Using your credit card overseas can cause you to rack up high foreign transaction fees. Each credit card company or issuer sets their own fees, making it easier to pull cash from an ATM and convert it to the local currency. This isn't always feasible, though, in which case you should try to get a credit card that has the lowest or no foreign transaction fees.
Capital One has been one of the credit card distributors that hasn't charged an international fee for awhile. By using one of its Venture Rewards cards, you can also have the airline miles matched if you provide a copy of your airline itinerary showing how many miles the airline ticket you purchased was for. The APR rates range from 11.9 percent at minimum to 19.9 percent maximum APR, as of 2011. It does, however, carry a $59 annual fee as a drawback.
American Express Platinum
The American Express Platinum card doesn't charge annual foreign transaction fees, but carries a $450 annual fee along with it. In exchange, the card gives you access to 105 different lounges across the world, not just in the United States. The foreign transaction fee was dropped in early 2011 to compete with other credit card carriers. For a card that has no annual fee, but less rewards, you might consider choosing the Premium Travel Rewards American Express from Pentagon Federal. Benefits of the American Express include warranty protection, flight delay protection and lost bag protection for an easier traveling experience.
Search for a credit union in your area. Most have little to no fees on transactions and accounts, and also include member benefits such as no annual fees and lower interest rates overall. The drawback is that you need to live in a certain area to become a member. Although Visa charges 1 percent on foreign transactions, many credit unions will cover the fee as a convenience.
If you're a big spender, HSBC Premier is a viable option for overseas spending without foreign transaction fees. The primary drawback is that you must have made a deposit of $100,000, as of 2011, to qualify for this option, which makes it only worthwhile for business owners or wealthy individuals.
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