Compare International Debit Cards

Information verified correct on December 9th, 2016

travellingUsing an international debit card could save you time and money while you're overseas.

Debit cards let you access your money from ATMs and EFTPOS machines whenever you need. An international debit card lets you enjoy the same benefits when overseas while saving money on fees. It's also a safe way to bring cash overseas as there are a number of security measures in place to protect you.

If you regularly travel overseas and want an efficient and cheap way to access your money, you may want to consider an international debit card. In Australia, most will be stamped with either a Visa or MasterCard logo that lets you use the card wherever those brands are accepted.

The money is debited directly from your account, rather than paid for by credit so you don't need to worry about interest charges or a credit check. Most debit cards will let you take money out of an ATM for free, as long as the ATM is within the bank's network. This includes international debit cards.

St.George Complete Freedom Account

$0 international ATM withdrawal fee offer

Enjoy low monthly account-keeping fees with St.George Complete Freedom Account and $0 ATM fees.

  • $0 monthly fee when at least $2,000 is deposited per month or open a Complete Freedom Student account, otherwise a fee of $5 applies per month
  • $0 ATM withdrawal fee at 50,000+ ATMs globally
  • Visa Debit with payWave

    Compare your travel debit card options below

    Rates last updated December 9th, 2016
    $
    Monthly Account Fee Debit Card Access ATM Withdrawal Fee Fee Free Deposit p.m. Details
    St.George Complete Freedom Account
    $0 Overseas ATM fee when you withdraw from the Global ATM alliance network.
    Visa $0 $2,000 No account keeping fees, if you deposit $2,000 per month plus no minimum balance required. No ATM fees when using St.George, Westpac and BankSA ATMs. Open More
    Westpac Choice
    $0 Overseas ATM fee when you withdraw from the Global ATM alliance network.
    Mastercard $0 $2,000 No ATM fees when using St.George, Westpac, BankSA or Bank of Melbourne ATMs in Australia. Deposit at least $2,000 per month and enjoy no monthly service fee. Open More
    Bank of Melbourne Express Freedom
    $0 Overseas ATM fee when you withdraw from the Global ATM alliance network.
    Visa $0 $1,000 No ATM fees when you use Bank of Melbourne, St.George, Westpac and BankSA ATMs. No monthly fees if you deposit $1000 into your account each month. Open More
    Bankwest Qantas Transaction Account
    No overseas ATM withdrawal fees (charged by Bankwest), 3rd party ATM fees and international transaction fees may still apply.
    Mastercard $0 $2,000 No monthly fees when you deposit at least $2,000 into your account each month. Free access to Bankwest and CommBank ATMs in Australia. No overseas ATM withdrawal fees (charged by Bankwest) though third party fees may apply. Open More
    Citibank Plus Everyday Account
    No international transaction fees and no overseas ATM withdrawals fees if you use a Citibank ATM overseas.
    Visa $0 $0 No ATM fees using Citibank, Westpac, BankSA and St.George branded ATMs in Australia. Use overseas Citibank ATMs for free. More

    How does an international debit card work?

    International debit cards tend to waive any international transaction fees or have a strong global ATM network alliance so you can avoid foreign ATM fees. This means that even when outside of Australia you will be able to find ATMs that are part of the bank’s network, so you won’t be charged extra for using the machine.

    It’s important to note that these cards only hold Australian Dollars (AUD) and you don’t preload a foreign currency on it before you travel. All transactions and withdrawals are converted at the time, and the current exchange rate at the time will apply.

    What exchange rate does my debit card use? MasterCard versus Visa

    Are there accounts that allow you to keep $USD?

    Yes, there are a number of Australian banks and international banks such as HSBC and Citibank where your funds can be kept in US dollars. These are called multi-currency accounts.

    Questions to ask when comparing international debit cards

    There are a few things you can compare to help you choose which bank to open an account with, including:

    • Does the bank offer a global ATM network? If you travel to various countries, check the global availability of the bank’s ATM network. Some may only have limited access across a certain region while others are available in almost every country. In Australia, Westpac and Citibank offer the most prominent global ATM networks.
    • Are there any global ATM fees? Check how much you will be charged for using a machine that is not a part of it.
    • What other typical fees could I be charged? Since your account provides you with an international debit card you may be paying higher monthly fees for your account. Be sure to check this before you apply as well as the monthly deposit requirements.
    • Am I still charged an international transaction fee? Review the international transaction fees in case you find a variation in the percentage deducted from your account when you make overseas purchases.
    • Is it a widely accepted card brand like MasterCard and Visa? Ensure that the debit card is stamped with a major card logo such as Visa or MasterCard.
    • What security features are included? If you are interested in an international debit card because of your extensive travelling, then look into its security features. Check to see what types of provisions are available if you lose the card outside of Australia and how much you will be charged to have the replacement issued to you in a foreign country.
    • Does it come with an additional card just in case I lose the first one? Prior to your travels, you can organise to have a secondary card if the bank supports this feature.

    What are the benefits of using an international debit card?

    • It's flexible because you're spending your own money. With an international debit card you have the convenience of obtaining funds right from your own account when travelling overseas with no fuss.
    • It's secure because banks have security measures in place to protect you. Having this type of card when travelling gives you the option of moving about from location to location without having to carry large amounts of cash in your pocket.
    • It's convenient because you don't need to carry cash everywhere. You could save money by not needing to purchase traveller’s cheques or a traveller’s card when going overseas.

    Remember!

    While an international debit card offers benefits, maintenance fees for accounts with international debit cards tend to be higher. Keep the high maintenance fees in mind when comparing accounts.

    What are the potential risks?

    There are certain things you should avoid with international debit cards not only in terms of cost, but also for your personal security:

    • Don't just rely on your debit card. If you rely solely on your international debit card for cash while travelling, you could find yourself with no means to pay for your stay and other necessities if your card is lost or stolen while away. It’s recommended that you bring a variety of travel money tools, like a credit card and cash too.
    • EFTPOS machines are scarce in some countries. Do some research prior to your travels to get an idea of the availability of ATMs and EFTPOS machines. You don't want to be stranded in a rural area with no cash.

    Some common questions answered about international debit cards

    Are there international debit cards available for business accounts?

    Typically no, though you should speak to your financial institution about your options and they be able to provide a solution.

    Will I be able to make purchases on site when overseas using my international debit card?

    Yes, but look out for fees that may apply.

    If I make a withdrawal overseas, at what rate will the cash conversion be?

    You should check with the bank’s website before leaving to find out what the nature of the rates are like.

    Savings Account Offers

    Learn about our information service
    ME Online Savings Account

    Maximum Variable Rate

    3.05%

    Standard Variable Rate

    1.30
    Citibank Online Saver

    Maximum Variable Rate

    3.00%

    Standard Variable Rate

    1.70
    Bankwest Hero Saver

    Maximum Variable Rate

    2.65%

    Standard Variable Rate

    0.01
    RaboDirect High Interest Savings Account

    Maximum Variable Rate

    3.05%

    Standard Variable Rate

    2.00

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    12 Responses to Compare International Debit Cards

    1. Default Gravatar
      Lee | November 27, 2016

      Hi,

      My daughter is going to Lund University in Sweden for 6 months. I thought a Citi Bank debit card would be a good idea as no atm fees vs her current Commbank debit card which charge atm fees. But when I searched for Citibank atms in Sweden there does not seem to be any? Do you know if this is the case?

      Also for travelling would you recommend a bankwest credit card or 28 degrees?
      Thanks!

      • Staff
        Anndy | November 27, 2016

        Hi Lee,

        Thanks for reaching out.

        Unfortunately, there are no Citibank ATMs in Sweden. However, according to some user reviews online, there are some ATMs in Europe that don’t charge ATM withdrawal fees regardless.

        As for travel credit cards, as a financial comparison website, we are unable to make any recommendation. You may want to check out this page for credit cards with no foreign fees.

        Cheers,
        Anndy

    2. Default Gravatar
      may | August 12, 2016

      hi what is the best debit card for a 16 year old travelling to europe with no fees

      • Staff
        Shirley | August 15, 2016

        Hi May,

        Thanks for your question. We don’t recommend specific products, services or providers.

        The Citibank Plus and Westpac Choice don’t have overseas ATM fees if you’re withdrawing from it’s network. The Citibank Plus also doesn’t charge international transaction fees.

        Our travel money Europe guide may also be of assistance.

        Hope this helps.

    3. Default Gravatar
      David | March 10, 2016

      Is there a limit as to how much money you can deposit into a debit card account?

      • Staff
        Shirley | March 11, 2016

        Hi David,

        Thanks for your question.

        No there’s no limit to the amount of money you can deposit.

    4. Default Gravatar
      Peter | February 25, 2016

      My 15 yr old daughter is going to Italy and England on a school trip for 3 weeks. What is the best way for her to manage the funds ($1,000AUD) I will be supplying her with for the trip?

      • Staff
        Shirley | February 25, 2016

        Hi Peter,

        Thanks for your question.

        Using an international debit card could be beneficial for your daughter. She can use the cards via EFTPOS or withdraw from an ATM. Your daughter or yourself can manage the funds via online banking. You may want to consider an account that doesn’t charge international transaction fees, such as the Citibank Plus.

        However, since she’s quite young she’ll most likely need your signature to open the account.

        Hope this helps.

    5. Default Gravatar
      Steve | August 18, 2015

      Hello Shirley, thanks for your reply.
      I know that this is an Australian site, but the international nature of the problem makes it relevant. If done on the basis of pre-payment, does it matter what country?
      UK would have perhaps been easier, but all the sites I looked at were only interested in UK residents.

      PayPal will accept UnionPay from only the big 4 Chinese banks, not Citibank (yet at least).
      Paypal terms and conditions require that I have a valid card on file, and they keep hassling me to update my card information, but I have been buying things on ebay and as long as they can collect by direct debit from my UK bank they are allowing it.
      That could change of course.
      Since posting my question I have sent an email to Visa.com explaining the situation, after all it isn’t their policy causing the problem.
      Perhaps they can sort something out.
      I can imagine an increasing number of people with similar problems.
      Regards
      Steve

      • Staff
        Shirley | August 18, 2015

        Hi Steve in Shanghai,

        Thanks for your response. Countries tend to have their own financial regulations, even when it comes to prepayment or prepaid cards.

        International debit cards, in this context, refers to debit cards that are issued in Australia that you can use overseas without being bombarded with fees.

        Sorry that we couldn’t be much of an assistance.

    6. Default Gravatar
      Steve | August 17, 2015

      I am a UK citizen, now retired and living in Shanghai.
      I have a Citibank Debit card with UnionPay logo and I’m told it is policy in China not to issue Visa etc. cards to retired people.
      I have a Santander bank account in the UK, but the Visa debit card with that has now expired and the bank tells me their policy (now) is to not send replacement cards to China (too risky).
      I want to sell a stamp collection on ebay, but they require me to have a currently valid Visa card or similar.
      I am drowning in ‘Catch 22′s.
      Do you know of a provider of a suitable card on the basis of pre-payment ?

      • Staff
        Shirley | August 18, 2015

        Hi Steve in Shanghai,

        Thanks for your question.

        Please be mindful that finder.com.au is an Australian comparison and information service – for this reason we may not be the best people to speak to about your enquiry.

        You may want to try linking your Citibank Debit card to your Paypal account. That way if you sell your stamps on eBay you’ll still receive the funds conveniently.

        Hope this helps,
        Shirley

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