Travel cards shake up the credit card market

Rates and Fees verified correct on December 9th, 2016

Australians are turning to travel cards for their next trip. Read on to find out why they’re the plastic of choice for travellers.

Travel cards are becoming increasingly popular for Aussies heading overseas. In the lead up to the peak summer holiday season for 2013, finder.com.au saw five times more traffic from Australians comparing travel cards on the site compared with January of the same year and the number of those applying for travel cards during this time also doubled.

The growing popularity of travel cards has caused more of these type of cards to hit the market, increasing the need for traditional credit cards to be more competitive with overseas transaction fees and rates. In 2010 there were only three travel money cards available. There are now ten cards currently available for comparison and more expected.

Credit card companies make serious money from people using their cards overseas. When we travel we are less likely to stick to our usual budgeting restrictions and it is not as easy to constantly check our accounts and go over interest fees and charges. According to the Reserve Bank of Australia, banks generated $1.3 billion from personal credit card fees in 2012. With eight million Australians travelling on short term holidays each year, a good proportion of this debt would be from charges incurred when travelling.

Travel money card comparison

Rates last updated December 9th, 2016
Available Currencies ATM Withdrawal Fee Reload Fee Initial Load Fee
ANZ Travel Card
ANZ Travel Card
AUD, CAD, EUR, GBP, HKD, JPY, NZD, SGD, THB, USD, AUD 3.50, CAD 3.00, EUR 2.20, GBP 2.00, HKD 20.00, JPY 260, NZD 4.50, SGD 4.00, THB 95, USD 2.50 1.1% of the value purchased $0 Go to site More
NAB Traveller Card
NAB Traveller Card
AUD, CAD, EUR, GBP, HKD, JPY, NZD, SGD, THB, USD $0 per withdrawal on international ATMs and $3.75 per withdrawal at any Australian ATMs $0 $0 Go to site More
Cash Passport MasterCard
Cash Passport MasterCard
AUD, CAD, EUR, GBP, HKD, JPY, NZD, SGD, THB, USD $2.50 for withdrawals made overseas 2.95% of the amount withdrawn for domestic withdrawals $0 $0 Go to site More
Qantas Card with Qantas Cash
Qantas Card with Qantas Cash
AUD, AED, CAD, EUR, GBP, HKD, JPY, NZD, SGD, THB, USD AUD 1.95, CAD 2.00, EUR 1.50, GBP 1.25, HKD 15.00, JPY 160, NZD 2.50, SGD 2.50, USD 1.95, THB 70.00, AED 6.50 $0 $0 Go to site More
Travelex Travel Card
Travelex Travel Card
AUD, CAD, EUR, GBP, HKD, JPY, NZD, SGD, THB, USD Travelex does not charge an ATM withdrawal fee when you use your Travelex Multi-currency Cash Passport to withdraw currencies that are loaded on the card at overseas ATMs where MasterCard is accepted. The greater of 1.1% of the initial load / reload amount or AU$15.00 $0 Go to site More
Rates last updated December 9th, 2016
Currency Conversion Fee Monthly Inactivity Fee Multiple Currencies on One Card Maximum Load Amount
ANZ Travel Card
ANZ Travel Card
3% $3 Yes $80,000 Go to site More
NAB Traveller Card
NAB Traveller Card
4% $0 Yes $45,000 Go to site More
Cash Passport MasterCard
Cash Passport MasterCard
0% $0 Yes $100,000 Go to site More
Qantas Card with Qantas Cash
Qantas Card with Qantas Cash
$0 Yes $20,000 Go to site More
Travelex Travel Card
Travelex Travel Card
5.95% AU$4.00 per month No $5,000 Go to site More

People often don’t check the charges associated with foreign spending. Many credit cards charge a range of fees for international transactions, including foreign currency conversion fees and ATM withdrawal fees. Withdrawing cash from an ATM while overseas using a credit card could cost up to 3% for a cash advance fee plus up to 3.5% for foreign currency conversion fees. That means a withdrawal of $1,000 could cost up to $65 in fees, not including the possible ATM operator charge.

Extra spending, interest charges and fees can then lead to ‘debt-lag’, which is when your holiday spending takes a lengthy period to pay off after you return.

The convenience and savings offered by travel money cards has seen credit cards altering or abolishing their international fees. For instance, Bankwest has a range of platinum credit cards with no foreign transaction fees, as well as Aussie’s Platinum Low Rate Credit Card. Previously, there was only one card with no foreign transaction fee – GE Money’s 28 Degrees card.

Another convenience offered by travel cards is flexibility. If you are planning a trip to several countries with more than one currency, travel cards allow up to 10 different currencies to be loaded onto the cards, which can save travellers on currency conversion fees. And once loaded, the exchange rate is locked in. Some travel cards also offer rewards points including the Virgin Velocity Global Wallet and Qantas Cash. Travel money cards are posing some serious competition to traditional credit cards, offering the same benefits but without the high international fees.

However, some fees and charges still apply to most travel cards such as reload fees, international ATM withdrawal fees, replacement card fees if yours is lost or stolen and currency conversion fees if you switch currencies on the card. Also, the rewards points on travel cards might be outweighed by finding a cheaper card with lower fees in the first place.

If you’re planning an overseas holiday, make sure you take advantage of the travel money options available. Take a look at the travel money cards currently on the market and compare them today.

Was this content helpful to you? No  Yes

Related Posts

Ask a Question

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

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

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

Ask a question
feedback