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Smart Money

Credit cards with no international fees

Last updated

International fees on credit cards are also called foreign transaction fees or currency conversion fees. They’re charged when you pay for something overseas, whether it’s online or in person, usually at 2-3% of the transaction.

If you withdraw money from an overseas ATM, you may also have to have to pay a withdrawal fee (to the ATM operator and to your credit card provider). Note: If you want to earn points on your travel spending, check out our monthly update of the Best Frequent Flyer cards, and our list of all Frequent Flyer cards here.

A solution: ‘No foreign transaction fee’ credit cards

Some credit cards waive the foreign transaction fee as one of their features. It’s often the case with high-tiered cards that come with a bunch of perks, rewards and higher annual fees.

But, if you spend overseas frequently, it might be worth comparing and deciding whether your spending makes the ongoing costs of the cards worth it.

There are also cards that offer reasonable annual fees, no currency conversion fees and other bonuses like 0% interest offers, and even repayment instalment plans that rival Buy Now Pay Later schemes.

So, it’s all about comparing to see which card works best for you and how much you spend.

Here’s an example of how much you could save on currency conversion fees in one month:

Amount spent: Conversion fee 2% Conversion Fee 3% Conversion fee 4%
$500 $10 $15 $20
$1,000 $20 $30 $40
$2,000 $40 $60 $80
$3,000 $60 $90 $120
$5,000 $100 $150 $200

As a one-off purchase, the smaller amounts might not seem that bad. But if you frequently shop online, those small amounts add up over the course of a year. An overseas family holiday can easily cost $200 extra just in conversion fees.

And that’s not including any ATM charges for withdrawing cash while you’re overseas.

Some credit card providers offer cards that are marketed specifically to frequent online overseas shoppers. Or, you could consider applying for a prepaid travel card (see more about those below).

Our top ‘no foreign transaction fee’ credit cards

Card Description
Bankwest Breeze Platinum Card

Enjoy platinum perks while saving money especially on online and overseas purchases with its no foreign transaction fees feature. Highlights include 0% p.a. on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months, no balance transfer fee applies; and a first year annual fee waiver.

Go to offer

Coles Rewards Mastercard

This card waived its international transaction fee on retail purchases except cash advance in foreign currency or cash advance made overseas. Currently giving special offers and discounts; 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 12 months; and 40,000 bonus Flybuys when reaching minimum spend requirement.

Go to offer

NAB StraightUp

Pay no interest or late payment fees – just a simple monthly fee, which is reversed if you don’t carry a balance for an entire statement period. The card comes with no international fees on overseas purchases.

Go to offer

Bankwest Zero Platinum card

Splurge on overseas purchases with no international fees, as you’re not paying any hidden charges at all when you use this card. Get also to enjoy other money-saving features such as no annual fee ever and 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 34 months.
humm90 Mastercard

Designed for shoppers, humm90 Mastercard currently provides long-term interest-free finance at key retail partners. Enjoy a massive 110-days interest-free period on purchases with interest-free plans of up to 60 months. Save with 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 36 months with no balance transfer fee. Plus, pay no transaction fees on foreign purchases made overseas or online.
ANZ Rewards Travel Adventures Card

Save on card costs with no international transaction fees on purchases overseas, including online from international websites. Plus, waived cash advance fee when used at overseas branches and ATMs. Currently offers 40,000 bonus Reward Points, minimum spend required.
ING Orange One Low Rate Credit Card

Pay no ING International Transaction Fees for eligible customers when you shop overseas or online. Packed with money saving features which include no annual fee, low interest rates on purchases and cash advances, and friendly rates on instalment plans to pay off your purchases over time.
Westpac Lite Credit Card

As light and as friendly as it is, this card offers everything low and easy to your pockets with its low purchase rate of 9.90% p.a., up to 45 days interest-free, plus $0 foreign transaction fees when you shop overseas or online.
Latitude 28 Degrees

Pay no annual fee ever. Save more when shopping overseas or online with the $0 international transaction or currency conversion fees.

BankWest also waive international fees on their Bankwest More Platinum credit card. We’ve picked the two above however, as they have more overall benefits, as well as the waived foreign transaction fees.

Credit Card International Fees by Brand

Brand International Transaction Charge Foreign ATM Withdrawal fee?
American Express 3% TBC
ANZ 3% $4
Bank of Melbourne 3% $2.50
Bank of Queensland 3.4% $4
Bank SA 3% $2.50
Bank Australia 2% $3.50
Bankwest 2.95% $4
Bendigo 2% $15
Citi 3.3% $5
Coles 2.5% $4
CBA 3% $4 or 1.75% (whichever is greater)
CUA 3.4% $5
Diners Club 3%
Heritage 2.5% $5
HSBC 3%
IMB 3.3% $5
Jetstar 3%
Latitude Financial 3% $4
Macquarie 3%
ME Bank 2.5%
NAB 3% $4
St George 3% $5
Suncorp 3.4% $5
Virgin 3.3% $5
Westpac 3% $2.50 except Global Alliance ATMs
Woolworths 3% $2.50

Different types of cards for travellers

Credit cards marketed to frequent travellers will often have low or non-existent foreign currency charges. In particular, a number of Gold and Platinum cards offer this feature (for example the BankWest Platinum range).

These cards will still have administrative costs, however, and they will tend to have either higher annual fees (though the BankWest Zero Platinum card has none) or higher interest rates, so work out whether this is actually going to save money on a card-by-card basis.

A Platinum card can be an option if you would use features such as frequent flyer points, travel insurance, extended warranty or purchase protection (if buying within Australia), so just because the card charges an annual fee doesn’t mean it is automatically more expensive if you would use those extras.

You can also check if the card has competitive exchange rates as part of their frequent traveller features.

Need travel insurance? Maybe your card covers it. 

Plenty of cards offer complimentary travel insurance as one of their handy little perks. 

To compare cards and the insurances they include, you can see our free travel insurance comparison, which highlights all the key features for major credit cards and credit card providers.

Credit cards can be a super economical way of insuring yourself while you travel, and it’s often activated automatically as long as you buy your tickets or certain travel expenses on the credit card. 

There are a few tips to remember though:

  • Purchase the tickets with the card, or the insurance may not be activated.
  • Don’t expect to be covered automatically for pre-existing conditions. If you have asthma, diabetes or some other condition check whether you need separate or additional cover and pay any applicable surcharge to ensure you’re properly covered.
  • Always, always keep the credit card statement showing the purchase of your flights and/or accommodation to hand, as some credit cards require a copy of this before paying out on a claim.
  • If you insist on separate travel insurance, take the advice of trusted websites like Finder.com.au and shop around for the best deal, making sure you’re covered for everything you want to be. Also make sure you understand any exclusions, such as adventure sports or Acts of God in any policy before you sign.

Read more about credit card travel insurance here.

If you choose prepaid, use it wisely

Foreign currency prepaid credit cards are pre-loaded with foreign currencies up to a certain value. These cards can allow you to lock in an exchange rate, and can offer reasonable exchange rates (see below for a word of caution about that).

Qantas Cash and Virgin’s Global Wallet are both examples of prepaid travel cards. With each option, you can pre-load foreign currencies on to the card, allowing you to lock in an exchange rate on each pre-loaded amount. You can then use the card to make overseas and domestic purchases. This can save you a huge amount in foreign conversion fees often charged by standard credit cards.

Qantas Cash and Global Wallet also allow you to earn rewards points on their respective loyalty programs, and can allow for faster check-in and boarding. To find out more about Qantas Cash and Global Wallet, what each one offers, and how they stack up against each other, read our post here.

If you’re choosing a prepaid travel card, be aware of the small print and any fees that might apply. Remember, you might have to pay ATM fees to withdraw money at ATMs both in Australia and overseas.

Fees to be aware of:

  • Application fee: There is no fee to apply for a Qantas Cash card or Global Wallet.
  • Top up/Reload fee: No top up fee on Qantas Cash or Global Wallet.
  • Monthly service fee: No monthly service fee on Qantas Cash or Global Wallet.
  • Inactivity fee: While Qantas Cash does not charge an inactivity fee, Global Wallet charges a $1 inactivity fee if the card remains inactive for 12 months or more.
  • Currency conversion fee: If you use Qantas Cash or Global Wallet to pay for something in a currency that is not loaded on your wallet, you will pay a 3% currency conversion fee.

Use prepaid as a backup, and watch the exchange rate

If you do go with a prepaid option, make sure you understand its fees and its terms and conditions, and we’d still recommend having at least one back-up card for the time you’re away. This can ensure you’ll always have access to cash should anything happen.

A recent analysis also found a massive $193 difference in cost between providers based on different exchange rates they used. That means whether you get the card at Australia Post, ANZ, NAB or elsewhere, the currency exchange rate will be different and will vary depending on where you’re going and which currencies you’re loading.

Deciding on the right overseas-friendly credit card

So, does it sound like you should be exploring your options when it comes to overseas cash access? You’d definitely be right, and you’ve found the perfect place to start here, by comparing the transaction fees that major card providers offer. 

Once you’ve had a look at the fees your bank charges, you can decide whether you should apply to another bank for a card with no international fees.

Far from just believing that your current bank will look after you while you’re overseas, if you explore your options you might discover that another provider offers a better solution for you while you’re overseas.

For standard credit cards, the foreign currency transaction fees are usually calculated as a percentage of the purchase amount (because that’s the amount exchanged in foreign currency on each transaction). The table above lists the current fees charged by major credit card providers for overseas transactions.

We’ve found that the only way to avoid annoying foreign transaction fee is:

  • To use cash in the local currency (but be aware of ATM withdrawal fees),
  • To use one of the selected cards above that doesn’t charge a transaction fee,
  • To use local debit or credit card (but this may only be an option if you have been living overseas for quite some time already).
Pauline

Pauline Hatch

Pauline is a personal finance expert at CreditCard.com.au, with 8 years in money, budgeting and property reporting under her belt. Pauline is passionate about seeing Aussies win by making their money – and their credit cards – work smarter, harder and bigger.

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12 comments (showing the latest 10 Q&As)

Luke

Luke

14 June 2022
Hi, I need a credit card about $5000 limit with no international transfer fees but we have a low credit rating. Hope you can help!
    Pauline - CreditCard.com.au

    Pauline

    16 June 2022
    Hi Luke, you’ve landed on the right page. Use our comparison tables above to narrow down your choices. You can click through to each card and read our review to decide whether the card is for you. If you’re not eligible for a credit card due to your credit rating, you can check out our sister site DebitCards.com.au to see your options.
Meredith

Meredith

10 April 2022
Hi Pauline. We will be traveling overseas for 12 months. Which would be the best card to use with 0 foreign fees and 0 fees for atm withdrawals?
    Pauline - CreditCard.com.au

    Pauline

    11 April 2022
    Hi Meredith, there are a lot of different credit cards that you can check however we only currently have access to NAB StraightUp card which has zero international/foreign currency fees. We hope you have a great trip!
Tamara

Tamara

3 September 2021
To help answer mclensi's question, there is a card with no international fees for business. It is the Commonwealth Bank Neo Business interest-free card. It has a weird fee structure but if you want a card that has no international fees which is becoming more and more important these days, then that one is the one. Am also looking into the one you suggested Roland to work out which one would be better for me.
    Roland B Bleyer - CreditCard.com.au Founder

    Roland

    3 September 2021
    Hi Tamara, thanks so much for your message. Such a great point you make and yes, the CommBank Neo could be a handy card to have in your pocket if you want to avoid those pesky foreign transaction fees.
Eric

Eric

6 March 2021
Good evening, I will be living overseas for the most part of the next four years but will be paid in Australia. Is there a credit card with Qantas points that you would recommend? I spend on average AUD 4-5k per month on the card.
    Roland B Bleyer - CreditCard.com.au Founder

    Roland

    8 March 2021
    Hi Eric, if you're going to be doing most of your spending overseas it's a great idea to look for a card with 0% foreign transaction fees. The CommBank Ultimate Awards Card features 0% foreign fees and earns Awards Points that can be transferred to Qantas directly for a yearly fee of $30 and at a rate of 2.5 to 1. You'll earn 3 Awards points / $1 spent overseas (up to $10,000) and will pay no monthly fee when you spend at least $2,500 per statement period. You can also look at the Bankwest Qantas World Credit Card that charges no foreign fees, earns 1 Qantas Point per $1 spent (on the first $5,000/month then 0.5 / $1 thereafter) and complimentary overseas travel insurance for a $270 annual fee. Macquarie Bank also offers Qantas-earning credit cards with no foreign transaction fees, but they are unavailable for application for the time being. One major thing to keep in mind is the residency requirement and ensuring that you meet it. If you are not a resident of Australia for legal purposes, you may not be eligible for an Australian credit card. If, however, you're still a legal resident for tax purposes and can provide all the necessary documents, you may proceed.
mclensi

mclensi

4 March 2021
Do you have a guide like this for business credit cards? can you recommend any business cards with low to no international purchase transaction costs?
Fazal Hameed

Fazal Hameed

13 February 2021
Hi If you spend $2000 on NAB StraightUp card pay whole back whole amount at the end of month how much will be my monthly fee
    Roland B Bleyer - CreditCard.com.au Founder

    Roland

    15 February 2021
    Hi Fazal, If you apply for a $2,000 credit limit and make a purchase, you'll be charged the monthly fee of $15. Even when you pay back the full amount at the end of the month, you're still charged the monthly fee.

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