The best credit cards for expats abroad

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Choosing the correct credit card for your time abroad can be as much of a minefield as choosing what bank to open an account with. You might find that the credit cards offered by your bank don’t fit your needs or you simply aren’t eligible. Relying on a credit card issued by your home bank may mean that you end up paying through the nose for ATM fees, transaction fees and overseas usage. Withdrawing currency can incur costs of up to $5 plus a charge of up to 3% from your bank to complete the withdrawal. If you use your card to pay for goods abroad, you may find yourself falling foul of a foreign transaction fee. On their own, it might not look like much, but if you add it up over the course of a year, you might find that you end up out of pocket. So which overseas credit card should you use?


Capital One 360

Firstly, this card doesn’t charge any foreign transaction fees. If that wasn’t enough to convince you, then their exchange rates should do the job. They are highly competitive and you can guarantee that they reflect a ‘real’ exchange rate, rather than an inflated one. There’s no minimum spend, maintenance fee and their small print is among the fairest on the market.


Charles Schwab

You might not be familiar with this bank, but you should be. Whilst they don’t charge any foreign transaction fees, they will also reimburse any fees that you are charged for withdrawing money abroad. Again, there is no maintenance fee and no minimum monthly balance. However, if you do decide to open an account at Charles Schwab, you will also be required to open a brokerage account too. Another downside is that they don’t do international money transfers.

Credit card

Credit card



HSBC regularly crop up on lists of the best bank accounts to have, and it’s no wonder why. They can’t be beaten in terms of sheer availability. Thanks to their global presence, you can effectively open a bank account anywhere in the world. HSBC also has plenty of physical branches that you can pop into, which may be an advantage over the online banks. Their credit cards usually have extremely fair terms and conditions, which means that you won’t be tricked into a product that you have no need for. It is advisable to book an appointment with an advisor to select the best card for you.


Capital One Venture Rewards

This card does not charge any foreign transaction fees and moreover, has a series of advantages for spenders. If you spend more than $3000 in the first 90 days of receiving the card, you will be given up to $400 in travel credit. You also receive points on every amount that you spend. Beware that you will be charged $59 in a maintenance fee after the first year of having the card.


DBS Altitude

This is a card for the high-rollers, as a personal butler comes included with the service. Anytime you need assistance, the butler will be there to help you out. Might come in handy if you forget to pick up your dry cleaning before a big trip. You also receive air miles, upon payment of the annual fee, which is around S$192. Especially handy is the travel insurance included in the package, with an allowance of up to S$1000000.

How do you manage your money abroad? Comment below with your suggestions!

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