You can use any credit card abroad, but this comes with fees that can make spending very expensive unless you choose a card designed for international use.

Even if your credit card gives you 0% on purchases or a low interest rate at home, charges for using it overseas could push up your credit card bill.

The cards in our table could help keep your costs down because they do not charge fees for spending outside the UK.

What are the costs of spending abroad?

  • Transaction fees charged as a percentage of what you spend (for example, a 2.5% fee would cost 7.50 if you spent 300)

  • Cash withdrawal fees charged as a percentage of what you withdraw (for example, a 5% fee would cost 10 if you took out 200 from an ATM)

  • Interest is charged on cash withdrawals from the day you take it out until you pay off the balance in full, usually at a higher rate than your usual APR

  • The exchange rate offered by the company that process your card transactions (usually Visa, MasterCard or American Express)

Here is a detailed look at how much using your credit card abroad could cost.

They also come with all the same charges that other credit cards have like interest or fees.

How can you keep your costs down?

Instead of using your usual credit card, you could get a new one designed for use abroad.

The cards in this comparison come without foreign transaction fees, meaning it will be cheaper to use your card abroad. Some of the cards also charge no fees for cash withdrawals.

You can see how much each card could charge you for the transactions you are likely to make by selecting:

  • The length of your trip

  • How much you plan to spend each day

  • How much you plan to withdraw each day.

You can then compare the cards and choose the best one for how you will use it.

Foreign transaction fees FAQs

Q

Are my purchases protected abroad?

A

Yes, credit card providers' own protection schemes, Section 75 and the Chargeback scheme can protect purchases made abroad.

Q

Can I withdraw cash on my credit card abroad?

A

Yes, but try to avoid this because you usually have to pay several fees and interest. Here is how much it could cost you.

Q

Where can I use my card?

A

You can use a credit card overseas in shops, restaurants or other businesses or in ATMs.

Q

How many credit cards should I have?

A

Too many credit cards can hurt your credit record, but having cards for different uses can suit some people. Work out how many is too many here.

Q

How long does it take to get a card?

A

It usually takes around ten days for your card to arrive once you have applied. Here is how long it can take and how to speed up the process.

Q

What is a credit limit?

A

The maximum amount you can owe on your credit card at any point, set by your provider. Here is how they work and how much it costs if you exceed it.

Q

Could I use a prepaid card instead?

A

Yes, and although some prepaid cards charge you for using them abroad, they do not charge interest and some come without international fees