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March 17, 2018

Chase Freedom Unlimited: Foreign Transaction Fee

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Chase Freedom Unlimited may not be a good travel partner. Here's what you need to know about its foreign transaction fees.

If you use the Chase Freedom Unlimited, it's probably your go-to card for everyday spending. But will this card still be as useful while you're abroad?

In this article, we'll break down how the Chase Freedom Unlimited foreign transaction fee works. We'll also offer some alternatives for what you can do to avoid this fee while abroad.

Chase Freedom Unlimited Overview

Chase Freedom Unlimited
Apply for Chase Freedom Unlimited
Although the Freedom Unlimited isn't one of Chase's dedicated travel rewards cards, it does come with some nice rewards. Here's how it works:

  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.99-25.74%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase - it's automatic
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
  • No annual fee

Chase Freedom Unlimited can be a great card for your regular everyday spending. But you probably won't want to make it your go-to for spending abroad. If you do, this card's foreign transaction fee might make a sizeable dent in your vacation savings.

If you plan to travel abroad, you may want to consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred instead. Chase Sapphire Preferred has no foreign transaction fees.

What Is a Foreign Transaction Fee?

Chase Freedom Unlimited charges a foreign transaction fee every time you use the card outside of the U.S. If you are a frequent international traveler, you may want to consider a no foreign transaction fee credit card to avoid that 3% fee.

Foreign transaction fees (FTFs) are, in a sense, exactly what they sound like. If your card comes with this fee, you'll have to pay extra to the bank for every transaction you make with outside of the United States.

That means that your meals, hotels, transportations, and shopping abroad can all come with an extra fee. In fact, you don't even have to be abroad to accrue foreign transaction fees. Even making online purchases with non-U.S. based retailers - like some foreign airlines - can come with a FTF.

Banks will typically charge as much as 3%. That's small enough that it might not deter you from making a few minor purchases, but high enough that it can quickly become frustrating. For example, between hotels, bus rides, tours, and eating out, most of us could easily charge $1,000 during a trip. That could rack up an additional $30 in fees.

FTFs show up as separate charges on your credit card statement. So when you get home, it'll be easy (and depressing) to calculate exactly how much you wasted on fees.

Chase Freedom Unlimited Foreign Transaction Fee

While it might be the perfect everyday card, the Freedom Unlimited does come with a foreign transaction fee: 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars. That might not exactly break the bank. Still, no one wants to spend their vacation savings on bank fees.

In short, this everyday spending card might need to take a week (or two) off during your next international trip.

Not to worry - there are plenty of international travel-friendly credit cards out there. If you carry multiple credit cards, it could be worth taking a few minutes to see if you have any cards with no foreign transaction fee.

Avoid Foreign Transaction Fees with These Cards

If you're looking for a cashback card you can take abroad, there are some other comparable cards with no FTF. These cards have no annual fees either:

  • Capital One Quicksilver offers a one-time bonus of $150 if you spend $500 on purchases within three months of account opening. This card earns 1.5% cash back on all purchases. There is a 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months. After that, a variable APR, currently 14.74% to 24.74%. There is a 3% balance transfer fee on the amounts transferred within the first 15 months. There is no annual fee.

  • Discover It will match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year. This offer is only for new customers. This card earns 5% cash back in bonus categories that change each quarter (up to the quarterly maximum; requires free activation each quarter). All other purchases earn 1% cash back.

Other Chase Cards with No FTF

Or you can look into applying for a new Chase card. The bank offers several cards that earn travel rewards and have no foreign transaction fee. Here's how they stack up:

    Chase Sapphire Preferred
    Apply for Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
  1. Chase Sapphire Preferred: The Sapphire Preferred is one of the most popular midrange travel reward cards out there, and for good reason. It offers a huge sign-up bonus, and you can earn extra points on travel and dining purchases.

    Chase Sapphire Preferred lets you earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. This card lets you earn 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide.

    Points can be transferred 1:1 to leading frequent travel programs including airline transfer partners. The card has a $0 foreign transaction fee. The card also comes with premium travel and purchase protection benefits (including trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance and auto rental collision damage waiver). There is a $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95.

    Chase Sapphire Reserve
    Apply for Chase Sapphire Reserve

  2. Chase Sapphire Reserve: The Sapphire Reserve is the luxury equivalent of the Sapphire Preferred. This card is geared toward frequent and/or luxury travelers, with a high annual fee and a long, long list of top-tier travel perks and benefits.

    Chase Sapphire Reserve lets you earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. This card offers a $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.

    This card earns 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. The points can be transferred 1:1 to leading frequent travel programs including airline transfer partners. The card has $0 foreign transaction fees. The card comes with access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select. There is a $450 annual fee.

    Ink Business Preferred
    Apply for Ink Business Preferred Credit Card

  3. Chase Ink Business Preferred: If you're looking for a business credit card, the Ink Preferred is for you. It earns extra points on travel - among (many) other spending categories - and offers a valuable sign-up bonus.

    Ink Business Preferred lets you earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. 80,000 points is worth $1,000 toward travel when you redeem via Chase Ultimate Rewards. Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases on travel, shipping purchases, Internet, cable and phone services, advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines each account anniversary year. Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases - with no limit to the amount you can earn. There are no foreign transaction fees. There is a $95 annual fee.

Tip: If you use two Chase Ultimate Rewards cards - like the Freedom Unlimited and one of the premium cards above - you'll be able to combine your Ultimate Rewards points between your cards. You can transfer points from your Freedom Unlimited to one of Chase's travel cards to take advantage of a higher redemption rate on booking travel through Ultimate Rewards, or you can transfer your points to Chase airline and hotel partners.

Bottom Line

The Chase Freedom Unlimited can be a handy card for earning rewards on your regular spending. But in the travel arena, it doesn't shine. There are a couple of other options for cashback cards with no foreign transaction fee. Chase also offers some travel rewards cards that not only have no FTFs, but make great companions for the Freedom Unlimited.

Next Step: View the issuer's official application, terms, and details

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by Chase. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by Chase. This site may be compensated through the Advertiser's affiliate programs.

Disclaimer: This content was first published on March 17, 2018. Information including APR, terms and benefits may vary, be out of date, or not applicable to you. Information is provided without warranty. Please check Chase website for updated information.

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. This site may be compensated through the Advertiser's affiliate programs.

Disclaimer: The information for the Discover it® Cash Back and Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by CreditDonkey. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

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Chase Freedom Unlimited
Apply for Chase Freedom Unlimited
At Chase's Secure Site
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.99-25.74%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase - it's automatic
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
  • No annual fee
  • Go to issuer's official application, terms, and details
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
0% for 15 months
0% for 15 months
16.99% - 25.74% Variable
$0

Compare Chase Freedom Unlimited to:

Compare Chase Freedom Unlimited vs Capital One Quicksilver

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Compare Chase Freedom Unlimited vs Chase Sapphire Preferred

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Compare Chase Freedom Unlimited vs Blue Cash Everyday

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express


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