Hotel Cards with No Foreign Transaction Fee
If a significant source of your credit card bonus points come from a hotel stay or travel-related purchases that are generated abroad, then choosing a hotel credit card with no foreign transaction fees is a necessity. Credit cards with this feature allow international travelers to work – or play – and swipe outside of the United States without penalty.
What are Foreign Transaction Fees?
Foreign transaction fees are charges from card issuers for transactions at non-U.S retailers. However, these fees can be incurred for more than physically paying with your credit card when you’re overseas, they can include online purchases to foreign companies, ATMs, or currency conversion fees.
Currency conversion fees occur when the payment networks (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, etc.) charge the card issuer (Capital One, Chase, Wells Fargo, etc.) a processing fee. Typically, 1% of each U.S. dollar spent. While currency conversion fees are not the same as foreign transaction fees, they are often included together on a credit card statement.
Which Credit Cards Are Accepted Internationally?
Whether a credit card can be used in another country (or not) is largely up to the payment network, also known as the processing network, rather than the card issuer. Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover have varying levels of international acceptance largely due to the partnerships they have (or lack) with foreign banks.
Visa and Mastercard have the most international merchant partnerships, and their credit cards are the most widely accepted abroad. As such, it’s widely recommended that travelers carry at least two types of credit cards in their wallet in case one network isn’t accepted by a vendor.
Tips for Using Your Credit Card Internationally
- Be careful of foreign ATMs as they sometimes carry an international surcharge in addition to the ATM fee
- Notify your card issuer before your departure, the unfamiliar location could be flagged as suspicious activity and potentially cause your card to be canceled – leaving you financially stranded in a foreign country
- Check whether your card allows you to earn rewards for international purchases
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