Which Credit Cards and Debit Cards Are Best For Travel?

When you’re traveling abroad, your biggest concern with credit cards will definitely be the foreign transaction fee. The credit card industry standard foreign payment fee is typically around 3%, which can absolutely just kill your budget, especially if you’ll be there for more than two years. A waived foreign transaction fee on your credit card is essential, but there are a few other considerations to take into account.

Many credit cards, including most Visa cards, come with travel protections. The protections can include accidental death and dismemberment insurance, emergency travel arrangements, and a travel hotline that can connect you with legal or medical services.

If you have a credit card that gives bonus rewards at restaurants, for example, it’s important to note that you won’t get extra rewards unless the restaurant classifies itself as such. It’s less likely that restaurants abroad will be accurately categorized.

You may want to rely primarily on a credit card rather than a debit card. In case of fraud, your credit card liability is capped at $50. If your debit card is compromised, however, you’re on the hook for $50 if you report it missing within 2 days and $500 if you report it within 60. If you miss the 60-day window, you’re responsible  for the whole amount. You’re better shielded from fraud loss with a credit card.

So, in a nutshell, you’re looking for a credit card with no foreign transaction fee, all-around rewards instead of specific bonus categories, and travel protections. Here are a few credit cards with no foreign transaction fees:

If you’re willing to pay annual fees, the Capital One Venture Rewards credit card fulfills your criteria. It has no foreign transaction fee, and gives an impressive 2% back on all purchases, no merchant registration needed. Plus, it’s a Visa Signature, so you get travel accident insurance and emergency assistance. It pays out in No Hassle Miles, which you can use for travel, but keep in mind that the credit card requires a $59 annual fee, but it’s waived the first year.

If you’d rather not pay a fee, The Capital One Cash credit card is for you. Like all Capital One credit cards, it has no foreign transaction fee, and it gives 1.5% cash back on all purchases. This credit card’s rewards are more versatile – there’s nothing easier to redeem than cash back – and as a World MasterCard, it provides travel accident insurance and travel assistance services.

A great traveling debit card, however, would be The Capital One Interest Online checking account. The debit card has no foreign transaction fee, gives you free ATM withdrawals at Capital One ATMs worldwide, and reimburses any ATM fees up to $25/month. The account also has no monthly maintenance fees, so you don’t have to worry about minimum balance requirements. Remember to call them to warn them of your departure, so that they don’t freeze your account when you make your first international purchase.