What is an overseas credit card?

Heading on your holidays? An overseas credit card could be a wise option to help make the most of your holiday spend.

Man travelling with cases

Overseas credit cards are designed to be used when you’re abroad. Unlike most standard credit cards, overseas cards don’t usually charge extra fees for spending on your card and withdrawing cash from ATMs in other countries.

What are the advantages of an overseas credit card?

An overseas credit card could be a sensible option if you’re a frequent traveller. They can often work out more cost effective than spending on a standard credit or debit card, which can charge high fees for transactions and withdrawals.

The most competitive cards are reserved for those with a good credit score, so to avoid getting rejected or having to make multiple applications, it’s a good idea to check what your score is before you apply.

Credit Monitor shows you your score, and gives you handy, personalised tips to help improve it – all for free. Building up your score could let you access a wider range of deals, so you could have more options to choose from when you’re looking for an overseas credit card.

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Here’s our round-up of the main types of benefits typically offered on an overseas credit card:

  • No transaction fees
  • No charges for ATM withdrawals
  • Some cards offer cashback on spending
  • Added protection on purchases (find out more about credit card protection)

What to watch out for

As with any type of credit card, make sure you can afford your monthly payments, repay on time and don’t go over your limit. When weighing up which overseas card to go for, consider the following factors in your decision making:

  • Repaying your balance every month: To maximise the benefits of an overseas credit card you should repay your balance in full every month to avoid the interest you’re charged counteracting the savings you’ve made.
  • Buying travel money on your credit card: Some lenders view buying currency on your credit card as the same as withdrawing cash so check whether your provider charges for this.
  • Limitations on having multiple cards with one lender:  You may not able to get a second type of card with a bank or provider if you already have an existing credit card with them.
  • Applying in time for your holiday: Give yourself plenty of time for your application to be processed by your lender to ensure your card arrives before you depart.

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