Your cookie preferences


We use cookies and similar technologies. You can use the settings below to accept all cookies (which we recommend to give you the best experience) or to enable specific categories of cookies as explained below. Find out more by reading our Cookie Policy.

Select cookie preferences

Skip to main content

Compare travel credit cards

Find a credit card that's free to use abroad

With the best travel credit cards you can dodge sneaky overseas charges when you spend abroad, earn airline rewards, or even do both at once.

Compare our best travel credit cards

Answer a few questions to find our best travel card for you
Uswitch.com is rated Excellent | by 22,717 people
Fact checker
Last updated
February 8th, 2024
5 results found, sorted by popularity.

Santander All in One Credit Card

Representative APR (variable)
29.8%APR
Foreign purchase fee
No fee &0%interest for15months
Account fee
£3a month
Representative example:
The standard interest rate on purchases is 23.9% p.a. (variable), so if you borrow £1,200 the Representative APR will be 29.8% (variable). £3 monthly fee.
More Information
Additional information
  • 0.5% cashback (up to £10 a month) on all your purchases.
  • £3 monthly fee
  • 0% for 15 months on balance transfers
  • 0% for 15 months on purchases
Eligibility
  • be a permanent UK resident
  • be 18 or older
  • minimum income of £10,500
  • have a good credit rating
  • must not be an existing Santander balance transfer credit card customer
  • additional criteria for acceptance from the lender may apply

Barclaycard Rewards Credit Card

Representative APR (variable)
28.9%APR
Foreign purchase fee
No fee &28.9%interest p.a. variable
Account fee
£0
Representative example:
The standard interest rate on purchases is 28.9% p.a. (variable), so if you borrow £1,200 the Representative APR will be 28.9% (variable).
More Information
Additional information
  • 0.25% cashback on all your spend
  • No fees on purchases abroad as long as you pay in the local currency then you won’t pay fees on non-sterling purchases
  • Register for Barclaycard Cashback Rewards and you can earn up to 15% cashback when you spend at a range of participating retailers. This is on top of the 0.25% cashback you’d get on everyday spend with the Barclaycard Rewards card. T&Cs apply.
Eligibility
  • be a permanent UK resident
  • be 21 years or over
  • not have had any Individual Voluntary arrangements, County Court Judgements and must not have been declared bankrupt
  • not already hold a Barclaycard credit card
  • best suited to customers with an income of £20,000
  • additional criteria for acceptance from the lender may apply
Which? Recommended Credit Cards Provider in 2022

Virgin Money Travel Credit Card (24.9%)

Representative APR (variable)
24.9%APR
Foreign purchase fee
No fee &0%interest for9months
Account fee
£0
Representative example:
The standard interest rate on purchases is 24.9% p.a. (variable), so if you borrow £1,200 the Representative APR will be 24.9% (variable).
More Information
Additional information
  • Virgin Money Cashback offers cardholders the ability to earn cashback on their credit card spend at participating retailers when they are enrolled in the programme via the mobile app'.
  • 9 months 0% on purchases
  • 9 months 0% balance transfer ( 2% transfer fee)
  • 9 months on money transfers ( 4% transfer fee)
  • No fees on overseas purchases, 5% off Virgin Holidays - Terms Apply
  • Accepted worldwide in all Mastercard locations
Eligibility
  • be 18 or older
  • be a UK resident
  • have a good credit history
  • no balance transfers from Clydesdale Bank PLC
  • additional criteria for acceptance from the lender may apply
Which? Recommended Credit Cards Provider in 2022

Virgin Money Travel Credit Card (29.9%)

Representative APR (variable)
29.9%APR
Foreign purchase fee
No fee &0%interest for9months
Account fee
£0
Representative example:
The standard interest rate on purchases is 29.9% p.a. (variable), so if you borrow £1,200 the Representative APR will be 29.9% (variable).
More Information
Additional information
  • Virgin Money Cashback offers cardholders the ability to earn cashback on their credit card spend at participating retailers when they are enrolled in the programme via the mobile app'.
  • 9 months 0% on balance transfers ( 2% transfer fee)
  • 9 months 0% on money transfers ( 4% transfer fee)
  • 9 months 0% on purchases
  • Absolutely no fees on overseas purchases, 5% off Virgin Holidays. Terms apply
  • Accepted worldwide in all Mastercard locations
Eligibility
  • be 18 or older
  • be a UK resident
  • have a good credit history
  • no balance transfers from Clydesdale Bank PLC
  • additional criteria for acceptance from the lender may apply
Which? Recommended Credit Cards Provider in 2022

Virgin Money Travel Credit Card (27.9%)

Representative APR (variable)
27.9%APR
Foreign purchase fee
No fee &0%interest for9months
Account fee
£0
Representative example:
The standard interest rate on purchases is 27.9% p.a. (variable), so if you borrow £1,200 the Representative APR will be 27.9% (variable).
More Information
Additional information
  • Virgin Money Cashback offers cardholders the ability to earn cashback on their credit card spend at participating retailers when they are enrolled in the programme via the mobile app'.
  • 9 months 0% on balance transfers (2% transfer fee)
  • 9 months 0% on money transfers (4% transfer fee)
  • 9 months 0% on purchases
  • Absolutely no fees on overseas purchases, 5% off Virgin Holidays. Terms apply
  • Accepted worldwide in all Mastercard locations
Eligibility
  • be 18 or older
  • be a UK resident
  • have good credit history
  • no balance transfers from Clydesdale Bank PLC
  • additional criteria for acceptance from the lender may apply
Uswitch Limited is a credit broker, not a lender, for consumer credit.
Our services are provided at no cost to you. We may receive a commission from the companies we refer you to, but this does not affect what you will pay for the product you choose.

What is a travel credit card?

A man is at a laptop with a credit card and his suitcase is open next to him

Travel credit cards are designed for people who want the security of using a credit card when paying for goods and services abroad, but don't want to pay extra for it.

Credit cards offer extra purchase protection when you spend, at home or overseas, but most standard cards charge more when they are used abroad.

The best travel credit cards not only waive these transaction fees but offer an excellent exchange rate too.

You can also get rewards for spending - at home or abroad - with the best travel credit cards offering airline or other loyalty points as well as being free to use overseas.

Travel credit cards are one of the best ways to avoid non-sterling transaction fees when on holiday.”

What are the benefits of a travel card?

 Preferable exchange rates

Preferable exchange rates

If you're spending with travel credit cards you get the Visa or Mastercard exchange rate for your purchases, depending on your card provider, which is about the best you'll find anywhere.

Protected purchases

Protected purchases

You have extra legal protection on purchases if you use a credit card, thanks to Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. It means you're covered if you buy something at home or abroad costing over £100 and up to £30,000 if goods are faulty or aren’t delivered. You’re also protected if a supplier you use goes bust such as a tour operator or airline.

Security

Security

Taking a large wad of cash with you on holiday can be risky. Cash is more likely to be stolen and make you a victim of crime. Taking a small amount of cash is generally a good idea but you can use a credit card for travel for the majority of your spending.

What are the benefits of a travel card?

 Preferable exchange rates

Preferable exchange rates

If you're spending with travel credit cards you get the Visa or Mastercard exchange rate for your purchases, depending on your card provider, which is about the best you'll find anywhere.

Protected purchases

Protected purchases

You have extra legal protection on purchases if you use a credit card, thanks to Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. It means you're covered if you buy something at home or abroad costing over £100 and up to £30,000 if goods are faulty or aren’t delivered. You’re also protected if a supplier you use goes bust such as a tour operator or airline.

Security

Security

Taking a large wad of cash with you on holiday can be risky. Cash is more likely to be stolen and make you a victim of crime. Taking a small amount of cash is generally a good idea but you can use a credit card for travel for the majority of your spending.

What is the best travel credit card to use abroad?

The best credit card for travel will depend on what features you want most.

Credit cards for travel are likely to offer you the best deals and value for money outside the UK. Look for travel credit cards with no foreign transaction fees.

Using your standard UK credit card or debit card when you're on a foreign holiday can be expensive. You'll usually have to pay around 3% on cash withdrawals and every time you buy something abroad.

Shop around using credit card comparison sites to compare the best travel credit card deals.

Just be aware that to get the best credit cards for travel you'll need a good credit score.

You can check which cards you qualify for using a card finder tool, like ours below, to see how likely you are to be accepted before you apply.

UK residents overseas spending Sept-Nov 2022[1]
£58.5bn

Find a travel credit card

See what's available and check your eligibility before applying for a travel credit card with our card finder tool
eligibility-animation
1
Answer a few simple questions about yourself
2
We'll show you the cards you’re likely to get, so you can apply with confidence
3
Your credit score won't be affected by the search
Trust Pilot stars

Things to consider before applying for a travel credit card

Before you apply for a travel credit card think about:

How often you travel abroad

Travel credit cards can save you money when you spend abroad.

If you don’t travel that much, paying a card fee or even taking on an extra credit account for only occasional use may not be a good idea.

Holiday checklist

Only use abroad

Travel credit cards offer about the cheapest way to spend overseas. But they probably won’t give you the best deal when you use them in the UK.

For spending at home you'll likely be far better off with a different type of credit card.

See your credit card options

Make sure you can pay in full each month

Travel credit cards won’t offer the best interest rate or the cheapest deal for long-term debt.

It’s a good idea to pay off what you owe in full when you return from holiday. Otherwise, you will have to pay high interest charges and undo the savings you’ve made while you were away.

Don't forget travel insurance for your trip

Other cards with no foreign transaction fees

Most credit and debit cards will charge you a fee for buying things or withdrawing cash outside the UK. This fee can be 3% or more every time you use the card. That is £6 for every £200 you spend. These fees can soon add up.

The best travel credit cards won’t charge you for taking out cash and making purchases overseas - but they're not the only way to do this

Here are two other options:

Travel debit cards

Certain current accounts will offer cheap - or potentially even free - use overseas. Virgin Money and Starling currently offer this, for example.

These have one clear advantage and one disadvantage over travel credit cards. The major advantage is on overseas cash withdrawals. 

With a travel credit card you'll be charged interest from the moment you take money out of a cash machine, and possibly face a transaction charge too. Travel debit cards don't charge you for this.

However, spending on travel debit cards offers less purchase protection than spending on a travel credit card.

Travel money cards

travel money card, or a prepaid travel card is not a credit card. You pre-load currency onto your card before you travel, allowing you to spend or withdraw cash once you’re away.

It’s safer than carrying cash if you want to avoid taking your existing credit card abroad.

Be aware of the fees that exist on some travel money cards. They can include:

  • Application fees 

  • Cash withdrawal fees

  • Top-up charges

  • Fees for getting a replacement card

You don't have to pass a credit check when you apply for a prepaid currency card, like you would when applying for a travel credit card or current account.

Top tip when using your credit card abroad

Don’t pay in pounds when you use your credit card abroad. When you’re spending overseas, you’ll often be asked whether you want to pay in pounds or the local currency. 

To get the best exchange rate, always choose to pay in local currency.

Paying in local currency means your bank will do the foreign exchange conversion for you. Paying this way with a travel credit card will give you the best possible exchange rate.

Where you pay in pounds the merchant will use its own bank to do the conversion. This will probably end up costing you a lot more.

Average daily spend while on holiday[1]
£75

FAQs

Can I withdraw cash on my travel credit card when abroad?

Yes, you can use your credit card to take out money from an ATM overseas, but it’s best not to because you usually have to pay interest on that money even if you clear your bill in full each month.

That's because credit cards don’t offer an interest-free period for cash withdrawals, meaning interest starts racking up straightaway.

You might also have to pay a "cash transaction fee" for using an ATM, even if you don't have to pay a foreign transaction fee.

What is dynamic currency conversion?

Dynamic currency conversion is when a shop or ATM converts your purchase into your own currency (pounds sterling) rather than keeping it in the local currency. 

This sounds convenient, as you can see how much you're paying in pounds, but the exchange rate you get is unlikely to be as competitive as the one used by your own card.

Mastercard's and Visa's exchange rates are about the best you'll find anywhere, so if you’re given the choice, always stick to the local currency. 

How Uswitch compares credit cards

What does ‘most popular’ and ‘popularity’ mean?

When we use the term ‘most popular or ‘popularity’ on Uswitch in reference to credit cards, these cards are ranked by the number of clicks they have received on the site in the past 30 days.

The most clicked on cards are at the top, with the least at the bottom. This reflects how popular they are with visitors to Uswitch.com. Consequently, this is a good table to look at if you’re interested in seeing which cards most people think are worth getting.

Does Uswitch compare all the credit cards on the market?

We compare over 100 credit cards from all of the major banks and credit card providers.

However, we do not compare all the credit cards that are available in the UK.

This is because some credit card providers have offers that are only available exclusively through their own website or branch, or through other comparison websites - in the same way some credit cards are exclusively available through Uswitch.

There are also many credit cards that are only available to people in member organisations and clubs.

Credit card guides

Find out more about how credit cards work with our in-depth guides
How many credit cards can you have?
How many credit cards can you have?
How to use a credit card
How to use a credit card
What are the differences between credit and debit card?
What are the differences between credit and debit card?

About the author

Salman Haqqi
Salman Haqqi has over a decade of experience as a journalist in several countries around the world. In recent years, he has turned his focus to helping people make confident financial decisions and regularly comments in the media about personal finance.

Customer Reviews

Rated 4.6 out of 5
by 22,717 people

References

1. UK residents overseas spending 2022 Office For National Statistics: Travel Trends: 2022