Wondering which are the best credit cards to have in your wallet in 2019? Over the coming weeks, we’ll be releasing a series of articles on the best Australian credit cards for 2019. We begin this week with a guide to the best credit cards for overseas and online spending.
When travelling overseas or paying in a foreign currency online, it’s prudent to use a credit card that charges no international transaction or “forex” fees. Most Australian credit cards charge international purchase fees of around 3% – in addition to any margin the bank is making on the exchange rate – which can really add up over time. So, if you’re frequently paying in foreign currency, it’s worth considering one of the several Australian credit cards with no forex fees. You can even earn frequent flyer points with some of these credit cards.
Best Australian point-earning credit cards with no forex fees
There are several point-earning credit cards in Australia that also come with no international purchase fees. These are a great option if you’re a frequent overseas traveller and looking to earn some frequent flyer points along the way.
Coles Rewards MasterCard
The Coles Rewards MasterCard has an annual fee of $99, but awards an uncapped 2 Flybuys points per dollar. Flybuys points can be converted to Virgin Australia Velocity points at a rate of 870 Velocity points for every 2,000 Flybuys points, up to a maximum of 138,000 Flybuys points annually. The transfer rate increases to approximately 2:1 during regular promotions offering 15% bonus Velocity points on transfers from Flybuys. So you’re earning up to half of one Velocity point per dollar spent. This is very much a no-frills credit card, but the Velocity earn rate is competitive given the lack of forex fees.
ANZ Rewards Travel Adventures
The ANZ Rewards Travel Adventures card has a higher annual fee of $225, but the card also comes with a complimentary return Virgin Australia domestic flight and two Virgin Australia lounge passes every year. You’ll also earn 1.5 ANZ Rewards points per dollar, which can be transferred at a 2:1 rate to Velocity or a 3:1 rate to Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles or Airpoints. Note that the earn rate is reduced dramatically if you spend over $2,000 per month on this card.
Bankwest Qantas Platinum & Bankwest Qantas World
The Bankwest Qantas Platinum and World cards both award Qantas points while waiving all forex fees on international purchases. These would be your go-to option if you specifically want a card that earns Qantas points. The Bankwest Qantas Platinum card earns 0.5 Qantas points per dollar and has a $160 annual fee. For serious overseas spenders, the Bankwest Qantas World card awards 0.66 Qantas points per dollar but comes at the cost of a higher annual fee of $270. Neither card has a monthly or annual cap on points. Note that Bankwest Qantas credit card earn rates are changing from 22 May 2019.
Best fee-free Australian credit cards for overseas spend
If you don’t travel overseas often, or perhaps you’re not interested in earning frequent flyer points, there are also a couple of Australian credit cards with no annual fees that also have no international purchase fees.
28 Degrees MasterCard
The popular 28 Degrees MasterCard has no annual fees and no international purchase fees. It also comes with some interesting benefits like free Boingo wifi hotspot access and lounge passes if your flight is delayed. So this is a great fee-free card to keep in your wallet when travelling abroad.
Bankwest Zero Platinum
As an alternative to the 28 Degrees card, Bankwest’s Zero Platinum card also has no annual or forex fees. As an added bonus, this card comes with complimentary international travel insurance.
Would you like to learn more about credit cards?
Frequent Flyer Solutions has an entire training course on Credit Cards. This course will teach you about maximising your credit card points and help you to choose the credit card that's right for you.
There's also a unit on Travel Money, Debit & Credit Cards in Course 10 which may be of interest to you. As with the first unit of every Frequent Flyer Solutions course, this unit is freely available to all Frequent Flyer Solutions members.
Disclaimer: This article is not intended as financial advice. Consider your personal circumstances before applying for any type of credit.