Traveling Overseas? Take These International Credit Cards With You

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Published on: March 15, 2021 Last updated: March 16, 2021

International Credit Cards in the Philippines | Moneymax

Credit cards that bear the logo of Mastercard, Visa, or American Express are accepted as a payment mode for transactions around the world. Yes, nobody’s stopping you from swiping your card—the only challenge is that it can be really costly if you’re using just a regular card and not any of the available international credit cards.

A number of international credit cards in the Philippines help Filipinos save money and earn rewards on purchases made overseas Some cards have low foreign transaction fees, while others have great rewards programs for international purchases. They also provide travel-related perks such as travel insurance and free access to airport lounges.

Looking for that kind of credit card? Read on to find out the best international credit card for you.

Best Credit Cards to Use Overseas

HSBC Platinum Visa

international credit cards - hsbc platinum visa

One of the best credit cards for overseas spending is HSBC’s Platinum Visa. It offers a generous rewards system to cardholders who use their card abroad, with 4x bonus points for every qualified transaction.

📌 Key Features and Benefits

  • Rewards:
    • Earn 4 bonus points for every PHP 20 you spend on overseas purchases when you travel abroad or shop online.
    • Earn 4 bonus points on overseas purchases made in foreign currency, including local online transactions.
    • 1 bonus point per PHP 20 spend elsewhere
  • Travel perks:
    • Exclusive privileges at over 27,000 establishments in 160 countries worldwide
    • Up to PHP 10 million travel insurance coverage

💸 Fees and Charges

  • Annual fee: PHP 5,000 (free on the first year)
  • Interest rate: 2%
  • Foreign currency transaction fee: 3.50% (2.50% of the converted amount plus 1% Visa assessment fee)
  • Cash advance fee: PHP 200 per transaction

UnionBank Miles+ Platinum Visa

international credit cards - unionbank miles+ platinum visa

UnionBank’s premium international credit card awards higher points for travel expenses. Which means the more you travel, the higher rewards you will accumulate. This card is one of the best international credit cards for travelers who often fly with PAL and Cebu Pacific.

📌 Key Features and Benefits

  • Rewards:
    • 1.5 points per PHP 25 travel-related spend
    • 1 point per PHP 25 spend elsewhere
  • Rebates: Redeem up to 2% cashback with your points
  • Travel perks:
    • Free airport lounge access
    • Up to PHP 10 million travel insurance

💸 Fees and Charges

  • Annual fee: PHP 3,000
  • Interest rate: 2%
  • Foreign currency transaction fee: 2% of the converted amount in peso
  • Cash advance fee: PHP 200 per transaction

Maybank Platinum Visa

international credit cards - maybank platinum visa

The Maybank Platinum Visa is one of the best international credit cards for earning cashback on purchases made abroad. On top of that is a low foreign currency conversion rate of 1.75% and free annual fee on the first year.

📌 Key Features and Benefits

  • Rewards: 1 TreatsPoint per PHP 25 spend
  • Rebates: 1% cashback on overseas transactions (Up to PHP 12,000 savings per year)
  • Travel perks:
    • Golf privileges worldwide, including access to 100 golf clubs in 23 countries
    • Exclusive discounts and privileges in the Philippines and abroad
    • Instant SMS notification for every approved transaction anywhere in the world

💸 Fees and Charges

  • Annual fee: PHP 3,500 (free on the first year)
  • Interest rate: 2%
  • Foreign currency transaction fee: 1.75%
  • Cash advance fee: PHP 200 per transaction

BPI Signature Visa

international credit cards - bpi signature visa

One of the best international credit cards to use overseas is the BPI Visa Signature—a travel and lifestyle card made for frequent travelers. With its great earn rate for credit card rewards, you can redeem flights and shopping credits fast. You can also have your transaction billed in the currency of the country you’re visiting, so you’ll be charged BPI’s low foreign transaction rate of 1.85% instead of the higher rate of the country’s local bank.

📌 Key Features and Benefits

  • Dual currency billing: Option to have overseas transactions billed in the local foreign currency instead of PHP
  • Low forex conversion rates of just 1.85%
  • Rewards: 1 point per PHP 20 spend
  • Travel perks:
    • Up to PHP 20 million travel accident and inconvenience benefit
    •  Enjoy complimentary access to the Pacific Club Lounge at NAIA 3
    • Premium assistance via Visa Concierge
    • Get exclusive 50% off deals on dining, hotels, resorts, fitness studios, and wellness centers, all year round.

💸 Fees and Charges

  • Annual fee: PHP 5,500 (free on the first year)
  • Interest rate: 2%
  • Foreign currency transaction fee: 1.85% of the converted amount (inclusive of the 1% Visa assessment fee)
  • Cash advance fee: PHP 200 per transaction

Metrobank World Mastercard

international credit cards - metrobank world mastercard

Get double rewards points and cashback when you use the Metrobank World Mastercard as a credit card for overseas spending. Compared to other international credit cards in the Philippines, the Metrobank World Mastercard offers higher credit limit to stretch your purchasing power, especially for overseas transactions.

📌 Key Features and Benefits

  • Rewards: 2x points per PHP 20 spend for international purchases / 3x points per PHP 20 spend when you shop at any Rustan’s Department Store / 1 point per PHP 20 spend elsewhere
  • Travel perks:
    • Enjoy exclusive deals at over 1,000 airports and 500 airport lounges
    • 24/7 Global Emergency Services for credit card-related concerns
    • 24-hour VIP concierge Service

💸 Fees and Charges

  • Annual fee: PHP 6,000 (free on the first year)
  • Interest rate: 2%
  • Foreign currency transaction fee: 2.50% of the converted amount in PHP or a select foreign currency converted using Metrobank’s exchange rate
  • Cash advance fee: PHP 200 per transaction

RCBC Bankard Visa Infinite

international credit cards - rcbc visa infinite

People who enjoy shopping when traveling abroad can maximize their spending with this premium lifestyle credit card. When you charge your RCBC Visa Infinite credit card at any clothing and apparel shops here and abroad, you can get a 5% rebate!

📌 Key Features and Benefits

  • Rewards: 1 point per PHP 36 spend (PHP 125 for grocery, medicine, and fuel purchases). Accumulated rewards points have no expiry and no limits, and these can be redeemed for cash rebates, air miles, or shopping vouchers.
  • Rebates: 5% cashback on clothing and apparel purchases at all local and international retail shops
  • Travel perks:
    • Up to PHP 1 million travel insurance and purchase protection insurance
    • Free access to select airport lounges for the cardholder and one travel companion
    • Free-for-life supplementary cards for up to nine cardholders

💸 Fees and Charges

  • Annual fee: PHP 3,600
  • Interest rate: 2%
  • Foreign currency transaction fee: 3.50% of the transaction amount (inclusive of 1% Visa assessment fee) or 2.25% of the amount converted to PHP
  • Cash advance fee: PHP 200 per transaction

BPI Family Credit Card

international credit cards - bpi family credit card

For frequent travelers who want just a basic credit card for overseas use, the BPI Family Mastercard fits the bill. It comes with a low annual fee, interest rate, and foreign transaction fee.

📌 Key Features and Benefits

  • Dual currency billing: Option to have overseas transactions billed in the local foreign currency instead of PHP
  • Lowest forex conversion rates at 1.85%
  • Affordable to own because of its low annual fee, interest rate, and foreign transaction fee

Fees and Charges

  • Annual fee: PHP 1,350 (free for the first year)
  • Interest rate: 2%
  • Foreign currency transaction fee: 1.85% of the converted amount plus 1% Mastercard assessment fee
  • Cash advance fee: PHP 200 per transaction

Security Bank Platinum Mastercard

international credit cards - security bank platinum mastercard

The Security Bank Platinum Mastercard is a dual currency credit card that bills overseas purchases in US Dollar instead of Philippine Peso, saving you from the high cost of exchanging a foreign to local currency.

Unlike other international credit cards, this credit card has no foreign transaction fee. This saves you money on your credit card bills.

📌 Key Features and Benefits

  • Dual currency billing: Separate credit card billing statements for international transactions
  • Rewards: 1 point for every PHP 20 spend
  • Travel perks:
    • Automatic cashback at participating overseas merchants
    • Free access to  over 1,000 lounges at 500 airports worldwide for the cardholder and one guest
    • Free unlimited access to the Sky View Lounge at NAIA 3
    • Up to PHP 10 million travel insurance

💸 Fees and Charges

  • Annual fee: PHP 4,000
  • Interest rate: 2%
  • Foreign currency transaction fee: 2.50% (1.50% service fee plus 1% Mastercard assessment fee)
  • Cash advance fee: PHP 200 per transaction

PNB-PAL Mabuhay Miles World Mastercard

international credit cards - pnb pal mabuhay world mastercard

This PNB credit card is a must-have if you often fly to international destinations with Philippine Airlines (PAL). PNB generously provides World Mastercard customers with bonus PAL Mabuhay Miles and a wide array of overseas travel perks.

📌 Key Features and Benefits

  • Rewards: 1 point per PHP 30 to PHP 55 spend depending on the category
  • Welcome gift: 2,000 Mabuhay Miles for new cardholders
  • Travel perks:
    • Get additional free 10,000 Mabuhay Miles when you spend at PAL
    • Year-round discount on select international flights booked via PAL website
    • Priority check-in at PAL Business Class Counters at NAIA 1, 2, and 3
    • World Assist travel and medical concierge service

💸 Fees and Charges

  • Annual fee: PHP 6,000
  • Interest rate: 2%
  • Foreign currency transaction fee: 2.50% of the converted amount using Mastercard’s exchange rate of the day
  • Cash advance fee: PHP 200 per transaction

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How to Get an International Credit Card?

Getting a credit card that can be used internationally is just like getting a regular credit card!

First step is to compare your options to find the right credit card for you. Compare features and fees and make sure that the card suits your budget and lifestyle. Once done, begin your credit card application. You can do this online via Moneymax or go for the more traditional way and apply at a bank branch. Complete and submit all required documents for a smoother credit card application process.

How to Use International Credit Cards Abroad?

how to use credit card internationally

Using a card abroad for the first time? Knowing how to pay for overseas transactions with your credit card will save you from inconveniences and embarrassment when traveling.

Remember these pointers for using an international credit card before, during, and after your trip overseas.

1. Notify the Bank About Your Trip

Call your credit card provider to let them know your travel plan. Find the bank’s customer service hotline on the back of your card or your billing statement.

You should do this before you leave so that you can use your card internationally without any problem. If your issuing bank is not informed beforehand, chances are it will suspend your account for security purposes when it detects transactions from unusual locations. Or it will decline your overseas transactions.

What details should you share with the bank aside from your plan to use your card internationally? Make sure the bank is notified about where you’ll be going (including layovers and stopovers), when you’ll leave, and when you’ll come back.

Take the opportunity also to ask questions about your card’s overseas transaction charges

2. Compute the Currency Conversion Rate for Your Overseas Transaction

To ensure you’re not overspending with your international card, calculate the Philippine Peso (PHP) equivalent of your purchase in the local currency of the country you’re visiting before paying. In doing so, you’ll know how much a particular international purchase will cost you in PHP.

Mastercard and Visa have their respective exchange rate calculator[1] that you may use for computing the currency conversion rate.

Simply select Philippine Peso as your card’s currency and the currency of your transaction, and then enter the amount and bank fee (the foreign currency transaction rate). The calculator will display the foreign exchange rate (applicable on the transaction date) and the converted amount in PHP.

3. Choose to Pay in the Local Foreign Currency

how to use credit card internationally

When paying with your credit card abroad, you’ll be given an option to use your home currency (PHP), which is called Dynamic Currency Conversion[2]. If you say yes to that, you’ll be charged a higher exchange rate for converting to PHP by the overseas bank that handles the transaction.

When using a credit card abroad, what currency should I choose?

So that you’ll get the lower rate offered by your issuing bank, pay in the local currency of the country you’re visiting. For example, if you’re in Thailand, opt for Thai Baht when paying with your international credit card.

4. Check and Keep Your Receipts

Don’t immediately throw away the sales receipts you receive from all your international transactions. Double-check the information on the receipts, paying close attention to the foreign currency you’re charged.

When you get back home, review your receipts and check them against your billing statement. The number should match. If you notice any discrepancy, report it to your credit card provider right away.

Final Thoughts

It’s not too early to shop for international credit cards. While waiting until it’s safe and less restrictive to travel abroad, you can use your credit card for overseas spending to collect points and miles for your future trips.

Find the right credit card for you at Moneymax!

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Written By:

Venus is the Head of Content at Moneymax, with 15+ years of experience in digital marketing, corporate communications, PR, and journalism. She invests in stocks, mutual funds, VUL, and Pag-IBIG MP2. Outside of work, she's crazy about cats and Korean dramas. Follow Venus on LinkedIn.