweigh 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 Australia or overseas). As well as the cash advance fee, you'll immediately attract the high cash advance interest rate. Secondly, many banks charge an overseas ATM withdrawal fee when using your card for this withdrawals outside of Australia. 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.

Sponsorship - Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Exclusive - BT - PE-43719

Exclusive Credit Card Offer

Exclusive to finder.com.au, Virgin Money is offering a long-term balance transfer with a 0% balance transfer fee.

  • Enjoy an exclusive offer of 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 18 months and no balance transfer fee (reverts to cash advance rate).
  • Receive a $129 Virgin Australia Gift Voucher each year. Conditions and spend criteria apply.
  • Earn up to 2 bonus Velocity Points per $1 spent in the first 3 months (capped at 10,000 bonus points per month).
  • Pay a reduced annual fee of $64 in the first year, $129 p.a. thereafter.
  • Eligibility criteria, T&Cs, fees and charges apply.

    Rates last updated May 29th, 2017
    Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate (p.a.) Annual fee
    St.George Vertigo Platinum
    Save with 12.74% p.a. on purchases. Also enjoy Visa Platinum Concierge service.
    12.74% p.a. 0% p.a. for 20 months $99 p.a. Go to site More info
    HSBC Platinum Credit Card
    Earn 1 Reward Point per $1 spent and receive an annual fee refund with minimum spend.
    19.99% p.a. 0% p.a. for 22 months with 2% balance transfer fee $99 p.a. Go to site More info
    HSBC Platinum Qantas Credit Card
    Fly faster with up to 1 Qantas Point per $1 spent and receive bonus Qantas Points on selected Qantas products, services and partners.
    19.99% p.a. $199 p.a. Go to site More info
    ANZ Platinum Credit Card - Exclusive Offer
    Receive a low introductory offer of 0% p.a. on purchases for 3 months and 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 12 months. Also, enjoy an annual fee waiver in the first year.
    0% p.a. for 3 months (reverts to 19.74% p.a.) 0% p.a. for 12 months $0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($87 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
    Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Exclusive Offer
    Earn 2 Velocity Points on top of the standard earn rate per $1 spent within the first 3 months, plus a $129 Virgin Australia Gift Voucher each year.
    20.74% p.a. 0% p.a. for 18 months $64 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
    ANZ Frequent Flyer Black
    Receive 75,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $2,500 on eligible purchases within the first 3 months, plus earn up to 1 point for every dollar spent on eligible purchases. Also, earn 75 Bonus Status Credits when you apply by 30 June 2017, buy and fly return with Qantas by 30 September 2017.
    19.99% p.a. $0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($425 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
    ANZ Low Rate Platinum
    Enjoy platinum benefits with exclusive discounts, complimentary travel insurance and personal concierge. Also repay your credit card debt interest-free with 0% p.a. for 16 months on balance transfers.
    11.49% p.a. 0% p.a. for 16 months with 2% balance transfer fee $99 p.a. Go to site More info
    ANZ Frequent Flyer Platinum
    Get 50,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $2,500 on eligible purchases for the first three months and enjoy a waived annual fee for the first year.
    19.99% p.a. $0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($295 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
    American Express Explorer® Credit Card
    Earn up to 2 Membership Rewards Points per $1 spent and receive a $400 Travel Credit every year.
    20.74% p.a. 0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee $395 p.a. Go to site More info
    NAB Premium Card
    A low annual fee Platinum card with seven complimentary insurances.
    19.74% p.a. 0% p.a. for 24 months with 3% balance transfer fee $90 p.a. Go to site More info
    Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Platinum
    Save with 12.74% p.a. on purchases. Also enjoy up to 55 days interest-free.
    12.74% p.a. 0% p.a. for 20 months $99 p.a. Go to site More info
    Bankwest Zero Platinum Mastercard
    This card comes with a low 2.99% p.a. for 9 months on balance transfers, $0 foreign transaction fee, plus a $0 annual fee and complimentary international credit card travel insurance.
    17.99% p.a. 2.99% p.a. for 9 months $0 p.a. Go to site More info
    ANZ Rewards Travel Adventures card
    Pay no overseas transaction fee on purchases, earn up to 1.5 for every dollar spent on eligible purchases, plus receive complimentary domestic return flight and lounge passes each year you hold the card when you spend $500 on eligible purchases within the first three months.
    20.24% p.a. $225 p.a. Go to site More info
    ANZ Rewards Black Credit Card
    This card offers 75,000 bonus points when you spend $2,500 on eligible purchases in the first 3 months from approval and $0 annual fee for the first year. Earn up to 2 reward points per $1 spent and unlimited access to airport lounges with complimentary travel insurance.
    18.79% p.a. $0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($375 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
    American Express Platinum Business Card
    Earn up to 2 Membership Rewards Points per $1 spent and extend your cash flow up to 51 days.
    $1,500 p.a. Go to site More info
    Qantas American Express Premium Card
    Fly faster with up to 2.25 Qantas Points per $1 spent and receive complimentary domestic and international travel insurance.
    20.74% p.a. 0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee $249 p.a. Go to site More info
    Virgin Australia Velocity High Flyer Card - 30k Bonus Points offer
    Take off sooner with up to 1 Velocity Point per $1 spent and receive 30,000 Bonus Velocity Points.
    20.74% p.a. 1.9% p.a. for 15 months $144 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($289 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
    American Express Platinum Edge Credit Card
    Earn up to 3 Membership Rewards Points per $1 spent and receive a $200 Travel Credit every year.
    20.74% p.a. 0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee $0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($195 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
    American Express Velocity Platinum Card
    Take off sooner with up to 2.5 Velocity Points per $1 spent and receive a complimentary Virgin Australia return domestic flight every year.
    20.74% p.a. 0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee $375 p.a. Go to site More info
    Bank of Melbourne Amplify Platinum
    Earn up to 2 Amplify Rewards Points per $1 spent and receive complimentary travel insurance.
    19.49% p.a. $99 p.a. Go to site More info
    Bank of Melbourne Amplify Signature
    Earn up to 3 Amplify Rewards Points per $1 spent and receive an additional card at no extra cost.
    19.49% p.a. $279 p.a. Go to site More info
    American Express Platinum Card
    Earn up to 3 Membership Rewards Points per $1 spent and receive complimentary access for you and a guest to over 1,000 VIP Lounges.
    $1,200 p.a. Go to site More info
    Citi Qantas Signature Credit Card
    Stay secured with a complimentary international travel insurance and earn 50,000 bonus Qantas Points when you meet the $2,000 spend requirement.
    20.99% p.a. 0% p.a. for 6 months $199 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($395 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
    Bankwest Qantas World Mastercard
    Earn uncapped Qantas Points per $1 spent on eligible purchases. Also enjoy no foreign transaction fees on online and overseas spend.
    20.49% p.a. 2.99% p.a. for 9 months $270 p.a. Go to site More info
    Bankwest More World Mastercard
    Earn 2.5 More Rewards Points per $1 spent and receive complimentary travel insurance.
    19.99% p.a. 0% p.a. for 6 months with 1% balance transfer fee $270 p.a. Go to site More info
    St.George Amplify Platinum
    Earn up to 2 Amplify Rewards Points per $1 spent and receive complimentary overseas travel insurance.
    19.49% p.a. $99 p.a. Go to site More info
    St.George Amplify Signature
    Earn up to 3 Amplify Rewards Points per $1 spent and receive two complimentary airport lounge passes per year.
    19.49% p.a. $279 p.a. Go to site More info
    BankSA Vertigo Platinum
    Save with 12.74% p.a. on purchases. Also enjoy travel insurance.
    12.74% p.a. 0% p.a. for 14 months $0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
    Citi Rewards Platinum Credit Card
    Take advantage of 0% p.a. for 24 months on balance transfers with a 1.5% BT fee. Plus, earn Reward Points as part of the Citi Rewards Program.
    20.99% p.a. 0% p.a. for 24 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee $49 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($149 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
    ANZ Platinum Credit Card
    Enjoy platinum card benefits with $0 annual fee in the first year and complimentary overseas travel and medical insurance.
    19.74% p.a. 0% p.a. for 16 months with 2% balance transfer fee $0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($87 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
    NAB Rewards Platinum Card
    Earn 1 NAB Rewards Point per $1 spent and receive double points on purchases made in major department and hardware stores.
    19.99% p.a. 4.99% p.a. for 6 months $0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($195 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
    Commonwealth Bank Business Gold Awards Credit Card
    Earn up to 2 Awards points per $1 spent and receive an unsecured credit limit of up to $50,000.
    20.74% p.a. 5.99% p.a. for 5 months $150 p.a. Go to site More info
    Commonwealth Bank Business Awards Platinum Credit Card
    Earn up to 3 Awards points per $1 spent and stay on track with instantly updated transactions.
    20.74% p.a. 5.99% p.a. for 5 months $300 p.a. Go to site More info
    American Express Velocity Escape Card
    Take off sooner with up to 2 Velocity Points per $1 spent and pay $0 annual fee.
    20.74% p.a. 0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee $0 p.a. Go to site More info

    Frequent Flyer benefits

    Using frequent flyer credit card is an easy way to pick up rewards 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 might find that you can even 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?

    • 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 you end up losing your card, and if someone accesses the money in your account, 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 look forward to using a MasterCard or Visa debit card.
    • Excessive debt. When overseas, you might be tempted to buy one or more things that you can’t really afford, and since a credit card gives you instant access to money, you could let temptation get the better of you. Remember at all times that you’d have to repay all the money you spend using your credit card, and avoid getting into a situation that is difficult to handle.

    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 back up and the security of credit could come in handy in an emergency situation.

    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 plus, if it comes with a rewards program, constraints on your point earning opportunities.
    • 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 in many cases).
    As you’ve probably gathered by now, the ideal credit card you can use overseas is one that suits your requirements, and given the large number of options on offer, it’s ideal that you take some time to compare a few. For more tips, see our guide on how to use a credit card for your next holiday.

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    Frequently asked questions about using credit cards overseas

    One easy way to find out if the card you wish to apply for finds acceptance in the country you wish to travel to is to visit the website of the payment system that supports the card, which can be Visa or MasterCard.
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    12 Responses to What is the Best Credit Card* to use Overseas?

    1. Default Gravatar
      Bebe | July 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.

      • Staff
        Jonathan | July 6, 2015

        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

    2. Default Gravatar
      Tony | December 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

      • Staff
        Elizabeth | December 29, 2014

        Hi Tony,

        Thanks for your question.

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

        I hope this will help.

        Thanks,

        Elizabeth

    3. Default Gravatar
      n | November 28, 2014

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

      • Staff
        Elizabeth | November 28, 2014

        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

    4. Default Gravatar
      Paul | December 4, 2013

      I have been told that to avoid bank currency exchange rates that if you load your credit card up with extra money that there is no foreign exchange rate charge – is this true ?
      I have the NAB premium card.

      • Default Gravatar
        Emma | September 1, 2014

        Hello,

        I would like to avoid taking a credit card and have the Qantas traveller card but am a little confused with conversion – I am going to Brazil and the card does not hold the Brazilian Real, but if I load it up with Australian or American money, can I still use it at an ATM in Brazil ie: will the machine convert my money and give out Brazilian Real? Thank-you.

      • Staff
        Shirley | September 1, 2014

        Hi Emma,

        Thanks for your question.

        Yes you can still use an ATM in Brazil, just make sure it displays the same symbol on your card (Mastercard/Visa/Amex etc). Usually the ATM gives out the local currency as well.

        Please note a currency conversion fee could apply, because you don’t have the preloaded currency read in your card.

        Cheers,
        Shirley

      • Staff
        Jacob | December 4, 2013

        Hi Paul.

        This is not correct. You will be charged a currency conversion fee regardless of whether your account is in a positive balance. You can compare travel money options on this page. These cards do not charge a currency conversion fee when you carry out a transaction in a currency other than Australian dollars.

        Thanks for your question.

    5. Default Gravatar
      renotta | April 26, 2013

      i want know how can i get cash from my international credit card.

      • Staff
        Jacob | April 26, 2013

        Hi Renotta. Thanks for your question. There are a couple of ways you can access cash from a credit card when you use it overseas – either you can withdraw it from an ATM, or you can use your card to make a purchase over the counter. Fees and charges will vary depending on how you use you card. If you’re using your card to withdraw from an overseas ATM, you will incur: cash advance interest rate, cash advance fee, international ATM fee, local ATM fee and cross currency conversion fee – these charges vary depending on the card and the ATM you use. Making a purchase over the counter is cheaper overseas and you just get charged the cross currency conversion fee and the purchase rate of interest – excluding any interest free days. There are cards that do not charge some of the fees listed above, you can check the fees in ‘fees table’ at the bottom of each card’s review and application page, and you can compare travel money options here. Let me know if you have any questions about travel money. Bon Voyage! Jacob.

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