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Ask Creditnet: Credit Cards without Foreign Exchange Fees

Dear Creditnet: I know Capital One credit cards don't charge foreign exchange fees, but I'm frankly not a big fan of Capital One. Are there any other credit issuers offering the same perk with a no annual fee credit card? I travel overseas a lot for both play and work, so a credit card with no foreign exchange fees would save me a lot of dough.

Answer: Capital One is the only major credit issuer still holding true to its "no currency conversion fee" policy, but I am aware of another credit card that doesn't charge foreign transaction fees—the PenFed Promise Visa card.

As you might gather from its name, the card is offered through the Federal Pentagon Credit Union, which primarily serves about 1 million members of the US government and our military. However, you don't necessarily have to be in the military or work for the Pentagon to join the credit union. In fact, membership is open to anyone willing to join the National Military Family Association and pay a one-time fee of $20.

The PenFed Promise is a fairly plain vanilla credit card. In addition to not charging foreign transaction fees, PenFed continually offers low interest rates and low fees including no balance transfer, cash advance, late payment, returned payment, or over the credit limit fees. Not a bad deal for a credit card most people have never even heard of! If PenFed doesn't suit your fancy, you may want to reconsider giving Capital One another chance. I've used my Capital One Platinum credit card, which also has no annual fee, for years when traveling and I've never had a problem.

I would even say their customer service has improved over the last year or so as they've made a big push to focus on customer retention amidst the economic downturn.

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Joshua Heckathorn's picture

Joshua Heckathorn was the President and owner of Creditnet.com. He shared his unique insights about credit cards, credit scores, investments, and all aspects of personal finance on Creditnet's blog, Credit¢ents. Joshua received a Bachelor of Science in Management (Finance) from Brigham Young University's Marriott School of Business and earned his Master of Business Administration from Seattle University in 2009.

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