There are many types of travel money products you can use when you go overseas, including a range of different cash and card options. We’ve included details of the five key options to consider, so that you can choose travel money products that suit your travel plans and needs.
- Load up to 10 currencies
- Lock in your exchange rates
- No overseas transaction fees
ANZ Travel Card
The ANZ Travel Card is a prepaid card that can be loaded with up to 10 currencies to make purchases at home and overseas at over 38 million merchants and over 2.3 million ATMs worldwide.
- Lock in your exchange rates and know how much money you have to spend
- No transaction fees for electronic purchases in Australia and overseas
- Multiple reload options – online, over the phone or in person
- Manage your money online or over the phone 24/7
- Spare card in case one is lost or stolen
Prepaid travel money cards
Prepaid travel cards allow you to load and spend money in a foreign currency when you go overseas or shop online with international retailers. Many prepaid travel money cards also give you the option of loading and spending funds in multiple currencies, which is ideal if you’re going to several countries when you’re overseas. Some of the benefits you can enjoy with these cards include:
Mastercard or Visa access. Most prepaid travel money cards are Mastercard or Visa options that allow you to spend money at millions of locations around the world.
Savings on foreign transaction fees. Unlike student debit cards and credit cards, prepaid travel money cards give you a way to avoid international transaction fees when you pre-load funds in the local currency.
Locked in exchange rates. While exchange rates vary on a daily basis, if you pre-load your foreign currency on a travel money card, you can lock in the exchange rate. This means you’ll know exactly how much money you have available at any time.
Online account management. Most prepaid cards include an online account service so you can check your balance, load more funds and transfer your cash between different currencies.
Security features and insurance. These cards include similar security features to Mastercard and Visa debit cards, with zero liability for fraudulent charges and global support services. It’s also easier to make an insurance claim when compared to cash because you can prove how much money was loaded onto the card.
Frequent flyer points. Both the Qantas Cash prepaid debit card and the Velocity Global Wallet offer 1 frequent flyer point per $1 spent overseas and 1 point per $2 spent in Australia. This gives you a way to maximise rewards when you travel so you can get extra perks in the air or on the ground.
Common prepaid travel money card fees
When you’re comparing prepaid debit cards, keep an eye out for fees that may be applied for card purchase or activation, loading funds on your card, ATM withdrawals and currency conversion (if the local currency is not loaded on your card).
Cash is often needed for taxi fares, meals and other smaller payments on trips, so it’s a good idea to have some with you before you go overseas. You can get foreign currency both before and during your trip in the following ways:
Buying foreign currency from a bank. Major banks and credit unions in Australia provide foreign currency exchange for members, and some also offer this service to non-members. Usually there will be a minimum amount you can order, for example $250 or $500, which can then be picked up in-branch within a few days.
Foreign currency exchange services. There are also dedicated services for buying foreign currency, both in-person and online. These include services such as Travelex and American Express, with outlets often found in travel agencies, shopping centres, Australia Post branches and at airports.
Withdrawing cash overseas. You can also use a debit card or credit card to withdraw money at an ATM when you’re overseas. This option is especially useful if you’ve run out of foreign currency partway through your trip.
Foreign currency tip
Make sure you find out about service fees and compare exchange rates before buying foreign currency from a bank or another dedicated service and remember to ask if students can get a discount. If you’re withdrawing cash overseas, check the card fees that may apply and remember that charges could come from the overseas ATM operator as well as your bank.
Student debit cards
Student Mastercard or Visa debit cards are linked to your bank account and give you access to your own funds both in Australia and overseas. These cards usually waive monthly fees for students and include the following features:
- Zero liability on fraudulent transactions
- Global support services
- Ability to cancel or lock your account if your card is lost or stolen
- Internet and mobile banking services
- Contactless payments
Some student debit cards also provide unique benefits and savings. The Westpac Choice Student, for example, offers new customers a one-year student card that comes with over 42,000 discounts on attractions and experiences overseas and in Australia. Meanwhile, the CommBank Smart Access Student Options comes with an everyday debit card and offers a $0 Travel Money Card issue fee when you apply in a branch.
While you can use an everyday student debit card for purchases and ATM withdrawals overseas, you will usually have to pay a foreign transaction fee worth around 2–3%. You may also have to pay an ATM fee and factor in conversion from Australian dollars to the local currency.
Student credit cards
Student credit cards give you access to a line of credit that can be handy if you need access to extra funds when you’re overseas. Most student credit cards are Mastercard or Visa options that offer similar features to debit cards.
But credit cards are more likely to include security features such as 24/7 fraud monitoring and chargeback services that allow you to request a reversal of certain transactions. Some of the more premium cards also offer complimentary extras such as travel insurance, though usually student credit cards don’t provide these perks.