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Credit cards for travelling

Fee-free credit cards for online purchases and your holiday.

travel credit card
Last updated: 17 March 2020

Need to know

  • Save money shopping online or travelling overseas with fee-free credit cards
  • Watch out for transaction and foreign exchange (currency conversion) fees on your normal credit card
  • To get cash out overseas, use debit cards and travel money cards to avoid the high cash advance fees on credit cards 

It can be very convenient to use your credit card when travelling overseas, but it can be costly. You can expect high transaction or foreign exchange fees of around 3% for credit card purchases overseas and online.

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 2–3% cash advance fee from most credit cards, and interest rates up to 24% apply immediately. For cash withdrawals when in another country, 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 which ones offer cheaper rates and deals when travelling.

The best travel credit cards

If you're planning frequent holidays these cards provide comprehensive travel insurance and no foreign exchange fees on overseas purchases.

CBA Low Fee Gold

Features:

  • No foreign exchange fees for overseas or online purchases. 
  • Comprehensive travel insurance – you need to pay for accommodation or flights with this credit card and activate it.
  • Annual fee waiver available.

Fees:

  • 19.74% interest rate.
  • $89 annual fee, $0 for additional card holders, free in first year and waived in subsequent years if you spend at least $10,000 in the previous year.
  • Higher of $3 or 3% cash advance fee. Capped at $300.

ANZ Rewards Travel Adventures

Features:

  • No foreign exchange fees for overseas or online purchases.
  • Comprehensive travel insurance – you need to have paid at least $250 of prepaid travel costs such as accommodation or flights with the credit card to be eligible.
  • Cash advance fee waiver available.

Fees:

  • $225 annual fee, $65 fee for additional card holders.
  • 20.24% interest rate.
  • Cash advance fee waived if account in credit, otherwise higher of $4 or 2% cash advance fee.

Zero annual fee travel credit cards

These credit cards have basic or no travel insurance, but no annual fees makes them a cheap option for occasional online purchases or a short stint overseas.

Bankwest Zero Platinum

  • No overseas, online purchase or foreign exchange fees.
  • Basic travel insurance. 
  • $0 annual fee ($0 additional card holders fee).
  • 17.99% interest rate.
  • Higher of $4 or 2% cash advance fee.

28 Degrees Global Platinum

  • No overseas, online purchase or foreign exchange fees.
  • No travel insurance, but some benefits in case of flight delay.
  • $0 annual fee ($0 additional card holders fee).
  • 21.99% interest rate.
  • Higher of $4 or 3% cash advance fee.

Travel credit cards compared

Credit card Interest rate (%) Annual fee ($) Travel insurance
28 Degrees Global Platinum 21.99 0
ANZ Rewards Travel Adventures 20.24 225 Yes
ANZ Rewards Travel Adventures 20.24 225 Yes
Bankwest Breeze Platinum 12.99 (A) 99 (A) Yes
Bankwest More Platinum 19.99 160 Yes
Bankwest More World 9.99 270 Yes
Bankwest Qantas Platinum 20.49 160 Yes
Bankwest Qantas World 20.49 270 Yes
Bankwest Zero Platinum 17.99 0 Yes
Coles Rewards 19.99 99
CBA Low Fee Gold 19.74 89 Yes
HSBC Low Rate 12.99 (B) 99
Macquarie Black (Qantas rewards) 20.70 149 Yes
Macquarie Platinum (Qantas rewards) 20.70 99 Yes
Macquarie RateSaver 15.95 69
Skye Mastercard 23.99 99
Westpac Lite 9.9 (C) 108

(A) 21.99% cash advance interest rate, $49 annual fee in the first year

(B) 25.99% cash advance interest rate

(C) Does not allow cash advances

Source: mozo.com.au

What about NAB?

NAB currently doesn't offer a credit card without overseas purchase and foreign exchange fees to new customers. Some NAB customers still have the NAB Visa One Fee-Free card which continues to not charge foreign exchange fees. NAB has a debit card without overseas fees, see travel debit cards.

Will credit card travel insurance meet my needs?

In a recent survey, we found that 35% of respondents had used credit card travel insurance while overseas. Despite this being a popular option, 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 need to apply for extra cover (for a fee) for activities like skiing or cruising. 

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.