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What's the best option for overseas purchases?

My daughter will be studying abroad this summer in Europe. We've already checked with our current charge card carrier and the fees seem excessive. Is there a credit card that has notoriously better rates for overseas travel? Or is there a better option? I'm not really comfortable with her carrying around large amounts of cash.

Feb 27, 2012 by Sonia from Bismarck, ND in  |  Flag
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4 votes
Jason Hull Level 20

Hi Sonia--I have found that the Capital One card lines are really good for traveling overseas because they do not charge a foreign transaction fee. Most cards charge between 1 - 3% as a fee when you make an overseas purchase, but Capital One does not.

Nerdwallet keeps a good list here: http://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/top-credit-cards/no-foreign-transaction-fee-credit-card/

For ATM withdrawals, look at the Charles Schwab card. They don't (as of the time I'm answering this) charge FX fees, which can run 3 - 5% of the withdrawal. Here's the link to their website explaining it: http://content.schwab.com/m/q310/schwab_bank_high_yield_investor_checking/ELC44427C-02.html

Here's a recent account of someone's experience: http://www.travelbypoints.com/2012/08/21/charles-schwab-atm-card-your-secret-weapon-to-not-having-to-carry-foreign-currency-for-international-travel/

Hope your daughter's European adventure is wonderful and that you get to go see her!

Comment   |  Flag   |  Jan 17, 2013 from Fort Worth, TX

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3 votes

Sonia,

My guess is that you're referring to the "foreign transaction fees" that many credit card issuers charge for charges made outside the U.S.

Many credit cards have charged these ridiculous fees for a long time, but there are better alternatives. For your daughter's situation, you should look for credit cards that offer no foreign transaction fees as a feature. Here are some resources to help you out:

http://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/top-credit-cards/no-foreign-transaction-fee-credit-card/

http://www.dailymarkets.com/creditcards/credit-cards-with-no-foreign-transaction-fee/

http://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/foreign-exchange-fees-going-up-1267.php

Suggest you do your homework to find a card that will keep these fees to a minimum or eliminate them completely, but also consider other card benefits that might be appropriate for your daughter during her time in Europe.

Comment   |  Flag   |  Feb 28, 2012 from Atlanta, GA

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