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To Pay Or Not To Pay: That’s The Question For Chase Freedom Foreign Transaction Fee

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Chase Freedom Foreign Transx Fee

Without doubt, the Chase Freedom card is one best cash back reward credit cards you can apply for these days. The card offers respectable sign-up bonuses, and it allows you to earn some pretty nice rewards for your spending. However, Chase Freedom comes with one glaring question mark: It imposes foreign transaction fees on purchases made outside the U.S.

But Just how big a hindrance is the Chase Freedom foreign transaction fee to what is, otherwise, an excellent credit card?

And is that fee worth paying in order to have the Chase Freedom card in your wallet.

Benefits Of The Chase Freedom Card

Let’s start by laying out what are some pretty awesome benefits associated with this card:

  • $150 cash-back sign up bonus after spending just $500 on the card in the first 3 months – a whopping 30% cash-back bonus.
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate and unlimited 1% cashback on all other purchases. Through June, the bonus category is grocery stores and home-improvement stores. Categories for the third and fourth quarters have not yet been announced.
  • Cash back rewards never expire, and you can redeem the cash at any time, regardless of amount.
  • 0% interest rate for first 15 months after account opening on all purchases and balance transfers (though you will pay a fee of as much as 3% of the value of the balance that you transfer).
  • No annual fee.

Taken as a whole, those are some prime benefits in the world of credit cards.

But, as I said, there is that one, glaring issue with the Chase Freedom Card…

Chase Freedom®

INTRO APR on Purchases
0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months
INTRO apr on Balance Transfer
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months
Regular APR
17.24% to 25.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards Program
Ultimate Rewards®
Bonuses & Rewards
  • + Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate
  • + Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter
  • + Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automatic
  • + Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open and there is no minimum to redeem for cash back.
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 17.24% to 25.99%. Balance transfer fee is 3% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
  • No annual fee
  • 3% foreign transaction fee
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The Limits Of The Chase Freedom Card

The Chase Freedom foreign transaction fee is not an insignificant matter.

The world is a much-smaller place these days, and people are hopping on airplanes in record numbers to venture about the world, even if it’s something as quick and simple as a long-weekend in the Caribbean.

Whip out your Chase Freedom card to pay for your expenses while you’re outside the U.S., and Chase will ding you with pay a foreign transaction fee equal to 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars% of the price of whatever you purchase – hotel rooms, meals, transportation, souvenirs, whatever.

While that might not sound like much, the fee can really add up. CreditDonkey reported last year that the average cost of a family holiday overseas is about $4,580. The Chase Freedom foreign transaction fee applied across that cost means you’re paying an extra $137 for no reason, just for that one trip.

And it’s not just physical travel we’re talking about here. There’s also electronic travel.

Thanks to the Internet, we can now buy goods and services online all over the world. Every day, the average Americans spends almost two hours shopping online, according to Finder.com, and in 2019 online retail sales globally are expected to top $3 trillion. It’s hard to say how much money the average American spends shopping at online sites overseas, but an online transaction at an overseas retailer is subject to Chase Freedom’s foreign transaction fee as well. So, there’s more money out of your pocket for no reason.

If you’re a global traveler, or if you regularly purchase items online from overseas sellers, you have better options for a credit card than the Chase Freedom card.

What you want is a no foreign transaction fee credit card. And these days, those no foreign transaction fee credit cards are plentiful … even within Chase.

Apply for a No Foreign Fee Credit Card from Our Partner

INTRO APR on Purchases
0% (up to 14 months)
INTRO apr on Balance Transfer
0% (up to 14 months)
Regular APR
See Site
Annual Fee
$0
Bonuses & Rewards
  • The best credit cards with no foreign transaction fee: April 2019
  • View all of the current card offers on Credit-Land.com by clicking Apply Now
  • Earn miles and cash back, enjoy great travel benefits and skip the fees while making purchases abroad
  • Offers available for Excellent and Good credit
  • No Foreign Transaction Fee
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Which Chase Cards Offer No Foreign Transaction Fee?

Chase offers several credit cards that impose no foreign transaction fee. It just depends on what you want, or if you are loyal to a particular airline. The only downside is that all of them charge an annual fee of $95 to $99.

Chase Sapphire Preferred:

  • No foreign transaction fee.
  • 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on the card in the first months (that’s worth $750 toward travel when redeeming the points through Chase Ultimate Rewards).
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value from your points when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards, meaning, for example, you get 1,250 worth of value for each 1,000 points redeemed.
  • $95 annual fee.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Card:

  • No foreign transaction fee.
  • 60,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 in the first months.
  • 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest purchases. x points on Southwest Airlines purchases; 1x on everything else.
  • 6,000 bonus points after your cardmember anniversary points every year on card anniversary.
  • $99 annual fee.

United Explorer Card:

  •  No foreign transaction fee.
  • Earn 40,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus, earn an additional 20,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $8,000 total on purchases in the first 6 months after your account is open.
  •  Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on tickets purchased from United.x miles at hotels, restaurants and for United Airlines purchases.
  •  1x miles on everything else.
  •  Free checked bag for cardmember and companion on United-operated flights.
  •  Priority boarding.
  •  2 United Club passes on each anniversary.
  • Up to $100 credit when you use your card to pay for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.
  • 25% back as a statement credit on all United inflight purchases, including food, beverage and onboard WiFi.
  • Annual fee: $0 first year $95 after that.

Ink Business Preferred Card:

  • No foreign transaction fee.
  • 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel rewards when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  •  3x points on the first $150,000 in spending each year on travel, shipping, telecom services (Internet, cable, phone), and advertising purchases made with social-media sites and search engines.
  • Unlimited 1x points on everything.
  • Get 25% more value from your points when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards, meaning, for example, you get 1,250 worth of value for each 1,000 points redeemed.
  • Annual fee: $95.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

INTRO APR on Purchases
N/A
INTRO apr on Balance Transfer
N/A
Regular APR
18.24% to 25.24% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Rewards Program
Ultimate Rewards®
Bonuses & Rewards
  • + 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • + No foreign transaction fees
  • + 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred named "Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, June 2018
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • No foreign transaction fees
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Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card

INTRO APR on Purchases
N/A
INTRO apr on Balance Transfer
N/A
Regular APR
18.24% to 25.24% Variable±
Annual Fee
$99
Rewards Program
Rapid Rewards®
Bonuses & Rewards
  • + Earn 2 points for every $1 you spend on Southwest Airlines purchases
  • + Earn 1 point for every $1 you spend on all other purchases
  • Earn 60,000 points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
  • 6,000 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary.
  • Points don't expire as long as your card account is open.
  • Earn points on every purchase with no limits.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fee
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Chase United℠Explorer Credit Card

INTRO APR on Purchases
N/A
INTRO apr on Balance Transfer
N/A
Regular APR
18.24% to 25.24% Variable
Annual Fee
$0 Intro for First Year, then $95
Rewards Program
MileagePlus®
Bonuses & Rewards
  • + 2 miles per each $1 spent at restaurants and on hotel accommodations.
  • + 2 miles per each $1 spent on United purchases.
  • + 1 mile per each $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 40,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
  • Plus, earn an additional 20,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $8,000 total on purchases in the first 6 months after your account is open.
  • Miles don't expire as long as your account is open.
  • No blackout dates.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fee
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Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card

INTRO APR on Purchases
N/A
INTRO apr on Balance Transfer
N/A
Regular APR
18.24% to 23.24% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Rewards Program
Ultimate Rewards®
Bonuses & Rewards
  • + Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year
  • + Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases–with no limit to the amount you can earn
  • + Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • + Redeem points for travel, cash back, gift cards and more – your points don't expire as long as your account is open
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Employee cards at no additional cost
  • $95 Annual Fee
  • No foreign transaction fees
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Other Credit Cards with No Foreign Transaction Fee

Of course, Chase isn’t the only company offering no foreign transaction fee credit cards. You will find these cards all over the place.

And if you do any level of travel overseas, you absolutely want to consider what are the best credit cards for international travel.

As a global travel myself – and a long-time financial writer – here are a few non-Chase cards that I think are worthy of consideration:

Credit Cards with No Foreign Transaction Fee

Capital One VentureOne Rewards Card:

  •   No foreign transaction fee.
  • 50,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 in first 3 months.
  • 2x miles on every purchase.
  • Plus earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels through January 2020; learn more at hotels.com/venture.
  • $0 intro for first year; $95 after that thereafter.

Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard:

  • No foreign transaction fee.
  • Enjoy 70,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 90 days bonus miles after spending $5,000 in the first months.
  • Unlimited 2x miles on all purchases.
  • Redeem miles for travel of cash-back statement credit, gift cards or merchandise.
  • 5% points back each time you redeem.
  • Annual fee: $89(waived first year).

HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard:

  • No foreign transaction fee.
  • $0 cash bonus after spending $10,000 in the first 12 months.
  • 1.5% cash back on every purchase.
  • 10% anniversary cash back bonus on all cash rewards earned during the year.
  • 0% interest rate on all purchases and balance transfers in the first 15 months after account opening. (Balance transfer fee is up to 10% of the value of the transfer).
  • No annual fee, no foreign transaction fees.

CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Mastercard:  

  •  No foreign transaction fees.
  • 70,000 bonus miles after spending $4,000 in the first 4 months.
  • 2x miles on cable, satellite and select telecom providers, as well as on eligible American Airlines purchases, gas stations and car rentals.
  • 1x on everything else.
  • First checked bag free on domestic flights for you and up to 4 traveling companions. Preferred boarding on American Airlines flights. 25% savings when using the card for inflight food, beverage and onboard WiFi.
  • Annual fee: $99, waived for first 12 months.

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

INTRO APR on Purchases
N/A
INTRO apr on Balance Transfer
N/A
Regular APR
17.99% - 25.24% (Variable)
Annual Fee
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Rewards Program
Venture® Rewards
ABOUT THIS CREDIT CARD:
  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel
  • Earn 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Plus earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels through January 2020; learn more at hotels.com/venture
  • Named ‘The Best Travel Card' by CNBC, 2018
  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime; no blackout dates. Plus transfer your miles to over 12 leading travel loyalty programs
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that
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Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®

Discover it® Miles Card
This offer is
expired
INTRO APR on Purchases
N/A
INTRO apr on Balance Transfer
0% (first 12 billing cycles following each balance transfer that posts to your account within 45 days of account opening)
Regular APR
18.24%, 22.24% or 25.24% variable based on your creditworthiness
Annual Fee
$89 (waived first year)
Rewards Program
Barclaycard Arrival Rewards
Bonuses & Rewards
  • + Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase
  • Enjoy 70,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 90 days
  • Book travel your way—no airline, seat or hotel restrictions—and redeem your miles for travel statement credits
  • Get 5% miles back to use toward your next redemption, every time you redeem
  • International Chip and PIN for use at self-service chip terminals around the world
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • + Miles don’t expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing
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HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card

INTRO APR on Purchases
0% Intro APR for 12 months on purchases
INTRO apr on Balance Transfer
0% Intro APR for 12 months on balance transfers
Regular APR
Variable APR of 15.24%, 19.24% or 25.24%
Annual Fee
None
ABOUT THIS CREDIT CARD:
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash rewards on all purchases.
  • Earn an Introductory 3% Cash Back on all purchases in the first 12 months from Account opening, up to the first $10,000 in purchases.
  • 10% Anniversary Bonus on all Cash Rewards earned once a year.
  • No Annual Fee.
  • 0% Intro APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a 15.24%, 19.24% or 25.24% variable APR.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $0 liability for unauthorized purchases.
  • Terms Apply.
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CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard®

Discover it® Miles Card
How to apply
To apply for this offer please contact
Citibank
Read Review
INTRO APR on Purchases
N/A
INTRO apr on Balance Transfer
N/A
Regular APR
17.99% - 25.99% (Variable)
Annual Fee
$99, waived for first 12 months
Rewards Program
AAdvantage®
Bonuses & Rewards
  • + Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles per $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases
  • + Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles per $1 spent on purchases at telecommunications merchants, cable and satellite providers, car rental merchants and at gas stations
  • + Earn 1 AAdvantage® mile per $1 spent on other purchases
  • + Designed for businesses
  • For a limited time: Earn 70,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after making $4,000 in purchases in first 4 months of account opening
  • First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries to reduce travel costs and boost your bottom line
  • 25% savings on American Airlines inflight Wi-Fi when you use your card
  • Enjoy preferred boarding on American Airlines flights
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees
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How To Choose The Right No Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Card

Honestly, the choice here really boils down to how you travel.

If you’re looking for the best credit cards for international travel, then you have to ask yourself: Do I want to be loyal to one particular airline? If so, I would argue you want a credit card associated with that air carrier. You will get the best of both worlds: No foreign transaction fee, and bonus miles and other perks for signing up with and for purchases with that particular airline.

If you are not loyal to any one carrier, then I would say either the Chase Sapphire Preferred or the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard are the way to go. They both offer sizeable sign-up bonuses, and 2x points on all purchases, easily putting them ahead of the others.

The Wrap Up

The Chase Freedom Card is a top-notch credit card for a lot of consumers. But the 3% foreign transaction fee it charges is an unnecessary tax that international travelers can avoid by choosing a better credit with no foreign transaction fees.

But we want to know: If you travel internationally, do you ever stop to consider the foreign transaction fee you’re paying – or does it not matter to you?

Let us know in the comments below.

Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

UGC Disclosure: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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