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Credit Cards with Zero Foreign Transaction Fees

  • Author :
  • TATA AIG Team
  • Published on :
  • 08/11/2022

Frequent travellers are always on the lookout for credit cards that can be used internationally. The convenience of credit cards over cash makes them a prudent alternative while travelling overseas. There is only one problem with domestic credit cards: international transaction charges will be levied on every swipe. Before you start to worry about how expensive this next foreign trip will be, you will be happy to know that you can get a no foreign transaction fee credit card in India. Aside from a credit card, you can also use a zero-markup forex card to find your way around the foreign currency markup fee. Let’s start with understanding what is the FCY conversion markup fee before seeing where you can get the no foreign transaction fee credit card in India.

Travelling with a Credit Card

Earlier, when individuals travelled abroad, they would do so exclusively with cash or travellers’ cheques. Now, however, several avenues have opened up for the travel enthusiast right from credit and debit cards to ATM withdrawals and travel cards.

Frequent travellers also advise against carrying too much cash since there can be a threat of theft. Even FEMA specifies cash limits up to which foreign currency can be held. Considering this, credit cards are perhaps the best solution that individuals can opt for. To encourage the use of credit cards, banks and card issuers also offer attractive discounts.

In addition to using these international credit cards for your trip overseas, one can even use them to make international online payments. However, most of these credit cards come with international credit card charges that the cardholder is liable to pay on every transaction.

What is a Foreign Currency Markup Fee?

Foreign Currency Markup Fee, also known as the FCY conversion markup fee, is a fee that is charged towards conversion for a foreign transaction. Meaning that every time you make a transaction on your international credit card, you will have to pay the international transaction charges.

Most reputed credit card networks, such as Visa and Mastercard, commonly levy charges that are 1% of the transaction amount. Typically, the foreign currency markup fee ranges anywhere between 1-3% of the transaction amount. It is prudent to compare the charges of various card issuers so you can maximise your savings on transactions.

Illustrating the transaction fee with an example, if you make a transaction of USD 1000, with a 3% transaction fee, you will be charged an extra USD 30 on your purchase. This amount can accumulate throughout your trip.

International Credit Cards with Zero Transaction Fee

Yes, they exist. Credit cards are one of the most hassle-free methods of payment when you are travelling abroad. The convenience of credit card payments is the reason behind their popularity. However, most of these credit cards charge the cardholder a transactional fee which can be an unnecessary expense for travellers. To overcome this burden, several banks started to offer credit cards that had zero forex markup.

To help you narrow down your search we have enlisted some credit cards that don’t charge a foreign currency markup fee:

RBL World Safari Credit Card

One of the most popular choices amongst travellers, the RBL World Safari Credit Card charges no foreign transaction fee. The 0% markup fee on all foreign transactions ensures that travellers only pay for what they like – promising a worry-free travelling experience. When compared to other international credit cards, the RBL World Safari Credit Cardholder can save anywhere between 2% - 4% on every transaction that he/she makes.

To further encourage travellers, the card also comes with a voucher worth ₹3000 with the benefit of travel points that can be redeemed at the time of flight and hotel reservations. Depending on how much amount was spent, the card offers milestone benefits to further enhance savings. Finally, it also comes with a complimentary travel policy to take care of unpleasant scenarios on your trip. However, it is always advised that travellers invest in comprehensive travel insurance to offer wholesome coverage against liabilities while travelling.

Fee: The cardholder will be charged an annual membership fee of ₹3000 + GST

Key features: complimentary membership of the priority pass, complimentary access to the domestic lounge twice in each quarter, golf privileges, waiver on fuel surcharge, etc.

Club Vistara IndusInd Bank Explorer Credit Card

Several travellers swear by this card for the host of privileges, luxuries, and rewards that come with it to ensure a special travelling experience for every cardholder. Aside from charging zero foreign currency markup on international transactions, it is also known to deliver on its several benefits. It is known for being India’s fastest rewarding frequent flyer program. Once the joining fee is paid, the new cardholder is rewarded with gift vouchers worth ₹25,000, a Luxe Gift Card, and so much more. The card also comes with a complimentary Club Vistara Gold Membership with exciting benefits such as additional baggage allowance and priority check-in and boarding.

Joining Fee: ₹40,000

Annual Fee: ₹10,000

Key features: zero-markup forex card, complimentary business card ticket voucher, 20% discount on Airport Fast Track, etc.

  • Axis Burgundy Private

This card is meant for the high net-worth Indians and was launched to cater to the needs of this very specific segment of customers. The card is exclusively provided to private banking customers and bundles a host of transaction benefits right from zero foreign currency markup fee to no charges on cash withdrawals.

The card also comes with elite lifestyle and entertainment features such as unlimited lounge access, complimentary hotel and dining memberships, 50 complimentary rounds of golf, 24X7 concierge services, and much more. The travel insurance on the card comes with air accident cover up to ₹4.5 crores, along with lost card liability and purchase protection.

Joining Fee/Annual Fee: N/A (but if your account is downgraded then ₹50,000)

Annual Fee: ₹10,000

Key features: zero-markup forex card, several lifestyle and entertainment features, unlimited lounge access both internationally and domestically, etc.

The aforementioned cards help cater to travellers’ financial needs when overseas, and with a zero-markup forex card, travellers can maximise their savings. It is, therefore, always advisable to check the FCY conversion markup fee on your credit card before travelling, so you don’t return to a pile of hefty charges.

Factors to Consider Before Buying an International Credit Card

Travellers can secure their financial health before travelling overseas with essential documents such as a comprehensive travel policy and a credit card that won’t charge you with each transaction. However, don’t make any rushed purchases. Here are tips to help you find the best credit card for your next trip abroad:

  • Check the transaction fee on your credit card beforehand to not be unpleasantly surprised on your return
  • The transaction fee will vary depending on the card issuer, so compare different cards before selecting one
  • Choose a zero-forex markup card for online purchases from abroad
  • Ask your card issuer about the difference between currency conversion fees and foreign transaction charges to know how much each of these will cost you

The Bottom Line

Travelling abroad is an exciting thing. However, you must also ensure you don’t return to debt by securing your financial health. While a zero-markup forex card will cover your transaction fee, you must also invest in comprehensive travel insurance for wholesome protection.

A travel policy is your financial safety net if something goes wrong during your journey. To carefully plan your expenses for a safe foreign trip, you can use the free travel insurance premium calculator by Tata AIG to help you find a suitable cover.

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