No overseas ATM fee credit cards

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If you’ve ever travelled overseas, you probably already know that withdrawing money from foreign ATMs usually comes with a fee. When you’re withdrawing money frequently, paying a fee with every transaction can quickly add up.

There are some providers that offer credit cards with no overseas ATM fees, although other charges may still apply when you use your credit card at an ATM in a foreign country.

What fees are charged to use a credit card at an overseas ATM?

There are a number of fees and added costs to consider when taking money out at an overseas ATM using a credit card:

  • Foreign transaction fee – Most credit card companies charge a fee that equals a percentage of transactions made in an international currency. For example, if you withdraw $300 at an overseas ATM, you could be charged a fee of $9 (or 3 per cent). This fee can be avoided by choosing a credit with no foreign transaction fees.
  • Cash advance fee – This fee is charged by your provider when you use your credit card to withdraw cash at an ATM or for any other ‘cash advance’ transaction, such as purchasing foreign currency. The cash advance fee is also a percentage of the total transaction amount.
  • Cash advance interest rate – If you use your credit card to take out money at an ATM overseas (or in Australia), a cash advance interest rate will apply. This is usually higher than the standard purchase rate, which means you’ll be paying more interest on debt accrued from ATM withdrawals.
  • Foreign ATM charges – Many foreign banks and ATM companies also charge a fee for withdrawing money at their ATMs. 

Factors to consider for overseas credit card use

As well as the fees that come with overseas ATM use, it’s worth also considering the following factors when you use your credit card while travelling:

  • Daily limits – Banks and providers put a cap on how much money you can withdraw each day, so check your limit before travelling to make sure you’ll be able to access enough money each day.
  • Exchange rates – These can fluctuate daily and have a significant impact on how much you’re spending and the total cost of fees.
  • Rewards - If you use a rewards credit card at an overseas ATM, you may not earn points on the transaction if cash advances aren’t considered an ‘eligible purchase’ by your provider. 

Alternatives to overseas credit card ATM withdrawals

Although some companies offer credit cards with no overseas withdrawal fees or foreign transaction fees, it’s likely you’ll still be hit with other cash advance fees or ATM charges.

There are a number of other options for spending overseas:

  • Prepaid debit cards – You can load money onto a prepaid card before leaving. This allows you to lock in an exchange rate, and because it’s your own money, you won’t be charged interest or cash advance fees.
  • Foreign currency – Avoid card fees by getting cash in the local currency from a foreign currency outlet overseas or in Australia.
  • Travellers’ cheques – These can be used as an alternative to cards or cash in some overseas locations, but aren’t accepted by all merchants.

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