The Best Credit Cards for Travel

When you’re travelling overseas, you often handle your money differently to save on fees. But what if you didn’t have to? Here’s a guide to help you decide the best credit card for traveling.

1. Where are you travelling?

If you’re travelling to Outer Mongolia, you may want to leave your American Express (Amex) at home. While Amex offers excellent rewards, it isn’t accepted as widely as Visa and MasterCard.

2. How much will you spend?

If you’re not planning to spend much money, you may not be concerned about bank fees. However if you’re travelling for a long time, or you’re planning on spending some significant dollars, it’s worth paying attention to the fees you’ll be dishing out.

  • Foreign transaction fees – Most credit cards charge a foreign transaction fee, which is around 3% on top of the total purchase. You may want to consider a travel credit card that doesn’t charge this fee if you’re using your credit card frequently.
  • Annual fee – An annual fee can also be costly. You may want to consider a credit card that has no annual fee. A Latitude 28° Global Platinum Mastercard doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees on purchases or any annual fees.
  • Exchange rates – Again, if you’re spending a lot, you should think carefully about the exchange rate you’re paying. Always pay in local currency if possible and look for a credit card that offers good exchange rates or get a travel card where you can lock in the exchange rates in advance.
  • Interest rates – If you’ll be spending a lot and you don’t think you’ll be able to pay off your credit card balance within the interest-free period, look for a card with a lower interest rate.

3. Will you be withdrawing cash from your credit card?

If yes, you’ll be hit with a fee as all credit cards charge an overseas ATM fee. Check which one is cheapest if you’ll be withdrawing lots of cash. Alternatively, you could withdraw large amounts and keep the cash you don’t need in a safe place, like a hotel safe.

4. Do you want to earn reward points?

If yes, you may want to check the points are worth the overseas transaction fees you’ll be paying. If rewards aren’t important, consider a credit card that doesn't charge the fees outlined above in point 2, such as a travel card or a Latitude 28° Global Platinum Mastercard.

And finally...

The best credit card will depend on how much you’re spending and whether reward points are important to you (and if they’re worth more than the fees you’ll pay). Weigh up the options and make the best choice for you.