Travel Money Finder™ – Guide to travelling with money overseas

Your comprehensive travel money comparison guide

With so many travel money options available it can be confusing as to which product you should be using in what situation. The purpose of this guide is to make it very easy for you to choose a travel money product that is right for your needs and requirements. Our comparison reviews the pros and cons of prepaid travel cards, travel credit cards, travel debit cards, cash and traveller's cheques. Use our quick comparison below and click on the relevant product heading to take you through to the related review and product comparison tables

Comparison of travel money options




Travel Money Cards





Credit Cards for Travel





Debit Cards for Travel





Traveller's cheques


Quick Comparison of travel money features

Travel Money Cards
Credit Cards for Travel
Debit Cards for Travel
Traveller's cheque
Security

Protected by PIN, backup card with separate serial number and PIN. Protected from fraud by Zero Liability agreements. Both cards can be blocked if lost or stolen.

Protected by chip and PIN. Transactions are monitored by issuer and cardholders are covered by bank's anti-fraud and MasterCard and Visa Zero Liability agreements. Can be blocked if lost or stolen.

Protected by PIN, issuer anti-fraud and Visa & MasterCard Zero Liability agreements. Can be blocked if lost or stolen.

Each cheque has a serial number recorded under cheque holders name. If a cheque is lost or stolen it can be replaced by quoting unique number.

Photo i.d. needed to cash traveller's cheques.

Withdrawing
money


ATM
  • Local operator fees.
  • Travel card ATM withdrawal fees.
If currency not loaded on card
  • Cross currency conversion fee will be charged.
ATM
  • Local operator fees.
  • Overseas ATM transaction fees.
Overseas ATM cash advance fee
  • If using banks money, interest will be charged at the cash advance rate from day of transaction.
Cross currency conversion
ATM
  • Local operator fees.
  • Overseas ATM transaction fees.
Foreign currency conversion.
N/A.
Making purchases
over the
counter

If currency not loaded on card
  • Cross currency conversion fee will be charged.
Foreign currency conversion
  • Up to 55 days interest free before purchase rate of interest is charged on transaction.
  • Purchase covers and insurance on items when purchased with credit card.
Foreign currency conversion

Globally recognised and widely accepted but popularity is declining in favour of electronic payments.



The Traveller's Guide to using Money Overseas


pickpocketing-public-transport

Jeremy stood shoulder to shoulder with locals and tourists, trying to keep his footing as the metro made its way towards the Colosseum. As more and more people packed onto the train, Jeremy lost his girlfriend to the glacial movement of the crowd pulling her towards the back. When he felt a brush against his rear, he was a little surprised but thought nothing of it and put it down to one of those 'packed train moments'. A moment was all the pickpocket needed to steal Jeremy's wallet.

Jeremy got on the phone to his card protection service, Secure Sentinel. A call to this service is supposed to be the 'one stop shop' for cancelling cards, but Jeremy ended up having to call each bank separately, which led to a number of frustrating hours spent on the phone, instead of hours negotiating in Italy's famous tourist traps.

Luckily for Jeremy, he had done his homework. Jeremy is the publisher of Credit Card Finder, so he knew to get a travel money card before he left - they come with a backup. To his girlfriend's delight, the backup card saved their trip and they were back on the streets of Rome the next day; albeit with an eye on their pockets. It almost wasn't such a sure thing. Like any smart traveller should, Jeremy had done his research before he left the country and he knew to spread his money between a couple of cards and his girlfriend. Be like Jeremy and do your homework before you leave: Here's your cheat sheet.


Don't go anywhere until you have read about using money overseas.

You have your plane ticket, you've booked insurance but have you sorted your finances?

Most of us don't go on holiday to be tight with our cash, but there are a thousand better things to spend your money on than fees and charges. Who better to offer guidance through the tips and traps of using money in a foreign country than the people who have been there before, made the mistakes and learnt the lessons the hard way?

What do we think?

Whether you use a credit card, debit card or travel cards, you should be aiming for a card that gives you the least amount of hassle combined with the lowest fees and charges. And this all depends on what you plan to do and where you plan to go. Shopping in the E.U? Look for a card with low currency conversion fees and easy access to one currency. But if you want to visit the world, you'll want to load a travel money card with multiple currencies at a set exchange rate - you can save on currency conversion fees by loading up to ten 'currency buckets' at a time.

Use a combination for best results

Many people carry two or three of forms of the payment methods discussed in this article so they have a backup if something goes wrong. Knowing the advantages and disadvantages of each will help you decide which form of money you want to use as your primary source of funds.

Make sure you check with your bank to find out all of the hidden fees they've snuck in there because once you know about these fees, they are easily avoided. If your card charges more than another, switch before going. Your bank balance will love you for it.



Travel Money Cards

Travel money card comparison

Available Currencies ATM Withdrawal Fee Reload Fee Initial Load Fee
Qantas Card with Qantas Cash
Qantas Card with Qantas Cash
AUD, CAD, EUR, GBP, HKD, JPY, NZD, SGD, USD, THB AUD 1.95, CAD 2.00, EUR 1.50, GBP 1.25, HKD 15.00, JPY 160, NZD 2.50, SGD 2.50, USD 1.95, THB 70.00 $0 $0 Apply Now For The Qantas Card with Qantas Cash
Read More About The Qantas Card with Qantas Cash
OzForex Travel Card
OzForex Travel Card
AUD, CAD, EUR, GBP, HKD, JPY, NZD, SGD, USD AUD 2.95, CAD 2.95, EUR 2.00, GBP 2.00, HKD 15.00, JPY 210, NZD 4.25, SGD 3.50, USD 2.25 $0 $15 Apply Now For The OzForex Travel Card
Read More About The OzForex Travel Card
NAB Traveller Card
NAB Traveller Card
AUD, CAD, EUR, GBP, HKD, JPY, NZD, SGD, THB, USD $0 NAB international ATM fees on withdrawals and balance checks, and $3.75AUD per withdrawal at Australian ATMs. 1% of value $0 Read More About The NAB Traveller Card
Velocity Global Wallet Card
Velocity Global Wallet Card
AUD, CAD, EUR, GBP, HKD, JPY, NZD, SGD, THB, USD AUD 0.00, CAD 2.95, EUR 2.00, GBP 2.00, HKD 20.00, JPY 200, NZD 2.95, SGD 2.95, THB 75, USD 2.95, Other than above: AUD 2.95 $1 $1 Read More About The Velocity Global Wallet Card
ANZ Travel Card
ANZ Travel Card
AUD, CAD, EUR, GBP, HKD, JPY, NZD, SGD, THB, USD AUD 3.50, CAD 3.00, EUR 2.20, GBP 2.00, HKD 20.00, JPY 260, NZD 4.50, SGD 4.00, THB 95, USD 2.50 1.1% of the value purchased $0 Read More About The ANZ Travel Card
Commonwealth Bank Travel Money Card
Commonwealth Bank Travel Money Card
AUD, CAD, EUR, GBP, HKD, JPY, NZD, SGD, THB, USD, VND, CNY, AED AUD 3.50, CAD 3.00, EUR 2.20, GBP 2.00, HKD 17, JPY 220, NZD 3.50, SGD 3.50, THB 80.00, USD 2.50, VND 50000 1% of reload amount up to a maximum of AUD 15.00 or foreign currency equivalent $0 Read More About The Commonwealth Bank Travel Money Card
Currency Conversion Fee Monthly Inactivity Fee Multiple Currencies on One Card? Maximum Load Amount
Qantas Card with Qantas Cash
Qantas Card with Qantas Cash
3% $1 Yes $20,000 Apply Now For The Qantas Card with Qantas Cash
Read More About The Qantas Card with Qantas Cash
OzForex Travel Card
OzForex Travel Card
3% $0 Yes $25,000 Apply Now For The OzForex Travel Card
Read More About The OzForex Travel Card
NAB Traveller Card
NAB Traveller Card
4% $4 Yes $45,000 Read More About The NAB Traveller Card
Velocity Global Wallet Card
Velocity Global Wallet Card
3% $1.95 Yes $45,000 Read More About The Velocity Global Wallet Card
ANZ Travel Card
ANZ Travel Card
3% $3 Yes $80,000 Read More About The ANZ Travel Card
Commonwealth Bank Travel Money Card
Commonwealth Bank Travel Money Card
0% Yes $100,000 Read More About The Commonwealth Bank Travel Money Card

*Does not include local ATM operator fee.

Fees you can avoid:

  • Currency conversion fee
  • ATM withdrawal fees

Fees you can't avoid:

  • N/A

Pros for using a travel money card:

  • You get two cards, one to use as a backup. There is no name displayed on the cards and they are not linked to your bank account for security.
  • Online transfers are an easy way to load cards and spending incurs lower fees and charges than other types of plastic.
  • Multiple currencies can be loaded onto the card - single currency cards can also be purchased.

Cons for using a travel money card:

  • Transfers from your bank to your travel money card can take up to six days if there is a weekend or public holiday(s) during the transfer period.
  • There is a charge each time you reload your card (except the Travelex card).
  • Because there is no personal information printed on these cards they may not be accepted by some merchants.

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Life's a beach

Will was camping in Playa Blanca off Cartegena, Colombia, when his wallet was stolen from his campsite.

When he woke in the middle of the night with a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach, he knew something was up. A quick check of the campsite was all Will needed to know that he'd been robbed. His bag was strewn across the sand and, even in the dark of night, Will knew that his wallet was missing. He wasn't worried about losing any cash, he didn't feel comfortable carrying a lot with him in South America anyway; his travel money card was his main concern.

Will was using an ANZ Travel Money Card, and all he had to do was make a free call to ANZ to cancel it. They - like other banks - can be contacted any hour of the day, seven days a week. When Will got in contact with ANZ, they were even able to tell him how much the thief had tried to withdraw: it was about $200 Australian.

And he was fine for money, these cards come with a spare with a separate card number and PIN in case the first is lost or stolen.

Will does have this to add. Make sure you plan when you're going to load your card up with money. Depending on weekends and public holidays in Australia, it can take up to six days for funds to clear. Will recalls an experience in United States where he was stuck without cash for a number of days because of a long weekend in Australia. It pays to pay attention to these things.

You can find out more about taking travel money to South America on this page.



Travel Credit Cards

A comparison of travel-friendly credit cards

Interest rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate (p.a.) Annual fee Cash advance rate (p.a.)
Bankwest Zero Platinum MasterCard
Bankwest Zero Platinum MasterCard
$0 foreign transaction fee with a $0 annual fee. 17.99% p.a. 2.99% p.a. for 9 months $0 p.a. 21.99% p.a. Apply Now For The Bankwest Zero Platinum MasterCard
Read More About The Bankwest Zero Platinum MasterCard
Bankwest Breeze Platinum MasterCard
Bankwest Breeze Platinum MasterCard
A low interest rate offer on balance transfers and purchases. Plus no foreign transaction fees on online and overseas purchases. 11.99% p.a. 0% p.a. for 13 months $99 p.a. 21.99% p.a. Apply Now For The Bankwest Breeze Platinum MasterCard
Read More About The Bankwest Breeze Platinum MasterCard
28 Degrees MasterCard
28 Degrees MasterCard
A credit card with no international transaction fees on purchases, no currency conversion fees or annual fee. 20.99% p.a. 4.99% p.a. for 6 months $0 p.a. 20.99% p.a. Read More About The 28 Degrees MasterCard
Aussie Platinum Low Rate Credit Card
Aussie Platinum Low Rate Credit Card
A low interest of 13.29% p.a. on purchases, plus no international transaction fees when you make a purchase overseas. 0% p.a. for 5 months (reverts to 13.29% p.a.) 5.99% p.a. for 5 months $99 p.a. 20.99% p.a. Apply Now For The Aussie Platinum Low Rate Credit Card
Read More About The Aussie Platinum Low Rate Credit Card

Fees you can avoid:

  • Cross currency conversion fees
  • Cash advance fee
  • Local ATM operator fee

Fees you can't avoid:

  • N/A

Pros for using a credit card:

  • Credit cards are easy to carry, secure and accepted almost everywhere. If they're lost or stolen, a call to Visa or MasterCard & the bank will be enough to have it blocked. If a dodgy transaction has been discovered, cardholders are covered by a money back guarantee if they take certain measures to properly prevent fraud.
  • Carrying a credit card also gives emergency access to cash through cash advances.

Cons for using a credit card:

  • Just as credit cards are easy to carry, they're easy to lose. If you don't get the right card, transaction charges can get expensive. Interest charges will also apply if you're using the banks money, this has the potential to be very expensive if a balance is being carried from month to month.
  • The bank will block transactions in a new country if you have not notified them of your travel plans.

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Chelsea cheapskate

London is a notoriously expensive city but Greg planned to do it on the cheap. He had paid for his flights with Qantas Frequent Flyer points and he'd went and applied for a new credit card, the Bankwest Breeze Platinum MasterCard, so he wouldn't have to pay the 3% cross currency conversion fee every time he used his card to make a purchase.

Greg was a little lost when he arrived at Heathrow, so he decided to take a taxi to get to Chelsea. After all, the Black Cabs are as much a feature of London as its famous landmarks. But this was a feature Greg wishes he missed.

When he got to Chelsea, he pulled out his Breeze MasterCard to pay for the taxi. After a few moments the driver handed his card back with a shake of his head.

'Ye kard wont wirk', the driver said, 'Ave ya gottanotha?'

Greg passed over his backup Qantas American Express and then paid for the taxi without any issues. A week or so later he got a call from his bank, they'd flagged a couple of transactions that seemed a little suspicious.

Greg reflects that he was paying more attention to what was going on outside the taxi than inside. And although he can't be sure, all he can think of is that the driver managed to skim his Bankwest card when he wasn't looking.

His AMEX was fine.

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Travel Debit Cards

Travel debit cards comparison

Citibank travel-friendly debit cards

The Citibank Plus Transaction Account. This comes with a debit card that you can use at any Citibank or Citi-partnered ATM world-wide to access your money for free.


Savings Account Description Monthly Account Fee Debit Card Access ATM Withdrawal Fee Interest Rate p.a. Details
Citibank Plus Transaction Account
Citibank Plus Transaction Account
Save on fees with the Citibank Plus Transaction account, the only fee-free everyday account linked with a Visa Debit card so you can enjoy shopping both in Australia and overseas. $0 Yes, Visa $0 0.00% No ATM fees using Citibank, Westpac, BankSA and St .George branded ATMs OpenMore

Fees you can avoid:

  • Local ATM operator fees
  • Overseas ATM transaction fee
  • Cross currency conversion fee

Fees you can't avoid:

  • N/A.

Pros for using a debit card

  • Debit cards can be used everywhere Visa & MasterCard are accepted, ATMs and over the counter. They are linked to your bank account (can also be a bad thing) and cards are protected against fraud by banks and card scheme zero liability agreements.
  • These cards have low or no establishment fees.

Cons for using a debit card

  • There's no guarantee these cards are going to be accepted at every destination and if you don't use an ATM within your bank's alliance, withdrawing cash will be expensive. Using a 'plain vanilla' transaction account to withdraw cash from a foreign ATM is likely to cost AU$10 in fees and charges each time.
  • There is no emergency cash available as a cash advance.

ATM woes

Having just arrived in Thailand, Sixten and his friends had a welcome drink at a 'bar' on Bangkok's Khao San Road. ATMs are everywhere in Thailand, so Sixten was using his debit card as his main source of funds and, before long, he had to withdraw more money to keep the party going. This would be his last withdrawal for a while - Sixten left his card in the ATM, and never saw it again.

ATMs work differently abroad. Thai ATMs work differently to Australian ATMs. All it took was a couple of drinks (what exactly do they put in Chang beer?) and the next thing Sixten knew, he was borrowing money off his friends while he waited a week for St.George to send him a replacement card.

Using a debit card overseas can be as convenient as carrying cash because it's directly linked to your bank account. It allows you to withdraw your own money from an ATM and make purchases over the counter using your PIN anywhere Visa or MasterCard are accepted. But beware, St.George charged Sixten five dollars each time he withdrew cash, in addition to a local operator fee of between two and five dollars depending on the machine. Over a three month trip, it adds up.

Although some Australian banks have global ATM partners you can look out for while you're away, the last thing you want to worry about is searching for a specific cash-point on your holiday. Another option is to use an overseas friendly account like the Citibank Plus. This is a debit account with free ATM withdrawals within the international Citibank network. This isn't everywhere though, so plan your withdrawals.

You can read more about travel money in South East Asia on this page.

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Cash

Credit cards whisper, cash shouts

Fred was travelling through Amsterdam when he took a wrong turn off the beaten track and ended up face to face with a pair of 'street toughs'. After a bit of an exchange (the Dutch can speak English quite well), they ordered Fred, at the point of a knife, to empty his pockets.

Things could have turned out worse if Fred didn't have some cash in his pocket. The thieves might have done something a little more rash than use some colourful language if he didn't have something to quickly hand-over.

Luckily for Fred, he understood the language of cash. He gave them what they wanted, and the only damage done that night was to Fred's pride. But in financial terms the impact could have been worse. On the advice of a friend, Fred was wearing 'short-shorts' with most of his valuables stashed in a pocket underneath his jeans. He may have looked funny, but that number ended up saving him a hundred or so euros.

The important thing is not to carry too much cash at once. Losing a large amount of cash will hurt, and it can't be replaced. So, if Fred's 'shorts within pants' option isn't for you, spread your funds amongst your travelling companions. But make sure to always have a little cash handy; it's a universal language. It may just save your neck one day too.

If you're interested in European travel money options, have a look at this page.


Fees you can avoid:

  • N/A

Fees you can't avoid:

  • Currency exchange fees:

Pros for using cash:

  • By far, cash is the most convenient way to travel. It pays for fuel, meals, taxis, drinks, and a multitude of other expenses; however, convenience aside, cash is the loudest international language. When you're out in a foreign country, the last thing you want to worry about is finding an ATM. Trust us, having enough cash can be the difference between a good or a bad night, day, week or trip.

Cons for using cash:

  • Having too much cash is a bad thing; you only want to have enough money on you for a day or two. It's bulky, and thieves are observant and will go for an easy target.
  • Security is nothing. Unless you lose a couple of million, don't ever dream of seeing stolen cash again.

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Foreign Currency Exchange

At least someone had a good day

Arriving at an Istanbul bus depot after a 24 hour trip from the Republic of Georgia, Jacob was in need of a proper night's rest. Problem was the only cash he had was Georgian and he needed Turkish Lira.

When changing over cash, your first option should be to get it changed at a bank. They will charge a commission, usually 1% or $10, whichever is greater.

If you can't get to a bank, any other legitimate currency exchange business will be fine, but these places are likely to cost you more because of the margins they earn of the difference in exchange rate.

What you want to avoid at all costs is the type of business where foreign exchange is not their primary purpose. Common sense will alert you to these rip-off merchants a mile away - think shops with glass counters containing watches, jewelry and other easily pawned items. These places will charge a commission, give you an inaccurate exchange rate, and have been known to keep a couple of notes for themselves when their 'customer' isn't paying attention.

For Jacob, things stopped making sense at hour thirteen of his trip, and he ended up losing about $50AUD at one of the aforementioned,'do not get your money exchanged here' places. Also, when you're making a purchase, if an attendant asks you if you want to pay in your local currency, always say no. Walk away and get your money changed at a trusted business first. Unless you know exactly what the rate should be, as well as the difference in value of the currency you are exchanging, you're probably going to get ripped-off.

If the worst does happen, think of it this way: at least someone had a good day.

You can find out more about taking travel money to Turkey on this page.

Who to use to change money:

Banks are by far the safest option for exchanging cash.

Here's what it looks like buying and selling $2,000 in Euros and USD at the Commonwealth Bank:

Trusted foreign exchange:

A trusted foreign exchange company shouldn't charge you a commission when you buy or sell a foreign currency. There are range of places like this online, like Travelex, and a number of stores in shopping centres that provide this service. They may not charge a commission but they will make a cut through the exchange rate.

Who to avoid changing cash with.

Shop attendants and exchange artists:

Avoid shop attendants who say it's o.k for you to pay in Australian dollars. You will lose out on the deal. You will also want to avoid exchange artists like the plague. These are the type of people who will count your money in front of you with a smile, but pocket it all when you turn your back.


Fees you can avoid:

  • N/A.

Fees you can't avoid:

  • Currency exchange rates:

Pros for using a foreign currency exchange:

  • There aren't many, but getting cash changed at a foreign currency exchange gives instant access to the local currency.

Cons for using a foreign currency exchange:

  • When money is changed anywhere except a bank, you're likely to lose out with a dodgy exchange rate, and, even then, the rates aren't going to be the same as what you hear quoted on the news.

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Travellers Cheques

Travelling to Canada with cheques

Pritom often wonders why he took travellers cheques to Canada.

They're a safe way to take money overseas, but he says it cost him too much. Buying $5,000 in Canadian Dollars cost him about $50, a little over 1%

Pritom was leaving Australia indefinitely, so he needed to move all his cash from his Australian account to a overseas bank account. He could have transferred the money online, but international money transfers can be expensive as banks charge a flat fee for this service.

Travellers cheques seemed like a good idea and he had heard that they were a safe way to move large amounts of money - and they are, as each cheque comes with its own unique serial number that is recorded against your name.

For more information on travel money in Canada, please have a look at this page.

That means if you lose a cheque, you can quote the serial number and have it replaced.

Security is a good thing, but Pritom is unable to count the hours he spent writing down the serial numbers of each cheque in the book provided by American Express. As $50 was the largest denomination they had in stock, Pritom had to record 100 serial numbers. Usually, if your cheques are issued in sequence you can just record the first and last numbers; Pritom wishes he knew this before he started.

A day after arriving at Pearson Airport, Toronto, Pritom opened up a Canadian bank account with TD Trust and deposited all of his travellers cheques into that account. He was given $500 on the spot to tide him over while the remainder was left to clear - it took about three business days.

Fees you can avoid:

  • N/A.

Fees you can't avoid:

  • Cheque purchase fee.

Pros for using travellers cheques

  • Travellers cheques are extremely secure, they can be easily replaced if lost or stolen. The person who wants to cash travellers cheques must also show identification to show that they are the ones who bought them.

Cons for using travellers cheques.

  • Travellers cheques are a costly way to spend money. There is an initial charge when you buy travellers cheques. The cost will depend on the amount you wish to change over.
  • Travellers cheques can be bulky and awkward to carry.
  • not everyone will accept travellers cheques.
  • You will still need to carry cash.

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Travel money FAQs

Travel fees explained

What's a cross currency conversion fee?

A cross currency conversion fee is charged when you use your Australian card with Australian dollars to make a purchase in a foreign country. The money is exchanged from Australian dollars into the local currency electronically and a series of fees are charged along the way by the card schemes and providers.

The way the banks make there is money is like this:

  1. The exchange rate is set by external market factors. This is the figure you hear quoted on the evening news.
  2. Card scheme currency conversion fee. Say you're in France and looking to make a purchase with your credit card. You have Australian dollars on your card but must pay with Euros. The money must be exchanged electronically in order to make the purchase. The first fee is applied by Visa (1.1%), MasterCard (0.2%) and American Express (1.5%), and is passed on to the customer.
  3. Cross currency conversion fee. This is a fee charged by the bank and is charged in addition to the card scheme currency conversion fee.


Am I protected against getting ripped off?

Yes and no. If you end up in a similar situation to Fred, then your cash is gone. If the fraud is more like Greg's, then you will get you money back. This includes getting you card skimmed at an ATM and online purchases too.

MasterCard and Visa Zero Liability Policies:

A money back guarantee when a fraudulent transaction on your debit/travel/credit card is reported to Visa, MasterCard and your bank; and
  • You have exercised vigilant care in safeguarding your card from risk of loss, theft, or unauthorised use; and
  • You immediately and without delay notify your card issuer upon discovery of the loss, theft, or unauthorised use; and
  • You have not reported two or more incidents of unauthorised use in the preceding 12 months; and
  • Your account is in good standing; and
  • You have complied with the terms and conditions of the cardholder agreement.

Are you considering travel insurance for your trip?

Finding the right travel money option for your trip overseas is just one of many boxes to tick before leaving the tarmac. Whether you are just heading off for a weekend getaway or a 6 month backpacking adventure, it is crucial to have the right cover in place to ensure you don’t have to endure financial hardship in the event of a loss. Most people that have travelled will have their own story of when things didn’t go exactly to plan and were forced to hand over funds to cover the loss.


What am I covered for?

Travel Insurance will generally provide cover for the following events;

  • Overseas medical expenses: Covers the cost of emergency medical assistance including: emergency medical evacuation, hospital expenses and medical costs
  • Theft of cash: Cover in the event that the following are stolen from you: cash from your person, banknotes, currency notes, postal orders and money orders
  • Cover for loss or damage to personal items: Cover for loss/damage to luggage and personal items
  • Cancellation fees: Cover for cancellation fees or lost deposits
  • Rental vehicle fees: Cover for rental vehicle excess that may be applied in the event that you have an accident while you are travelling
  • Credit card fraud or replacement: Cover for the replacement of credit cards lost or stolen from you on your journey

Travel insurance from credit cards or from travel insurance providers

Many credit card providers will now offer complimentary travel insurance as an added bonus for successful applicants. The decision on whether to go with this complimentary cover or to purchase a standalone policy will really come down to your cover requirements and budget. While the cover provided on credit cards may not offer the same comprehensive level of cover as that from a travel insurance provider, you may already have other cover in place from other insurance and feel that for your trip requirements don’t require the cover options available on standalone policies. Either way it is important to compare the benefits available from both options and get a clear understanding of the exclusions for payment. The last thing you need when travelling is the nasty surprise that you are not actually covered for losses in the event that you need to make a claim.

Compare travel insurance deals from leading Australian insurers

How do I activate my travel insurance on my credit card?

The eligibility requirements will differ between policies, but a general rule is that you have to pay for a percentage of your prepaid travel expenses with your card. Once you've done this, you're automatically covered under the policy agreement.

Compare credit cards with free travel insurance
Miscellaneous travel tips

Safety Tips

Remember that when you are traveling, you will encounter others who want cash, as well as your identity. Here are some smart tips to keep you safer.

Airplane ticket stubs

  • Dispose of them because they have personal information on them and Identity thieves will grab at anything to get your identity.

Airline:

  • Book flights in advance, and during a special or lower rate period – it could save hundreds in fares, and don't forget to sign up for a frequent flyer account! Frequent flyer rewards are huge, especially if you love to travel.

If you lose your wallet

  • Keep credit cards and cash in a separate place, so you won't be without cab fare or other necessities.

Hotels

  • Use comparison sites for discounted hotel rates such as priceline.com as this could save money if you book in advance and do some serious searching prior to leaving.

Food

  • To find the best prices on meals or shopping for food, check out YELP or Eatability. There is nothing worse than finding a great restaurant at the last minute and finding out it's way overpriced.

Money belt:

  • It sounds a little paranoid, but in reality everyone should be! A money belt is nearly impossible to steal or lift. And, you'll have your cash, cards and necessities close. Each traveler should have one.

Mobile Broadband

  • Virgin Mobile, offers a mobile broadband service and for minimal cost, allowing you to have virtually unlimited Internet access from anywhere you travel, which could save a lot in the long run. Internet connections overseas can get costly.

Cell Phone:

  • Make sure you contact your cell phone provider to inform them that you plan to travel abroad. They can set up your phone so you don't incur huge international roaming fees, as well as web fees. It's a little pricey, but worth the cost in the long run.

Bank international phone number:

  • Save this number to your cell phone, you will need it, especially with money travel cards.

Travel Insurance:

  • People scoff at this necessity, but it really is a necessity- it covers you if your luggage is lost, you are mugged, or anything else happens that you have no control.

Open up an account with an international bank:

  • Some are Citibank or HSBC so that you can gain access without fees in some countries and it might just save you should something happen.

Additional Cardholders:

  • Give your fellow travelers an additional cardholder credit card so that you will always have one, if one gets lost or stolen.

Compare!

  • Make the decisions for travel money based on what is best for your travel needs, and compare prices and fees. If you add all of the exchange rates, foreign currency fees, bank fees and ATM withdrawal fees – as well as load fees you could save quite a bit of cash getting the lowest rates and best deals.

ATMs:

  • Make sure the ATM you are using is an actual bank ATM, and when you enter your pin, be sure that there is nobody who can observe. As well as taking cash out, never, ever take a large amount of cash out of an ATM – it is much too tempting to thieves.

Skimmers:

  • Watch for them, they are the people out there trying to steal your identity – they've gone as far as putting little webcams at the ATM's focused on the keys so that they can gain your PIN and card number.
  • Cover keys when entering information, and don't use the ATM if you see someone close by, or notice anything unusual.

 

Wherever you plan to travel, you're there to have a great time, not go bankrupt – so remember that most bad things happen when you're not paying attention. Lock those doors, carry multiple money items, spread them out between friends and family, and make sure that you at least know some of the language.

Being safe is much better than being sorry.

Travel Money - Countries & Continents:

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Ask a Question

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132 Responses to Travel Money Finder™ – Guide to travelling with money overseas

  1. Default Gravatar
    Pauline | April 3, 2014

    I am trying to activate my Visa Tavelex card which I used
    last year. Now I am leaving for O/S tomorrow and want to have a new PIN Number (I have not used card since last year and have forgotten my PIN) I am unable to gain access.
    Need reply ASAP Thank you

    • Staff
      Marc | April 4, 2014

      Hi Pauline,
      thanks for the question.

      You’ll need to contact the 24 hour helpline directly to answer this, I’ve emailed you the contact information.

      Cheers,
      Marc.

  2. Default Gravatar
    Maria | April 2, 2014

    how long does it take to receive the travel debit card

    • Staff
      Marc | April 3, 2014

      Hi Maria,
      thanks for the question.

      If you’re referring to the Citibank Plus Account, this takes about 5 – 7 days to receive.

      I hope this helps,
      Marc.

  3. Default Gravatar
    paul | March 26, 2014

    Hi Im going to Vietnam for 3 weeks then 2 weks in Thailand. Which card do you recommend, and should I load with US dollars, or Australian ? cheers
    Paul

  4. Default Gravatar
    Michelle | March 19, 2014

    is there a limit on the amount you can spend in 1 transaction?

    • Staff
      Marc | March 20, 2014

      Hi Michelle,
      thanks for the question.

      This will depend on the card in question. Each card will have a maximum daily transaction limit, although some institutions may increase this limit if you call them up.

      I hope this helps,
      Marc.

  5. Default Gravatar
    bernie | March 15, 2014

    Hi,

    What is the maximum amount I can withdraw overseas from an ATM per day (in AUD)

    Regards
    Bernie

    • Staff
      Marc | March 17, 2014

      Hi Bernie,
      thanks for the question.

      The answer to this will depend on what product you’re asking about, as these limits can fluctuate between products and institutions. If you let me know which product you’re interested in I can help answer this for you.

      Cheers,
      Marc.

  6. Default Gravatar
    morri | March 8, 2014

    im going to south korea ..going to use a anz travel card where in seoul can i use this card?

    • Staff
      Elizabeth | March 10, 2014

      Hi Morri,

      The South Korean Won (KRW) is not a currency which can be loaded onto the ANZ Travel Card. You may want to look at a card that offers this currency, you can compare other travel money options using the menu at the top of this page.

      Hope this has helped.

      Elizabeth

  7. Default Gravatar
    | March 6, 2014

    Hi,

    I’m travelling around Europe for 2 months later this year and I’m looking at putting my money into a specific bank account and linking that with a card, so I can use said card while over there.

    Are there any cards that won’t cost me an arm and a leg when I make purchases in Euros/Pounds?
    Ideally I want to keep the money in Australian currency, and just have it converted when I pay..

    Any insight would be great!

    Thanks,
    Rob.

    • Staff
      Shirley | March 6, 2014

      Hi Robert,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Our travel money guide on Europe can help you with your decision. My colleague, Marc, has some really helpful insights on that page.

      If you’d like to keep your currency in AUD, it may be a good idea to opt for a card that doesn’t charge currency conversion fees and/or international transaction fees.

      Cheers,
      Shirley

    • Staff
      Marc | March 6, 2014

      Hi Robert,
      thanks for the question.

      Debit and credit cards which waive international transaction fees and charges (some of which are displayed on this page) can be useful for keeping money in Australian dollars and then converting it when you go to pay. Some travel cards will also allow you to avoid transaction fees when paying in another currency, even if you only have Australian dollars loaded onto your card. Conduct a comparison of the options on this page to work out what will work best for you.

      Also bear in mind that the exchange rates different cards may use can fluctuate between institutions, so be sure to compare these rates before applying for any one card.

      I hope this helps,
      Marc.

  8. Default Gravatar
    | March 5, 2014

    Hi,

    I’m travelling to China, South Korea and Hong Kong next month and am trying to establish which travel card/s will prevent me paying unnecessary fees. I’m not against using a credit card and I have several at the moment.

    From what I’ve been able to ascertain, the best card prior to January 2014 was the ’28 Degrees MasterCard’. However, I’ve read that since January they now charge a fee to withdraw cash from an international ATM.

    Ultimately, could you please advise which card/account is best for avoiding both credit card and ATM withdrawal fees.

    Thanks!

    • Staff
      Shirley | March 5, 2014

      Hi Anthony,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Our travel money guide on Hong Kong, South Korea and China may be able to help you with your decision.

      Unfortunately we can’t recommend one specific product to you – but at the moment there aren’t any travel cards that allow you to preload all three currencies, so you may want to opt for a card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees and has ATM locations at those three countries. This is all highlighted in the guide that I’ve linked to you above.

      Cheers,
      Shirley

  9. Default Gravatar
    Chelsea | February 21, 2014

    i’m visiting Spain in a few days and i was wondering what the exchange rate is

    • Staff
      Marc | February 21, 2014

      Hi Chelsea,
      thanks for the question.

      This will depend on the currency exchange provider you use. You might want to check out the exchange rates offered on various bank websites or travel money providers such as Travelex.

      I hope this helps,
      Marc.

  10. Default Gravatar
    Vicki | February 4, 2014

    I am visiting Japan and Thailand and am new to all this new technology of cards!! I don’t know how much money I will need in either currency. With Forex card, if I left a balance in $AU, does it automatically convert to the currency in that particular country if I buy something? I don’t really understand how this works whether you have to buy certain currencies up front or it is automatically converted. Any help is appreciated.

    • Staff
      Marc | February 5, 2014

      Hi Vicki,
      thanks for the question!

      This is correct. You have a currency order on the Forex card and indeed any other travel money card. This is just a ordered list of the different currencies on your card. If you don’t have the right currency on your card but have say a large amount of $AU, and $AU is the first available currency in your currency order, the $AU will be converted automatically to the currency you need. The optimal way to use one of these cards is to find one which allows you to load the currency you wish to spend on your trip. Then decide on an amount you wish to place on the card, and convert your funds into this currency. You can usually do this by logging onto your online card account and using BPAY or EFT from your other accounts.

      I hope this helps,
      please ask us if you have any further questions.

      Marc.

  11. Default Gravatar
    a | February 2, 2014

    where do i buy a travel money card?

    • Staff
      Shirley | February 3, 2014

      Hi A,

      Thanks for your comment.

      You can usually buy the travel card online, or by going into a physical branch of the relevant provider.

      Cheers,
      Shirley

  12. Default Gravatar
    Jim | January 22, 2014

    We are looking at travelling for 3 months in Europe and are struggling with exchange rates and in particular the sell rates which the banks use. ie exchanging AUD for Euro’s.
    We are looking at the CBA cashcard but it appears to me that CBA take about 8% in the conversion between the published rate (ie on the news or the finance pages) and what you end up with in Euro’s. Comparing this to the 28 degree Mastercard which I understand you can top up with cash and the exchange rate appears to the Mastercrd exchange rate which is much closer (I think 1or 2 %).
    Am I missing something here.

    • Staff
      Marc | January 23, 2014

      Hi Jim,
      thanks for the question.

      You’ve carried out a great comparison! You’ll notice that different products use different exchange rates especially among travel-related credit cards, debit cards and travel cards.

      The CBA Travel Card is just that, a reloadable travel money card. It doesn’t charge a foreign currency conversion fee on purchases made in foreign currencies, and allows you to load certain currencies onto it to safeguard against fluctuating rates. On the other hand, as you mention, this rate isn’t as competitive as some offered by other travel money card providers (OzForex is a leader in this field), or those offered on credit cards such as the 28 Degrees MasterCard.

      There are advantages and disadvantages to using both. The CBA Travel Card is a reloadable card, meaning it has no credit facility like the 28 Degrees. Combined with the fact that it comes with a back up card and isn’t linked to any accounts back home, and it’s quite a secure choice for travelling overseas. It will charge fees for withdrawing at an ATM.

      Conversely, the 28 Degrees card is a credit card which has no foreign exchange fees and a better exchange rate. It can be put into credit by loading funds onto it, although this isn’t recommended and doesn’t mean you avoid the cash advance fee. If not put into credit you’ll pay interest on amounts you withdraw from the card.

      Ultimately the choice is yours when it comes to travel money is what makes you more comfortable. I can’t recommend one product over another, but I will say sometimes the best choice is to take more than one card as back up.

      I hope this helps,
      Marc.

    • Default Gravatar
      Jim | January 23, 2014

      Thanks Marc,

      I am glad to hear that I am not going mad.

      Another question if I may.

      We booked our first lot of accommodation last week, paid on MasterCard (CBA) and paid dearly for exchange rate and transaction fees. How do we avoid these excessive costs when booking ahead?

    • Staff
      Marc | January 24, 2014

      Hi Jim,
      thanks for the question, and no problem for the reply!

      There are many options for making money transfers or paying for accommodation overseas. There are debit cards and credit cards which charge no foreign transaction fees or foreign ATM withdrawal fees and also don’t charge fees for global transfers, which can be found on this page. Each will have different foreign exchange rates which you should also add into the comparison.

      I hope this helps,
      Marc.

  13. Default Gravatar
    CT | January 21, 2014

    Is it cheaper to use cash passport or a debit card as a New Zealander travelling in the UK for a couple of months?

    • Staff
      Marc | January 21, 2014

      Hi CT,
      thanks for the question.

      Unfortunately I can’t give you a definitive answer to this. What’s cheaper for you will depend on how you plan to use your card overseas (whether you’ll be using it primarily for cash withdrawals as opposed to purchases for example), what fees your current debit card has and if you prefer the security of a separate account (travel cards such as the cash passport aren’t linked to your regular account, so you’re better protected in the event that you lose your card or it’s stolen). Travel cards can be cheaper in many cases if you’re able to avoid foreign transaction fees, but as mentioned this will depend on how you plan to use your card. I’d recommend finding out the fees for both, and estimating what these might costs over a typical week in the UK. A great tip I can give you is to bring more than one form of spending on an overseas trip. When I was in the UK and Europe I opted for both a travel debit card and my regular debit card. My friends opted for a credit card and a debit card combination.

      I hope this helps,
      Marc.

  14. Default Gravatar
    Tim | January 19, 2014

    Hi,

    I currently have a Commbank Travel Money Card I used in the USA, and am now weeks away from a trip to Japan. I am tossing up between keeping the travel money card for use overseas, or getting a credit card (first time)/cancelling my current debit card and exchanging it for one that’s also useful overseas?

    Friends have been recommended either the Citibank debit card or the 28 degrees credit card? Do you have any helpful hints and tips? particularly where I could get stung by hidden pitfalls???

    Thank you for your time, much appreciated!

    • Staff
      Shirley | January 20, 2014

      Hi Tim,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Credit cards are a good option for emergencies overseas; it wouldn’t be economic to use it for everyday purchases in Japan as you’ll be hit with currency conversion fees and possibly interest.

      At the same time, you don’t need to cancel your current debit card and exchange it for a new one – you can keep both if you’d like.

      Our Japan Travel Money guide can help you make an informed decision, the article will tell you what fees to look out for, and which card will be best for your spending style.

      Cheers.
      Shirley

  15. Default Gravatar
    Leighton | January 14, 2014

    Sorry I should have expanded on the comparison on the 28 deg vs the Citibank. Does the citibank offer:
    no international transaction fees on purchases
    no currency conversion fees

    Thanks again!

    • Staff
      Shirley | January 14, 2014

      Hi Leighton,

      Thanks for your comment.

      There are no currency conversion fees or international transaction fees for the Citibank Plus Transaction account – you do, however, need to pay a foreign ATM withdrawal fee if you withdraw from a non-Citibank ATM.

      Cheers,
      Shirley

  16. Default Gravatar
    Leighton | January 14, 2014

    Hi Guys

    Was going to apply for the 28 deg MasterCard however learning of the cash advance fee have decided against it. Was looking at the Citibank Plus Transaction Debit Card over a Multi cash passport because of the extra fees etc.

    Is the Citibank debit card essentially the same as the 28 deg MasterCard in that it offers
    – 0% foreign exchange fees?
    – $0 ATM withdrawal fees from a Citibank ATM (obviously more from a non Citibank)?
    Obviously major difference being its a debit and not credit, it would make sense to select credit on purchases and withdrawals?
    And lastly what exchange rates does this use. Does it use the current VISA exchange rates for exchange? Cheers thanks for your time

  17. Default Gravatar
    Andreina | December 29, 2013

    Hello,
    We will be travelling to Malaysia and Vietnam for 3 weeks in March 2014 and during our time have 4 different hotels that we will need to pay upon check out. They have confirmed our accommodation in USD Dollars. I was wondering how would be best to pay them? Using our MasterCard Debit Card or preload the total amounts in USD on a travel card (ie: Aust Post card) and then use our MasterCard debit card at ATM for spending money? What would you suggest?
    I look forward to response.
    Thank you in advance.

    • Staff
      Marc | January 3, 2014

      Hello Andreina,
      thanks for the question.

      The best way to spend your money overseas is whatever is the cheapest and safest. A travel card loaded with US dollars with a low initial charge and reload fees (if you plan to continue using the card throughout the trip) is one option, but be aware that if the hotel charges a bond or any similar payment these are better paid with using cash. This is because hotels may take a while to refund the bond, leaving you without these funds for what could be a few days or even weeks. Whatever card you use for ATM withdrawals should have no fees for making these withdrawals or any foreign purchases, as these can add up over the course of the trip.

      I hope this helps,
      Marc.

  18. Default Gravatar
    BT | December 19, 2013

    I used to recommend 28Deg to all my fellow travelers but now they are slapping on a cash advance fee for overseas ATM withdrawals next year, is there another card that offers the same thing as 28 Deg used to?

    • Staff
      Marc | December 20, 2013

      Hello BT,
      Thanks for the question.

      Unfortunately there are no credit cards which waive both foreign transaction fees and cash advance fees. One way to avoid these fees is by using a fee free debit card such as the Citibank Plus, or a travel money card.

      I hope this helps,
      Marc.

  19. Default Gravatar
    Claire | December 11, 2013

    We are travelling to the Phillipines and Hong Kong for three weeks. Which cards would be the best t take?

    • Staff
      Shirley | December 11, 2013

      Hi Claire,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Our travel money guide for Hong Kong may help with your decision.

      You’ll also want to consider a travel card that allows you to pre-load PHP, if there aren’t any in the market then a card that has minimal currency conversion fees and ATM withdrawal fees could be ideal, depending on how you plan to spend your money while overseas.

      Hope this helps,
      Shirley

  20. Default Gravatar
    Elllen | December 9, 2013

    I am looking to get a travel card to use for a months travel in Europe. It’s interesting to note that you have not mentioned the Australia Post Load and Go Travel Card on this page. This card appears to have no purchase fee, no reload fee or ATM fees. Are you able to shine any light on this card?

    • Staff
      Marc | December 10, 2013

      Hello Ellen,
      thanks for the question.

      The Australia Post Load and Go Travel card is indeed another option for travellers going overseas. On the plus side as you mention it is free to purchase and reload, and has lower ATM withdrawal fees relative to many of the other travel cards. On the other hand it has a transaction fee for purchases which isn’t usually charged on travel cards. This fee is only $0.09 per transaction, which is capped at $0.99 per 30 days. A basic search on the internet shows that some people have experienced difficulties using this card, although as always it’s up to you to do some research and find out what’s best for you. If you have any other questions about this product please ask.

      Cheers,
      Marc.

  21. Default Gravatar
    Sam | December 3, 2013

    Hi, I am going to USA for a month. I have 5K in USDs and at this stage I am reluctant to get a travel card as exchange rates are poor. Is it possible to obtain a pre-paid credit card in USA (i.e from Wall mart) without being a US citizen? Can someone help me with that? Thanks!

    • Staff
      Shirley | December 3, 2013

      Hi Sam,

      Thanks for your comment.

      The terms and conditions of the Walmart Money Card state that you can apply for this card as long as you’re a ‘you are a U.S. citizen or legal alien residing in one of the 50 states, the District of Columbia or Puerto Rico’.

      To set one up you’ll need to log onto the Walmart Money Card website (I’ve emailed you the link) and set up and account. In this case it might be easier to apply through the phone because you’ll need to provide a Social Security Number which we don’t have in Australia.

      As a side note, there are other travel money options as well that may be easier for you. Our USA travel money guide may help.

      Cheers,
      Shirley

  22. Default Gravatar
    Lucy | November 27, 2013

    Hi, I am going traveling through Central America and South America (starting in Guatemala and traveling down) for a year starting in January.

    I’d prefer not to carry large amounts of cash but am unsure of ATM access in the area.I am thinking I should get at least two way to access money while I’m traveling.

    What would you recommend debit or credit card wise if I want to avoid as many fees as possible?

    • Staff
      Marc | November 27, 2013

      Hi Lucy,
      thanks for the question.

      It’s always best to take more than one spending option when travelling overseas. We recently spoke to a few South and Central American travellers and published the interviews on this page, along with suggestions for debit, credit and travel money cards to take to this part of the world.

      I hope this helps,
      Marc.

  23. Default Gravatar
    Teesh | November 19, 2013

    I am going to Europe for 6 months, what card do you recommend? I will be getting a working holiday visa for Italy and need to show them funds of $6500 on one card.

    • Staff
      Marc | November 20, 2013

      Buongiorno Teesh!
      thanks for the question.

      You may want to read this page we wrote about travel money in Europe to get you off to a good start. The best card for you will depend on a range of factors, such as how often you’ll be withdrawing from an ATM and how often you’ll be reloading.

      Finally, if you’re getting a working visa in Italy you may be able to apply for an Italian bank account and save fees that way. To apply for most italian accounts you’ll need your passport, tax number, a recent utility bill as proof of address and a residence or proof of employment card.

      I hope this helps,
      Marc.

  24. Default Gravatar
    Grace | November 18, 2013

    Hi,
    I am travelling to Malaysia in a few weeks and want to know which travel money card you would recommend?
    I know none of them will allow me to load Malaysian Ringitt so what would you recommend with regard to less fees with conversion?
    Thank you! :)

    • Staff
      Shirley | November 19, 2013

      Hi Grace,

      Thanks for your comment.

      We’re can’t recommend one specific product; you’ll need to think about how you will spend your money. If you’d prefer to use your own money then a debit card or travel money card may be ideal but opt for one that doesn’t charge international transaction fees and currency conversion fees. If you think you’ll be using an ATM a lot, then also a card that charges less ATM fees could be ideal.

      Our South-East Asia Travel Money guide may help.

      Hope this helps,
      Shirley

  25. Default Gravatar
    Smay | November 15, 2013

    Going to Australia soon for around 7/8 months not working. Will have about £10,000. I really don’t want to pay anything when using ATMs & low -0% interest. Also a very low exchange rate & not loosing much, if any money. What card is best for this?
    Thank you

    • Staff
      Marc | November 15, 2013

      Hello Smay,
      thanks for the question.

      We don’t currently compare UK travel money options, as we are an Australian service, but the principals are similar. I’ve emailed you some more information regarding good options to take overseas.

      I hope this helps,
      Marc.

  26. Default Gravatar
    Leah | November 12, 2013

    Can I upload USD from my HSBC (HK) account to this card? Or will it automatically be transferred to AUSD?

    • Staff
      Shirley | November 13, 2013

      Hi Leah,

      Sorry, which specific card are you referring to?

      Cheers,
      Shirley

  27. Default Gravatar
    Michelle | November 11, 2013

    Good Afternoon,

    I was wondering if you could please advise me what you would recommend. I am moving overseas and I will be travelling for the first couple of months before settling down. Do you think it would be better for me to open a Citibank Plus Transaction Account in order to maximize my money than taking a Travellers Card. Of course once I have settled I will be open an international account- however for the time I am unsure which one would be better for my situation in case it does turn into a longer circumstance.

    Thank you very much for your assistance.

    • Staff
      Shirley | November 11, 2013

      Hi Michelle,

      Thanks for your comment.

      If you’re travelling to multiple countries then the Citibank Bank Plus Transaction account may be a good idea. It might be worthwhile to have a look at the Citibank ATM locator to see if there are Citibank ATMs located in the countries you’re travelling to.

      If this is the case then you could save a lot on ATM fees and you don’t need to worry about preloading cash like you would with a travellers card.

      Having said that, its always good to have more then one travel money option just in case you lose your card.

      Hope this helps,
      Shirley

  28. Default Gravatar
    kathryn | November 9, 2013

    I am travelling to Paris in January. Do I need to buy euros before I go and place on a travelers card or can I just use my savings and credit card (as is) when I get there?

    • Staff
      Shirley | November 11, 2013

      Hi Kathryn,

      Thanks for your comment.

      You can use all three options if you wish. It’s up to you to decide whether you want to take a travel card by looking at the type of fees that your debit and credit cards may charge – and determining whether preloading euros onto a travel card will be cheaper.

      Hope this helps,
      Shirley

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    M. | October 30, 2013

    my friend and I are travelling to Sydney for a year what is the best way for us to sort our money out we would like to do this before taking off and want the cheapest way to do this avoiding bank credit exchange fees. We have already booked and paid for some accommodation to start us off but would appreciate advise on the best cards accounts while were there.

    • Staff
      Marc | October 30, 2013

      Hello M.Deverex,
      thanks for the question.

      There are a few options when travelling to Australia to minimise costs. I suggest making a comparison of these cards with a quick internet search to find out what might suit you.

      You could also open an Australian bank account using your boarding ticket and passport with some institutions.

      I’ve sent you more information regarding these options via email.

      Cheers,
      Marc.

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    Nigel | October 28, 2013

    I hold cash passport
    How do I obtain a statement of my account?
    How can I transfer any credit balance to my cheque account?

    • Staff
      Shirley | October 28, 2013

      Hi Nigel,

      Thanks for your comment.

      You can check your statement by clicking ‘My Account’ after logging into the Cash Passport website. You can also reload by using BPay, or by again logging onto the Cash Passport website and following the prompts in the ‘online reload’ section.

      Hope this helps,
      Shirley

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    Ania | October 27, 2013

    Sorry…didn’t quite finish!
    She will have $3000 and be taking out a couple of hundred dollars every few days. She will be able to pay for things using her card or money she has withdrawn. Which is the cheapest card for her to have?

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    Ania | October 27, 2013

    My 19 year old is about to travel in Europe and England for 2 months. Which card do you think costs the least in real terms?

    • Staff
      Marc | October 28, 2013

      Hello Ania,
      thanks for the questions!

      The answer to this still depends on a number of factors, including how much and how often she plans on withdrawing and her reasons for wanting a travel money card.

      Four main considerations when choosing a travel card would be the reload fee, the initial fee, the different currencies offered and the ATM withdrawal fee. Depending on how much she will be withdrawing, and how often she’ll be withdrawing this withdrawal fee will have a different importance.

      On this page we have more information regarding spending money while in Europe.

      I hope this helps,
      Marc.

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    Aileen | October 17, 2013

    What is the reference no when I do b/pay thank you

    • Staff
      Shirley | October 17, 2013

      Hi Aileen,

      Thanks for your comment.

      This depends on which travel money option you choose. When you’ve applied you’ll be sent an information pack stating the BPAY biller code and customer reference number if applicable.

      Hope this helps,
      Shirley

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    Jan | October 15, 2013

    Hi, going to USA for 3 months with $10,000. So confused comparing travel cards, bottom line which card has the lowest atm withdrawal fees as we will be using ATMs regularly to withdraw money. Any help greatly appreciated, regards Jan.

    • Staff
      Shirley | October 15, 2013

      Hi Jan,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Please read our reviews on the 28 degrees mastercard and the citibank plus transaction account. Both cards won’t charge an ATM withdrawal fee but some terms and conditions do apply. Also, please keep in mind that there aren’t many Citibank ATMs within the US.

      Hope this helps,
      Shirley

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    Martin | October 14, 2013

    Hi there, I will be travelling from Australia to various countries around south east asia. I notice most travel cards only come in Thai baht. What would be the best way for me to access money in Vietnam or Cambodia say? Would I have to bite the bullet with conversion fees and withdraw bigger sums each time from an ATM in countries whose currencies are not on the card?

    Any advice on what card would be best suited for me would be appreciated. I obviously want to keep costs low, so I will consider reload fees, transaction fees, conversion fees and ATM fees when comparing cards. Would a pre paid travel card be the best solution? Or a travel credit card I could load my own funds onto be better for me?

    Thanks for your advice and handy website!!

    • Staff
      Marc | October 15, 2013

      Hello Martin,
      thanks for the question.

      There are three choices in this case. You could as you mention bite the bullet and use your travel card and pay the conversion fees and any reload fees. If you don’t plan on being in Vietnam and Cambodia long this might not be too much of a problem.

      The second option is to look at a credit card with no foreign transaction fees, although many of these will still charge to withdraw money from an ATM. As you mention you could just load funds onto it and put it into credit so when withdrawing you wouldn’t be hit with interest. Credit cards have the benefit of sometimes also netting you complimentary travel insurance which might save you more money. With many credit cards remember you’ll have to pay an annual fee.

      The third option would involve opening up a travel debit card. This account is a regular debit card and waives both foreign transaction fees and withdrawal fees. It doesn’t have a security chip like travel cards or credit cards; however I used this card over two months in Europe and I was fine.

      I hope this helps,
      Marc.

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    karen | September 16, 2013

    Looking at the 28 degrees card and notice you haven’t looked at it here. A bit concerned about using it as it is a master card and the country I am to be living is Ethiopia which mainly has visa atms at hotels and around the place. Also the service I have encountered to date is pretty hopeless. Is the velocity a good alternative to the 28 degrees card? regards Karen

    • Staff
      Shirley | September 16, 2013

      Hi Karen,

      Thanks for your comment.

      You can read comments about the Velocity Global Wallet here. As a sidenote, the ANZ travel money card and Travelex travel card also have Visa options.

      Hope this helps,
      Shirley

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    Peaches | September 8, 2013

    Hi,
    I’m going on a 2 week Contiki Tour of Europe. I’ll be using the British pound, Euro and Swiss Franc. What type of card will be best for me?

    • Staff
      Shirley | September 9, 2013

      Hi Peaches,

      Thanks for your comment.

      You’ll have to weigh the pros and cons of each form of travel money, which are listed in the above article. It really comes down to what you plan to do while you’re away. You may want to have a look at the currencies available on each travel card to minimise foreign transaction fees.

      Hope this helps,
      Shirley

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    Dee | September 4, 2013

    Hello, I live in Canada and I will be travelling in Europe to London, Paris and Amsterdam. I don’t want to carry cash on me. What other method would you suggest would be the easiest/cheaper option?

    • Staff
      Jacob | September 4, 2013

      Hi Dee.

      I can’t give a recommendation, you’ll have to weigh the pros and cons of each form of travel money, which are listed in the above article. It really comes down to what you plan to do while you’re away. I wasn’t fussed about carrying cash overseas with me, so I took chunks of cash out from the ATM using my debit card. Someone who was opposed to this and paid for everything on their card would probably benefit from a travel card or a credit card with no currency conversion fee. Other people like chasing the best exchange rate they can get, so that can factor in too. The reality is that you’ll need cash somewhere along the line when you’re away, so ATM withdrawal fees can be a consideration too. Information about fees is listed above. I hope this helps.

      Jacob.

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    Buddah | August 24, 2013

    Am travelling to UK and possibly Europe for 6 weeks in mid September.

    What is the most efficient and economic means of gaining access to funds and purchase goods and services? Credit card, debit card, cash card etc.

    • Staff
      Jacob | August 25, 2013

      Hi Buddah.

      ATM fees are probably the greatest expense you’ll incur when you go to access your money, international and local ATM fees add up, and if you can find a product that doesn’t charge the earth to withdraw from an ATM, that’s half the battle. Some cards don’t charge this, while other banks have global ATM partners. Westpac customers, for instance, can make free withdrawals at Barclays Bank ATMs.

      The next biggest expense is the currency conversion fee. Find a card that does not charge to convert from one currency to another. There are travel money cards and credit cards that don’t charge this fee.

      The card that does not charge you to withdraw from an ATM or charge you for currency conversion is the way to go.

      Thanks for your question.

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    Judianne | August 22, 2013

    Are there any cards that you can use in Vietnam with there currency? or Bali ?

    • Staff
      Jacob | August 22, 2013

      Hi Judianne.

      There are no travel money cards that allow you to load those currencies onto the cards. You can use a credit card or debit card in Asia; however, you will incur fees and charges for using a card in a foreign country. Have a look at the travel friendly credit cards and transaction accounts on this page. You may want to go for a card with no foreign transaction fees.
      Thanks for your question.

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    Kym | August 22, 2013

    In March 2014 my wife and i are flying to Singapore for three days and then doing a cruise on the Royal Caribbean Line (mariner of the seas) for 8 nights ending up in Shanghai for eight days. The cruise stops in Ho Chi Minh (Phu My), Vietnam; Hong Kong, China; Xiamen, China; Baoshan (Shanghai), China Most things will be paid for prior to leaving Australia however there will be additional expenses both expected and unexpected.
    Can you give advice as to the best cash card to use to ensure compatibility through out the trip – i know the currency on the ship will be in USD.

    • Staff
      Marc | August 22, 2013

      Hello Kym,
      thanks for the question!

      Unfortunately I can’t advise which is the best cash card, as there are so many options. Most of these cards operate on the Visa or MasterCard networks, so should be compatible at most, if not all the places you travel to. All of these cards will either convert automatically from AUD to other currencies, or in the case of travel money cards, will allow you to load a number of currencies onto the card before your trip, so you should have a problem being able to pay in foreign currencies.

      Even if along your trip you need to pay for something in a currency which isn’t loaded on your travel money card, or you’ve run out of a particular currency on your travel money card, you’re usually still be able to pay if you have enough of other currencies on it – but you will pay a regular conversion fees which are normally around 3%.

      Sometimes it’s also useful to consider taking a combination of these card types, as this will give you a back up in the event your cards are lost or stolen.

      I hope this helps,
      Marc.

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    Claudia | August 19, 2013

    I am traveling to France, Italy, cruising along the Croatia and Montenegro Coast.
    Where will I find your ATM locator and is it best to put Euros on the Debit Plus Account.

    • Staff
      Marc | August 20, 2013

      Hello Claudia,
      Thanks for the question!

      If you’re referring to the Citibank Plus Transaction Account, you can find the ATM locator on the Citibank website. I’ve emailed you the link to this page. In response to your second part of the question, because the Citibank Plus Account is a transaction card and not a travel money card, you can’t load Euros onto it. Instead, the Citibank Plus will convert Australian dollars into the currency you’re making a purchase in at the time.

      I hope this helps,
      Marc.

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    Michel | August 14, 2013

    Currently i am at Brazil..I am planning to go to India in November…I don’t want to carry money with me during my journey..I don’t have much idea about the travel cards..My idea is to put my money in to some kind of travel card so that i can withdraw the same from the ATM branches in India..Is it possible? could you please tell me the options….

    • Staff
      Shirley | August 14, 2013

      Hi Michel,

      Thanks for your comment.

      This is certainly possible. Please see our travel money card comparison and when you’ve decided which is best for you, you can pre-load funds which you can later access in India. Please keep in mind that none of our featured travel cards allow you to preload INR though.

      Hope this helps,
      Shirley

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    Sue | August 13, 2013

    Unfortunately my daughter was unable to benefit from your wisdom when she travelled to South America a couple of months ago and left her debit card in the ATM machine. Two separate replacements haven’t arrived at her place of residence in Peru (the last was couriered!) and I am having to wire money to her – a very expensive option.

    Can you suggest how she can obtain a visa debit card, while she is in South America, that she can pick up in person (i.e. doesn’t entail the postal service). She will be leaving her home base in Peru permanently later this week to travel through the continent for the next nine months or so.

    • Staff
      Jacob | August 13, 2013

      Hi Sue.

      Thanks for your question.

      Visa and MasterCard should be able to issue an emergency replacement card within two days, so it might be worth trying again to get a card sent out. Third time is a charm and fingers crossed it may get to her in time before she leaves Peru.

      Alternatively, have you considered emergency cash assistance? MasterCard and Visa can set it up so a person can access the money in their account, generally they can pick up the cash from a location like a local bank in the area. Contact the card issuer (Visa / MasterCard) and head to the lost or stolen card section of their website and follow the prompts.

      I hope this has helped.

      Jacob.

    • Staff
      Jacob | August 14, 2013

      Hi Sue.

      One of our team members has confirmed that your daughter should be able to pick up a pre-paid card from a local institution. She will have to do some homework, but she should be able to transfer the cash in her Australian account to this local pre-paid card and use it to make purchases and withdraw cash from the ATM etc.

      Jacob.

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    Julie | August 7, 2013

    I will be travelling through all of South America for 12 months and I recently heard that travel money cards are difficult to use or not acceptable on this continent. I heard it has something to do with the card holders name not appearing on the card itself. Is this correct? If this is correct, what options would you recommend for travel for this length of time in South America.

    • Staff
      Shirley | August 8, 2013

      Hi Julie,

      Thanks for your comment.

      A number of travel cards do not have your name appearing on the card itself. In this case, it may be worthwhile opening an account based in South America, but please keep in mind that it may need some residency requirements. Alternatively, you may want consider a credit card or debit card that won’t charge any international transaction fees.

      Hope this helps,
      Shirley

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    Darren | August 7, 2013

    I’m heading to the UK for 4 weeks and want to take cash. Will I be better off waiting till I’m in the UK to transfer my AU$ for British pounds or should I do it before I leave? I’m thinking of transferring around $3500

    • Staff
      Shirley | August 8, 2013

      Hi Darren,

      Thanks for your comment.

      This is really hard to say as it depends on how the Australian dollar fluctuates as well as commission costs. It may be worthwhile to research currency exchange services in the UK and compare their fees with Australian ones.

      Cheers,
      Shirley

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    Daren | August 3, 2013

    I am travelling to California for a few weeks and have enough spending money in cash. Apart from the security risk, is there any financial disadvantage to exchanging on the go over there and if not are banks the best value?

    • Staff
      Shirley | August 5, 2013

      Hi Daren,

      Thanks for your comment.

      There may fee some exchange fees and commission costs. Banks would be the safest option but they usually charge a heavy commission when exchanging money.
      When looking for a foreign exchange, ensure that it is a reputable one and remember to practice your due diligence.

      Hope this helps,
      Shirley

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    Kerrie | July 30, 2013

    Is it better to top up my travel money card or use my debit card in Greece

    • Staff
      Shirley | July 30, 2013

      Hi Kerrie,

      Thanks for your comment.

      It may be a good idea to check the foreign transaction and exchange fees applicable to your debit card.
      If the fees are cheaper in comparison to travel money cards then you may want to stick with your debit card.

      Hope this helps,
      Shirley

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    Nige | July 23, 2013

    Hi,

    We are a family of three travelling to UK, France and Italy predominantly for the first time in Sept 2013 (if we have still have time possibly Germany, Poland, and Switzerland as well). There are so many cards out there whats the best way to go? We have the Westpac Altitude Black C/C should we use that or go for the 28 Degrees C/C or the prepaid card/cash passport or maybe a combo? What would you recommend?

    Cheers

    • Staff
      Jacob | July 24, 2013

      Hi Nige. Thanks for your question. I can’t make a recommendation about a particular card; however, if you compare the Westpac Altitude Black Cards with the 28 Degrees MasterCard. The 28 Degrees MasterCard does not charge for foreign currency conversion and it has no annual fee, whereas the Altitude Black Card does charge these fees. It’s a good idea to take a combination of travel money types, for instance a travel money card and a credit card, or a credit card and a debit card. It really depends on how you plan to spend and the locations you’re visiting. The countries you’ve listed in your question all fall under the Euro Zone and I believe they all use Euros, so a travel money card loaded with Euros would cover all these locations, and you could have a currency bucket loaded with Pounds Sterling for your time in the U.K. You will only get charged the currency conversion fee once when you initially transfer the funds from AUD. Travel money cards work great in Europe, it’s when you get to continents with different currencies between countries that they become useless. There is no best option, as each type of cards has it’s strengths and disadvantages. I hope this helps. Jacob.

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    Ros | July 23, 2013

    Hi There, I am about to embark on my very first o/s trip and have already paid for my accommodation, travel and tours up front so will basically only need spending money. Mostly I can use Euro and GBP however noticed that travel cards don’t include Swiss francs or the Turkish lire. Does this mean I will need to exchange money at their banks. I am only visiting Turkey during a Greek island tour and will be there for one day but will still need spending money for food etc. Would I be able to exchange money on board the ship?
    Cheers
    Ros

    • Staff
      Jacob | July 23, 2013

      Hi Ros. Thanks for your question. I’m not 100% on being able to get money changed on the boat. The ferry that took me from Athens to the Greek Islands did not offer this service. The shops you visit on your circuit in Turkey may also offer to exchange your cash, it’s best to avoid those places. Plan how much money you’ll need in advance and get it changed at a bank before you depart on the cruise incase you can’t get money changed on the boat. Have an awesome trip. Jacob.

    • Default Gravatar
      Ros | July 23, 2013

      Hi Jacob
      Thanks for the reply, will take your tip and grab some money in Athens before I board the ship.
      Also, I looked at your advice on this site re the various forms to take money o/s and was thinking of opening a Citibank Debit Card but also taking a bank travel card as well as my credit card. I going for 6 weeks to the UK, Europe and Thailand. Do you think this is a bit of an overkill or should I just stick with the credit and travel card?
      Thanks
      Ros

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    Nick | July 21, 2013

    Fantastic resource you have here, well done.

    I’m thinking of going with the 28 degrees card and preloading it with cash so I keep it in credit and don’t pay any interest. As I understand it the only downside of this is that I won’t be covered by the zero liability thing but what is that exactly, will I be giving up much if I don’t have that?

    Are there any other negatives I’m missing?

    Cheers,
    Nick

    • Staff
      Jacob | July 21, 2013

      Hi Nick. Thanks for your comments. The MasterCard Zero Liability Policy covers you for transactions made over the phone, over the counter and online provided that you meet with five conditions.
      They outline that you must keep your account in good standing and have taken steps to keep your account secure, must not have made more than two claims in the past 12 months, you must have notified MasterCard immediately after the fraud was discovered and that you’ve complied with the terms and conditions of the MasterCard cardholder agreement.

      If you meet the above conditions you’re fully covered against any fraudulent transactions on your card.

      I hope this helps.

      Jacob.

    • Default Gravatar
      Nick | July 28, 2013

      Oh cool. So, in that case, there’s no downside to preloading this credit card and using it like a debit card?

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    Mich | July 18, 2013

    Hiya, I’m researching the best options to access my money whilst overseas without incurring high fees. Reading about the 28 degrees card from GE and it noted that all currency is first converted to USD from AUD. i.e. if [purchasing something in British pounds, my AUD goes to USD then to GBP. All currency conversions cost, does this extra conversion step somehow balance out the zero fee that credit card offers?

    • Staff
      Shirley | July 19, 2013

      Hi Mich,

      Thanks for your comment.

      There are no currency conversion fees with the 28 Degrees MasterCard so there wil be no charge.

      Cheers,
      Shirley

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    Bev | July 18, 2013

    If I load up a travel card with Euros and I am lucky enough to have some over when I return from my holiday, how do I access the balance?

    • Staff
      Jacob | July 18, 2013

      Hi Bev. Thanks for your question. You can use a travel money card at an Australian ATM to withdraw any extra funds you have on the card when you get back from overseas. You can also transfer the money electronically to another account. Please have a look out for domestic ATM charges. Some cards charge an inactivity fee, while other cards will acquire any funds left on the card after a number of years. Let us know if you have any more questions. Jacob.

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    tim | July 15, 2013

    hi i am an australian living in the uk and wanted to know what the best credit card would be to apply for thanks

    • Staff
      Shirley | July 15, 2013

      Hi Tim,

      Thanks for your comment.

      This depends on a few things, like your residency status and how long you intend to stay in the UK for.
      If you’re a citizen of the UK and you’re staying there for a long period of time then a UK credit card may be more suitable. In that case, you need to conduct a comparison of the credit cards available in the UK.
      Otherwise, if you’re an Australian citizen staying in the UK for a short period of time, then you may want to consider a credit card that has no foreign transaction fees.

      Hope this helps,
      Shirley

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    Liz | July 10, 2013

    We are travelling to France and Italy this weekend. We are Australian but also have USA credit cards (Bank America Travel Rewards card) and Australian credit cards (28 Degrees) and both state there are $0 international currency conversions associated with these cards. Based on the current climate with the AUD, do you think it would be more beneficial to use the $US ones or pay for everything in AUD? Any ideas what would be the best financially. We also will need to use them at the ATM’s. Thanks.

    • Staff
      Jacob | July 10, 2013

      Hi Liz! Thanks for writing in to us with this question.

      At the time of writing (10/07/13), one USD will get 0.78 Euros, while one AUD will buy 0.72 Euros. Please be sure to double check your providers exchange rates. So if you use USD opposed to AUD, you’re dollar is going to go a little further.

      I can’t comment on the fees and charges that you’ll incur with the American card as this is out of my areas of knowledge. Unlike other Australian credit cards, the 28 Degrees MasterCard does not charge an international ATM withdrawal fee; however, please note that there may be a local ATM operator fee (you’ll be advised of this at the time of the transaction).

      The charges you’ll incur using the card overseas will depend on a number of factors, mainly whether you’re using your own money or the banks money. If you’re using this card to withdraw money from an ATM, and you’re using your available credit (bank’s money), you’ll incur the cash advance interest rate. If you pre-load your own money onto the card, you won’t get charged interest on the transaction, but you’ll waived the MasterCard Zero Liability Guarantee, which protects you against fraudulent transactions.

      If there’s anything else you would like to know please don’t hesitate to ask.

      Jacob.

    • Default Gravatar
      Liz | July 11, 2013

      Thank you so much.

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    Peter | July 9, 2013

    My partner and I will be traveling to Italy, Paris and on to the UK, would we simply load the prepaid travel card with Euros? or multiple currencies?

    • Staff
      Jacob | July 9, 2013

      Hi Peter. Italy and France are both in the Euro Zone and the U.K uses Pounds Sterling. You’ll need both currencies loaded onto the card to spend in Britain and Europe. Thanks for your question. Jacob.

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    | July 7, 2013

    my husband and I are planning to hire a car for a few weeks in the UK when we go there next May-June. We do not use credit cards, only debit cards with our bank accounts, in Australia but I am under the impression that you have to pay car hire fees with a credit card so they can debit later for extra incurred fees etc. Is this correct?

    • Staff
      Shirley | July 8, 2013

      Hi Rosemary,

      Thanks for your comment.

      It is likely that you’ll need a valid credit card in the lead drivers name as most rental companies require this for the security deposit.

      Cheers,
      Shirley

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    Rosalie | June 28, 2013

    Can a Citibank Plus debit card be used in South America and if so at which ATM’s

    • Staff
      Jacob | June 28, 2013

      HI Rosalie. Thanks for your question. The Citibank Plus Transaction Account operates with a Visa debit card, so you can withdraw money from your account at any ATM that accepts Visa. If you find a Citibank ATM, you can use your card free of charge. If you have a look at the Citibank website, you can use their find an ATM feature to see which of your destinations have Citibank ATMs. I hope this helps. Jacob.

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    | June 17, 2013

    I’m going to Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil in three weeks time and am considering my options for taking money with me. Most of my trip is already prepaid so ill only be needing $AUD 1000 spending money. I will be taking about $AUD100 upfront in local currency. Can you please advise which will be the best option. I will most be withdrawing money from ATMs every 4 days to use a cash.

    • Staff
      Jacob | June 18, 2013

      Hi Sunil. Thanks for your question. There are a couple of options available to you.
      You can pre-load the funds on to a travel money card, convert AUD to USD and withdraw USD from a South American ATM. I don’t believe any travel money cards let you convert funds to the Paso or the Real, so USD would be the closest currency. If you try to get money exchanged to the local currency when you’re abroad, make sure you get your money exchanged somewhere you trust. Avoid exchange cash at the airport or on the side of the street.

      If you’re going to be making cash withdrawals from ATMs, you can expect fees. How much you’re charged for a withdrawal will depend on the type of card you’re using. Travel money cards do charge an international ATM withdrawal fee (some don’t), as do credit cards. A local ATM operator fee will also be charged. As a ballpark figure, expect to get charged anywhere between $5 and $10 when you make a withdrawal from an ATM. Add to this the cross currency conversion fee (which can be avoided if you’ve pre-loaded the currency on the card) and you can see that accessing your money overseas can get expensive.

      Please let us know if you have any more questions.
      Bon voyage!
      Jacob.

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    Debra | June 12, 2013

    I’m moving to Scotland in mid-September but I leave the country at the end of July to go to Cambodia and the US first. As Cambodia uses US currency also I am contemplating loading a CBA (current bank) Travel Card with my spending money, as well as getting a small amount of USD to help me out when I arrive. Just wondering if you feel this is the smartest option? When I am travelling in Cambodia credit card facilities will be fairly limited (comparatively) – so should I take more cash or look into a different card option that has less cash withdrawal fees instead?
    I am also worried about the exchange rate dropping further but don’t want to load up a card now only to have it rise and waste a few hundred.
    Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!

    • Staff
      Jacob | June 12, 2013

      Hi Debra. Thanks for your question. Travel money cards allow you to lock in the exchange rate when you load money onto the card, it’s extremely difficult to pick currency fluctuations so I can’t comment on this, you’ll need to load the card and lock in a rate at a time you believe is favourable. I have never been to Cambodia, so I can’t comment on the availability of ATMs, however, you’ll need to weigh the trade off between carrying too much cash and making yourself a target to crooks, and making yourself a target to the other types of crooks you’ll meet overseas (banks and lenders) by withdrawing from ATMs, which can incur a fee of $5-$10 for each transaction depending upon the machine and the card provider. There are a few cards with minimal international ATM fees, you can compare these cards here. I hope this has helped. Please let us know if there’s anything else you would like to know about this topic. Jacob.

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    Amy | June 5, 2013

    I’m moving to Italy to study for the next couple of months (with a few months traveling around Europe too) – I’m not sure whats the best way for me to pay for things while I’m over there. I’ve heard not to bother opening an account with a local bank but I have to pay for food and rent etc and don’t want to be whacked with all the currency conversion fees, ATM fees and bad exchange rate. What’s your advice on this?

    • Staff
      Jacob | June 5, 2013

      Hi Amy. Thanks for your question. What were the reasons for not opening an account with a local bank? There are a number of ways you can fund your overseas trip, but as you’ve said, some of these methods of payment can be expensive. About the exchange rate. The only way you can avoid an unfavourable exchange rate offered by your lender is to open a local account and have your Italian salary deposited directly into this account. If you’re moving funds from an Australian account to an Italian account, you’re going to have to have the funds converted at some stage. One way you can avoid this is to open a Citibank Plus Transaction Account. This account lets you transfer funds from your Australian Citibank account to a Citibank account in a foreign country free of charge (exchanged at the set Citibank rate, which includes a margin for the conversion service). Although you can’t transfer to Citibank in Italy, there are other countries within the Euro Zone where you can open a Citibank Account and withdraw Euros on the cheap after doing an electronic funds transfer from your Australian account. Another option is to use a travel money card. These cards let you load AUD on to the card and then convert the funds to a number of different currencies to be used at a later date. These cards do have a ‘reload’ or an ‘initial load fee’, but if you use this card intelligently, these fees can be significantly cheaper than using a debit card to access your money.

      The costs associated with using your cards overseas depends on how you use them really. The bulk of the fees and charges come when you use your cards (debit, credit and travel) to withdraw funds from an ATM. There’s international ATM fees and local ATM operator fees, which can add up to $10 per transaction + cash advance fees if you’re using a credit card. Cross currency conversion fees can be avoided and so can interest charges if you’re using a card pre-loaded with your own money.

      Let me know if there’s anything else you would like to know.

      Jacob.

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    Astrid | May 18, 2013

    I am currently looking at the Aust dollar and it looks like its falling. I am off to Europe in September and October and I’m spending a few days in singapore on the way back. I’m wondering if I should buy my EU now?? If so, how should I do this and best spend my money? I have a Visa debit account with NAB and have had read some bad reviews about their travel card. I will be away for 1 month. I’m looking for a card to access cash I think will best work for me and I’ll get enough out to last me about two days at a time and will use the Internet to pay for Accommodation mostly with the occasional pay up front at hostels and hotels. I want best bang for my buck!!! And really have no idea.

    • Staff
      Jacob | May 18, 2013

      Hi Astrid. Thanks for your question. If you’re looking at purchasing EU currency now, you should consider a travel money card as they let you lock in the currency at the time you load funds on to the card. These cards can be topped up via BPAY using online banking and let you load a number of different currencies on to the card at the one time. If you feel the exchange rate is favourable now, you can use the opportunity to lock in a good rate. This is not the case with debit accounts and credit cards, which take the rate on the day you try to make a transaction.

      When you exchange cash from one AUD to another currency, you will not get the exchange rate you hear on the evening news – known as the interbank rate – card schemes (Visa / MasterCard / American Express) and card providers (NAB, ANZ etc.) apply a margin to this rate. The Ozforex card has the smallest margin on top of the interbank rate out of the travel cards we compare. It’s refreshed several times throughout the day (other travel money card providers set their consumer exchange rates for the day).

      The point to take from this is: the rate you hear on the news is not the rate you will exchange your dollars at. You can find a lender’s exchange rates on their website.

      There are a number of fees and charges that come with accessing your money overseas, credit cards are expensive – travel money cards less so. You can avoid the cross currency conversion fee (there are a few cards that don’t charge this fee). ATM fees apply to both travel money cards and credit cards, but once again, there are a few cards that don’t charge this fee too. You can find these fees listed in our comparison tables and product review tables – our travel money page on CreditCardFinder.com.au is a good resource for this information. One thing to note about travel money cards is that it may take two days to transfer funds on to your travel money card, so keep this in mind if you only plan to keep enough cash on your card for a few days – and note any Australian bank holidays which also may add to the time it takes for funds to become available.

      Check the above link to compare a travel friendly credit cards and debit cards and a range of travel money cards too. This should make your decision a little easier. Let us know if you need any more information about this topic. Jacob.

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    Tim | May 14, 2013

    I have Euro in cash and am travelling to France next month from Australia.
    Can I avoid exchange fees back into AUD to acquire a travel card?
    Can I carry my cash to France and open a pre-paid account in local currency for use in ATMs when I arrive?
    Was I wrong to purchase Euro cash at a top exchange rate, only to lose any benefit now, and then some… It looks like I may lose up to E1000 if I have to exchange back and forth.
    Is Australia the only robbers when it comes to FX?
    Is this too many questions?

    • Staff
      Jacob | May 16, 2013

      Hi Tim.
      1) If you’re looking to get a travel money card, then you will have to load the funds on to the card via BPAY. This means the funds will have to be in AUD and will be subject to the exchange rate offered by the card.
      2) There’s no limit to the amount of money you can carry across boarders, it’s just a matter of declaring the cash you’re taking with you. Amounts over $10,000 have to be declared when leaving Australia.
      3) Wrong is a strong word; however, there are better ways to transfer your money across boarders. Have you considered the Citibank Plus Transaction Account. It allows you to transfer money with no exchange fees between Citibank accounts in different countries. You will have to open a Citibank account in France, and the exchange rate is subject to the day’s rates. There may be a margin added to this, it’s highly unlikely that you will get the interbank rate.
      4) I’m not sure whether were the only robbers, but I doubt there are any countries that are the proverbial Robin Hood’s when it comes to foreign exchange.
      5) No! Let us know if you need more information.
      Jacob.

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      Tanya | January 6, 2014

      A really interesting read on travel money.I will like to add on the part related to travel money.Most of the travelers struggle while arranging for the foreign money.I recently travelled to the US from India. I wanted to convert INR to Dollar. I used Travelex India for the currency conversion .I have used many online portals for forex, but was really impressed by the service provided by Travelex India. They also have 0% commission on the transactions which saves a lot of money.Hope this information was useful to the ones reading this blog

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