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Travel credit cards

FIND CARDS THAT DON’T CHARGE FEES FOR SPENDING ABROAD

  • Check eligibility without harming your credit score

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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 and what are its features?

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    If you use an ATM abroad, you’ll usually be charged a fee and interest from the moment the money’s withdrawn.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

How do travel credit cards 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 

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

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

    How you plan to spend when abroad can help you decide the best travel credit card for you. If you know you’ll need to take out cash look for cards with no fees or interest on cash machine withdrawals. If you’re more likely to use the card for big purchases seek out cards with no fees on spending. Want to use the card for frequent spending? Look for a card that might pay rewards.

  • 2

    Look for additional rewards

    As well as different types of rewards for spending, travel credit cards may also provide perks when you sign up. Common ones include free travel insurance and access to film and music subscription services for a period. If the fees and interest rates look similar on a few travel credit cards and you’re struggling to pick the best for your needs seeking out extra rewards could help with your choice.

  • 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. To make sure you get the best travel credit card possible, check your credit score is as good as it can be. Our guide on improving your credit rating can help.

What to consider before you apply for a travel credit card

There can be pitfalls associated with travel credit cards. Here are just a few to be wary of:

  • Pay travel cards off in full

    Like most regular credit cards, travel credit cards charge high interest on your outstanding balance, so make it a priority to pay off the card balance each month

  • Never pay in pounds

    When you’re abroad, shops and restaurants might ask if you want to make the transaction in sterling (pounds) or local currency. Local currency is usually cheaper

  • Try not to withdraw cash

    Withdrawals from cash machines overseas may be cheaper on travel credit cards, but there is still usually a charge – and there may be local fees for ATM use

  • Using them in the UK

    While you can use a travel credit card as normal in the UK, the main benefits are for overseas use. There will be better options for balance transfer and 0% on purchases

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 

It is possible to get a travel credit card if you have a low credit score, but you may find you’re offered a much higher interest rate. Customers with bad credit may not qualify for the best and advertised APRs. It means if you can’t pay off your balance in full each month you’ll pay more in interest. You’re also likely to be given a lower credit limit.

If you have struggled with debts in the past and have a poor credit rating it may still be possible to get a travel credit card but you’re likely to have more limited choice of products. Some travel credit cards may be reserved only for those with the best credit ratings, for example. 

If you have a poor credit score there are steps you can take. With our free credit 

monitor service you can check your credit score and get personalised tips on how to improve it.

Representative 34.9% APR

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.

A travel card works in the same way as all other credit cards: when you spend money on it, you are in effect borrowing it from the card issuer. You have to pay off at least the minimum listed repayment the month after or your credit rating will take a hit, making future borrowing harder. You’ll be charged interest on any balance you don’t pay off that month.

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.

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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