Credit cards with no overseas (or foreign) transaction fees can provide substantial savings for those who frequently transact in foreign currencies, such as when travelling overseas and interacting with the overseas versions of websites such as Amazon, eBay and Macy’s.
The going overseas transaction fee for most credit cards in Australia is 2-4% of the converted amount, meaning that a US$100 transaction will convert to ~AU$135 plus add on an average ~AU$4 fee.
If you travelled overseas for three weeks a year and spent the equivalent of AU$120/day not using a card that waives overseas transaction fees, the charges would rack up to over $75, which is almost the annual fee of some cards that earn you a solid points rate.
Please note, however, that while overseas transaction fee waivers are welcome, they need to be given in conjunction with a good foreign exchange rate on the credit card. Point Hacks has run a comparison of exchange rates used by some major banks on their travel card products, which gives a guide as to the competitiveness of foreign exchange rates.
Note that the no annual fee version of this card charges a 1.5% international transaction fee + 0.2% currency conversion assessment fee on overseas purchases.
Macquarie Black and Platinum cards
In July 2019, Macquarie removed overseas transaction fees on all their cards, including the rewards points-earning Macquarie Black and Platinum cards.
You have the option to earn uncapped Macquarie Rewards points on spend at a rate of 2 points for the Black and 1.25 points for the Platinum or opt to earn 1 Qantas Point per dollar spend, with a soft cap of $4,000 for the Black and $1,000 for the Platinum. Beyond those caps, you’ll still earn 0.5 Qantas Point per dollar, uncapped.
The no-annual-fee Bankwest Zero Platinum Mastercard is another good option, but note that the Classic version of this card does apply overseas transaction fees.
The Westpac Lite card has a $9 monthly fee.
The ING Orange One card will waive the overseas transaction fee if you deposit a specified amount in an ING account and use your card a certain number of times.
You may also consider a linked debit card to a Citibank Plus or UBank USaver Ultra transaction account.
When travelling overseas and a card terminal prompts you to choose whether to charge the transaction in the local currency (say, USD or EUR) or in your home currency (AUD), you’ll get a better currency conversion rate by paying in the local currency.
By adding a credit card with no overseas transaction fees to your wallet, you can minimise costs when travelling and spending in non-AUD currencies and use another card/s that earn higher rates for spend within Australia.