Travel Money Finder™ – Guide to travelling with money overseas

What every traveller wished they knew before they went overseas

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

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.

Title

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 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

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.






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A quick comparison of travel money features

Type Security Features Fees for
Withdrawing Money
Fees for
Over the Counter
Purchases

Travel Money Cards

View 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

View cards
  • 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
  • Currency Conversion Fee
  • Purchase interest rate*

Debit Cards for Travel

View cards
  • Protected by PIN & chip
  • Can be blocked
  • Zero Liability Guarantee
  • Emergency cash
  • Currency Conversion Fee
  • Local ATM Fee
  • International ATM Fee
  • Currency Conversion Fee

Travellers Cheques

Find out more
  • Unique serial number
  • Photo I.D. needed to cash cheques

*Excluding interest free days on credit card


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Travel money cards

Qantas Card with Qantas Cash

Qantas Cash Card with Qantas Cash®

The Qantas Cash Card with Qantas Cash® allows you to earn Qantas Points on all transactions including local and foreign transactions.

  • Choose from Australian Dollars, US Dollar, Euro, Great British Pound, New Zealand Dollar, Hong Kong Dollar, Canadian Dollar, Singapore Dollar, Japanese Yen, Thai Baht and UAE Dirham.
  • Locked-in exchange rates for multiple currencies and low and transparent fees
  • Ability to load money and convert currencies 24/7 on the secure customer portal
  • Accepted electronically – at over 29 million locations worldwide, across more than 60 countries.

    A comparison of travel money cards

    Rates last updated August 20th, 2014.
    Available Currencies ATM Withdrawal Fee Reload Fee Initial Load Fee
    Qantas Card with Qantas Cash
    Qantas Card with Qantas Cash
    AUD, USD, GBP, EUR, THB, NZD, SGD, HKD, CAD, JPY, AED 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 siteMore info
    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 siteMore info
    OzForex Travel Card
    OzForex Travel Card
    AUD, USD, EUR, GBP, NZD, HKD, SGD, CAD, JPY 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 Go to siteMore info
    Multi Currency - Cash Passport
    Multi Currency - Cash Passport
    AUD, USD, EUR, GBP,NZD, THB, CAD, HKD, JPY, SGD $0 for International ATM withdrawal and 2.95% of the amount withdrawn in Australia $5 $5 Go to siteMore info
    Travelex Travel Card
    Travelex Travel Card
    AUD, CAD, EUR, GBP, HKD, JPY, NZD, SGD, 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 siteMore info
    Rates last updated August 20th, 2014.
    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% $0 Yes $20,000 Go to siteMore info
    ANZ Travel Card
    ANZ Travel Card
    3% $3 Yes $80,000 Go to siteMore info
    OzForex Travel Card
    OzForex Travel Card
    3% $0 Yes $25,000 Go to siteMore info
    Multi Currency - Cash Passport
    Multi Currency - Cash Passport
    5.95% $4 Yes $100,000 Go to siteMore info
    Travelex Travel Card
    Travelex Travel Card
    $ No Go to siteMore info

    Avoid the hassle of changing money when you visit a new country. Carry multiple currencies in your wallet

    But are the fees worth the convenience?

    The product du jour for Australians heading overseas, travel money cards are a popular alternative to traveller’s cheques, which until now, were the only way a traveller could take a foreign currency with them from country to country.

    They’re safe and convenient, but they can be expensive. There are a number of fees and charges that come with using a travel money card overseas. Purchase fees, inactivity fees and reload fees are hard to avoid as travel cards will tend to charge one or the other; while currency conversion fees can be avoided by making sure you have the right currency loaded when you spend on the card.

    It’s easy to load different currencies onto these cards, this can mostly be managed online through the providers web portal. When you arrive home, these cards can also be used to make purchases at Australian merchants or withdraw from ATMs.

    Be warned though, for the majority of these cards, it’s just as, if not more expensive to use one of these cards in Australia compared to using it overseas. Plan your trip and your budget for each destination you plan to visit.

    Fees you can avoid

    • ATM withdrawal fees,
    • Currency conversion fees,
    • Purchase, reload fees & inactivity fees,
    • Currency conversion fees.
    Fees you can't avoid

    • N/A





    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).
    • Travel money card reload time.

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    Travel Credit Cards

    A comparison of travel-friendly credit cards

    Rates last updated August 20th, 2014.
    Interest rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate (p.a.) Annual fee Cash advance rate (p.a.)
    28 Degrees MasterCard
    28 Degrees MasterCard
    No annual fee and $0 Foreign Currency Conversion Fee. 20.99% p.a. 4.99% p.a. for 6 months $0 p.a. 20.99% p.a. Go to siteMore info
    Bankwest Breeze Platinum MasterCard
    Bankwest Breeze Platinum MasterCard
    Save your money with a low interest rate and $0 Foreign Currency Conversion Fee. 12.24% p.a. 0% p.a. for 13 months $99 p.a. 21.99% p.a. Go to siteMore info
    Bankwest Zero Platinum MasterCard
    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. 17.99% p.a. 2.99% p.a. for 9 months $0 p.a. 21.99% p.a. Go to siteMore info

    Pros, cons, fees and charges: what every credit card holder needs to know

    Taking your plastic overseas? Read this before you leave

    Most credit cards will charge extra for transactions that take place in a foreign country. There are some accounts that do not charge international transaction fees; however, the majority of credit cards do.

    The cards listed in the comparison table do not charge a currency conversion fee when you carry out a transaction in a currency other than Australian dollars. Note that other fees and charges - like ATM withdrawal charges may still apply.

    The cost of using a credit card overseas depends on how you use it.

    All the international transaction fees on credit cards can be avoided — go for a credit card with no foreign currency conversion fee, don’t use your card to withdraw from an ATM, make sure you pay your balance in full each month and only use your card for purchases only — avoid cash advances - but whether this is feasible to your situation depends entirely on your travel plans and how you spend.

    If do you use your card for a cash advance, cash advance fees may be able to be avoided by preloading your own money onto the card.

    Check the table in the ‘frequently asked questions’ section of the article to find out which providers allow you to pre-load funds onto the card and won't charge a cash advance fee for withdrawing your own money from the credit card account.


    Fees you can avoid

    • ATM withdrawal fees,
    • Currency conversion fees,
    • Foreign transaction fees,
    • Cash advance fee,
    • Cash advance and purchase rates of interest.
    Fees you can't avoid

    • N/A





    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.

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    Travel Debit Cards

    Citibank Plus Transaction 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.

    • Maximum Rate: 0.00% p.a.
    • Standard Variable Rate: 0.00% p.a.
    • Bonus Rate: 0.00% p.a.
    • Monthly Account Fees: $0
    • Minimum Balance: $0
    • Minimum Deposit: $0

    Travel debit card comparison

    Rates last updated August 20th, 2014.
    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
    Bankwest Qantas Transaction Account
    Bankwest Qantas Transaction Account
    Earn Qantas Points on eligible purchases and on your daily account balance, plus pay no overseas ATM withdrawal fees $6 Yes, Mastercard $0 0.01% *Pay no monthly account fees when you deposit at least $2,000 into your account each month, and Bankwest will charge no overseas ATM withdrawal fees. OpenMore

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

    Debit cards are as safe as any other type of plastic, but few debit cards are designed for international travel

    Many people use their debit card linked to their day-to-day transaction account to access their money while they’re on holiday.

    Debit cards are convenient to take overseas. Most of us have a debit account, and using this account as our day to day source of funds while overseas means one less thing to do before heading off.

    But for the most part, the majority of debit cards are an expensive piece of plastic to take on holiday.

    The vast majority of debit cards are not ‘travel friendly’. Currency conversion fees and international and local ATM fees can quickly eat into your bank balance. There are accounts that do not charge currency conversion fees and some don't charge for ATM withdrawals.

    If you’re lucky, ATM fees can also be avoided if your bank has an international ATM alliance. But international ATMs that are partnered with Australian banks are few and far between.

    The debit card accounts we compare in this section have either no currency conversion fee or no international ATM fee; some accounts have both.

    Fees you can avoid

    • ATM withdrawal fees,
    • Currency conversion fees,
    • Foreign transaction fees,
    • Cash advance fee,
    • Cash advance and purchase rates of interest.
    Fees you can't avoid

    • N/A





    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.

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    Cash and foreign exchange

    International Money Transfers Comparison

    Provider Product Details Apply

    TorFX offers competitive rates on international money transfers, making them a viable alternative to the big banks. Available currencies: GBP, EUR, AUD, CAD, CZK, DKK, HKD, HUF, INR, JPY, NZD, NOK, SGD, ZAR, SEK, THB, CHF, TRY, AED

    Apply
    Apply

    Get access to competitive transfer rates and low fees when you transfer money internationally with OzForex. Available currencies: AED, GBP, PLN, AUD, HKD, SEK, CAD, JPY, SGD, CHF, MXN, THB, DKK, NOK, USD, EUR, NZD, ZAR

    Apply
    Apply

    World First offers competitive rates on international money transfers direct to the overseas beneficiary account, saving both time and money. : USD, GBP, HKD, CNY, JPY, EUR, INR, NZD, CAD

    Apply
    Apply
    HSBC Logo HSBC lets you take advantage of real-time pricing for up to 19 currencies and instant global transfers between HSBC accounts. Apply
    Apply
    Citibank Logo The Citibank Plus Transaction account offers free international money transfers to over 20 countries. Apply
    More
    Travelex Logo Transfer money overseas quickly and easily with the Travelex International Payments system. You can transfer money to over 50 countries and 48 different foreign currencies. Apply
    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. 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.

    What every traveller wish they knew about foreign exchange services

    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.

    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 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.


    Fees you can avoid

    • N/A
    Fees you can't avoid

    • Currency exchange fees / commission / rates
    Pros for cash & foreign exchange

    • 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.
    • 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.

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    Travellers Cheques

    Fees you can avoid

    • N/A
    Fees you can't avoid

    • Cheque purchase fee
    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.

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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 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 Interest Notes
    Bankwest Yes No

    Minimum 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.

    Citibank Yes No  
    CBA Yes Yes

    This 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.

    ANZ No No

    For 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.

    Westpac Yes No  
    St.George Yes No  
    BoM Yes - $2.50 No

    To 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.

    BankSA Yes - $2.50 No  
    Aussie      
    Coles Yes No

    You 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.

    CUA Yes No  
    GE Money Yes No  
    HSBC Yes No  
    American Express N/A N/A

    Do not offer cash advance

    HSBC Yes No

    Cash advance usage charge 3%

    NAB Partial: $1.75 flat fee No

    You’ll pay 1.75% or $1.75 whichever is greater when carrying out an overseas cash advance.

    Virgin Money Yes No  

    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?

    Institution Country ATM Network
    Westpac    
      New Zealand Westpac NZ
      Fiji, Vanuatu, Cook Islands, Samoa, Tonga, PNG, Solomon Islands Westpac Pacific Banking
      France & Italy BNP Paribas
      Germany, Spain, Italy, Poland  
      UK, Spain, Portugal and Gibraltar
    Africa - Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Seychelles, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe
     
      South Africa ABSA
      USA Bank 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
      Ukraine UkrSibbank - Private Bank
    NAB    
      N/A  
    CBA    
      New Zealand ASB 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.
    ATM Fees

    When making an ATM withdrawal overseas, the foreign currency conversion fee is calculated on the total value of the amount being withdrawn from the ATM in addition to any fees charged by the ATM operator and international ATM fees.

    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 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 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.
    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.

    Compare travel insurance deals from leading Australian insurers

    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 traveling.

    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.

    Get covered while you're away

    Below is a comparison of travel insurance providers.

    Click through to get a quote.

    Rates last updated August 20th, 2014.
    Provider Product Product Details Apply
    InsureandGo Gold Single trip
    • Unlimited cancellation cover
    • Unlimited medical expenses cover
    • $5,000,000 personal liability cover
    • $8,000 luggage cover
    Free QuoteMore
    1Cover Comprehensive Single Trip
    • Unlimited overseas medical expenses cover
    • $50,000 additional accommodation and travel expenses cover
    • Unlimited cancellation fees and lost deposits cover
    • $5,000 luggage and personal effects cover
    • $5,000,000 personal liability cover
    Free QuoteMore
    Travel Insurance Direct Single Trip International
    • Unlimited Medical Expenses Cover
    • Unlimited Cancellation Costs Cover
    • $4,000 Rental Vehicle Excess Insurance
    • $12,000 Luggage and Personal Effects Cover
    Free QuoteMore
    Southern Cross Single Trip Policy
    • Unlimited medical and evacuation cover
    • $25,000 Individual and $50,000 Family cover for baggage and personal items
    • $5,000 rental vehicle excess cover
    • $50,000 Individual and $100,000 Family cover for changes to your planned journey
    • $1,000,000 personal liability cover
    Free QuoteMore
    AIG One Trip International
    • Unlimited cancellation fees and lost deposits cover
    • Unlimited medical and hospital cover
    • Unlimited emergency expenses cover
    • $15,000 luggage cover
    Free QuoteMore
    Virgin Money International Comprehensive
    • 24 hr emergency assistance
    • Unlimited overseas emergency expenses
    • Up to $7,500 luggage and personal effects cover
    • $3,000 rental vehicle excess cover
    Free QuoteMore
    Citibank Travel Insurance One Trip Travel Insurance
    • Three levels of cover available - Essential, Premium or Elite
    • Unlimited overseas medical and dental cover
    • Up to $30,000 in luggage and travel documents cover
    • Up to $5,000 in rental vehicle excess cover
    Free QuoteMore
    Worldcare Travel Insurance Comprehensive International
    • Unlimited cancellation fees and lost deposits cover
    • Unlimited emergency medical assistance cover
    • $6,000 rental vehicle excess cover
    • $25,000 permanent disability cover
    Free QuoteMore
    AMEX Travel Insurance Single Trip
    • Unlimited cancellation fees and lost deposits cover
    • 24-hour medical assistance cover
    • Luggage and personal effects cover
    • Rental vehicle excess cover
    • Travel delay expenses cover
    Free QuoteMore
    iTrek Single Trip Platinum Cover
    • Unlimited overseas emergency medical assistance cover
    • Unlimited overseas emergency medical & hospital expenses cover
    • $5,000 in luggage and personal effects cover
    • $2,500,000 personal liability cover
    Free QuoteMore
    Go Insurance Go Plus Single Trip Cover
    • Up to $25,000 in cancellation cover
    • Up to $10,000,000 in medical cover
    • $10,000 in personal property cover
    • $5,000,000 in personal liability cover
    Free QuoteMore
    CoverMore Options Single Trip
    • Unlimited overseas medical and dental
    • Unlimited additional expenses cover
    • $12,000 luggage and travel documents cover
    • $2,500,000 personal liability cover
    Free QuoteMore
    Columbus Direct Single Trip Cover
    • Cover for cancellation and curtailment costs
    • Overseas medical expenses, emergency repatriation and other expenses
    • Hospital cash allowance
    • Personal accident benefit
    Free QuoteMore
    Skiinsurance.com.au Single Trip International
    • Unlimited overseas medical assistance cover
    • Unlimited emergency medical and hospital expenses cover
    • $5,000 in luggage and personal effects cover
    • Unlimited cancellation fees and lost deposits cover
    • $5,000 in rental vehicle excess cover
    Free QuoteMore
    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.


    Join in the Forum Discussion on:

    Taking money overseas

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

    1. Default Gravatar
      Jenny | August 18, 2014

      What exchange rate to you get on an Anz Travel Card in Euros

      • Staff
        Shirley | August 19, 2014

        Hi Jenny,

        Thanks for your question.

        At the time of writing, ANZ is selling EUR/AUD for 0.6587.

        Please keep in mind that this is just an indication, as exchange rates change all the time.

        All the best,
        Shirley

      • Default Gravatar
        Jenny | August 19, 2014

        Do you get the current rate on a travel card or do the travel cards offer you less than if you are getting cash.

      • Staff
        Shirley | August 20, 2014

        Hi Jenny,

        Thanks for your question.

        This is really hard to say, because travel card issuers and foreign exchange retailers set their own exchange rates according to the market.

        You’ll need to compare the exchange rates of the travel card you’re interested in, against what some currency exchange retailers are offering.

        For more information on exchange rates, please see this page.

        All the best,
        Shirley

    2. Default Gravatar
      Sophia | August 7, 2014

      Hi,

      I have had the same issue as someone in a previous question.

      I read online that citibank plus transaction account did not have any overseas fees or charges. Since receiving the card I had a good look through my schedule of fees and charges and it appears they now charge 2.5%. Is this a recent change? Or is there something I can do to avoid this charge?

      What a shame if they’re charging now!

      Thanks

      Sophia

      • Staff
        Marc | August 7, 2014

        Hi Sophia,
        thanks for the question, and it’s great that you’re diligently checking on the terms and conditions of this account before you head overseas.

        In the table where it mentions this 2.5% fee, you’ll notice that just above it reads: “Local & International Payments and Foreign Currency Services (Excludes Citibank Plus Transaction and Citibank Online Saver Accounts)”.

        It’s true that this 2.5% fee is charged by Citibank on some debit cards, but this is not true for the Citibank Plus Transaction Account.

        I hope this helps!

        Cheers,
        Marc.

    3. Default Gravatar
      Becca | August 5, 2014

      Hi I am currently in the US for 6 months with a paid internship , but my funds are with commbank atm and am currently running on cash until i set up a bank account here. I am waiting to obtain my social security number to open up an international bank account for the employer to transact money across.

      What would be the best bank to reside with and to transfer my commbank savings back and forth? I have researched on HSBC and citibank but still unsure what to pick in regards to international conversion fees?

      I was also looking at getting a cash passport card in case i run out of money before my bank account is opened…would i be able to apply online and get it delivered to the states?

      • Staff
        Shirley | August 6, 2014

        Hi Becca,

        Unfortunately we can’t recommend the best bank to reside with. Something to take into consideration is that the HSBC Day to Day account charges international transaction fees, whereas the Citibank Plus transaction account doesn’t.

        The Cash Passport only deliveries to Australian residential addresses. However, you may be able to pick up a prepaid travel card at your local post office in the US and load funds into there. Since it’s a prepaid card it’s likely that you don’t need to provide a SSN.

        Cheers,
        Shirley

    4. Default Gravatar
      | August 1, 2014

      Hi,
      Just received my citibank debit card linked to the plus account, but looking at the fee schedule I noticed that there was a 2.5% conversion fee for overseas transactions through an atm.
      Is that correct.

      Thank you

      • Staff
        Shirley | August 4, 2014

        Hi Pau,

        Thanks for your question.

        The Citibank Plus Transaction account doesn’t charge any currency conversion/international transaction fees. If you withdraw money out of a non-Citibank branded ATM, then a foreign ATM fee could be charged.

        Cheers,
        Shirley

    5. Default Gravatar
      Ella | July 27, 2014

      Hello, Im travelling to Europe and Uk for One month and I am 16 years old. What travel card do you think would be best suited for someone my age travelling for such a short period of time?
      thanks

      • Staff
        Shirley | July 28, 2014

        Hi Ella,

        Thanks for your question.

        Unfortunately we can’t advise on the best card. If you’d like you can read our travel money guide on Europe, where we list a range of products that may be suitable.

        Since you haven’t reached the age of 16, you may want to consider a debit card – though it may be helpful to have something in case of emergencies.

        Cheers,
        Shirley

    6. Default Gravatar
      Gertie | July 22, 2014

      Good evening MoneyPeople
      Does ANZ have a global alliance in Ireland, UK, France, Italy and Slovenia?
      In the past, I have used my ANZ Visa Card, loaded it with funds, and I get charged a Cash Advance Fee of $4.00 per transaction and a currency conversation fee. What am I doing wrong?
      Many thanks.
      Gertie

      • Staff
        Shirley | July 23, 2014

        Hi Gertie,

        Thanks for your question.

        Unfortunately ANZ has no global ATMs or ATM partners, unlike travel money cards from the Commonwealth Bank, or regular debit or credit cards from Westpac. Global partners usually mean you’ll pay no additional fees for making a withdrawal at a participating ATM. With the ANZ Travel Card you’ll pay the ATM withdrawal fee no matter which ATM you use, in addition to ATM owner fees if applicable.

        If you’re using a credit card, usually the cash advance fee applies and there is a currency conversion fee involved. While a cash advance fee is almost inevitable, there are cards in the market that don’t charge currency conversion fees.

        Cheers,
        Shirley

    7. Default Gravatar
      Nho | July 7, 2014

      Planning on getting a NAB travel card.

      1. Do i need to load straight away when i get in branch?

      2. How to specify which currency to buy when loading online?

      • Staff
        Shirley | July 7, 2014

        Hi Nho,

        Thanks for your question.

        You don’t need to load straight away but your card will be active when you apply within a branch. When loading your card in-branch, you can advise the teller what currency you would like to load, or by using NAB Internet Banking, the online card services tool ‘My Account’, or by calling Card Services.

        Cheers,
        Shirley

    8. Default Gravatar
      Sarah | June 29, 2014

      Hi,
      Thanks for the comparison table of the travel credit cards. I’m just a little confused about currency conversion fees and foreign transaction fees. Are these 2 separate fees? The table says the 28 degrees and Bankwest Breeze Platinum both don’t charge currency conversion fees but do they charge foreign transaction fees? And the Bankwest Zero Platinum card doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees but does it charge currency conversion fees?
      Hope you can help!
      Sarah

      • Staff
        Shirley | June 30, 2014

        Hi Sarah,

        Thanks for your question.

        Currency conversion fees and international transaction fees are essentially the same. Currency conversion is a term that is more associated with credit cards and international transaction fees more associated with debit cards.

        Neither of those cards you mentioned will charge the fee, but your funds will be subject to exchange rates.

        Cheers,
        Shirley

    9. Default Gravatar
      Alison | June 20, 2014

      Hello.
      Do any cards allow you to buy Vietnamese Dong – money
      Thanks
      Alison

      • Staff
        Shirley | June 23, 2014

        Hi Alison

        Thanks for your question.

        The Commonwealth Bank Travel Money card allows you to preload VND. Please be mindful that other travel money options may also suit you.

        Cheers,
        Shirley

    10. Default Gravatar
      Caryl | June 20, 2014

      I just purchased a cash passport card and put money on to it. I came home to register the card. I followed the first instruction to peel back the tab of my primary card and cannot see any PIN NUMBER. All that appears is a mesh coloured bar and the words opened above the bar. How do I access the PIN?

      • Staff
        Shirley | June 23, 2014

        Hi Caryl,

        Thanks for your question.

        You may need to scratch the mesh coloured bar to obtain your PIN. If this doesn’t work, please return the Cash Passport to where you bought it, and they should be able to refund or issue you with a new card.

        Cheers,
        Shirley

    11. Default Gravatar
      Jon | June 8, 2014

      Hi, Is there a card, either debit or travel card , that will allow me to reload using cash funds in the US or Canada? I.e over-the-counter reloading in bank or post office or similar?

      • Staff
        Shirley | June 10, 2014

        Hi Jon,

        Thanks for your question.

        To our knowledge there aren’t any cards that have that feature. Most travel cards allow you to reload your funds online, rather than over-the-counter at different locations.

        Cheers,
        Shirley

    12. Default Gravatar
      Greer | June 2, 2014

      Hi, I am looking at opening a Citibank Plus account to obtain their Visa debit card to use in Europe, Czech Republic and the UK as this seems to be the only one with no fees. I assume the card debits directly from Aus$ and I don’t need to worry about ‘loading’ foreign currencies. Is this correct?

      • Staff
        Shirley | June 3, 2014

        Hi Greer,

        Thanks for your question.

        That is correct, all transactions are conducted in AUD and then the exchange rate applies.

        Cheers,
        Shirley

    13. Default Gravatar
      Paul | May 3, 2014

      My question is in relation to a Cash Passport Travel Card.
      Two cards are issued. Can the second card be used at the same time as the initial card I assume that the second card will have a different pin number but be able to access the same pool of cash on the card. If not why not?

      • Staff
        Elizabeth | May 5, 2014

        Hi Paul,

        Thanks for the question.

        The second card that is issued to you is really meant to be seen as a secondary back up card. These two cards will carry the same pin and will be linked to the one account, but may be able to be used at the same time.

        Thanks,

        Elizabeth

      • Default Gravatar
        AL | June 10, 2014

        Hi Paul/Liz

        The second card issued by Cash Passport will actually have its own unique separate PIN.

        This means both cards will have their own PIN.

        Regards,

        AL

    14. Default Gravatar
      Pauline | April 3, 2014

      I am trying to activate my Visa Travelex 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.

    15. 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.

    16. Default Gravatar
      paul | March 26, 2014

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

    17. 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.

    18. 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.

    19. 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

    20. 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.

    21. 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

    22. 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.

    23. 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.

    24. 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

    25. 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. i.e 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 (i.e 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 Mastercard 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.

    26. 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.

    27. 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

    28. 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

    29. 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

    30. 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.

    31. 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.

    32. 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

    33. 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.

    34. 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

    35. 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.

    36. 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.

    37. 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

    38. 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.

    39. 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

    40. 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

    41. 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

    42. Default Gravatar
      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.

    43. Default Gravatar
      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

    44. Default Gravatar
      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?

    45. Default Gravatar
      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.

    46. Default Gravatar
      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

    47. Default Gravatar
      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

    48. Default Gravatar
      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.

    49. Default Gravatar
      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

    50. Default Gravatar
      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

    51. Default Gravatar
      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.

    52. Default Gravatar
      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.

    53. Default Gravatar
      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.

    54. Default Gravatar
      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.

    55. Default Gravatar
      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.

    56. Default Gravatar
      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

    57. Default Gravatar
      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.

    58. Default Gravatar
      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

    59. Default Gravatar
      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

    60. Default Gravatar
      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

    61. Default Gravatar
      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

    62. Default Gravatar
      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.

    63. Default Gravatar
      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.

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        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.

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        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.

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        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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