A trip overseas is so exciting! Whether your work or business is footing the bill for some international exposure, or you're simply on your way to a well-deserved bit of rest and relaxation, the biggest thing on your mind is money.

Overseas credit card charges and hotel bills all add up – and the last thing you want is a stressful holiday.

Likewise, if you can’t afford to shop in New York – but instead shop at New York retailers online – you still don’t want to be charged extra for doing so.

So in order to make the most of your time overseas or shopping on overseas websites, at the least cost and inconvenience, you may wish to carry out a credit card comparison specifically targeted towards low currency conversion and ATM fee credit cards.

Find and compare overseas spending credit cards

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Product Name Card
Foreign Exchange Fee
Overseas charges
Estimated ATM Cost
Annual Fee
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3% on Visa

Overseas charges

$5

$14

for AU $300 withdrawal

Annual Fee

$30

More details
3.3% on Visa

Overseas charges

$5

$14.9

for AU $300 withdrawal

Annual Fee

$64

for 12 months then $129

More details
3% on Visa

Overseas charges

$6

$15

for AU $300 withdrawal

Annual Fee

$30

More details
3% on Visa

Overseas charges

$6

$15

for AU $300 withdrawal

Annual Fee

$295

More details
3% on Visa

Overseas charges

$6

$15

for AU $300 withdrawal

Annual Fee

$375

More details
3% on Visa

Overseas charges

$6

$15

for AU $300 withdrawal

Annual Fee

$95

More details
3% on Visa

Overseas charges

$5

$14

for AU $300 withdrawal

Annual Fee

$125

More details
3% on Visa

Overseas charges

$6

$15

for AU $300 withdrawal

Annual Fee

$0

for 12 months then $30

More details
3% on Visa

Overseas charges

$6

$15

for AU $300 withdrawal

Annual Fee

$425

More details
3% on Visa

Overseas charges

$6

$15

for AU $300 withdrawal

Annual Fee

$95

More details

Learn more about credit cards

How does overseas spending on credit cards work?

There are two main costs to be concerned with when you are spending overseas – currency conversion fees and ATM charges. The good news is, there are many card providers that now recognise Australians’ growing trend to travel and shop overseas and, as such, offer lower fees and charges as a perk for choosing one of their credit cards.

While there are specific travel cards that you can purchase for your overseas trips, if you're looking for a credit card to use on a daily basis too, you may want to look at credit cards that operate primarily in Australian dollars, as they may have special introductory offers or balance transfer specials. For travellers looking for a card specifically for overseas use, international cards that have a few different ‘currency wallets’ may be an option also.

There are even options that offer the best of both worlds – keep all your money in Australian dollars and pay no conversion or international transaction fees – but these credit cards may come with other costs, such as high annual fees or limitations on who can successfully apply for them. Either way, you should conduct a thorough cost-benefit analysis in order to find the card that suits your personal situation.

What are the benefits of credit cards offering overseas spending perks?

Credit cards specifically geared towards overseas travel, like frequent flyer cards, are usually kitted out with a very different set of bonus features to your standard credit cards.

For example, complimentary travel insurance, international concierge services for booking hotels and events, and memberships to exclusive accommodation clubs, all beckon the anxious traveller. But frequent flyer and reward cards usually come with higher rates and fees. These costs could be worth it for frequent travellers, but what about for overseas shoppers?

Fortunately, there are some low-rate cards that offer some great overseas spending perks also – such as low currency conversion and ATM fees – while still offering lower rates and fees. So for those that travel less often but enjoy shopping online at international retailers – you may not see value in a rewards or frequent flyer card, but may benefit from a low-rate or low-fees credit card that has overseas spending perks.

What fees do you need to look out for?

When carrying out an overseas spending credit card comparison, make sure you consider the following fees:

  • ATM withdrawal fees
  • Charges from the foreign ATM provider
  • Cash advance fees
  • International transaction charges
  • Currency conversion fees
  • Charges by Mastercard or Visa on top of those from your provider
  • Interest rates and annual fees

Common travel money questions

This all sounds like a lot of money – and it can be. So why not use cash?

Well, any trip over a decent amount of time will have several associated expenses, including food, accommodation and sightseeing. If you had to carry enough physical currency to pay for all of these items, you run the very real risk of losing it all through misadventure or theft. What many travellers find is that a balance of cash and card spending is ideal.

Having enough local currency for small and frequent transactions will keep your overseas conversion fees down, while breaking out the plastic for larger expenses is an ideal way to reduce the amount of cash (and risk) you carry.

Of course credit cards can go missing too, but most providers will be able to cancel your card and get you an emergency replacement wherever you are. Watch out though – there can be hefty fees associated with this too.

Why not just use cash when travelling abroad?

The short answer is if you had to carry enough cash to pay for all of your overseas expenses, there’s a risk you could lose it all through misadventure or theft.

What many travellers find is that a balance of cash and card spending is ideal. Having enough local currency for small and frequent transactions will keep your overseas conversion fees down, while breaking out the plastic for larger expenses is an ideal way to reduce the amount of cash (and risk) you carry.

Of course, credit cards can go missing too, but most providers will be able to cancel your card and get you an emergency replacement wherever you are. Watch out though – there can be hefty fees associated with this too.

Frequently asked questions

Can a pensioner get a credit card?

It is possible to get a credit card as a pensioner. There are some factors to keep in mind, including:

  • Annual income. Look for credit cards with minimum annual income requirements you can meet. 
  • Annual fees. If high fees are a concern for you, opt for a card with a low or $0 annual fee. 
  • Interest rate. Make sure you won’t have any nasty surprises on your credit card bill. Compare cards with a low interest rates to minimise risk.

How do you use a credit card?

Credit cards are a quick and convenient way to pay for items in store, online or over the phone. You can use a credit card as a cashless way to pay for goods or services, both locally and overseas. You can also use a credit card to make a cash advance, which gives you the flexibility to withdraw cash from your credit card account. Because a credit card uses the bank’s funds instead of your own, you will be charged interest on the money you spend – unless you pay off the entire debt within the interest-free period. If you pay the minimum monthly repayment, you will be charged interest. There are many different credit card options on the market, all offering different interest rates and reward options.

How do you cancel a credit card?

It’s important to cancel your old cards to avoid any additional fees. Unless you’re doing a balance transfer, you’ll need to pay the outstanding balance before you cancel your credit card. If you’ve opted for a card with reward points, make sure you redeem or transfer the points before you close your account. To avoid any bounced payments and save yourself an admin headache, redirect all your direct debits to a new card or account. Once you’ve done all the preparation, call your bank or credit card provider to get the cancellation underway. Once you receive a confirmation letter, destroy your card and make sure the numbers aren’t legible.

How do you use credit cards?

A credit card can be an easy way to make purchases online, in person or over the phone. When used properly, a credit card can even help you manage your cash flow. But before applying for a credit card, it’s good to know how they work. A credit card is essentially a personal line of credit which lets you buy things and pay for them later. As a card holder, you’ll be given a credit limit and (potentially) charged interest on the money the bank lends you. At the end of each billing period, the bank will send you a statement which shows your outstanding balance and the minimum amount you need to pay back. If you don’t pay back the full balance amount, the bank will begin charging you interest.

What's the best credit card for rewards?

There is no one-size-fits-all best rewards credit card. It's best you research what type of rewards program you'd like, as well as the fees, interest rate and conditions associated with those types of cards before making a choice. 

Rewards credit cards can also come with high annual fees that may end up nullifying the rewards, so think how often you use the card to decide whether the benefits outweigh the extra cost for you. A card with a lower annual fee might require a lot of spending to get any useful rewards, while another card with a higher annual fee might need fewer purchases to get a reward. 

How to get money from a credit card

You can get money from a credit card, but generally it will cost you.

Withdrawing money from a credit card is called a cash advance, as it operates more as a loan than a simple cash withdrawal. Because it is a loan, you may be charged interest on your cash advance as soon as you make the withdrawal. Interest rates are also usually much higher for cash advances than standard credit card purchases.

In addition to the interest rate, you may also be charged a cash advance fee. This could be a flat rate, or a percentage of your total cash advance. If you are considering a cash advance, make sure to add up how much it will cost you before committing.

How easy is it to get a credit card?

For most Australians, there are no great barriers to applying for and getting approved for a credit card. Here are some points that a lender will consider when assessing your credit card application.

Credit score: A bad credit score is not the be all and end all of your application, but it may stop you being approved for a higher credit limit. If your credit score is less than perfect, apply for the credit limit that you need, rather than the one you want.

Annual income: Most credit cards have minimum annual income requirements. Make sure you’re applying for a card where you meet the minimum.

Age & residency: You need to be at least 18 years old to apply for a credit card in Australia, and most require that you are an Australian citizen or permanent resident. However, there are some credit cards available to temporary residents.

What should you do when you lose your credit card?

Losing your credit card is a serious situation, and could land you in financial trouble. Here is a simple guide detailing what to do when you lose your credit card.

Lock you card – Contact your provider and inform them about your lost credit card. From here lock, block or cancel your card.

Keep track of transactions – Look out for unauthorised credit card transactions. Most banks protect against fraudulent transactions.

Address recurring charges – If your card is linked to recurring charges (gym membership, rent, utilities), contact those businesses.

Check credit rate – To ensure you’re not the victim of identity theft, check your credit rating a month or two after you lose your credit card.

How to get a credit card for the first time

A credit card can be a useful financial tool, provided you understand the risks and can meet repayment obligations.

If you’re a credit card first-timer, review your options. Think about what kind of credit card would suit your lifestyle, and compare providers by fees, perks and repayments.

Once you’ve selected a card, it’s time to apply. Credit card applications can generally be completed in store, online or over the phone.

When you apply for a credit card for the first time, you must meet age, residency and income requirements. As proof, you must also provide documentation such as bank account statements.

How to make a credit card online

If you’re wondering about how to make a credit card online application, here are some steps to follow:

  • Test the market. Many credit card options are available online. Compare providers by fees, interest and perks to ensure you’re getting the best deal.
  • Complete the application. Once you’ve selected a card, head to the provider’s website and complete the online credit card application form. Forms vary by providers.
  • Provide details. Most cards require you to meet age, residency, income and credit status condition, and you need to provide details like a bank account statement to prove this.
  • Review details. Ensure the information you’ve entered is correct.

Current Annual Fees

These are the current annual fees on your existing credit card.

Where can I get a credit card?

Looking to get your first credit card? You might be confused as to exactly where to go to apply for one. Here’s where to go when you are ready to put in that application.

The bank: Your bank is a great place to start, provided that you have a good banking history. Since you already have a financial history, you have more chance of your application being approved.

Credit card provider: Another option is to apply for a credit card directly from the issuer, such as Visa, Mastercard or Amex. This will most likely be an online application, so do your research and apply for a suitable card for your circumstances.

Major retailers: Coles, Woolworths, Myer and David Jones all have credit cards available. But watch out for the interest rate and annual fees – these cards are designed to help you spend more in store.

Which credit card has the highest annual percentage rate?

The credit card market changes all the time, so the credit card with the highest annual percentage rate is also liable to change.

Keep in mind that credit card interest rates are expressed as a yearly rate, or annual percentage rate (APR). A low APR is generally good but also consider:

  • There can be different APR's for each feature of the card (e.g. purchases may have an APR of 14 per cent, while cash advances on same card could have an APR of 17 per cent.
  • Credit cards with a variable rate can change throughout the year, affecting your APR, so check the full details.
  • If you pay your balance in full every month, having the lowest APR is not as important as the other fees associated with the card. However, if you carry a balance from month to month, then you want the lowest APR possible.

What should you do if your credit card is compromised?

Credit card fraud is a serious problem. If your credit card is compromised and you’re wondering what to do, here are a few precautionary steps to take.

Contact you credit provider – Get in touch will your credit card provider. If you feel your card has been compromised, you should be able to lock or block it.

Monitor your accounts – Keep an eye on your credit card accounts. Any unauthorised transactions could be a sign your credit card has been compromised.

Check your credit rating – It’s also important to check your credit rating, to ensure you’re not a victim of identity theft or some other financial mischief.

Should I get a credit card?

Once you've compared credit card interest rates and deals and found the right card for you, the actual process of getting a credit card is quite straightforward. You can apply for a credit card online, over the phone or in person at a bank branch. 

How to pay a credit card

There are a few ways to pay a credit card bill. These include:

  • BPAY - allows you to safely make credit card payments online.
  • Direct debits - set up an automatic payment from your bank account to pay your credit card bill each month. You can choose how much you want to pay of your credit card bill when you set up the auto payments.
  • In a branch.
  • Via your credit card provider's app.

How do you pay off credit cards?

The best way to pay off a credit card bill is to set a realistic spending budget and stick to it. Each month, you’ll get a credit card statement detailing how much you owe and how long it will take to pay off the balance by making minimum repayments. If you only make the minimum repayments, it will take you years to pay off your outstanding balance and add extra costs in interest charges. To avoid any extra charges, you should pay the entire bill. 

How do you apply for a credit card?

You can apply for a credit card online, over the phone or in person at the bank. Once you’ve compared the current credit card offers, the application process is quick and easy. Before you get your application started, you’ll need to gather your personal information like proof of ID, payslips and bank statements, proof of employment and details of your income, assets and liabilities. To be eligible for a credit card, you’ll need to be an Australian citizen over 18 and earn a minimum of $15,000 each year. Once you’ve applied for a credit card, you should get a response fairly instantly. If your credit card application has been approved, you should receive a welcome pack with your new credit card within 10-15 days.

What is a balance transfer credit card?

A balance transfer credit card lets you transfer your debt balance from one credit card to another. A balance transfer credit card generally has a 0 per cent interest rate for a set period of time. When you roll your debt balance over to a new credit card, you’ll be able to take advantage of the interest-free period to pay your credit card debt off faster without accruing additional interest charges. If your application is approved, the provider will pay out your old credit card and transfer your debt balance over to the new card. 

What is a credit card?

A credit card is a payment method which lets you pay for goods and services without using your own money. It’s essentially a short-term loan which lets you borrow the bank’s money to pay for things which you can pay back – potentially with interest – at a later date. Credit cards can also be used to withdraw money from an ATM, which is known as a cash advance. Because you’re borrowing money from a bank, credit cards charge you interest on the money you use (unless you repay the entire debt during the interest-free period). When you apply for a credit card, the bank gives you a credit limit which sets the maximum amount you can borrow using your card. Credit cards are one of the most popular methods of payments and can be a convenient way of paying for goods and services in store, online and all around the globe.