No-Foreign-Transaction-Fees Travel Credit Cards of 2017

If you don't want to rack up fees for using your credit card while you're on holiday, it is important to have a card that doesn't charge for non-sterling transactions while abroad. With so many available in the market, there is a good travel card for nearly everyone, even those with a weaker credit history.

No-Foreign-Transaction-Fee Travel Credit Cards

We have analyzed a selection of credit cards for use abroad, considering fees on ATM withdrawals, fees on non-sterling transactions, interest rates on cash withdrawals (which are often higher than the purchase APR) and other perks, when available. Actual results may vary depending on how you use a card. Finding the right card for you will depend on your individual needs and spending patterns. There may be other cards on the market which offer better features that we do not mentioned here.

Overall No-Fees Travel Credit Cards, with No Annual Fee

Barclaycard Platinum Travel Credit Card

The Barclaycard Platinum Travel Credit Card is a travel card that charges no interest on foreign-currency cash withdrawals made abroad, so long as the balance is paid off in full, and on time. This detail gives you up to 56 days interest free (from the date of withdrawal until your next statement date). This grace period does not apply to sterling cash withdrawals, however. It is important to note that the Barclaycard Travel card's current "no non-sterling transaction fees on your foreign spend and ATM withdrawals abroad" promotion ends on 31 August 2018.

Summary

  • No fees on non-sterling ATM withdrawals or transactions abroad (Fees increase after 31 August 2018)
  • No interest charges on non-sterling cash withdrawals, if balance paid off in full and on time
  • 18.9% variable purchase APR
  • 27.9% variable cash withdrawal APR
  • Eligibility checker
  • No annual fee

Creation Everyday Credit Card

The Creation Everyday Credit Card is another travel card that does not charge fees on non-sterling ATM withdrawals or transactions abroad. The interest rate on cash withdrawals is lower than average, at 12.9%. The Creation Everyday card starts charging interest on cash withdrawals immediately from the date of withdrawal, so if you do withdraw cash using this card, try to pay off your balance as soon as possible to limit interest charges.

Summary

  • No fees on non-sterling ATM withdrawals or transactions abroad
  • Lower-than-average 12.9% APR (or 17.9% or 21.9%, variable) cash withdrawals
  • 12.9% purchases APR (or 17.9% or 21.9%, variable)
  • Eligibility checker
  • No annual fee

Halifax Clarity Credit Card

The Halifax Clarity Credit Card is another card to use abroad that won't charge a fee on foreign transactions, whether that's a charge at a retailer or an ATM withdrawal. While ATM withdrawals won't incur a fee, they will be charged interest. The interest rate on cash withdrawals on this card is also lower than average. Since interest charges on cash transactions start accruing immediately, it's best to pay back any ATM withdrawals as soon as possible.

Summary

  • No fees on non-sterling ATM withdrawals or transactions abroad
  • Lower-than-average 18.9% interest rate on cash withdrawals (or 21.9% or 25.9%, variable)
  • 18.9% purchase APR (or 21.9% or 25.9%, variable)
  • Eligibility checker
  • No annual fee

No-Fees Travel Credit Card with Rewards: Lloyds Bank Avios Rewards Card

The Lloyds Bank Avios Rewards Credit Card is both a travel rewards card and a no-fees-on-foreign-transactions travel card. All purchases will earn 1.25 per £1 spent, with double Avios racking up in the first six months. Users can earn a free flight upgrade voucher by spending £7,000 a year. This upgrade voucher can be worth hundreds of pounds if used well (e.g., to upgrade from Premium Economy to Business), but will be worth nothing if you don't use it. Withdrawing cash on the Lloyds Avios card incurs a 3% fee (£3 minimum).

Summary

  • No fees on non-sterling transactions abroad
  • 3% fee on cash withdrawals abroad (£3 minimum)
  • Earn Avios when you spend (1.25 Avios/£1 spent)
  • Double Avios first 6 months (up to £2,500 of eligible spend)
  • Earn free flight upgrade voucher by spending £7,000 a year
  • Lower-than-average 18.9% interest rate on cash withdrawals (or 21.9% or 25.9%, variable)
  • 18.9% purchase APR (or 21.9% or 25.9%, variable)
  • Eligibility checker
  • Annual fee of £24

No-Fees Travel Credit Card for Students: Aqua Advance Card

The Aqua Advance Credit Card doesn't charge foreign transaction fees and is also open to applications from students who are not yet employed. However, due to higher-than-average interest rates starting at 34.9% (variable), Aqua Advance cardholders should try to pay off their full balance every month, on time. Doing so, and staying within your credit limit, may result in the interest rate dropping by 5% a year over three years to a closer-to-average 19.9% (variable).

Summary

  • No fees on foreign transactions
  • 3% fee on cash withdrawals
  • Higher-than-average initial interest rates (which can drop every year with good behaviour)
  • Purchase APR of 34.9% (or 44.9% or 49.9% or 54.9% or 59.9%, variable)
  • Cash APR of 44.95% (or 54.95%, 59.95%, 64.95% or 69.95%, variable)
  • No annual fee

No-Fees Travel Credit Card for Seniors: Saga Over 50s Platinum

The Saga Platinum Credit Card provides travel features to people over 50 years of age: no fees on foreign transactions and discounts on Saga holiday bookings. Saga offers an interest-free period on cash withdrawals, provided your balance is paid off in full and on time. All cash withdrawals are subject to a 2% fee (£2 minimum). If you do need to withdraw cash using the Saga card while abroad, minimize the impact of the minimum charge by taking out at least £100 worth of foreign currency at a time.

Summary

  • No fee on non-sterling transactions made abroad
  • 2% Fee on cash withdrawals (£2 minimum)
  • Discounts on Saga Holidays
  • 11.3% purchases APR (variable)
  • 19.6% cash APR (variable)
  • No annual fee

No-Fees Travel Credit Card for Poor Credit: Aqua Rewards

The Aqua Rewards Credit Card offers 0.5% cashback rewards on qualifying purchases and charges no fee on non-sterling foreign transactions. As it's marketed at individuals looking to improve their credit rating, the interest rates are higher than average. While the card doesn't charge a fee for purchases made abroad, cash withdrawals are treated differently. Cash withdrawals incur a 3% fee (£3 minimum) and higher-than-average interest rates, which start accruing immediately. As a result, a cash withdrawal may leave you with unwelcome charges on your statement when you return from holiday.

Summary

  • 3% cash withdrawal fee (£3 minimum)
  • No fee on non-sterling transactions
  • 0.5% cashback rewards rate
  • Higher-than-average purchase APR of 34.95% (or 44.93%, 49.91%, 54.95% or 59.95%, variable)
  • Higher-than-average cash APR of 44.95% (or 54.95%, 59.95%, 64.95% or 69.95%, variable)
  • May accept those with Poor Credit Ratings
  • No annual fee

Summary of 2017's No-Fees Travel Credit Cards

Below is a summary of some of the UK's travel cards across different categories. This list is by no means exhaustive. There may be a card with better features that we do not mention below.

For...CardQuick Overview
OverallBarclaycard Platinum TravelNo fees on non-sterling transactions or ATM withdrawals; Up to 56 days of no interest on non-sterling cash withdrawals
OverallCreation EverydayNo fees on non-sterling transactions or ATM withdrawals; Lower-than-average 12.9% interest on foreign cash withdrawals
OverallHalifax ClarityNo fees on non-sterling transactions or ATM withdrawals; 18.9% interest on foreign cash withdrawals
RewardsLloyds Bank Avios RewardsNo fees on non-sterling transactions; 3% fee on cash withdrawals (£3 minimum); Earn Avios and flight upgrade voucher
StudentAqua AdvanceNo fees on non-sterling transactions; 3% fee on ATM withdrawals (£3 minimum); Higher-than-average 34.9% (variable) purchase APR
SeniorsSaga Over 50s PlatinumNo fees on non-sterling transactions. 2% fee on ATM withdrawals (£2 minimum)
Poor CreditAqua Rewards Credit CardNo fees on non-sterling transactions. 3% fee on ATM withdrawals (£3 minimum); Higher-than-average 34.9% (variable) purchase APR

How the No-Fees Travel Credit Cards Compare

To compare the travel cards mentioned above, we calculated the cost of withdrawing £500 worth of cash in a foreign currency at an ATM abroad. In doing so, a card may incur a withdrawal fee and also interest charges. The chart below shows the estimated charges you'd incur on these cards, assuming the balance is paid back in 30 days and before the next statement due date.

A graph comparing the costs, including non-sterling transaction fees and interest charges, of £500 worth of Foreign Currency Withdrawals across 9 of the Best Travel Cards
The Cost of £500 worth of Foreign Currency Withdrawals across 9 Travel Cards

The following chart shows whether a card is "no fee" on purchases and cash withdrawals. All of the cards discussed in this article are "no fee" for purchases made abroad, but only some are "no fee" on cash withdrawals.

No Fee on Purchases?No Fee on ATM Withdrawals?
Creation Everyday
Halifax Clarity
Barclaycard Platinum Travel
Santander Zero
Lloyds Bank Avios Rewards
Saga Over 50s Platinum
Santander All In One
Aqua Rewards
Aqua Advance

How to Choose a No-Fees Travel Credit Card for You

Choosing the best travel credit card for you will depend on your individual situation and spending habits. All of the travel cards listed on this page are "no fee" for non-sterling transactions abroad, whether you are paying for a candle-lit dinner for two in Florence or buying a new swimsuit in the Canary Islands. One area in which the travel cards tend to differ is in their treatment of cash withdrawals. Be on the lookout for two types of charges relating to taking local cash out of an ATM:

  • The fee charged for withdrawing cash – this usually ranges from "no fee" to a 3% fee (£3 minimum)
  • The interest charged on cash withdrawals – be aware of the interest rate and also if there is a grace period (i.e., when you pay your balance off in full and on time, no interest is charged on cash withdrawals)

When deciding which card to choose, think about whether or not you can pay off your full balance on time every month, as some cards offer grace periods on cash advances. If you may not be able to fully pay off your balance by the time it's due, then be extra aware of the APR. This is particularly true for cash advances, since they generally start charging interest immediately from transaction date. Remember, at least 51% of successful applicants will receive a rate of the stated APR or less; the rest of successful applicants will receive a higher rate.