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.

Name Product Foreign currency conversion fee Interest-free period Purchase rate Annual fee
Bankwest Zero Platinum Mastercard
0%
Up to 55 days on purchases
14.99% p.a.
$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.
humm90 Mastercard
0%
Up to 110 days on purchases
23.99% p.a.
$99
Enjoy up to 110 days interest-free on purchases, 0% foreign transaction fees and flexible instalment plan options.
Bankwest Breeze Platinum Mastercard
0%
Up to 55 days on purchases
0% p.a. for 15 months, reverts to 9.9% p.a.
$0 annual fee for the first year ($69 p.a. thereafter)
Get 0% interest on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, a $0 first-year annual fee and no foreign transaction fees.
NAB StraightUp Card
0%
0% p.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.

Name Product Contactless Payments Instant Payments ATM Withdrawal Fee Monthly account fee
HSBC Everyday Global Account
Google Pay, Apple Pay
N/A
$0
$0
Special offer: $100 cash bonus for new HSBC customers.
Earn 2% cashback on tap and pay purchases, and transfer money overseas online to family or friends and pay $0 International Transfer Fee (save $8). T&Cs apply on all offers.
Enjoy no minimum ongoing balance or transaction requirements and the flexibility to hold up to 10 currencies. Apple Pay and Google Pay available.

Suncorp Everyday Options Account
Google Pay, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay
Osko, PayID
$0
$0
Link up to 9 interest-earning sub accounts.
$0 monthly account keeping fees.
Earn interest on your linked sub accounts to help you save for individual goals, with no account fees to pay. Make contactless payments using Google Pay and Apple Pay.
Citi Global Currency Account
Apple Pay, Samsung Pay
Osko, PayID
$0
$0
Earn up to 0.45% p.a. interest on your AUD balance.
$0 monthly account fee.
Enjoy one linked debit card to hold up to 10 currencies and receive foreign currencies for free.
MyState Bank Glide Account
Google Pay, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Fitbit Pay, Garmin Pay
Osko, PayID
$0
$0
Simplify your everyday banking with these sleek digital features.
$0 monthly account fee.
Choose the way you pay with access to Google, Samsung and Apple Pay plus Fitbit Pay and Garmin Pay. Send and receive money in less than 60 seconds with PayID.
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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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