cards with no foreign transaction feesPlanning to travel outside the country? Maybe you intend to live abroad for a while. If that’s the case, you might want to take a second look at your credit cards. Specifically, check your cards’ terms for foreign transaction fees. As we’ve mentioned before, many credit cards charge a 3% to 5% foreign transaction fee on every purchase made outside of the United States. That might not be a big deal once or twice, but it can really add up over the course of a trip. If you’re studying or working abroad, that fee becomes even more significant.

How do you avoid these fees? One option is to use a travel credit card. Since these cards are specifically intended for travel, it’s unusual for one to feature foreign transaction fees. That said, you should still check for the fee when you look over your credit card agreement. After all, you don’t want surprise fees during your vacation!

But what if you aren’t interested in earning miles or points? Many people prefer cash back over miles. Alternatively, you might not travel often, you could be planning on living abroad for an extended period or perhaps you want a travel card that doubles as an everyday purchases card. Whether you’re looking for a card that earns cash back in fixed categories, in rotating categories, at a flat rate or one designed for students, we’ve got you covered! Read on for our favorite cash back credit cards that don’t charge foreign transaction fees.

Fixed cash back categories

When you travel, you’re likely to spend money on specific purchases, like eating out at restaurants or purchasing tickets to museums or tourist attractions. So why not pick a card that will earn high cash back rates in these categories and charge no foreign transaction fees? You can, with our favorite card for earning cash back in fixed categories: the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card!

Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card

cards with no foreign transaction feesWith the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card, you’ll earn unlimited 4% cash back on dining and entertainment purchases made at home or while you travel. Whether you’re aiming to take in the local cuisine or to save time on cooking so you can dedicate yourself to taking in the sights or relaxing, dining is sure to be a category you’ll use a lot. As is entertainment, which includes purchases at movie theaters, tourist attractions, amusement parks, zoos, live theater, commercial sports operations and more.

Staying in a place with a kitchen? Or perhaps you’re planning to stop by the grocery store for snacks or to prepare for a picnic while you’re traveling. With 2% cash back on grocery store purchases, you’ll earn extra cash back on those purchases as well! All other purchases will earn 1% cash back. Best of all, the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card’s rewards can also be accumulated at home, which means it’s the perfect card to use locally or on your overseas adventures.

On top of all that, the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card offers a showstopper of an intro bonus. It’s the most massive intro cash back bonus of any card we review — a $500 bonus when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening! There is a $95 annual fee, but it’s waived for the first year.

An alternative with no annual fee

Perhaps you like the details of the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card, but a couple aspects don’t work for you. Maybe the spending requirement for the intro bonus is higher than you feel you’ll spend in 3 months. Or maybe an annual fee is a dealbreaker. If either of these concerns apply to you, the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card’s sister card, the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card, may be more to your liking. You’ll pay no annual fee and earn a $150 bonus after spending $500 on purchases in the first 3 months. The card also earns unlimited 3% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% cash back at grocery stores and 1% cash back on all other purchases. Additionally, you’ll get a 15-month 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers (with a 3% balance transfer fee), so if you rack up a high or low balance while traveling or at home, you’ll have some extra time to pay it off without interest. It should be noted that both the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card and the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card require good to excellent credit (usually considered a credit score of 700 or higher) for approval.

Cash back on rotating categories

The largest cash back rates generally go to rotating cash back categories. That is, categories that change periodically (typically each quarter). The disadvantage of these types of credit cards for travelers is their unpredictability. You see, if you don’t have much advance notice of the cash back categories, it’s hard to be sure you’ll benefit from the boosted cash back rates. Thankfully, Discover releases all its categories for the year at once. That, along with incredible cash back potential and no annual fee, makes Discover it Cash Back our favorite rotating cash back credit card with no foreign transaction fees.

Discover it Cash Back

cards with no foreign transaction feesWith this card, you’ll earn 5% cash back in categories that rotate each quarter (up to the quarterly max — currently $1,500 — then 1% back). You’ll need to activate the 5% categories each quarter, but Discover will remind you to do so via its online portal and you can register for free email reminders. The 2019 categories include: groceries from January to March; gas stations, Uber and Lyft from April to June; restaurants from July to September; and Amazon.com from October to December. You’ll also earn 1% cash back on all other purchases.

In addition to the 5% cash back in rotating categories, you’ll also earn an intriguing cash back bonus. At the end of your first year with the card, Discover will match all the cash back you’ve earned. For example, if you earn $300 back at the end of the year, Discover will match that $300 and you’ll end up with a total of $600! Plus, unlike many credit cards, Discover it Cash Back is available to those with average to excellent credit. That means you’re generally considered eligible with credit scores of 670 or higher.

Last but not least, Discover it Cash Back includes a 14-month 0% intro APR on purchases. That means it won’t break the bank if you overspend a bit during your time outside of the country, as you can carry the balance for your new purchases without paying interest for 14 months. You’ll also have 14 months of 0% intro APR on balance transfers (with a 3% balance transfer fee), which allows you to transfer your balance from a credit card with a high APR onto Discover it Cash Back and enjoy 0% interest on that balance for 14 months! After the 0% intro APRs for purchases and balance transfers end, you’ll pay the go-to variable APR on your balances.

Flat cash back on all purchases

If you don’t want to worry about spending in specific categories or whether stores will be categorized the way you expect, you may prefer a flat cash back credit card with no foreign transaction fees. For this, our favorite credit card is the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card.

Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card

cards with no foreign transaction feesWe love the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card as a cash back credit card option thanks to its eminently achievable intro bonus and unlimited cash back rate on all purchases. After spending $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening, you’ll earn a $150 bonus — that’s 30% cash back on the first $500 you spend. Plus, there’s no need to strategize or worry about where you use the card because you’ll earn an unlimited 1.5% cash back rate on all purchases. That makes this card a perfect choice for everyday purchases abroad and in the United States.

Other intro offers include 15 months of 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers (with a 3% balance transfer fee). Having a 0% intro APR on purchases eases the worry of overspending during your travels — whether those travels last a few weeks or over a year. That’s because you won’t have to pay interest on your balance for 15 months. While less likely to relate to your travel plans, a 0% intro APR balance transfer period is also a huge benefit if you’re paying high interest on another card.

The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card also charges no annual fee. That’s a nice feature in general, ensuring that your cash back rewards won’t go toward a yearly fee. This card requires good to excellent credit for approval (generally considered a credit score of 700 or higher).

An alternative with no annual fee

If the credit scores required for the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card are outside your range, there’s still a nice flat cash back option for you. Consider the Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card. This credit card is available to those with average, fair or limited credit. That generally means credit scores of 620 or higher, or no credit score due to a lack of credit history. Plus, you’ll earn an unlimited 1.5% cash back rate on all purchases. However, you’ll have to pay a $39 annual fee and you’ll sacrifice any 0% intro bonus APRs.

Students

If you’re a student, you may not have the credit history to qualify for many credit cards. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a perfect student credit card for you. Several of the student credit cards we review charge no foreign transaction fees, but our favorite is Discover it Student chrome.

Discover it Student chrome

cards with no foreign transaction feesEarning 1% cash back on all purchases makes for a reassuring starting point for your cash back. Plus, you’ll earn 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants (up to $1,000 per quarter, then it’s 1%). Those are cash back categories you’re very likely to use while you travel and while you’re at school.

Plus, you’ll also benefit from Discover’s Cashback Match. However much cash back you accumulate in your first year, Discover will match that as an intro bonus. So, if you earn $100 back, Discover will match that $100 and you’ll take home $200. You may also enjoy Discover it Student Chrome’s 0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months. That’s a bit over a semester of no interest on your purchases, which allows you to ease into credit without worrying about interest rates. Discover it Student chrome also charges no annual fee.

If you preferred the rotating categories described earlier, take a look at our Discover it Student Cash Back review, as that card offers the same cash back rewards as the previously mentioned consumer card.

One more fee to be aware of

Now that you’ve reviewed some cash back credit cards with no foreign transaction fees, you’re probably raring to go on your next trip. But before you set out on your travels, we have one last piece of advice. We recommend you also watch out for dynamic currency conversion fees when you are abroad. That’s an additional charge applied when a merchant adjusts the currency from the country’s legal tender to U.S dollars. There’s often a steep markup when they do this, much higher than the standard exchange rate between the two currencies. Fortunately, you don’t need a specific card to avoid this fee. Just make sure that if you’re offered a choice to pay in U.S. dollars or in the region’s standard currency, you choose the latter. If a receipt is given in U.S. dollars, don’t sign it. Instead, ask for it in the local currency.

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Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This content was accurate at the time of this post, but card terms and conditions may change at any time. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.