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How to shop online with overseas merchant and pay no foreign transaction fees

Enjoy the benefits of shopping online without paying transaction fees. Read on to learn how.

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If you have ever bought an item online from a store based outside of Australia, then you might have had a shocker when you received your credit card bill. That’s because you saw an additional 2- 3% charge plus other “expenses” such as unfavourable conversion rates for your dollars.

There are some great bargains to be had on the internet, so fees or bad exchange rates shouldn’t stop you. Here are some ways to shop online and save on fees.

How to shop online with foreign merchants and pay no foreign transaction fees

There are a number of credit cards, debit cards and travel cards available which won't charge foreign transaction fees.

Credit cards

There are a number of credit cards that charge 0% foreign transaction fees when you spend in a foreign currency. Most credit cards charge 2% or 3% per foreign transaction, which could add up if you're travelling overseas or regularly shop online with international merchants.

These cards often come with other travel perks including complimentary travel insurance and purchase protection, rewards programs and airport lounge passes. Each card provider will have their own exchange rate or might use the exchange rates set by MasterCard or Visa, so check these out before applying for any one card.

Updated April 9th, 2020
Name Product Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate Annual fee
ING Orange One
11.99% p.a.
$0 p.a.
Keep costs low with $0 annual fee and 100% foreign transaction fee rebates. Available when you hold or open an Orange Everyday account.
ING Orange One Platinum
16.99% p.a.
$149 p.a.
Enjoy up to $30 cashback per month and 100% foreign transaction fee rebates. Available when you hold or open an Orange Everyday account.
ANZ Rewards Travel Adventures card
20.24% p.a.
20.24% p.a.
$225 p.a.
Receive a complimentary flight and 2 Virgin lounge passes / year, complimentary international travel insurance, plus 0% foreign transaction fees.
Bankwest Zero Platinum Mastercard
17.99% p.a.
2.99% p.a. for 9 months
$0 p.a.
Offers a $0 annual fee, 0% foreign transaction fees, complimentary international travel insurance and a balance transfer offer.
Westpac Lite Card
9.9% p.a.
$108 p.a.
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.
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Debit cards

Some Australian debit cards also waive foreign transaction fees. You can compare some of the current options in the table below. Some will require you to meet deposit and spend requirements to activate the foreign transaction fee rebate. You may be able to find cards that don't charge any account-keeping or international ATM withdrawal fees as well.

Updated April 9th, 2020
$
Name Product Card access ATM Withdrawal Fee Fee Free Deposit p.m. Monthly Account Fee
HSBC Everyday Global Account
Visa
$0
$0
Special offer: $100 cash bonus for new HSBC customers.
Earn 2% cashback on tap and pay purchases (T&C's apply).
Enjoy no minimum ongoing balance or transaction requirements and the flexibility to hold up to 10 currencies. Apple Pay and Google Pay available.
CUA Everyday Snap Account
Visa
$0
$0
Refund of international ATM withdrawal fees and international card transaction fees (conditions apply). Refund of overdrawn fees.
$0 monthly account fee. Unlimited fee-free everyday transactions.
Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay available. Savings Top Up tool automatically transfers to linked savings account.
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information on comparing debit cards

Travel cards

Travel cards are designed to be used when you're overseas but can also be used when you shop online. They usually offer around 10 supported foreign currencies, which you can transfer your Australian dollars to and then save on foreign transaction fees. Unlike your debit card, travel cards are prepaid and you can top up your balance. These cards sometimes charge loading fees or currency conversion fees when you spend in a currency that isn't supported or loaded on the card.

If you are looking to travel or interested in learning more, see our travel money guide here.

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