Need to know
- Save money shopping online or travelling overseas by using credit cards with no foreign exchange (currency conversion) fees
- Watch out for transaction and foreign exchange fees on your regular credit card
- To get cash out overseas, use debit cards and travel money cards to avoid the high cash advance fees on credit cards
Using your credit card when travelling overseas can be convenient, but it can also be costly. You should expect high transaction or foreign exchange (otherwise known as currency conversion) fees of around 3% for credit card purchases overseas, or when shopping on overseas websites.
Fee-free credit cards can be a good alternative, and some even have a $0 annual fee.
But beware of cash advances. You'll be slugged with a 3% cash advance fee when using credit cards issued by the major banks, and interest rates of up to 20% will apply immediately. For overseas cash withdrawals, you should use a travel debit card or travel money card instead.
If you do want to use a credit card while overseas, we've found the cards that offer cheaper rates and deals when travelling.
Zero annual fee, zero foreign exchange fee credit cards
These credit cards have no overseas online purchase or foreign exchange fees and no annual fee (even for additional cardholders). But if you want a credit card that comes with included travel insurance, note that most of these come with only basic cover, and a few don't include it at all.
Bankwest Zero Platinum Mastercard.
Bankwest Zero Platinum Mastercard
- Basic travel insurance.
- 14.99% purchase interest rate (21.99% cash advance interest rate).
- Higher of $4 or 2% cash advance fee.
- $6000 minimum credit limit.
Bendigo Bank Ready Mastercard.
Bendigo Bank Ready Mastercard
- Travel insurance (90 days if aged under 76 years).
- 19.99% interest rate on purchases and cash advances.
- Higher of $3 or 3% cash advance fee.
- $3000 minimum credit limit.
Latitude 28° Global Platinum Mastercard.
Latitude 28° Global Platinum Mastercard
- No travel insurance, but some benefits in case of flight delay.
- 22.99% interest rate on purchases and cash advances.
- Higher of $4 or 3% cash advance fee.
- $6000 minimum credit limit.
Travel credit cards with no foreign exchange fees compared
|Credit card||Interest rate||Annual fee||Travel insurance|
|Bank First Visa Platinum||9.59%||$99||Yes|
|Bankwest Breeze Platinum||9.9%||$69||Yes|
|Bankwest More Platinum||19.99%||$160||Yes|
|Bankwest More World||19.99%||$270||Yes|
|Bankwest Qantas Platinum||20.49%||$160||Yes|
|Bankwest Qantas World||20.49%||$270||Yes|
|Bankwest Zero Platinum||14.99%||$0||Yes|
|Bendigo Bank Ready||19.99%||$0||Yes|
|CommBank Low Fee Gold||19.74%||$89||Yes|
|CommBank Ultimate Awards||20.24%||$420||Yes|
|HSBC Low Rate||12.99%||$99||Domestic only|
|Latitude 28° Global Platinum||22.99%||$0||No|
Interest rate is for purchases; many cards have higher rates for cash advances. Some cards have introductory balance transfer offers at a lower rate.
Annual fee is for one cardholder; additional fees may apply for additional cardholders. Some cards waive the annual fee in the first year, charge a monthly fee, or waive the monthly or annual fee if you spend above a certain amount and opt for online statements.
Travel insurance refers to international travel insurance (unless otherwise specified), but the level of cover varies and may not meet your requirements.
* Humm is a fintech company that also offers a buy now, pay later (BNPL) service through its app. In 2021 CHOICE gave Humm a Shonky Award.
What about NAB and ANZ?
NAB and ANZ currently don't offer any credit cards without overseas purchase and foreign exchange fees.
Credit card travel insurance: Will it meet your needs?
Credit card travel insurance is a free benefit on many credit cards, but it's important to remember that this form of travel insurance does have limitations.
For example, credit card travel insurance usually has age limits, such as an 80 years maximum, and will often exclude cover for pre-existing medical conditions. You may also need to apply for extra cover (for a fee) for activities like skiing or cruising. And be extra sure to check if it covers COVID-19-related cancellations or expenses – not all policies will.
The travel insurance that comes with credit cards may need to be activated separately by paying a minimum amount for your holiday on the card, or activating it online before you leave.
Contact your credit card provider before you leave to check your insurance is activated, and that you and your family are fully covered for your holiday.
Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.