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Travel credit cards

FIND CARDS THAT DON’T CHARGE FEES FOR SPENDING ABROAD

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MoneySuperMarket is a credit broker not a lender. You must be 18 or over and a UK resident.

Why compare travel credit cards with MoneySuperMarket?

Comparing travel credit cards couldn’t be easier with MoneySuperMarket. Our eligibility checker will show you the cards you are most likely to be approved for – so you can protect your credit score

  • Compare from leading providers

    We’ll show you the cards most suitable to your needs and compare features such as interest rates, fees and rewards offered.

  • See which cards you’re eligible for

    We’ll show you your chances of being approved for each deal along with any cards you’re pre-approved for.

  • Searching doesn’t harm your credit score

    When you compare with MoneySuperMarket we’ll do a ‘soft search’ on your finances so no mark will be left on your credit file.

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What is a travel credit card?

A travel credit card is a credit card that’s designed to be used abroad. These types of cards typically won’t charge you for spending overseas. Many people opt for travel credit cards to use abroad because unlike standard credit cards, they won’t charge high-interest rates and extra fees when used overseas.

Handing over a credit card

How does a travel credit card work?

  • Select your deal

    Choose a credit card that offers the features you want, such as no fees or rewards points on your spending

  • Start spending abroad

    You’ll have an agreed credit limit, such as £1,000, for example. Stick within your limit – whether spending overseas or at home

  • Pay off the balance each month

    Clear the balance in full each month or you’ll be charged interest. A ‘minimum monthly repayment’ is required to avoid charges 

What are the features of a travel credit card?

A travel credit card is designed for spending overseas and has the following features:

  • No spending fees

    Most credit cards apply a flat fee of around 3% every time you use them abroad. Travel cards won’t charge or will have a low fee, instantly saving you a hefty sum

  • Better exchange rates

    Exchange rates are one of the hidden dangers of spending on plastic when you’re abroad. Travel cards usually aim to have better rates

  • Cheaper cash withdrawals

    If you use an ATM abroad, you’ll usually be charged a fee and interest from the moment the money’s withdrawn. Travel cards may waive this fee

  • Travel rewards

    Some travel credit cards offer benefits to customers who travel frequently. These include discounts on travel insurance or reward points for flights

Know where you stand with a pre-approved travel credit card

You could be pre-approved for a travel credit card if you meet all the lender’s criteria. This means you don’t need to worry about whether you’ll be accepted when you make your application. Plus, the deal you see is always the deal you’ll get, so you’ll know exactly where you stand.

  • Apply with confidence

    If you’re pre-approved, the interest rate, 0% period and fee (if any) are all confirmed – the only thing not guaranteed is your credit limit

  • Personalised results

    You’ll be pre-approved for a card based on your credit score and finances, so all the results you see are tailored to you

  • You’re in safe hands

    With a pre-approved card, you don’t need to worry about being turned down and there’s no risk to your credit score

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

Using a travel credit card comes with benefits and downsides, such as:

  • Tick

    Advantages

    Saves you money: Because a travel credit card is made to be used abroad, it’ll usually be cheaper than a standard credit card.

    Financial protection:  A travel credit card can give you financial protection if something goes wrong. Credit card purchases between £100 and £30,000 are protected under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.

    Perks: Depending on the type of card you have, you could benefit from perks such as rewards and cashback. Some travel credit cards will give you cashback on your spending abroad.

  • Cross

    Disadvantages

    Fees: You might have to pay an annual fee for your travel credit card.

    High-interest rates: If you don’t pay off your balance on time you can face high-interest rates.

    Transaction fees: Shops and restaurants could charge you a transaction fee for not using local currency

How to choose the best travel credit card

Which travel credit card might be the ‘best’ for you will depend on how you plan to use it. Consider the following:

  • 1

    Decide what you need the card for

    Think about how you plan on using your travel credit card.

    Plan on withdrawing money? Look for cards with no fees or interest on cash machine withdrawals.

    Want to use the card for frequent spending? Look for a card that might pay rewards.

    Think you’ll make big purchases abroad? Seek out cards with no fees on spending.

  • 2

    Look for additional rewards

    Apart from rewards for spending, travel credit cards can also provide perks such as free travel insurance and discounts for streaming services.These benefits are usually available for a set period of time after signing up with your credit card provider.

  • 3

    Seek out low APRs

    The interest rates charged on different travel credit cards will vary. If you’re not confident you’ll be able to clear your card balance in full each month, look for a card with a lower interest rate or APR so you’ll pay less interest on what you borrow.

Can I get a travel credit card with no foreign transaction fees?

Yes, you can get a travel credit that will not charge you foreign transaction fees. These fees are usually a 2-3% charge placed on your card when used abroad.

If you get a card that has no foreign transaction fees, it could seriously save you money abroad. And better still, you won’t have to worry about being charged every time you use your card overseas.

Cards without foreign transaction fees work by converting your payments to the local currency.

But it’s worth bearing in mind that cards with no foreign transaction fees may not have the best exchange rates as your money is being exchanged by a third party.

Calculator and pen

How to compare travel credit cards

Comparing travel credit cards couldn’t be easier with MoneySuperMarket. Our eligibility checker will show you the cards you are most likely to be approved for – so you can protect your credit score

  • Tell us about yourself

    We’ll ask you a few simple questions about you and your financial circumstances and what you need from a travel credit card

  • We browse the market

    We’ll sift through travel credit cards from across the market to show you the offers we think will suit you best

  • Pick the card you want

    You’ll be shown a range of credit cards which you’ll be able to sort according to APR, features and your chances of being approved 

You can, both when you’re at home and abroad. You can buy foreign currency from a bureau de change before you leave with a regular credit card at no charge.

You can do the same overseas, but you’ll be charged transaction fees on a non-travel card. And even if you use a travel card to avoid the fees, the chances are that the local exchange rates will be a little less favourable.

Many credit cards come with perks, and travel insurance is one of the more popular offers. Check the small print from your card issuer to see if you have a travel insurance package with your current card.

Travel credit cards are among the cheapest ways to spend money abroad, but it’s not obligatory to bring one. Travel money is another fine option, as are prepaid cards and even travellers’ cheques, though these are declining in use.

You don’t need to let your card supplier know when you’re travelling, but it’s not a bad idea if you’re planning to bring it. A sudden spike in spending in another country may set off automatic alarm bells on your account – and it’ll be helpful should the worst happen and your card is stolen.

Some travel credit cards offer rewards like cashback or vouchers worth a percentage of what you spend.

There are also airline credit cards available. These are designed for domestic spending, but they offer a specific reward: frequent flier miles that can specifically be redeemed on air travel. If you travel often, this type of card can be useful as your main credit card when you’re at home.

You can make a complaint about your travel credit card to your provider directly.  You should be able to do this by calling them, emailing them or even visiting a local branch if they have one.

It can be more costly to use your normal credit card on holiday than a travel credit card. This is because your normal credit card was made to be used in the United Kingdom. So, using the card you use at home abroad will likely come with a range of charges such as foreign transaction fees.

If you pay with your specialist travel credit card in the local currency and your network provider is Visa or Mastercard, you’ll probably get the best possible exchange rate available.

Debit cards: A debit card allows you to spend the money in your current account.

Prepaid cards: These cards are topped up with travel money in your chosen currency. They can be used like debit cards.

Cash: You can get travel money in the local currency of your destination. You can compare competitive exchange rates with MoneySuperMarket.

You can get a travel debit card, however they tend to come with more fees and don’t offer the best exchange rates. However, some digital banks, allow you to make purchases abroad without any extra charges.

If you’re applying for a credit card, you might be able to find a better deal if you look through offers from different providers before taking one out. With MoneySuperMarket you’ll be able to search through multiple credit cards and compare them by a range of factors, including their interest rates and any benefits and rewards they come with.

All you need to do is answer a few questions about yourself and your financial situation, and our Eligibility Checker will show your chances of being accepted for different credit cards. This won’t affect your credit score, so you can run a check without any worries.

Once you know which card you want, you can normally apply by phone, online, or in person if the provider has a high street branch. However, when you do apply, the provider will usually run a hard credit check – which will show up on your credit report – to confirm whether they’ll give you the card. If you’re accepted they’ll tell you your credit limit and interest rate, and soon you’ll be ready to start using your credit card.

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