Best Credit Card for Foreign Travel – Africa

Before even discussing which credit card might be best to take with you if you will be journeying to any country on the continent of Africa it is important to note that leaving home without cash and/or travelers checks is not a good idea.

Credit Card Use in Africa – General Facts

Where and how often your credit card will be accepted in Africa depends very much upon where exactly you plan to travel. Thanks mainly to the fact that the country hosted the world’s most popular sporting event – the FIFA World Cup – in 2010 if your travels are taking you to South Africa then you will find that your credit card is now accepted in far more places than it was just a few years ago and that there are far more ATMs for you to use your credit or debit card to obtain cash in the local currency. Still, you will still find a great many merchants who are not yet accepting credit cards so that cash will come in very handy.

A similar situation holds true in other popular Western destinations like Egypt and Morocco. The main metropolises there are becoming more and more credit card friendly every day but leave those areas and you will need that cash!

Watch Those Fees!

Many people, having heard that credit card acceptance is increasing in the country in Africa they are visiting feel that there is no need to take travelers checks with them because they can simply get local currency from an ATM and use their credit cards to pay for meals and gas. The difficulty with that is that many credit cards charge a hefty 3% fee on foreign transactions of any kind and hike that figure to up to 5% on ATM withdrawals, which can be a very expensive prospect indeed.

Therefore if you are traveling to Africa check the terms and conditions on the card that you carry. There are some credit cards that actually do not charge a foreign transaction fee at all, and having one of those in your wallet is certainly going to save you some cash.

Best Credit Cards to Take on Your African Trip

If you have a while before you are due to take your trip to Africa then you may want to look into one of these credit cards because they charge no foreign transaction fees and also come with some nice extra travel perks attached to them that could make your trip even better! In the US right now there are still very few of these cards and it really is a bit of Capital One specialty. Here though is some information about some of the best no foreign transaction fee credit cards available:

Capital One Venture Rewards Card

Capital One were the first major credit card issuer to drop foreign transaction fees on pretty much all of the credit card products they offer. The Venture Rewards card is a great travel card in general though so it will be especially useful to those traveling to Africa.

The Capital One Venture Rewards card has been named as the “best credit card for earning air miles” by Money Magazine. Basically on every purchase you make with the card you earn 2 miles for every dollar spent. That means that every time you use your credit card to pay for gas for your car you will also be earning miles towards your vacation flight!

The APR attached to this rewards card is a reasonable one – 11.99-16.99% – and although there is an annual fee attached to the Capital One Venture Rewards card of $59 that is waived for the first year.

This basic Capital One Venture Rewards card is obtainable by those who have excellent credit. There is a slightly more basic version of the card – the Capital One VentureOne Rewards card that is offered to those with fair/good credit. It features many of the same perks but earns rewards at a slightly slower rate – 1.25 miles for every dollar spent – but does not have an annual fee attached to it.

Capital One Platinum Prestige Card

This credit card is not a rewards card but it is a powerful purchasing tool that can be used all over the world without its holder racking up any foreign transaction fees. There is no annual fee and a 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers that lasts for a full 18 months. There are also travel insurance benefits attached to the Capital One Platinum Prestige Card and a travel assistance program that will provide travelers with a cash advance forwarded to anywhere in the world if their credit card is lost or stolen, something that would certainly prove very useful were you to lose your credit card on your African trip!