The Chase Freedom and Freedom Unlimited are two of the most valuable cash back rewards credit cards on the market. They both come with decent sign-up bonuses (worth $175 or more) and they also earn fantastic rewards based on their different earning structure. But the Chase Freedom cards definitely have at least one shortcoming. And it’s that there are foreign transaction fees for both the Chase Freedom and Chase Freedom Unlimited.
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What is the Chase Freedom foreign transaction fee?
- The Chase Freedom foreign transaction fee is 3%.
The earning potential of the Chase Freedom cards makes up for their transaction fees, in my opnion.
The Freedom earns 5X the points on rotating quarterly categories like gas, groceries, department stores, and dining and the Freedom Unlimited earns 1.5X on all purchases. The fact that these cards offer those earning rates is significant enough to overlook the fact that the Chase Freedom comes with a foreign transaction fee.
- For a more in-depth comparison of the Chase Freedom cards click here.
Chase cards that don’t come with foreign transaction fees
If you were worried about paying the Chase Freedom foreign transaction fee of 3% you could always look into a credit card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred.
That cards earns 2X on all dining and travel purchases (which is good) but also comes with no foreign transaction fees. It’s annual fee is only $95 and it’s waived the first year. It also comes with a high sign-up bonus of 50,000 points (55,000 when you add an authorized user).
Another option might be to look into the Chase Sapphire Reserve which earns 3X on all dining and travel purchases and comes with a 50,000 point sign-up bonus. I
The Reserve comes with a much higher annual fee of $550 but it’s $300 annual travel credit and $60 DoorDash credit wipes that fee down to $190. This card also comes with Priority Pass access which will get you into all of those fancy airline lounges around the US and the world. And finally, you can’t forget about the amazing protections of the Chase Sapphire Reserve.
Depending on how much money you spend a year, it could end up making economic sense to go with the Reserve over the Preferred. Keep in mind that both of these cards offer primary rental car insurance. So if you normally book rental cars each year, the rental car coverage could be worth the annual fee alone.
The Sapphire cards work very well in conjunction with the Freedom cards. For example, you can use your Freedom cards to accumulate tons of Ultimate Rewards with your domestic purchases and then rely on the Sapphire cards to help you avoid foreign transaction fees while abroad. All of those cards earn superb bonus spend rates, so using them is a great way to maximize your earnings.
Overall, the Chase Freedom foreign transaction fee of 3% isn’t a huge dealbreaker because the Freedom cards come with no annual fees and offer great opportunities for rewards. Moreover, there are other credit card options by Chase that could fill in the need for a no foreign transaction fee credit card and they come with plenty of value.
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Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. Since 2014, his content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.