Credit cards with no foreign transaction fees are designed to help you save money by offering 0% fees when you're travelling overseas or shopping online with an international retailer. In comparison, most other credit cards charge a fee of 2–3% of each international transaction you make.
Use this guide to compare 0% foreign fee cards to find one that best suits your needs.
Bankwest Credit Card Offer
$0 annual fee
0% foreign transaction fees
Eligibility criteria, terms and conditions, fees and charges apply
Bankwest Credit Card Offer
Save with a $0 annual fee, 0% foreign transaction fees and a balance transfer offer. Plus, complimentary overseas travel insurance.
- Ongoing $0 annual fee
- 17.99% p.a. purchase rate | 21.99% p.a. cash advance rate
- 0% foreign transaction fees online and overseas
- 2.99% on balance transfers for 9 months, reverts to 17.99% p.a.
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How do credit cards with no foreign fees work?
When you travel or shop online with a retailer that's based overseas, many cards will charge a foreign transaction fee worth around 2–3% of your purchase amount. But credit cards with 0% foreign fees waive this cost or rebate it to your account, helping you save money when you make international transactions.
How much can I save with a 0% foreign fee card?
The potential savings you can get on a credit card with no foreign transaction fees depend on how much you spend overseas and the fees you would pay on a different credit card. For example, if you spent $2,000 on your card that charges a foreign transaction fee of 3%, you would pay $60 more than you would with a card that charges a 0% foreign transaction fee.
It's also worth noting that the cost (and potential savings) may not be obvious straight away. For example, if you spent $200 a month through an online store that is based overseas, a 3% foreign transaction fee would add just $6 to your monthly account balance. However, switching to a card with a 0% foreign transaction fee would save you $72 per year.
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 for overseas spending?
- Rebate requirements. Some credit cards automatically waive foreign transaction fees when you make overseas purchases. Others offer a rebate on foreign transaction fees when you meet specific requirements, such as spending a set amount per month. If you don't meet these requirements for a particular month or statement period, any overseas purchases made during that time will attract the applicable foreign transaction fee.
- Annual fees. To ensure you're getting the best credit card for your spending habits, you need to weigh the cost of the annual fee against the savings you'd get from paying 0% foreign transaction fees. If the savings aren't as much as you thought, you could be better off with a $0 annual fee credit card.
- Overseas ATM withdrawal fees. Getting cash out of an ATM overseas can also attract a fee worth up to $5 or between 2-3% of the total transaction. Some overseas ATM operators also apply an additional charge. Choosing a card that offers $0 international ATM withdrawals could allow you to avoid or reduce this cost.
- Cash advance fees. Even if you get a credit card that offers $0 ATM fees, using it to withdraw cash will attract a cash advance fee that is worth between 2-4% of the transaction. You will 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 in full each statement period, your overseas spending will be charged 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 cost when you're comparing different cards. If you do often carry a balance, a low rate credit card could be a more cost-effective option.
- Other travel benefits. Some cards offer additional perks, such as complimentary travel insurance, airport lounge access or reward 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.
- Security features. As well as fraud-monitoring services and zero liability for fraudulent transactions, some credit cards offer transaction limits for overseas spending, temporary blocks and extra security through services including Verified by Visa, Mastercard SecureCode and American Express SafeKey.
Tips to protect your card when shopping online
What else do I need to think about?
When you're travelling or shopping online with an international retailer, keeping the following factors in mind can help you save on costs.
- Currency conversion. When you use an Australian credit card to make a transaction in another currency, it will be converted back to Australian dollars 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$0.72 to AUD$1, this transaction would show up on your credit card account as AUD$138.89 (to the nearest cent).
- Local currency vs. Australian dollar payments. Sometimes when you're travelling, a business will give you the option of paying in the local currency or in Australian dollars. If you choose to pay in Australian dollars, the transaction will be processed using Dynamic Currency Conversion, which usually costs you a lot more than paying 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 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.
Compare more travel money options
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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