Best credit card deals Best credit cards to use abroad

You could save a lot of money if you use a credit card with 0% fees for overseas spending

If you regularly travel overseas you may want to get a dedicated credit card to use on your trips.

By doing this, you'll be able to avoid hefty foreign spending fees that many providers charge.

Which? Money compare: Compare the rates on credit cards to use abroad, and see how well providers score for customer service.

Costs to use your credit card abroad

There are a number of fees and charges your card provider may charge you if you use your credit card overseas

'Foreign-loading fee' or ‘Foreign-exchange commission’ 

This is a fee that your provider will charge you every time you make a transaction, and it will be a percentage of the amount spent. You can typically expect to pay up to 2.99% each time you use the card.

Interest 

If you use your credit card to make ATM withdrawals, your provider will typically start charging you interest immediately. You will still have to pay this, even if you pay off your credit card in full before the end of the month.

Cash-withdrawal fee

You can expect to pay a fee of around 3% (or minimum £3) when you take money out of an ATM, in addition to the foreign-loading fees and interest charges. 

Check with your card provider to find out what charges you will have to pay overseas. 

Best credit cards to use overseas

There are some credit cards which have 0% fees for spending and ATM withdrawals overseas.

In April 2016, our research found that the Halifax Clarity Credit Card, MBNA Everyday Plus American Express and Metro Bank Credit Cards were some of the cheapest for overseas spending. 

With all of these cards there are 0% fees for overseas spending and ATM withdrawals within Europe. With a Metro Bank Credit Card there are fees and charges for transactions made outside of Europe. 

Even with cards that don't charge you for ATM withdrawals, you may still want to avoid taking cash out. This is because many of them will still begin to charge you interest as soon as you make the cash withdrawal. 

If you are organised, and pay off your credit card really quickly, you can avoid incurring hefty interest charges. But this may be a hassle you'd rather avoid.

Pros and cons of using a credit card overseas 

Pros: 

  • Credit cards are ideal for paying for things where money will be 'ring-fenced' on your account as a deposit, such as with hotel bookings or car hire
  • Purchases of more than £100 and up to £30,000 are covered under section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act - this means that if something you pay for on your credit card is substandard you can reclaim the money from your credit card provider.
  • If you are a victim of fraud, under the Consumer Credit Act your provider should refund you the money from the fraudulent transactions, provided you haven't been negligent. 

Cons: 

  • Remember to tell your provider your travel plans or your card may be blocked, leaving you unable to pay for things
  • There is a small risk of harming your credit rating if you use your credit card for ATM withdrawals.

Consumer Rights: Your rights under section 75 of the consumer credit act

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Last updated:

June 2016

Updated by:

Marie Kemplay

Which? Limited (registered in England and Wales number 00677665) is an Introducer Appointed Representative of Which? Financial Services Limited (registered in England and Wales number 07239342). Which? Financial Services Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN 527029). Which? Mortgage Advisers and Which? Money Compare are trading names of Which? Financial Services Limited. Registered office: 2 Marylebone Road, London NW1 4DF.