What is the Best Credit Card* to use Overseas?

Save money and remove the hassle of organising the important parts of your next trip with travel credit cards. Avoid charge fees on currency conversion and overseas ATM withdrawals when travelling and receive complimentary travel insurance.

Many Australians travel overseas, for business as well as pleasure, and it is quite common for them to use their credit cards outside Australia. If you, like many others, are looking for the ideal credit card to use overseas, compare your options and decide which credit card features are most ideal to your travelling needs. Travel credit cards can provide complimentary travel insurance, no foreign currency conversion fees and no ATM withdrawal fees.

Refer to our guide below for the factors you’ll need to consider when selecting the right credit card for you.

Bankwest Zero Platinum MasterCard

Bankwest Credit Card with no foreign transaction fees

With the Bankwest Zero Platinum, you pay no annual fee ever and also save on foreign transaction fees on purchases.

  • $0 p.a. annual fee
  • 17.99% p.a. on purchases
  • 2.99% p.a. for 9 months on balance transfers
  • Cash Advance Rate of 21.99% p.a.
  • Up to 55 days interest free

Comparison of $0 Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Cards

Rates last updated September 1st, 2016
Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate (p.a.) Annual fee
Bankwest Zero Platinum MasterCard
An introductory offer on balance transfers with $0 annual fee. Complimentary travel insurance & 24/7 Concierge service and $0 foreign transaction fees.
17.99% p.a. 2.99% p.a. for 9 months $0 p.a. Go to site More info
28 Degrees Platinum MasterCard
Benefit from no international transaction fees on purchases, no currency conversion fees and no annual fee. Also enjoy a limited time offer of two waived cash advance fees.
21.99% p.a. $0 p.a. Go to site More info

Credit Cards with Complimentary Overseas Travel Insurance

Rates last updated September 1st, 2016
Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate (p.a.) Annual fee
HSBC Platinum Credit Card
Receive a full annual fee refund and save $149 if you meet the $6,000 spend requirement. Enjoy a balance transfer offer and platinum card benefits such as complimentary insurances and concierge services.
19.99% p.a. 0% p.a. for 15 months $149 p.a. Go to site More info
HSBC Platinum Qantas Credit Card
Receive 60,000 bonus Qantas Points on eligible spend within 3 months. Enjoy access to premium benefits and complimentary insurance.
19.99% p.a. $199 p.a. Go to site More info
Citi Qantas Signature Credit Card
Earn up to 70,000 bonus Qantas Points when you meet the spend requirement plus stay secured with a complimentary international travel insurance.
20.99% p.a. 0% p.a. for 6 months $99 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($395 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
ANZ Platinum Credit Card - Exclusive Offer
Receive $200 back when you spend $500 in the first 3 months. Also enjoy a $0 annual fee for the first year.
19.74% p.a. $0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($87 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
American Express Platinum Edge Credit Card
Receive 10,000 Membership Rewards Bonus Points when you meet the minimum spend requirement. Enjoy 0% p.a. for 12 months on balance transfers and receive a complimentary Virgin Australia domestic economy return flight every year.
20.74% p.a. 0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee $195 p.a. Go to site More info
St.George Vertigo Platinum
A platinum card with a balance transfer offer of 0% p.a. for 20 months and an introductory purchase offer of 1% p.a. for 12 months with an annual fee waiver for the first year.
1% p.a. for 12 months (reverts to 12.74% p.a.) 0% p.a. for 20 months $99 p.a. Go to site More info
Citi Rewards Credit Card - Platinum Card
Enjoy a reduced annual fee on the first year, 0% p.a. for 24 months balance transfer offer, Citi Reward Points on eligible spend, plus a complimentary travel insurance.
20.99% p.a. 0% p.a. for 24 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee $199 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($249 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
ANZ Rewards Travel Adventures card
Pay no overseas transaction fee on purchases and receive complimentary domestic return flight and lounge passes each year you hold the card when you spend $500 on eligible purchases within the first three months.
20.24% p.a. $225 p.a. Go to site More info
David Jones American Express Platinum Card - Qantas Rewards
Receive complimentary travel insurance when you use this card to book tickets for flights and earn 30,000 Qantas Points when you spend outside of store 3 times in the first month.
20.74% p.a. $295 p.a. Go to site More info
ANZ Frequent Flyer Black
Receive 75,000 bonus Qantas Points after your first eligible purchase is made within three months of card approval. Special privileges include complimentary travel insurance and concierge services.
19.99% p.a. $425 p.a. Go to site More info
Virgin Australia Velocity High Flyer Card - 30k Bonus Points offer
Receive 30,000 bonus Velocity Points and earn 1 Velocity Points per $1 spent. Receive an exclusive $129 Virgin Australia Gift Voucher and two complimentary Single Entry Virgin Australia domestic Lounge passes each year.
20.74% p.a. 0% p.a. for 6 months $144 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($289 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
American Express Qantas Premium Card
Earn as much as 30,000 bonus Qantas Points when you meet the minimum spend requirement. Enjoy frequent flyer benefits including uncapped Qantas Points per $1 spent, complimentary travel insurance and Qantas Club lounge invitations.
20.74% p.a. 0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee $249 p.a. Go to site More info
ANZ Low Rate Platinum Credit Card
A low interest rate on purchase with up to 55 days interest free. Cardholders are also covered for emergency medical and dental care while traveling overseas, and travel cancellations or lost luggage while travelling inside of Australia.
13.49% p.a. 0% p.a. for 18 months with 3% balance transfer fee $99 p.a. Go to site More info
American Express Platinum Card
Receive 80,000 Membership Rewards Bonus Points when you meet the minimum spend requirement and earn up to 3 points per dollar spent. Gain access to travel insurance, $300 Platinum Travel Credit every year and access to 800 VIP airport lounges.
$1,200 p.a. Go to site More info
NAB Velocity Rewards Premium Card
0% p.a. on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months and 20,000 bonus Velocity Points when you meet the spend criteria in the first 90 days of opening your account. You gain both Visa and American Express cards which are linked to one single account and annual fee.
0% p.a. for 15 months (reverts to 19.99% p.a.) 0% p.a. for 15 months with a one off 2% balance transfer fee $150 p.a. Go to site More info
Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Platinum
A platinum card with a low balance transfer offer of 0% p.a. interest for 20 months and 1% p.a. for 12 months on purchases combined with complimentary insurance covers.
1% p.a. for 12 months (reverts to 12.74% p.a.) 0% p.a. for 20 months $99 p.a. Go to site More info
BankSA Vertigo Platinum
Enjoy 0% balance transfer rate for 20 months and 1% purchase rate for 12 months if you apply and are approved by 29 September 2016.
1% p.a. for 12 months (reverts to 12.74% p.a.) 0% p.a. for 20 months $99 p.a. Go to site More info
American Express Velocity Platinum Card
Enjoy up to 50,000 bonus Velocity Points when you meet the minimum required spend and earn up to 3 rewards points per dollar spent. Also receive a complimentary return flight every year.
20.74% p.a. 0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee $349 p.a. Go to site More info
ANZ Rewards Black Credit Card
Earn 75,000 Reward Points after your first eligible purchase within the first three months. Up to 3 reward points per dollar spent and unlimited access to airport lounges with complimentary travel insurance.
18.79% p.a. $375 p.a. Go to site More info
Citi Rewards Platinum Card - Cashback Offer
Earn $250 cashback on eligible spend, plus enjoy 0% p.a. balance transfer offer for 12 months, discounted annual fees for the life of the card and a complimentary travel insurance.
20.99% p.a. 0% p.a. for 12 months $99 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($199 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
American Express Explorer Credit Card
Receive 100,000 Membership Rewards Bonus Points on eligible spend within the first 2 months of Card Membership. Also enjoy a $400 travel voucher and two complimentary airline passes per year.
20.74% p.a. 0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee $395 p.a. Go to site More info
ANZ Platinum Credit Card
Enjoy 0% p.a. for 18 months on balance transfers. Plus $0 annual fee in the first year.
19.74% p.a. 0% p.a. for 18 months with 3% balance transfer fee $0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($87 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
creditcard-inserted-in-passport

International acceptance

How to compare the credit cards for overseas travel

There’s no clear-cut answer as to what the right overseas credit card is – but you can find out by following a short checklist of the most common features and fees to find one that’ll suit you.

In your hunt for a credit card to use overseas, one of the first features to consider is international acceptance. Credit cards with affiliation to Visa or MasterCard find acceptance in most countries around the world, at ATMs and EFTPOS terminals alike. Acceptance of Diners Club and American Express cards is not as widespread, and their use could attract higher fees.


If you’re getting a reloadable prepaid credit card ensure this has an embossed name and card number on the front, as many merchants overseas will need to verify your identity, and won’t accept these types of cards if you don’t have proof of identity, such as photo ID.

Fees

The fees you have to pay when you use your credit card overseas can have a significant effect on how much you end up repaying on your credit card account, so make sure you pay due attention to this. Here are some of the fees you can expect when using your credit card outside Australia:

  • Foreign transaction fees. When you make an international purchase using your card, the money goes through currency changes. Your credit card, for example, converts Australian dollars to US dollars first, and then proceeds to convert the US dollars to the required currency. Credit card providers require that you pay a fee for this process, and this foreign transaction fee can vary in between two to three percent of the transaction amount. Certain credit card providers don’t charge this fee for transactions made in Australian dollars. This is usually in the range of 2 – 3% of the value of each transaction, but each card provider will set their own fee amount.
  • ATM withdrawal fees. In most cases, using a credit card to withdraw cash from an ATM within Australia requires that you pay some kind of fee, and this is no different when you use your credit card overseas. Credit card providers can charge this fee as a percentage of the withdrawal amount or a fixed amount, and since this fee can vary from provider to provider, it definitely requires your attention.
  • ATM owner fees. Your credit card provider does not set this fee, so just how much you’ll end up paying depends on the ATM you use. Many Australian credit card providers have partner ATMs overseas, which you can use without paying this particular fee, so it makes sense to find out about any given card provider’s partner ATM networks in countries you frequent most.

 

Look below to see how these fees can add up over the course of a few days shopping overseas. Over the course of a few short days this person racked up almost $35 in international transaction and ATM withdrawal fees.


Overseas charges

Screen capture from Netbank after a recent trip to Hong Kong

Remember to factor in your annual fee into this. A card which will save you a couple of hundred dollars overseas might not be such great value if the annual fee is many times more than this.

Complimentary insurance

Some credit cards come with complimentary insurance covers, which include purchase covers as well as travel insurances. Complimentary insurances like purchase cover insurance and extended warranty insurance provide cover for purchases you make overseas. Transit accident insurance and international travel insurance can help you deal with different kinds of travel related eventualities if you use such cards to book travel tickets. These insurance options usually come with eligibility requirements and terms and conditions, so make sure to consider these before applying.

If a credit card comes with travel insurances it also may have a range of other policies. The benefits of a platinum credit card can also include cover incase you break or lose an item, extended guarantees and more.

Rates

If you plan to keep balances rolling in your account from one month to the next, you may wish to consider a no-frills card. This is because cards that offer extras like complimentary insurances and reward points tend to charge higher interest rates to make up for their offerings, and if you don’t pay your balance off in full with such a card, you could end up paying a tidy sum as interest. You should pay particular attention to both purchases and cash advances. Little known transactions include using your credit card to buy foreign currency, at home or overseas, or gambling using your credit card. If you’re going to use your card when you get back home this is even more important. Make sure you know what is and isn’t counted as a cash advance.

Rewards program

A credit card that comes linked to a rewards program enables you to earn points as per your spending and, depending on the card you use, you get different ways to redeem your accumulated points. While some offer cash rewards, others enable you to redeem your points for flight tickets, travel vouchers, and store vouchers. Some come linked to frequent flyer programs, and some others give you the ability to transfer your reward points to your frequent flyer program account. If you’re considering getting a rewards credit card, find out if it offers reward points on overseas purchases.

What are your priorities?

Given the varied features you can find in credit cards that you can use overseas, picking the right one boils down to personal presences, so it’s important that you get your priorities right at the very onset. For instance, if you’re planning to keep balances in your account rolling over from one billing cycle to the next, getting a low rate credit card might be in your interest. On the other hand, if you’re confident of paying your balances in full every month, you can make use of the many benefits offered by a typical premium or platinum card.

Try to establish your spending pattern in advance, and if you see yourself using ATMs to withdraw money when travelling overseas, your priority should be to look for a card that charges low international ATM fees. If you plan to use the card primarily to pay for purchases, you would be better off in looking for a card that attracts low or no foreign transaction fees.

youngwoman-shopping-with-creditcard

What should I be aware of when using a credit card overseas?

  • Adding funds to your credit card. There are certain people who add funds to their credit cards accounts before they leave for overseas, and they then make use of these funds through their card in the form of a debit card. By doing this, you can avoid paying interest. What you should know is that card providers don’t take any responsibility for funds you add to your credit card account, so if you end up losing your card, and if someone accesses the money in your account, you might lose out on valuable funds.
  • Consider other options. Using your credit card is not the only way you can spend money overseas. You can turn to traveller’s cheques and travel money cards, and you can even look forward to using a MasterCard or Visa debit card.
  • Excessive debt. When overseas, you might be tempted to buy one or more things that you can’t really afford, and since a credit card gives you instant access to money, you could let temptation get the better off you. Remember at all times that you’d have to repay all the money you spend using your credit card, and avoid getting into a situation that is difficult to handle.

What are the pros and cons of using a credit card overseas?

Pros

  • Use anywhere, anytime. If you have a commonly accepted MasterCard or Visa credit card you can use it at millions of merchants around the world, including for purchases online and over the phone.
  • Cash advances. If you, for any reason, find yourself in urgent need of money when travelling overseas, you can take heart in knowing that access to your funds is possibly only as far as the next ATM.
  • Travel rewards. Frequent flyers can benefit by getting credit cards linked to frequent flyer programs, given that their spending would translate into miles. Certain cards offer travel rewards in the form of holidays and hotel vouchers.

Cons

  • Fees. The fees you end up paying for foreign transactions and using ATMs when overseas can add up over time, and this is noticeable drawback when it comes to using credit cards overseas.
  • Limitations. Some cards come with limitations, including eligibility requirements, restrictions on how and where you can use the card plus, if it comes with a rewards program, constraints on your point earning opportunities.

As you’ve probably gathered by now, the ideal credit card you can use overseas is one that suits your requirements, and given the large number of options on offer, it’s ideal that you take some time to compare a few.

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Frequently asked questions

How much would I have to pay as account keeping fees?

If you’re looking for a card that does not charge any ongoing account keeping fees, you get to choose from several basic no-frills cards. Cards with features like access to concierge services, complimentary insurances covers, and linked reward programs tend to charge noticeably higher fees.

Do such credit cards offer interest free days?

Most such credit cards give cardholders the ability to make use of different number of interest free days on purchases, which typically vary in between 44 and 55 days (though they can be more or less). To make use of these interest free days, you have to pay your account’s outstanding balance in full each month.

Do any such cards come with interest rate offers?

Yes. Some such cards come with introductory interest rate offers, which can apply on balance transfer and purchases. These cards charge low or no interest on balance transfers and/or purchases, and these offers can stay in place for six to 12 months.

Is there any way to find out in which countries I can use a given card?

One easy way to find out if the card you wish to apply for finds acceptance in the country you wish to travel to is to visit the website of the payment system that supports the card, which can be Visa or MasterCard.

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12 Responses to What is the Best Credit Card* to use Overseas?

  1. Default Gravatar
    Bebe | July 3, 2015

    If I have a 28 degrees Mastercard, does it mean when I withdraw cash from an overseas ATM that there will not be a withdrawal fee?
    Thanks for your help in clarifying my query.

    • Staff
      Jonathan | July 6, 2015

      Hi Bebe, thanks for your inquiry!

      The 28 Degrees MasterCard provides no international transaction fees on purchases, which only covers currency conversion rate charges. Overseas ATM withdrawals may still incur a charge, depending on the local ATM’s withdrawal policies and fees.

      Cheers,

      Jonathan

  2. Default Gravatar
    Tony | December 29, 2014

    Hi,

    Is there any card that offers zero foreign transaction fee, and currency conversion fees? If not what card offers the lowest fees.

    Regards
    Tony

    • Staff
      Elizabeth | December 29, 2014

      Hi Tony,

      Thanks for your question.

      You can compare a range of cards that charge no foreign currency conversion fees or transaction fees on this page.

      I hope this will help.

      Thanks,

      Elizabeth

  3. Default Gravatar
    n | November 28, 2014

    Hi,
    Can I obtain cash out at the point of purchase in the USA like we can here in Oz?

    • Staff
      Elizabeth | November 28, 2014

      Hi N,

      Thanks for your question.

      This is possible, but it’s up to the discretion of the retailer.

      I hope this has helped.

      Thanks,

      Elizabeth

  4. Default Gravatar
    Paul | December 4, 2013

    I have been told that to avoid bank currency exchange rates that if you load your credit card up with extra money that there is no foreign exchange rate charge – is this true ?
    I have the NAB premium card.

    • Default Gravatar
      Emma | September 1, 2014

      Hello,

      I would like to avoid taking a credit card and have the Qantas traveller card but am a little confused with conversion – I am going to Brazil and the card does not hold the Brazilian Real, but if I load it up with Australian or American money, can I still use it at an ATM in Brazil ie: will the machine convert my money and give out Brazilian Real? Thank-you.

    • Staff
      Shirley | September 1, 2014

      Hi Emma,

      Thanks for your question.

      Yes you can still use an ATM in Brazil, just make sure it displays the same symbol on your card (Mastercard/Visa/Amex etc). Usually the ATM gives out the local currency as well.

      Please note a currency conversion fee could apply, because you don’t have the preloaded currency read in your card.

      Cheers,
      Shirley

    • Staff
      Jacob | December 4, 2013

      Hi Paul.

      This is not correct. You will be charged a currency conversion fee regardless of whether your account is in a positive balance. You can compare travel money options on this page. These cards do not charge a currency conversion fee when you carry out a transaction in a currency other than Australian dollars.

      Thanks for your question.

  5. Default Gravatar
    renotta | April 26, 2013

    i want know how can i get cash from my international credit card.

    • Staff
      Jacob | April 26, 2013

      Hi Renotta. Thanks for your question. There are a couple of ways you can access cash from a credit card when you use it overseas – either you can withdraw it from an ATM, or you can use your card to make a purchase over the counter. Fees and charges will vary depending on how you use you card. If you’re using your card to withdraw from an overseas ATM, you will incur: cash advance interest rate, cash advance fee, international ATM fee, local ATM fee and cross currency conversion fee – these charges vary depending on the card and the ATM you use. Making a purchase over the counter is cheaper overseas and you just get charged the cross currency conversion fee and the purchase rate of interest – excluding any interest free days. There are cards that do not charge some of the fees listed above, you can check the fees in ‘fees table’ at the bottom of each card’s review and application page, and you can compare travel money options here. Let me know if you have any questions about travel money. Bon Voyage! Jacob.

Credit Cards Comparison

Rates last updated September 1st, 2016
Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate (p.a.) Annual fee
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Balance Transfer Offer
Enjoy a 0% p.a. balance transfer offer for 18 months and also earn 2 bonus Velocity Points in the first 3 months on everyday spend.
20.74% p.a. 0% p.a. for 18 months $64 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
ME Bank frank Credit Card
Enjoy a low and consistent interest rate on purchases and cash advances, combined with no annual fee.
9.99% p.a. $0 p.a. Go to site More info
Citi Qantas Signature Credit Card
Earn up to 70,000 bonus Qantas Points on eligible spend, plus enjoy a 0% p.a. for 6 months offer on balance transfers.
20.99% p.a. 0% p.a. for 6 months $99 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($395 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
American Express Essential Credit Card
Receive a $50 credit on eligible spend and get Smartphone screen insurance combined with a no annual fee for life card. Also enjoy a 0% p.a. balance transfer rate for 12 months.
14.99% p.a. 0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee $0 p.a. Go to site More info

* The credit card offers compared on this page are chosen from a range of credit cards CreditCardFinder.com.au has access to track details from and is not representative of all the products available in the market. Products are displayed in no particular order or ranking. The use of terms 'Best' and 'Top' are not product ratings and are subject to our disclaimer. You should consider seeking independent financial advice and consider your own personal financial circumstances when comparing cards.

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