Travel Money Finder™ – Guide to Travelling With Money Overseas

Rates and Fees verified correct on February 9th, 2016

Compare travel money cards, credit cards and debit cards to discover how you can manage your travel budget on your next overseas trip

Holidaying overseas involves much planning and preparing your travel money options before you leave is vital for a stress-free trip. There is no such thing as the one ideal strategy, so it’s best to compare your options to find the right one for you. Discover how you can access your cash with convenience while cutting costs by using our guide to compare your travel finance options below.

Which option is right for you?

A quick comparison of travel money features

TypeSecurity FeaturesFees for Withdrawing Money
Fees for Over the Counter Purchases
Debit Cards for Travel
  • Protected by PIN & chip
  • Can be blocked
  • Zero Liability Guarantee
  • Emergency cash
  • Currency Conversion Fee
  • Local ATM Fee
  • International ATM Fee
Travel Money Cards
  • Backup card
  • PIN
  • Can be blocked
  • Zero Liability Guarantee
  • Local ATM fee
  • Travel card ATM fee
  • No fee - Assuming cardholder is spending on a currency loaded onto the card
Credit Cards for Travel
  • Protected by PIN & chip
  • Can be blocked
  • Zero Liability Guarantee
  • Emergency cash
  • Currency Conversion Fee
  • Cash Advance Fee
  • Cash Advance Interest
  • Local ATM Fee
  • International ATM Fee
Travellers Cheques
  • Unique serial number
  • Photo I.D. needed to cash cheques
  • Currency Conversion Fee
  • Purchase interest rate*

*Excluding interest free days on credit card

Back to top

What are my travel finance options?

Are you looking to shop in multiple currencies? Do you need a card with a card with a line of credit for emergencies? Or would you prefer a card that lets you earn rewards points as you spend? Compare your options to find the right card for you below.

Travel money cards

NAB Traveller Card

NAB Traveller Card

  • $0 NAB international ATM fees on withdrawals and balance checks, and $3.75 AUD per withdrawal at Australian ATMs.
  • $0 initial load fee
  • 1% Reload fee
  • 4% currency conversion fee
  • $45,000 maximum load amount

    A comparison of prepaid travel money cards

    Rates last updated February 9th, 2016
    Available Currencies ATM Withdrawal Fee Reload Fee Initial Load Fee
    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 $3.75 AUD per withdrawal at Australian ATMs. 1% $0 Go to site More
    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 Go to site More
    Qantas Card with Qantas Cash
    Qantas Card with Qantas Cash
    AUD, AED, CAD, EUR, GBP, HKD, JPY, NZD, SGD, THB, USD 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, AED 6.50 $0 $0 Go to site More
    Multi Currency Cash Passport
    Multi Currency Cash Passport
    AUD, CAD, EUR, GBP, HKD, JPY, NZD, SGD, THB, USD $0 for International ATM withdrawal and 2.95% of the amount withdrawn in Australia $0 $0 Go to site More
    Travelex Travel Card
    Travelex Travel Card
    AUD, CAD, EUR, GBP, HKD, JPY, NZD, SGD, THB, USD Travelex does not charge an ATM withdrawal fee when you use your Travelex Multi-currency Cash Passport to withdraw currencies that are loaded on the card at overseas ATMs where MasterCard is accepted. The greater of 1.1% of the initial load / reload amount or AU$15.00 $0 Go to site More
    Rates last updated February 9th, 2016
    Currency Conversion Fee Monthly Inactivity Fee Multiple Currencies on One Card Maximum Load Amount
    NAB Traveller Card
    NAB Traveller Card
    4% $4 Yes $45,000 Go to site More
    ANZ Travel Card
    ANZ Travel Card
    3% $3 Yes $80,000 Go to site More
    Qantas Card with Qantas Cash
    Qantas Card with Qantas Cash
    $0 Yes $20,000 Go to site More
    Multi Currency Cash Passport
    Multi Currency Cash Passport
    5.95% $4 Yes $100,000 Go to site More
    Travelex Travel Card
    Travelex Travel Card
    5.95% AU$4.00 per month No Go to site More

    What are the benefits of using a prepaid travel money card?

    Some of the perks you can expect from using a travel money card include:

    • Multiple currencies. Australian travel money cards allow you to load Australian dollars which can then be converted to a number of supported currencies, which will help you avoid currency conversion fees when making purchases in foreign currencies.
    • Locked-in exchange rates. When you load funds onto the card, they’ll be locked into the current exchange rate to protect your funds from rate fluctuations as you’re travelling.
    • Prepaid funds. Travel cards give you access to your own preloaded funds rather than a line of credit. Knowing that you’re spending your own funds can help curb overspending to maintain your travel budget.
    • ATM alliances. If your card provider offers an ATM alliance, this can help keep your ATM costs to a minimum while travelling overseas.
    • Rewards. Travel money cards connected with a rewards program will allow you to rack up points as you spend. Depending of the rewards scheme you’re with, you can either redeem your points for travel-related rewards such as flights and accommodation or for merchandise, gift cards and more.

    What fees come with a travel money card?

    These fees will vary from card to card, so you’ll need to consider these when comparing your options.

    • Purchase fees. You may be charged a one-off fee at the time of purchase. You can purchase some cards for free, though.
    • Currency conversion fees. Most travel money cards don’t charge currency conversion fees when cardholders make purchases in loaded and supported currencies. However, if you make a purchase in a currency that isn’t loaded on your card or isn’t included as a supported currency, you may be charged a currency conversion fee of around 3%.
    • Load and reload fees. Some cards will charge a fee when you first load funds on your card, whereas others offer the initial load for free and charge any thereafter. Some cards may not charge for either, so make sure to check the T&Cs to confirm these details.
    • ATM withdrawal fees. If your card isn’t linked with an ATM alliance or you can’t access a partnered ATM, you may be charged an ATM withdrawal or balance check fee. Keep in mind that local ATMs may also charge an additional fee.
    • Cashout fees. If you have remaining funds left on your card when you return from your trip, you can transfer them to AUD and either withdraw them from an ATM, use them for online purchases or organise for the amount to be directly debited into your account. However, a cashout fee or card closure fee may apply.

    Mistakes to avoid

    • Loading funds last minute. Keep in mind that it can take a few days for your loaded funds to appear in your account. BPAY loads tend to take three business days, whereas direct debit takes at least one business day to appear in your account. So avoid letting your balance get down to $0 before you reload funds, because it could take one to three business days for the funds to land in your travel card account.
    • Unsupported currencies. Make sure that the local currency of your holiday destination is one of the currencies supported by your card. If not, you might find that you begin accruing high currency conversion fees while you travel.
    • Acceptance. Some merchants may not accept a travel money card if it doesn't have your name printed on the front. Some travel money card providers allow you to do that, otherwise you may wish to pack a backup just in case.
    Do your homework first

    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 a publisher at finder.com.au, so he knew to get a prepaid 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.

    Read more about our Europe travel money guide

    Pros for using a travel money card

    • Multiple currencies can be loaded onto the card, avoiding the currency conversion fee common with credit cards and debit cards.
    • These accounts come with two cards. One to use as a backup.
    • They are not linked to your primary bank account. This allows you to control your spending.
    Cons for using a travel money card

    • There can be fees for card issue and reloading funds onto the card.
    • These cards may not be accepted by all merchants because your name is not usually printed on the front (this depends on the card).
    • If you're using a direct debit or BPAY transfer to reload your card, it can take between one to three business days for the funds to appear in your account.

    Compare and learn more about Travel Money Cards

    Back to top

    Travel Credit Cards

    A comparison of travel-friendly credit cards

    Rates last updated February 9th, 2016
    Complimentary Travel Insurance Cover Bonus Points Points per $ spent Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate (p.a.) Annual fee
    Bankwest Zero Platinum MasterCard
    An introductory offer on balance transfers with $0 annual fee. Complimentary travel insurance & 24/7 Concierge service and $0 Foreign Transaction fees.
    6 months VISA/MC: 0 AMEX: 0 17.99% p.a. 2.99% p.a. for 9 months $0 p.a. Go to site More info
    28 Degrees Platinum MasterCard
    Benefit from no international transaction fees on purchases, no currency conversion fees and no annual fee.
    20.99% p.a. $0 p.a. Go to site More info
    Bankwest Qantas Gold MasterCard
    Earn 4,000 bonus Qantas Points.
    3 months 4,000 bonus points VISA/MC: 0.5 AMEX: 0 20.49% p.a. 2.99% p.a. for 9 months $150 p.a. Go to site More info
    Bankwest Qantas Platinum MasterCard
    Earn 8,000 Bonus Qantas Points. Included travel and accident insurance and payment protection. No foreign transaction fees on online or overseas spend.
    3 months 8,000 bonus points VISA/MC: 0.75 AMEX: 0 20.49% p.a. 2.99% p.a. for 9 months $160 p.a. Go to site More info
    Bankwest More Platinum Mastercard
    $0 foreign transaction fees and complimentary insurance cover.
    6 months 80,000 bonus points VISA/MC: 2 AMEX: 0 19.99% p.a. 2.99% p.a. for 9 months $140 p.a. Go to site More info

    What are the benefits of a travel credit card?

    • Avoid fees. If your credit card is designed for use overseas, it's likely that it might charge low or no fee for foreign transactions, currency conversion and ATM withdrawals. These are all fees that'll add up if you're using a regular credit card to shop overseas and they can steadily eat away at your travel budget. Compare the fees involved to ensure that the card offers the best bang for your buck.
    • Access emergency credit. Anticipating what could go wrong on your holiday is probably the last thing on your mind, so having a back-up in the form of a line of credit on your card can be a good way to protect yourself in financial emergencies.
    • Complimentary insurance. Many travel credit cards offer cardholders complimentary travel insurance, helping cut costs for an expense that is necessary for peace of mind when travelling. Just make sure to read the terms and conditions to understand what you're covered under.
    • Rewards. Some credit cards come connected to a rewards program, which can be a worthwhile way to get something back for your everyday purchases. Depending on the card, you might even find that some cards offer a higher earn rate for international transactions. Bonus points on signup is another rewards perk to look out for when comparing travel credit cards.

    What costs come with a travel credit card?

    • Currency conversion and foreign transaction fees. If your credit card isn't designed for overseas use, you may find that you incur a foreign transaction fee and currency conversion fee when you make a purchase in an overseas foreign currency. Keep an eye out for cards with no foreign transaction fees to keep these costs low.
    • Cash advances. Credit cards aren't designed for ATM withdrawals, so cash advances are likely to incur a higher cash advance fee. If you're planning to use your card for ATM withdrawals while on holiday, these costs can really add up. Compare credit cards with low cash advance fees if you're looking to keep these costs to a minimum.
    • Interest rates. If you're planning to use your credit card for everyday purchases while on holiday, keep an eye out for cards with low or no interest on purchases to avoid large additional costs. Use our comparison guide to consider cards with low or no interest on purchases. If you're planning to consolidate a debt, you'll also want whether you'll be paying interest on your transferred balances.
    • Annual fees. Many credit cards charge an annual fee. Calculate the savings you'll make on the card (whether this is by a rewards program or savings on interest) and determine whether these outweigh the yearly cost of the card. If not, then you'll want to consider a card with a lower annual fee.

    Mistakes to avoid

    • International transaction fees. If your card isn't designed for international use, you could find a huge chunk of your holiday budget could go to international transaction and currency conversion fees.
    • Temptation to spend. If you have a high credit limit, you might be enticed to spend more than you would usually. Similarly, if your credit card comes with a frequent flyer program then you might be encouraged to spend to just earn points. To curb these temptations, remember that you'll need to pay every dollar spent on the card (plus more if you're being charged interest).
    • Not notifying your bank. Make sure you notify your bank that you're travelling overseas before you use your card on holiday. If your provider identifies irregular behaviour on your card (such as a purchase made in France), they may block your card as a security precaution.
    • Cash advance fees. Credit cards aren't designed to withdraw cash, so you may incur a high cash advance fee if you use it an ATM overseas. If you think you'll need access to cash on your trip, consider organising a credit card for larger purchases and a prepaid travel card for day-to-day transactions including ATM withdrawals.
    Pros for using a credit card

    • Easy to carry, secure and accepted almost everywhere.
    • Emergency access to cash through a cash advance facility.
    • If cards are lost or stolen, a call to 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.
    Cons for using a credit card

    • Just as credit cards are easy to carry, they're easy to lose.
    • International transaction charges can get expensive
    • Interest charges will also apply if you're using the bank's money.
    • The bank will block transactions in a new country if you have not notified them of your travel plans.
    Back to top

    Travel Debit Cards

    Citibank Plus Everyday Account

    Citibank Plus Transaction Account

    Experience fee free international banking with the Citibank Plus Transaction Account. Citibank will not charge you currency conversion fees when accessing your own money and allows you to transfer money overseas for free.

    • Monthly Account Fees: $0
    • Debit Card Access: Yes, Visa
    • Interest Rate: 0.00% p.a.
    • Minimum Balance: $0
    • Minimum Deposit: $0

    Travel debit card comparison

    Rates last updated February 9th, 2016
    $
    Monthly Account Fee Debit Card Access ATM Withdrawal Fee Fee Free Deposit p.m. Details
    Citibank Plus Everyday Account
    Enjoy 5% cash back on Visa payWave purchases (conditions apply)
    Free international money transfers and free overseas Citibank ATM withdrawals
    Visa $0 $0 No ATM fees using Citibank, Westpac, BankSA and St.George branded ATMs in Australia. Use overseas Citibank ATMs for free. Open More
    Bankwest Qantas Transaction Account
    Earn up to 10,000 Bonus Qantas Points for new customers.
    Earn Qantas frequently flyer points for spending and having a balance. Free membership available! Conditions apply.
    Mastercard $0 $2,000 No monthly fees (conditions apply). Free access to Bankwest and CommBank ATMs in Australia. No overseas ATM withdrawal fees (charged by Bankwest) though third party fees may apply. Open More
    Westpac Choice
    Pay no ATM withdrawal fee at eligible ATMs overseas.
    Mastercard $0 $2,000 No ATM fees when using St.George, Westpac, BankSA or Bank of Melbourne ATMs in Australia. Deposit at least $2,000 per month and enjoy no monthly service fee. Open More

    We all have a debit card, but is this the best card to use overseas?

    What are the benefits of using your debit card overseas?

    • Access your own funds. If you're using your own funds through your debit card, you're less likely to be tempted to overspend than if you have access to a line of credit.
    • ATM withdrawals. Unlike a credit card, you won't be charged a cash advance fee when making a withdrawal at the ATM. However, please keep in mind that local fees may apply. If your provider is in an ATM alliance, you may be able to look forward to avoid these fees.

    What are the costs involved?

    • ATM withdrawal fees. If your card isn't designed for overseas use, your travel budget may be chewed up by ATM withdrawal fees. How much you'll be charged will range from card to card, so it's best to check the product disclosure statement before applying.
    • Currency conversion fees. Most Australian credit cards charge cardholders currency conversion fees if they're used to make purchases in any currency other than Australian Dollars. If you're looking to use a debit card overseas, consider whether it supports other currencies or you could stand to rack up significant conversion costs.
    • Foreign transaction fees. Similar to currency conversion fees, many Australian debit cards charge a foreign transaction fee if the card is used to make a payment overseas. If the card charges both foreign transaction fees and currency conversion fees, it might not be the most valuable option for overseas use.

    Mistakes you can avoid

    • International transaction fees. If your debit card isn't charged for overseas, you might want to consider a credit card or prepaid card that won't charge expensive international transaction and currency conversion fees.
    • ATM fees. While debit cards (unlike credit cards) are meant to be used for ATM withdrawals, you might be charged expensive ATM withdrawal fees if you use your card overseas. Consider a card that offers low ATM withdrawal fees or is connected to an ATM alliance that might help reduce your costs.
    Pros for using a debit card

    • Use your debit card overseas like you would at home.
    • Some debit card providers have an international ATM presence.
    • If lost or stolen, debit cards can be blocked by calling the card provider. Visa and MasterCard offer emergency cash to cardholders.
    Cons for using a debit card

    • International transaction charges can get expensive
    • International ATM charges can be substantial.
    • A debit / transaction account, in many cases, holds the majority of a traveller's budget. This can be a security concern for some.
    Back to top

    Cash and Foreign Exchange

    International money transfers comparison

    Rates last updated February 9th, 2016
    Description Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Services Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received
    TorFX International Money Transfers
    TorFX International Money Transfers
    TorFX guarantee to beat any competitor's exchange rate for a transaction. Conditions apply AUD 200 1 day Online, Phone, Agent Go to site More
    OFX (Ozforex) International Money Transfers
    OFX (Ozforex) International Money Transfers
    Exclusive offer: $0 Transfer fee
    Transfer amounts over $250 in as little as one day and make scheduled regular transfers.
    AUD 250 1 day Online, Phone, Agent Go to site More
    World First Foreign Exchange
    World First Foreign Exchange
    Transfer money into a range of currencies online and over the phone. AUD 250 2 days Online, Phone Go to site More
    HSBC Multi Currency Account
    HSBC Multi Currency Account
    Receive $200 cash back when using the Get Rate platform(conditions apply).
    A multi-currency bank account with up to 10 currencies in one account.
    AUD 0 3 - 5 days Online, Bank Account to Bank Account, Cash Transfer, International Money Order Go to site More
    Citibank Plus Everyday Account
    Citibank Plus Everyday Account
    A transaction account with free transfers to any country and no foreign transaction or international ATM withdrawal fees. AUD 0 Same day Online, Phone, Agent, Bank Account to Bank Account Go to site More
    Travelex International Payments
    Travelex International Payments
    Send money to over 50 countries and choose from 48 currencies. AUD 500 2 days Online Go to site More
    CurrencyFair International Money Transfers
    CurrencyFair International Money Transfers
    A peer-to-peer transfer service with a large range of currencies on offer. One free transfer if you signup via finder.com.au. EUR 8 3 - 5 days Online Go to site More
    CurrencyOnline International Money Transfers
    CurrencyOnline International Money Transfers
    Enjoy regular scheduled transfers, one off transfers and a range of currencies. Also enjoy your first transfer for free. AUD 0 2 days Online, Phone Go to site More
    HiFX International Money Transfers
    HiFX International Money Transfers
    Make your first transfer for free. Transfer money between 20 currencies, and enjoy schedule regular transfers. AUD 50 2 days Online, Phone, Agent Go to site More
    TransferWise International Money Transfers
    TransferWise International Money Transfers
    Make online transfers in a range of currencies and enjoy high maximum transfer amounts. AUD 1 1 day Online Go to site More

    Only carry a small amount of cash at a time 

    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. It's best to only carry just more than what you'll need for the day and store the rest in a secure place (such as the hotel safe or within your luggage). This way if you lose your money, you'll have a backup.

    What every traveller wish they knew about foreign exchange services.

    If you get your cash exchanged at the bank, you can usually expect them to charge a commission of usually 1% or $10 (whichever is greater). You can also use other legitimate currency exchange organisations, though they're likely to cost more because of the margins they earn on the difference in exchange rate. Avoid conducting your exchange at a business where exchanges isn't their primary business, as these are more likely to give you an inaccurate exchange rate.

    An example of exchanging cash with Commonwealth Bank

    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 a margin applied to the exchange rate.

    Avoid shop attendants and 'foreign exchange artists'

    Avoid shop attendants who say it's okay 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.

    Pros for cash & foreign exchange

    • Cash can be a convenient way to spend as your 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.
    • Getting cash changed at a foreign currency exchange gives instant access to the local currency.
    Cons for cash & foreign exchange

    • 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.
    • There's no protection if you lose cash or it's stolen. Unless you lose a couple of million, don't ever dream of seeing stolen cash again.
    • 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.
    Back to top

    Travellers Cheques

    Pros for 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 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.
    Back to top

    Frequently asked questions

    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 currency conversion fees work is like this:

    • The exchange rate is set by external market factors. This is the figure you hear quoted on the evening news.
    • The card scheme currency conversion fee is applied. 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 card provider.
    • The card provider then applies to a margin to the figure passed on by the card scheme. The fee is then passed onto the cardholder.

    The image below explains this process

    Using a credit card with a positive balance, what fees will apply?

    If you're thinking of loading money onto your credit card to put it into credit, you will want to have a look at the table below. If you make a withdrawal from an ATM using a credit card with a positive balance, fees and charges will still apply for some credit card providers.

    Provider CA Fee CA InterestNotes
    BankwestYesNoMinimum cash advance fee is $4 where the customer has a positive balance (after transaction is completed). This fee is currently waived if withdrawal done at Bankwest or CBA ATM, in a Bankwest Store or online. Therefore the $4 fee will apply when this transaction is performed overseas. In addition when the cash advance is done overseas a foreign currency conversion fee (2.95%) will apply — this is waived for Platinum cardholders.
    CitibankYesNo
    CBAYesYesThis can be avoided by speaking to one of their team members and getting them to put the transaction through manually. If done through an ATM or over the internet it goes through their automatic systems and fees and interest will apply.
    ANZNoNoFor cash advances made overseas at an ATM, bank or ANZ office, the 2% fee will be calculated with reference to the cash advance amount, any ATM operator fee plus any Overseas Transaction Fee charged.
    WestpacYesNo
    St.GeorgeYesNo
    BoMYes - $2.50NoTo be able to do a cash withdrawal and not be affected by the cash advance, you must factor in the $2.50 flat fee into your withdrawal. (Normal cash advance fee is 2.00%). Please see the 'ANZ Personal Banking General Fees and Charges' booklet for the Overseas Transaction Fee description.
    BankSAYes - $2.50No
    Aussie
    ColesYesNoYou can contact the lender and get them to refund the cash advance fee. This can be credited to your account if the amount is up to $500.
    CUAYesNo
    GE MoneyYesNo
    HSBCYesNo
    American ExpressN/AN/ADo not offer cash advance
    HSBCYesNoCash advance usage charge 3%
    NABPartial: $1.75 flat feeNoYou'll pay 1.75% or $1.75 whichever is greater when carrying out an overseas cash advance.
    Virgin MoneyYesNo

    Fee free overseas ATM withdrawals

    Westpac by far have the largest ATM alliance out of any Australian Bank. In fact, they're the only Australian bank with an ATM alliance that allows you to withdraw from an ATM overseas that isn't 'own-branded' (for instance ANZ have a couple of ATMs scattered throughout Asia). Global lenders like Citibank and HSBC have a number of ATMs worldwide, and Citibank do not charge for international ATM withdrawals. So if you're a Citibank customer looking to use your card overseas, head to a Citibank ATM and all you'll pay for the withdrawal is the currency conversion fee. The table below outlines some of the countries and institutions where you can save on ATM fees. There's no point changing your travel plans to save a couple of bucks on an ATM withdrawal, but if you find yourself in the area, why not withdraw from a free ATM?

    InstitutionCountryATM Network
    Westpac
    New ZealandWestpac NZ
    Fiji, Vanuatu, PNGWestpac Pacific Banking
    France & ItalyBNP Paribas
    Germany, Spain, PolandDeutsche Bank
    UK and Gibraltar Africa - Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Seychelles, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and ZimbabweBarclays Bank
    South AfricaABSA
    USABank of America
    Canada, Chile, Guyana, Mexico, Peru Caribbean - Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica Grenada, Jamaica, Netherland Antilles (St Maarten), St Kitts-Nevis, St Vincent & The Grenadines, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks & Caicos and the US Virgin Islands.ScotiaBank
    UkraineUkrsibbank - Private Bank
    ChinaBank of Nanjing
    SingaporeDBS, POSB
    NAB
    N/AN/A
    CBA
    New ZealandASB Bank (There will still be a fee for Commonwealth Bank cardholders carrying out a transaction at an ASB Bank ATM — it is discounted from $5 to $2.)
    ANZ
    ANZ have representative branches in the following countries and territories: The UK, Germany, the UAE, India, Loas, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, East Timor, Papua New Guinea, The Soloman Islands, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Fiji, Tonga, American Samoa, the Cook Islands, New Zealand, Bonriki, Guam, Philippines, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, China and The United States.

    It's worth mentioning that for most of the countries listed there is only one branch or office per country and you may not be able to use the offices for everyday banking services. This information may be of better use if you find yourself stuck in an emergency.

    How much will I pay when...?

    Make a withdrawal from an ATM? If you use your credit card to withdraw from an overseas ATM, the following fees and charges will apply:

    • International ATM fee (see above);
    • Cash Advance fee (Some lenders will waive this fee if you've preloaded your own funds onto the card);
    • Currency conversion fee (this amount is calculated based on the total of the international ATM fee and the amount being withdrawn); and
    • Local ATM operator fee (this can be avoided by using an ATM with your bank's overseas ATM Alliance [if they have one]); The cash advance rate of interest will apply from the day the transaction takes place.

    Make a purchase? Purchases are a little more forgiving on the hip pocket than an overseas cash advance. This applies to everything from booking a hotel or a flight while abroad through to buying goods from overseas from the comfort of your living room back home.

    • Currency conversion fee; and
    • Purchase rate of interest (excluding interest free days).

    Travel card inactivity fee

    If you have a travel card that has an inactivity fee (a fee that's charged every month when your account is inactive for a period of time), you will lose any remaining funds on the card, but your account won't go into a negative balance. Once the card has no funds left on it, this fee will not be charged.
    Protection against the unexpected while you're away

    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 your money back. This includes getting your card skimmed at an ATM and online purchases too.

    MasterCard and Visa Zero Liability Policies

    This is 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; a
    • You have complied with the terms and conditions of the cardholder agreement.

    Insurance

    Are you considering travel insurance for your trip?

    Finding the right 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 six month backpacking adventure, it's 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.

    Receive a quote from a travel insurance provider

    Travel insurance from credit cards or from a travel insurance provider

    Many premium credit card providers will 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 your trip requirements don't need the cover options available on standalone policies. Either way it's 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. Or you can compare credit cards with free international travel insurance here.

    How do I activate 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 — although keep in mind that each policy has a list of exclusions that you should check before travelling. You can read about the activation requirements for different credit card providers that offer complimentary international travel insurance below. Westpac HSBC ANZ American Express Bankwest Commonwealth Bank Bank of Queensland 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.
    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 prepaid 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.

    Back to top

    Compare Travel Insurance Quotes from Australian Providers

    It's critical to compare quotes from a range of providers to ensure you get adequate cover for your trip at the right price. Use the form below to compare quotes from Australian travel insurance providers and access coupon codes to help you save even further.

    Made a search before? Retrieve your search results

    At least one destination is required
    Both dates are required
    Add more travellers
    Enter the age of each traveller between 0 and 99

    Enter a valid email address

    At least one destination is required
    Both dates are required
    Add more travellers
    Enter the age of each traveller between 0 and 99

    Enter a valid email address

    We compare products from

    By submitting this form, you agree to finder.com.au privacy policy
    Miscellaneous travel tips

    Safety Tips

    Remember that when you are travelling, 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 travellers an additional cardholder credit card so that you will always have one, if one gets lost or stolen.

    Compare!

    • Make the decisions for 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.

    Back to top
    Was this content helpful to you? No  Yes

    Related Posts

    This page was last modified on 4 January 2016 at 13:03.

    Ask a Question

    You are about to post a question on finder.com.au

    • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
    • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
    • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
    • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

    Disclaimer: At finder.com.au we provide factual information and general advice. Before you make any decision about a product read the Product Disclosure Statement and consider your own circumstances to decide whether it is appropriate for you.
    Rates and fees mentioned in comments are correct at the time of publication.
    By submitting this question you agree to the finder.com.au privacy policy, receive follow up emails related to finder.com.au and to create a user account where further replies to your questions will be sent.

    276 Responses to Travel Money Finder™ – Guide to Travelling With Money Overseas

    1. Default Gravatar
      David | January 31, 2016

      We shall be travelling to India late this month. Are there any hints re using credit cards or should we use debit cards?

      • Staff
        Sally | February 1, 2016

        Hi David,

        Thanks for your question.

        What travel money option you should use will depend on your travel plans, spending habits and financial situation.

        However, our Travel Money India Guide will help you compare your options and make a decision that’s right for you.

        You might want to use a combination of travel money options such as a no foreign transaction fee credit card for large purchases or emergencies and then a prepaid or debit card for everyday purchases and ATM withdrawals. You’ll also want to make sure that all of these options have low or no currency conversion, foreign transaction and ATM withdrawal fees. Cash will also come in handy for daily expenses.

        Consider your travel plans and spending habits, compare your travel money options and read over the relevant product disclosure statements to determine which combination of cards is best for you.

        I hope this has helped.

        Cheers,

        Sally

    2. Default Gravatar
      Tam | January 28, 2016

      Hi there,

      I’m heading to South America, therefore visiting a lot of different countries with a lot of different currencies. What is my best option for accessing money?

      • Staff
        Sally | January 29, 2016

        Hi Tam,

        Thanks for your question.

        The “best” option will depend on exactly where you’re travelling, your financial situation and your travel spending habits.

        Unfortunately, not many Australian prepaid travel cards support many South American currencies, so you might want to either consider a debit, credit card or prepaid card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction or currency conversion fees. However, some South American currencies accept USD, so in this case a prepaid travel card could come in handy.

        It’s always a good idea to have more than one travel money option. So you might want to consider a credit card that’s designed for overseas expenses for emergencies and big purchases and a debit or prepaid card and cash for everyday expenses. You should never keep all of your money options on you at one time, try to leave one option in a safe place (such as your hotel safe or with your luggage) to ensure that you’re not strapped for cash should you lose your wallet.

        For more travel money tips, please see our South America Travel Money guide.

        I hope this has helped.

        Cheers,

        Sally

    3. Default Gravatar
      Sue | December 29, 2015

      Is it cheaper to take rands to South Africa , I mean is currency exchange cheaper than a debit card?
      Thanks Sue

      • Staff
        Sally | December 29, 2015

        Hi Sue,

        Thanks for your question.

        This would depend on where you exchanged your funds and what type of debit card you’re planning on using. Compare some debit cards (especially currency conversion fees and foreign transaction fees) in comparison with the exchange rate at your local currency exchange to determine which one is of better value to you. Using a combination of travel money options (e.g. a debit card and cash) is also useful to ensure that you have a backup in case of emergencies.

        I hope this has helped.

        Cheers,

        Sally

      • Default Gravatar
        | January 20, 2016

        Very helpful guide! Thanks

    4. Default Gravatar
      Ali | December 14, 2015

      What options are available in terms of money and debit cards for students under the age of 16 traveling overseas without parents or guardians?

      many thanks,

      • Staff
        Sally | December 14, 2015

        Hello Ali,

        Thanks for your question.

        Unfortunately, most travel money cards or credit cards require cardholders to be at least 16 years of age, even if they’re just an additional cardholder on an account.

        You can compare your other options here.

        Cheers,

        Sally

    5. Default Gravatar
      enchalewtamiru | November 20, 2015

      What is the different between travellers cheque and cheque?

      • Staff
        Sally | November 23, 2015

        Hello,

        Thanks for your question.

        A travellers cheque is a secure way to carry foreign currency overseas. Unlike a regular Australian cheque which will only support Australian dollars, you can use these to carry and cash foreign currency when travelling overseas.

        I hope this has helped.

        Cheers,

        Sally

    6. Default Gravatar
      GEORGE | November 4, 2015

      I am a Swedish citizen holding ‘citicorp.travelers.cheques’, in US dollars, which I wish to cash in Sydney Australia. Please advise which citibank’ office is cashing these cheques?

      And..until then..thanks in advance and still regards.

      • Staff
        Sally | November 5, 2015

        Hi George,

        Thank you for getting in touch.

        Are you referring to Citigroup? If so, you should be able to cash this cheque at most Citibank branches in Australia.

        For further information regarding travellers cheques, please see our guide.

        I hope this has helped.

        Cheers,

        Sally

    7. Default Gravatar
      Noel | November 3, 2015

      My 16 Year old Daughter is going to America with her school for 20 days What is the best debit card for her to take away.

      • Staff
        Sally | November 4, 2015

        Hi Noel,

        Thanks for your question.

        As a financial comparison service, we’re unable to recommend any specific product to our users as the “best” option will always depend on your individual financial situation and needs.

        If your daughter is travelling to the US, she could use a prepaid travel money card to load Australian Dollars onto the card and then transfer to US Dollars. The perks of a prepaid travel money card include no conversion fees or foreign transaction fees and easy access to your funds while overseas.

        You can compare some of your prepaid travel money options here. For further information about suitable travel money options for teenagers, please read our guide.

        Our US Travel Money Guide could also provide some beneficial tips to consider before the trip.

        I hope this has helped.

        Cheers,

        Sally

    8. Default Gravatar
      Mon | October 26, 2015

      I am using a St George Visa Debit card linked to my savings account. When I buy good in Australia, I can either choose credit or savings, but when withdrawing cash in Europe, do I press credit or savings account to withdraw from?

      • Staff
        Sally | October 27, 2015

        Hi Mon,

        Thanks for your question.

        Please keep in mind that selecting “credit” at the ATM will incur the standard cash advance fee of 2%. So you may need to select savings if you’re looking to withdraw funds from the ATM. However, according to the terms and conditions available on the St.George website, you may be unable to select “savings” at some Global Alliance ATMs.

        Please see our St.George Visa Debit review page for further information.

        I hope this has answered your question.

        Thanks,

        Sally

    9. Default Gravatar
      Mon | October 25, 2015

      I am travelling to Europe next year. When I withdraw cash from an ATM using my Visa Debit card, do I press savings or credit?

      • Staff
        Sally | October 26, 2015

        Hi Mon,

        Thanks for your question.

        The button you need to select at the ATM will depend on the card you’re using. If you could please confirm the card you’re planning on using, we can try to provide you with more specific assistance.

        I hope this has helped.

        Thanks,

        Sally

    10. Default Gravatar
      theresa | October 25, 2015

      I am travelling on a cruise from australia to nz. I’ll be taking a debit card and small amount of cash. Can you tell me the most inexpensive way to shop/exchange currency please; exchange AUD for NZD at the airport, on board or in NZ, exchange at a bank or a Currency Exchange agency or use my debit card (ANZ) for purchases? Any advice you can give me would be greatly appreciated.

      Many thanks

      • Staff
        Sally | October 26, 2015

        Hi Theresa,

        Thanks for your question.

        As a financial comparison service, we’re unable to provide our users with any specific recommendations regarding products, providers or strategies. In regards to currency exchange, the best option will largely depend on the exchange rate at the time, your financial situation and who you’re banking with. I would suggest that you research the Currency Exchange options that are available to you at the airports you’re departing from and arriving at and compare the associated fees and exchange rates with the currency conversion fees and foreign transaction fees of your debit card. Consider these costs in conjunction with your financial circumstances and travel plans to determine which option is best for you.

        For further travel money tips and information while you’re travelling in New Zealand, please see our New Zealand Travel Money Guide.

        I hope this has helped.

        Thanks,

        Sally

    Ask a question
    feedback