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.

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Foreign currency conversion fee Overseas ATM withdrawal fee Purchase rate Annual fee
Bankwest Breeze Platinum Mastercard
0%
$0
10.99% p.a.
$0 annual fee for the first year ($69 p.a. thereafter)
Get 0% interest on balance transfers for 26 months, a $0 first-year annual fee, complimentary travel insurance and no foreign transaction fees.
Coles Rewards Mastercard
0%
$5
19.99% p.a.
$0 annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
Enjoy $100 off a Coles Supermarket, a $0 first-year annual fee and a 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 18 months (1.5% fee applies). Ends 31 Jan 2021.
NAB StraightUp Card
0%
N/A
$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.
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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.

Data indicated here is updated regularly
$
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.

Citi Global Currency Account
Mastercard
$0
$0
Pay $0 international transaction fees and $0 overseas ATM fees when you use a foreign currency linked with your account in a country that uses that currency. Make sure your debit card is linked to the correct currency before using an ATM, otherwise a foreign exchange fee applies.
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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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