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Compare debit cards with no foreign transaction fees

Regularly make international purchases? Opt for a debit card with no foreign transaction fees to save you money.

If you regularly buy things from overseas online, you're probably already familiar with the annoying foreign transaction fees your bank applies to each purchase. The transaction fee may appear low, but depending on the size of your transaction or how often you make international purchases, it can quickly add up to a lot of money wasted.

This guide compares debit cards with low or no foreign transaction fees, and provides tips for choosing a debit card to avoid these fees.

Travel Debit Card Offer

ING Orange Everyday Account

Travel Debit Card Offer

$75 cash bonus. $0 monthly account fees. Receive a $75 cash bonus if you open a new Orange Everyday account, enter the promotional code and deposit at least $1,000 within a calendar month and make 5+ card purchases (T&Cs apply). Get a competitive ongoing variable rate when linked with an ING Savings Maximiser.

  • Account keeping fee: $0.00
  • Linked debit card: Visa
  • ATM withdrawal fee: $0.00
  • Overseas EFTPOS fee: 2.5%
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Rates last updated August 22nd, 2018
$
Name Product Debit Card Access ATM Withdrawal Fee Fee Free Deposit p.m. Monthly Account Fee Product Description
ING Orange Everyday Account
Visa
$0
$0
$0 international transaction fees.
ATM fee rebate.
Pay no International transaction fees and receive a rebate on overseas ATM withdrawal fees when you deposit $1,000 per month and make 5+ card purchases a month
NAB Classic Banking with Platinum Visa Debit Card
Visa
$0
$0
$0 transaction fee on international purchases.
Complimentary travel insurance included.
Complimentary travel insurance plus additional free cover. Get $10 cash back when you spend $1000 on contactless purchases.
HSBC Everyday Global Account
Visa
$0
$0
No foreign ATM or transaction fees.
$0 monthly account fee.
Enjoy no minimum ongoing balance or transaction requirements and the flexibility to hold up to 10 currencies. Apple Pay and Google Pay available.

Compare up to 4 providers

Rates last updated August 22nd, 2018
$
Name Product Debit Card Access ATM Withdrawal Fee Fee Free Deposit p.m. Monthly Account Fee Product Description
ING Orange Everyday Account
Visa
$0
$0
Pay no International transaction fees and receive a rebate on overseas ATM withdrawal fees when you deposit $1,000 per month and make 5+ card purchases
HSBC Everyday Global Account
Visa
$0
$0
The HSBC Everyday Global Account is both an everyday transaction account and a multi-currency account in one with no overseas ATM or transaction fees

Compare up to 4 providers

What is a foreign transaction fee?

A foreign transaction fee is applied by your bank whenever a currency conversion is required. For example if you make a payment online using your Australian debit card on a US site, your bank needs to exchange AUD for USD to process the payment, so it will charge you a fee to do this.

The foreign transaction fee is usually around 3.00% of the transaction value, which is quite high if you're making large payments. For example if you made a $300 purchase online from an American site, if your bank applies a 3.00% foreign transaction fee you'd be hit with a $9 fee. This may not seem like much, but if you're making payments like these every week it can quickly add up.

What are debit cards with no foreign transaction fees?

You usually receive a debit card when you open an everyday or transaction bank account. The debit card allows you to access your own money to make everyday purchases in store or online, plus lets you withdraw your own money from an ATM. Some banks offer debit cards with low or even no foreign transaction fees. This means that you can still make purchases using your own money, but you won't be hit with the fee when you make overseas purchases. Most Australian debit cards come affiliated with Visa or Mastercard, so you can look forward to using these internationally while travelling.

What are the benefits of using a debit card with no foreign transaction fees?

Here are some of the benefits you can expect from using a debit card with low foreign transaction fees:

  • Save money on international purchases made online. Debit card international transaction fees typically vary between two to three percent of the transaction value. If you often buy things from overseas online, a debit card that charges no foreign transaction fees could lead to significant savings.
  • Save money when using your card overseas. The same applies when travelling internationally. If you opt for a debit card with no foreign transaction fees, you can use your card overseas just as you would at home and won't have to worry about transaction fees. Not only will this save you money, but it will save you the hassle of getting a travel debit card just for your trip.
  • Global and easy. If you have a Mastercard or Visa debit card you can look forward to using your card in over 200 countries and territories across the world, at ATMs and EFTPOS terminals alike. You can also use your card for online transactions on international websites, from within Australia and when you’re travelling.
  • No overspending and no interest accruing. Unlike a credit card, a debit card only allows you to access the cash in your transaction account. This can help keep your spending in check, as you're only spending what you actually have available in your account.
  • Keeping it simple. A debit card gives you a simple way to access your own money, no matter where you go. You don’t have to worry about loading foreign currency on to your card, you don’t have to exchange cheques for cash, and you don’t have to worry about applying for a credit card.

What fees are normally involved when using a debit card for international purchases?

While using your debit card when overseas gives you quick and easy access to money, it pays to find out just how much you’ll end up paying in other fees and costs:

  • Foreign transaction fee. This fee is a combination of what your card provider charges along with what the payment processor charges. For example, if you have an ANZ Visa card, its foreign currency conversion fee would be a combination of fees charged by ANZ and Visa. You have to pay this fee when you use your card to pay in foreign currency, which your card provider converts into Australian dollars. It is usually between two and three percent of the transaction value.
  • Overseas ATM fees. When using your debit card to withdraw money from an overseas ATM, the ATM owner charges a fee, as does your card provider. You can lower your ATM-related costs by withdrawing money from your provider’s international ATM partners, withdrawing large sums to reduce your ATM visits, or switching bank accounts to one which charges no or low international ATM fees on its associated debit card.
  • Foreign exchange rate margin. Banks make money by adding a margin (or a mark-up) on top of the real exchange rate when transferring one currency into another. Each bank will charge a different margin, so will offer different exchange rates. While this cost is not as transparent, if your bank is offering a poor exchange rate you could be losing money when using your debit card overseas.
  • International money transfer fee. If you'd like to send money to someone overseas from your regular bank account in Australia, your bank will likely charge you a hefty fee, sometimes over $20. To avoid this, opt for a dedicated international money transfer service when sending money to someone overseas rather than using your bank.

How do these debit cards compare to travel money cards or credit cards?

You get multiple options when it comes spending money overseas, and here’s how debit cards compare to popular alternatives like travel money cards and credit cards:

Credit cards

Credit cards, like debit cards, attract international transaction fees and ATM fees. Credit cards can give you access to extra funds outside of your available debit balance, which can come in handy during emergencies.

Since a credit card gives you access to money you don’t really have, overspending can become a problem and you could end up accruing high amounts of interest if you’re unable to pay your balance in full. Also, be aware that using your credit card to withdraw funds from an ATM, or to buy foreign currency or travellers cheques, is considered a cash advance transaction. These transactions attract an additional fee. You can compare credit cards with no foreign transaction fees here.

Travel money cards

A travel money card gives you the ability to load multiple currencies onto a single card to avoid currency conversion fees, and you can lock exchange rates in place before you travel. Depending on the card you’re using, you may be charged a fee when loading funds on the card or withdrawing money from ATMs.

Make sure you compare your options, though, as different travel money card will offer different exchange rates and load fees. You can compare some prepaid travel money cards here.

What are the pros and cons of using a debit card with low foreign transaction fees?

Pros

  • Access your own money. Since you’re accessing money from your own bank account, you don’t have to worry about repayments, paying interest, or overspending.
  • Low or no foreign transaction fees. If you’re outside Australia for a considerable duration and end up using your debit card regularly, low or no foreign transaction fees can lead to noticeable savings.
  • No transfers required. Since your debit card gives you direct access to money in your bank account, you don’t have to worry about transferring money from your account to another account or card.
  • No conversion required. Using your debit card to pay in foreign currency is easy, and does not require you to carry out complicated calculations. Your card provider does this for you using current exchange rates.

Cons

  • No access to extra emergency funds. You can only access funds in your bank account, and no more, so in case of an emergency a credit card could work better.
  • Limited choice of providers. While a number of Australian financial institutions provide debit cards, not many offer debit cards with no foreign transaction fees, so your choices remain limited.
  • Conditions to meet. There may be account conditions you're required to meet in order to enjoy no foreign transaction fees.

What options are available?

If you’re considering getting a new debit card that you can use when travelling overseas or when making international purchases online, take a look at what the following have to offer. These debit card all charge no foreign transaction fees, so you can shop up a storm from international sites without loosing money to pesky fees.

    • Citibank Plus Transaction Account. This account does not charge international transaction fees, international ATM withdrawal fees, or outward international money transfers fees, and it comes with a linked Visa debit card.
    • ING Orange Everyday Account. Not only does ING charge no overseas ATM withdrawal fees, they'll rebate any fee charged by the overseas ATM operator. There are also no foreign transaction fees charged on this account. To access this benefit, you must deposit at least $1,000 into your account each month, as well as make 5+ card purchases a month using your ING debit or credit card.
    • Macquarie Platinum Transaction Account. This account charges no foreign transaction fees, saving you money on international purchases. However, international ATM withdrawal fees still apply.
    • NAB Platinum Visa Debit Card. This debit card is packed with premium features, including $0 international transaction fees. To get access to this card, open up a NAB transaction account.
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14 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    GavinMarch 20, 2018

    NAB now offer a debit card with no international conversion fees which also comes with travel insurance. I believe its called the NAB platinum visa debit or similar and it is $10 per month (you can get the $10 back by making purchases with paywave).

    • finder Customer Care
      JhezelynMarch 22, 2018Staff

      Hello Gavin,

      Thank you for your comment.

      If you are referring to NAB Classic Banking with Platinum Visa Debit Card, yes, it doesn’t have a foreign currency fee on international purchases. However this card has a $10 monthly account fee. This might be the one you’re referring to based on your comment above.

      Regards,
      Jhezelyn

  2. Default Gravatar
    SharonJanuary 10, 2018

    I am going to italy and was wondering about charges on using a St.George debit card.

    • finder Customer Care
      JhezelynJanuary 11, 2018Staff

      Hi Sharon,

      Thank you for your comment.

      Generally, you can use your St.George Visa Debit Card anywhere that Visa is accepted. There is no overseas ATM fee when you withdraw money from an ATM in the global alliance network. However, you may incur 3% international transaction fees and $5 Overseas ATM withdrawal fee from a non-global partner ATM. Those are the fees that you’ll be charged most likely.

      Still best to confirm with the bank the current fees and charges when using your card overseas. You may refer to this page to know other features of the St. George Complete Freedom. You can also see on the table the list of the ATM Networks which allow you to make cash withdrawals from banks overseas without being charged an ATM fee.

      I hope this helps.

      Regards,
      Jhezelyn

  3. Default Gravatar
    SusilAugust 7, 2017

    Are there any Citi Bank ATMs in Vancouver , Montreal and Toronto

    • finder Customer Care
      MayAugust 7, 2017Staff

      Hi Susil,

      Thank you for your inquiry.

      I’m afraid that there may not be any Citibank ATM services available in Canada. You can use our Citibank ATM locator here to check the available Citibank ATMs around the world.

      Cheers,
      May

  4. Default Gravatar
    ConnorJanuary 5, 2017

    Citibank is soon to have their cards charging international transaction fees or overseas ATM fees (sorry I can’t remember which). Is it still in your opinion the best to use? It’s a real shame!

    • finder Customer Care
      JasonJanuary 5, 2017Staff

      Hi Connor,

      Thank you for your enquiry.

      Citibank will swap its current Visa debit cards with MasterCard debit cards, beginning March this year, but there will be no changes to the international transaction fees or free Citibank-branded ATM overseas withdrawals, aside from the fact Mastercard exchange rates will apply, rather than Visa. Please click this link for more information about the said Citibank update.

      You may also click this link for other card options to use overseas.

      Kind regards,
      Jason

  5. Default Gravatar
    KathyJuly 2, 2016

    My 15 year old daughter is traveling to Italy and Spain on a school excursion. What is the best option for card access to spending money when she is away? Travel card or debit card?

    • finder Customer Care
      ClarizzaJuly 4, 2016Staff

      Hi Kathy,

      Thanks for your question.

      As a comparison website, we provide general advice only. There are plenty of options for being able to access spending money while overseas. As you may have seen on this page, debit cards allow you do this through ATMs or EFTPOS terminals. With debit cards, it’s important to note any overseas ATM fees or currency conversion fees. Our comparison tables on this page helps you compare debit cards with transaction fees and debit cards with no overseas ATM withdrawal fees. You can also compare travel debit cards on our Italy Travel Money Guide and our Spain Travel Money Guide.

      Hope this helps.

      Clarizza

  6. Default Gravatar
    gmMay 19, 2016

    You have “Westpac Choice” appearing under “No foreign transaction fees”, this is incorrect they do charge these fees

    • finder Customer Care
      ShirleyMay 20, 2016Staff

      Hi GM,

      Thanks for your feedback.

      You are correct in saying the Westpac Choice does charge international transaction fees.

      We have reviewed the table, it should be accurate now.

      Many thanks!

  7. Default Gravatar
    CindyApril 2, 2016

    Hello,

    I am interested in getting a CitiBank Plus account because we travel quite a bit. Quite a lot of my travel is in Germany. I have looked up on CitiBank website for ATMs in Germany but nothing seems to come up. Do they not have any ATMs in Germany? Are there any partners there which provides the same waiver for ATM fees and transaction fees.

    Thanks,
    Cindy

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