Many have experienced the following: One pays with the credit card abroad and then wonders when looking afterwards at the bank statement that additional fees were charged.
If you inform yourself, you find out that the most price lists of banks and credit cards mention the point foreign transaction fee.
Foreign transaction fee is to maximize the profit of banks!
A foreign transaction fee always applies when you pay cashless with the credit card in a currency other than Euro – assuming that your credit card account is in Euros, as is usual in Germany.
The amount of this foreign transaction fee varies from provider to provider. On average, it is 1.75%. This means: whenever you pay in another currency (e.g. US online store, Thailand journey), your bank earns 1.75% fees. Quite a sum can accumulate during a holiday!
Regarding quality: that is still better than paying in Euros at the foreign card terminal. Tests in Poland and the Czech Republic have shown that there is a surcharge of about 10% – hidden in the exchange rate. The customer generally does not notice this, because the fees are not stated.
Nevertheless: Is it also possible without foreign transaction fee?
Yes! There are a few banks or credit card companies that offer credit cards without this surcharge. Most often, this is compensated with a high annual fee. Thus, applying for a new credit card for the international use is only worthwhile when paying higher sums.
Only the fee-free MasterCard of the Advanzia Bank and the cards that Santander and the Fidor Bank add to their free current accounts, are without additional fixed costs. This is why they are presented on the very top of the comparison:
|Foreign transaction fee
|Link of the provider
|Credit cards without fixed costs
|The MasterCard is completely free of charge, if one settles the credit card account on time, otherwise interest applies. This is how the banks makes its profits.
|The Visa Card is completely free of charge, if one settles the credit card account on time, otherwise interest applies. This is how the banks makes its profits.
|Credit cards with annual fee
|Platinum cards set with partner cards, additional services and insurance package
|Without Schufa-query (prepaid credit card),
if desired with current account function including banking app, also possible for companies
|No longer free of foreign transaction fee
|The Santander is a true credit card with credit line. Cash withdrawals are free of charge. More information …
Note: As of the 12st December 2020, Santander will introduce a foreign currency charge of 1.5%.
|The German Fidor Bank offers a free and Schufa-free current account. One can add the SmartCard (combination of MasterCard and MaestroCard) to the current account. However, a medium to good creditworthiness is required for the credit card function, despite the Schufa-freeness. More information … Note: As of the 7th March 2018, Fidor Bank will introduce a foreign currency charge of 1.5%.
Supplementary notes to the comparison table
If you know further recommendable bank or credit cards without international service fee, you can notify us via the comments feature at the end of this page.
In this small comparison, we do not mention all providers in order to keep it clear. Especially at providers of prepaid credit cards, we have observed a coming and going in recent years. The coming was often associated with good conditions and when going, they have left a lot of unsatisfied customers.
Please note that further services of credit cards are listed on the according page of the provider. It would be too confusing to list all the details in our comparative table. For your own detailed test, you can use our credit card calculator that calculates the fees and the savings ⇒ credit card comparison.
Alternative to credit cards without foreign transaction fee
Unfortunately, both charge an foreign transaction fee. However, there is a way to circumvent this cleverly and I would like to present this here:
Cash instead of card payments
If you are in a foreign country with another currency than Euro, then go to an ATM and withdraw the required sum in cash. Consequently, you pay your bills with cash.
You should know that both banks do not charge the foreign transaction fee for cash withdrawals. These are – as promised in their advertisings – absolutely free of charge. You even get foreign fees refunded.
Regarded as useful by other readers:
- How to open a bank account in Germany online (!)
- Number26 on international use ⇒ for most people an amazing surprise!
- Open DKB bank account step by step