Whether you’re a globe trotter or visiting a new country for the first time, it pays to familiarize yourself with what foreign transaction fees are – and how you could potentially avoid them with the best travel credit cards.
What are foreign transaction fees?
To understand the impact no foreign transaction fees can have on your travel budget, it’s important to understand what they are. These fees are common whenever you make a purchase from a non-U.S. retailer – yes, that means purchases made both online in the States or in-person while you’re abroad.
The reason some financial institutions or networks (e.g. Visa, Mastercard, etc.) charge these fees is because the transaction has to be processed outside of the U.S. Often, these fees are around 3%. This can add up over time and offset the benefit of any points or cash back you may be earning. For these reasons, it’s best to apply for a travel credit card with no foreign transaction fees before catching your next flight.
What makes a great travel credit card?
1. No foreign transaction fees
Whether you’re paying for a coffee in Paris or a margarita pizza in Italy, you should be able to enjoy trips abroad for less. And you can with no foreign transaction fees! Who knows, the amount saved may be enough to cover the cost of a small souvenir that’ll allow you to fondly remember your savings (or the trip, we’re probably biased).
The only thing that makes no foreign transaction fees sweeter is earning points, too! Double up your benefits and earn with each swipe. As your reward point balance grows, you can opt to redeem it for gift cards, merchandise, and even cash back that can be applied toward your credit card balance.
3. Concierge service
Concierge service puts you in contact with someone who can assist with various areas of your itinerary, including entertainment and dinner reservations. 24/7 access to this support will help you truly sit back and relax while someone else takes on the mental load of these items.
4. Special travel offers
Travel in style with special offers on entertainment, fine wine and food, shopping, and sporting events. Plus, access to a Luxury Hotel Collection ensures where you lay your head in between travel days leaves you well rested.
5. Digital access
Managing your card abroad should be simple, and digital access through Online Banking or mobile banking ensures it’s never interrupted or complicated. Check your credit card balance and pay it all within a secure platform.
Here at General Electric Credit Union (GECU), our members love our Visa Signature® card not only because it gives them 24/7 access to concierge services1 and no foreign transaction fees – but also because it allows them to earn 2x the points on all purchases.2 All of these perks make the Visa Signature the perfect travel credit card as well as the ideal card for everyday purchases. Don’t wait – apply online in minutes!