Travel money comparison

Discover how far your travel money can take you.

From cash to travel cards, credit cards and regular debit cards, compare different travel money options you can use around the world.

Which option is right for your next trip?

Latest pro tips for taking your money overseas

How to decide which type of travel money card is best* for you?

There is no one “best” type of travel money to take overseas because your options vary from country to country. So to find the best* travel money options for your next trip, you’ll need to look at your holiday destination, how you want to spend money and what you can afford to take with you.

Prepaid travel cards, credit cards, debit cards and cash all have their uses, but the differences lie in their features and fees. So it’s often convenient to take a combination of travel money options with you or at least to have a back-up option on hand. Here you can compare the different travel money options available on the Australian market to discover which one offers you the best value for your next holiday.

Travel money cards

These prepaid debit cards let you load and spend money in different currencies. When you add money to the card and convert it to another currency, you’ll also be able to lock in an exchange rate for your funds. This means you’ll know exactly how much money you’ll be able to spend with the card when you’re overseas.

Qantas Cash

Qantas Cash

  • Earn up to 1.5 Qantas Points per eligible $1 spent
  • 11 currencies on one card
  • Lock in exchange rates

Qantas Cash

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

  • Choose from 11 currencies on the one card: USD, GBP, EUR, THB, NZD, SGD, HKD, CAD, JPY, AED and AUD
  • Ability to load money and convert currencies 24/7 on the secure customer portal.
  • Locked-in exchange rates for multiple currencies and low and transparent fees.
  • Accepted electronically – at over 35 million locations in over 210 countries worldwide.

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Compare prepaid travel money cards

Rates last updated February 23rd, 2018
Name Product Description Available Currencies ATM Withdrawal Fee Reload Fee Initial Load Fee
Hold up to 11 currencies on the card and get a locked-in exchange rate. Use at home and overseas to rack up Qantas Points on eligible purchases.
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
Hold up to 10 currencies and lock in your exchange rate. No transaction fees on purchases with a backup card in case one is lost or stolen.
AUD, CAD, EUR, GBP, HKD, JPY, NZD, SGD, THB, USD
AUD 3.50, USD 2.50, GBP 2.00, EUR 2.20, NZD 4.50, CAD 3.00, HKD 20.00, SGD 4.00, THB 95, JPY 260

0%
$0
Load up to 5 different currencies and hold up to AU$10,000. Save with a $0 card issue fee and $0 load fees.
AUD, GBP, EUR, NZD, USD
AUD$2 equivalent
$0
$0
Lock in exchange rates for up to 10 currencies, pay no overseas ATM fees and get exclusive merchant offers.
AUD, CAD, EUR, GBP, HKD, JPY, NZD, SGD, USD, THB

Overseas: $0. Although, some ATM operators may charge their own fees or set their own limits


Domestic: 2.95% of the amount withdrawn

0%
The greater of 1.1% of the initial load / reload amount or AUD 15.00

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Benefits of using a prepaid travel card

  • Multiple currencies. You can use your travel card to convert your Australian dollars into your chosen supported currency or currencies. When you spend in a supported and loaded currency, you can avoid the currency conversion fees you’d usually be charged if you were using an Australian card overseas.
  • Locked-in exchange rates. When you convert your Australian dollars into a foreign currency that’s supported by the card, the funds are converted based on the exchange rate available at that time. Depending on which way the currency goes, this can be a good way to avoid negative exchange rate fluctuations while you’re travelling.
  • Frequent flyer points. Get a Qantas Cash or Velocity Global Wallet prepaid travel money card and you’ll earn frequent flyer points for your spending both overseas and in Australia, with both cards offering higher point-earning rates for international transactions.

What else do I need to know about prepaid travel cards?

  • Acceptance. Most Australian prepaid travel cards are either Visa or Mastercard, meaning you can use them worldwide.
  • Fees. The fees you’ll have to pay will depend on the card, but some include a purchase fee, a loading or reloading fee, a currency conversion fee, an inactivity fee and an account closure fee.
  • ATM withdrawal limits. Some prepaid travel cards have limits on how much money you can withdraw per day. The ATM operator may also limit how much you can get per transaction. So if you need a lot of cash or your prepaid travel card charges a fee per transaction, it could get expensive quickly.
  • Supported currencies. Prepaid travel cards usually support a number of foreign currencies, though the exact ones will depend on the individual card. Look out for cards that support the local currency of your travel destination, otherwise you’ll have to shell out currency conversion fees each time you spend.
  • Other currencies. While you can still use your card if the local currency is not loaded or supported by your card, you’ll incur a currency conversion fee.

Travel credit cards

Credit cards can give you financial security, flexibility and extra features when you travel overseas. There is also a range of cards designed to offer you more affordability by offering no currency conversion fees, foreign transaction fees or overseas ATM withdrawal fees. But remember to consider the other costs associated with the card, such as the annual fee and interest rates, so that you can decide if this is an option that will work for your trip.

Bankwest Zero Platinum Mastercard

Bankwest Zero Platinum Mastercard

$0 annual fee
0% foreign transaction fees

Eligibility criteria, terms and conditions, fees and charges apply

Bankwest Zero Platinum Mastercard

A platinum credit card that features 0% foreign transaction fees, complimentary travel insurance covers and no annual fee.

  • $0 p.a. annual fee.
  • 17.99% p.a. on purchases
  • Cash advance rate of 21.99% p.a.
  • Up to 55 days interest free
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Compare travel credit cards with 0% currency conversion fees

Rates last updated February 23rd, 2018
Name Product Foreign Currency Conversion Fee Overseas ATM Withdrawal Fee Overseas Cash Advance Fee Annual fee Product Description
Bankwest Zero Platinum Mastercard
0% of transaction value
$0
2% of transaction amount or $4 (whichever is greater)
$0 p.a.
Offers a $0 annual fee, 0% foreign transaction fees, complimentary international travel insurance and access to a 24/7 concierge service.
Bankwest Breeze Platinum Mastercard
0% of transaction value
$0
2% of transaction amount or $4 (whichever is greater)
$99 p.a.
Receive a 0% p.a. interest rate on balance transfers for 24 months, complimentary travel insurance and 0% foreign transaction fees.
ANZ Rewards Travel Adventures card
0% of transaction value
$0
$0
$225 p.a.
Receive 40,000 bonus Velocity Points, 2 yearly Virgin Australia lounge passes, plus enjoy $0 overseas purchase transaction fees.

Westpac Lite Card
0% of transaction value
2%
$108 p.a.
Keep credit card costs low with a maximum credit limit of $4,000, a 9.9% p.a. purchase interest rate and no foreign transaction fees.
Bankwest Qantas Platinum Mastercard
0% of transaction value
$0
2% or $4, whichever is greater
$160 p.a.
Enjoy 0% foreign transaction fees, complimentary travel insurances and earn 0.5 Qantas Points per $1 spent on eligible purchases.
Bankwest More Platinum Mastercard
0% of transaction value
$0
2% of transaction amount or $4 (whichever is greater)
$160 p.a.
Earn 2 More Rewards Points per $1 spent, 75,000 bonus points when you meet the spend requirement and save with 0% foreign transaction fees.

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Benefits of using a credit card overseas

  • Access to credit. Your credit card limit is often larger than your savings, which can give you more flexibility when you travel.
  • Security. Credit cards come with a range of security features including fraud-monitoring services and zero-liability policies that help protect you if your card is lost, stolen or used for fraudulent transactions.
  • 0% foreign transaction fees. Many travel credit cards offer no currency conversion or ATM withdrawal fees, which could help you save when compared to regular credit cards or debit cards. Note that you’ll still have to pay cash advance fees if you use a credit card to get cash out at an ATM.
  • Extras. Depending on the card, you could earn reward or frequent flyer points for your spending or get other travel perks such as complimentary overseas travel insurance, purchase protection and concierge services.

What else do I need to know when using a credit card for travel?

  • Acceptance. Most Australian credit cards are Visa, Mastercard or American Express, so you should be able to use them widely around the world. You may not be able to use some cards in some locations (such as Cuba, Iran, Myanmar, North Korea, Sudan and Syria) due to economic sanctions. Check with the provider to confirm whether you can use your card in a specific country before you go overseas.
  • Fees. If you use your regular credit card overseas, it’s likely you’ll be charged currency conversion or foreign transaction fees. You’ll also be charged cash advance fees if you use your card for ATM withdrawals. Cards designed for overseas use tend to come at a cost, so make sure that the cost of the annual fee doesn’t outweigh the benefits you get from the card. Unless you have a card with 0% on purchases or interest-free days, all purchases will also collect interest.
  • Currency conversion costs. Look for a card that doesn’t charge currency conversion or foreign transaction fees, otherwise you’ll rack up fees every time you use your card for purchases in the local currency on your holiday.
  • Dynamic currency conversion. When you travel overseas with an Australian credit card, you could have the option of paying in the local currency or in Australian dollars. If you choose Australian dollars, your transaction will be processed using dynamic currency conversion, which usually costs more than paying in the foreign currency (even after the standard fees have been added).

Travel debit cards

If you have a Visa or Mastercard debit card that’s linked to an everyday account, you could continue to use it when you’re travelling overseas. This gives you a way to spend your own money without transferring or converting it beforehand. Some everyday debit cards offer travel benefits such as international ATM alliances to help you avoid overseas withdrawal fees or 0% currency conversion fees.

Compare travel debit cards

Rates last updated February 23rd, 2018
$
Name Product Product Description Debit Card Access ATM Withdrawal Fee Monthly Account Fee Overseas ATM Withdrawal Fee Overseas Eftpos Fee
Westpac Choice
Take advantage of Westpac's Global Alliance and save on overseas ATM fees at over 50,000 locations worldwide with fee-free cash withdrawals.
Mastercard
$0
$5
3%
St.George Complete Freedom Account
Part of the Westpac Global Alliance, save on overseas ATM fees at over 50,000 locations worldwide with fee-free cash withdrawals.
Visa
$0
$5
3%

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What are the benefits of travelling with a debit card?

  • Pay with your own money. Unlike a credit card with a line of credit or a prepaid card with a loaded amount of funds, a debit card gives you direct access to your transaction or savings account when you’re in another country. This can save you time compared to loading money on a prepaid card and can help you avoid cash advance or interest charges that could apply on a credit card.
  • ATM availability worldwide. If your debit card is a Visa or Mastercard, you should be able to withdraw money from ATMs around the world. To avoid ATM withdrawal fees, look for a card with a global ATM network, such as Westpac’s Global ATM Alliance or Citi’s international ATM network.
  • Card fraud protection. Australian debit cards offer security features such as fraud-monitoring services and zero-liability policies that can help you get your money back if your card is used for fraud.

What do I need to know when I travel with my debit card?

  • Foreign transaction fees. Unless your debit card offers 0% international transaction fees, you could be charged between 1% and 4% for all payments made in a foreign currency.
  • Dynamic currency conversion. Similar to credit cards, you may have the option of paying in the local currency or in Australian dollars when you use your debit card overseas. Choosing Australian dollars means the transaction will be processed using dynamic currency conversion, which usually adds between 6% and 8% to the transaction cost.
  • No back-up or additional card. Unlike some travel money cards, debit card accounts do not provide a backup. This means that you may have to wait up to two weeks for a replacement if you’ve lost your card or had it stolen overseas.
  • Daily currency exchange rate. You will receive the daily exchange rate for your withdrawal from Mastercard or Visa. Due to the uncertainty of exchange rates, this may be favourable or provide a lower rate than securing a rate with a prepaid travel card before you leave the country. You can get an idea of how the Mastercard and Visa exchange rates compare here.

Foreign cash

While cards are convenient and secure, it’s a good idea to have some foreign cash on hand when you go overseas. This allows you to make payments when cards are not accepted, such as at smaller cafes, stores or even public transport ticket machines. It also means you’ll have some funds available even if something happens to your card. You can buy foreign currency in Australia from specific outlets or order it online. You can also buy it when you’re overseas, although this could be more expensive.

Compare foreign cash services

Rates last updated February 23rd, 2018
Name Product Description Minimum Order Amount Maximum Order Amount Delivery/Pickup Method Commission Fees
Travelex makes it easy to exchange and get the best rate on over 40 currencies so you can be prepared for your next holiday.
$500
$5,000
In Store or At Airport
$0
Order multiple currencies in one transaction and have it delivered directly to your door in Adelaide or the surrounding suburbs.
$9,000
In Store or Home Delivery
$0

Compare up to 4 providers

Benefits of having foreign cash

  • Acceptance. As long as you have enough money, you can use foreign cash anywhere. In comparison, there could be some locations where cards are not accepted.
  • Convenience for smaller payments. Some businesses might have a minimum transaction amount for cards, which could make it easier to use cash. Similarly, if you’re travelling to a country where tipping is required, such as the US or the UK, having cash could make it easier to leave a tip that’s affordable for you.
  • Lock in exchange rates. If you buy currency before you go overseas, you’ll be able to get it at the exchange rate offered for that day. This means you’ll know exactly how much you have to spend when you’re away.
  • Easy ordering services. If you order your currency online, you could have the choice of getting it delivered or picking it up at a nearby store. This could save you time and money when compared to last-minute foreign currency purchases you make at the airport.

Other factors to consider when getting foreign cash

  • Exchange rates. The exchange rates for buying currency can vary a lot depending on the company and where you are. So planning ahead will help you find a service that offers a competitive exchange rate for whatever currency you want to buy.
  • Currency conversion costs. Many foreign currency exchange services will charge a fee or commission for each transaction. You could also be charged a fee for delivery. Make sure you factor this cost in before you order money so you can budget accordingly.
  • Processing times. If you want foreign cash before you go overseas, keep in mind that some services may need to order the money for you. This could take a couple of weeks, so give yourself plenty of time between ordering money and going away.
  • Security. Remember that cash is easy to lose and tricky to insure. Aim to keep your money on you or locked up in a secure section of your luggage that would be hard for thieves to access. Also check your travel insurance policy to see how much you could be covered for if you lose your cash.

What other travel money options can I consider?

Traveller's cheques

Traveller's cheques were once a widely used form of travel money, but they’re going the way of the dinosaur. You can weigh up whether they’re worth your time below:

Benefits of traveller's cheques

  • Secure. Traveller's cheques are an extremely secure method to spend money overseas, requiring an ID check before they can be used.
  • Safe. Traveller's cheques are insurable and can be replaced if lost or stolen.

What else should I consider when looking at traveller's cheques?

  • Cost. You might be charged a purchase fee when you first pick up your traveller's cheque.
  • Acceptance. Traveller's cheques are not widely accepted, especially compared to Visa or Mastercard credit, debit and travel money cards.
  • Ease of use. Traveller's cheques can be bulky and awkward to store in your wallet or luggage. Plus, you’ll have to go to the effort of getting them cashed rather than having immediate access to money like you would with a card or foreign cash.

Credit cards with complimentary travel insurance

A range of credit cards come with complimentary travel insurance that can help you save on buying cover upfront. Usually, you’ll need to activate the cover or pay for some or all of your trip with the card to get this insurance. If you think you’ll use this card when you’re overseas, remember to also look at the other features of the card – including foreign transaction fees and interest rates.

Frequent flyer credit cards

As well as earning you points for your everyday spending, many frequent flyer credit cards offer travel perks such as airport lounge passes, travel insurance and concierge services. If you get a new frequent flyer card, you could also earn thousands of bonus points to help pay for your next trip. There are also some top-tier frequent flyer cards that offer flight or travel vouchers you can put towards the cost of your next trip. As with other credit cards, remember to check the rates and fees, so you know how much it will cost to use the card in Australia and overseas.

There is a wide range of travel money options you can choose from when you go overseas. So learning about the different types of cards and cash services means you’ll be able to spend your money easily wherever you are in the world.

The most commonly asked travel money questions on the Internet

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314 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    BrendaDecember 10, 2017

    Hello, just wanted to let you know that unless I’m mistaken, the Qantas Cash card has differing information on your website. On one page it says that there is a 1% reload fee and on another that there is 0%. That said, thanks for offering unbiased easy to understand information, much obliged…

    • Staff
      MayDecember 10, 2017Staff

      Hi Brenda,

      Thank you for your inquiry.

      There are actually two ways to reload your Qantas Cash Card. The first option is via bank transfer or BPAY which has 0% fee and the second option through Direct Debit that charges 1% of the total amount. As a sample, this is how Direct Debit works:

      If you wish to load or reload 200 AUD onto your card using Debit Card Load, you will be charged a fee of 1% of the load amount being AUD 200 x 1% = AUD 2. This means you will be required to pay AUD 202 to complete your Debit Card Load transaction.

      Please also note that you may be charged other fees by third parties in relation to the Debit Card reloading transaction like the fees charged by your financial institution.

      I hope this information helps.

      Cheers,
      May

  2. Default Gravatar
    JeanSeptember 16, 2017

    I am traveling to South Africa and wanted to take a prepaid debit card but do not know who to contact for something like that. I talked to Travelex but they do not deal in South African currency. Any suggestions?

    • Staff
      DanielleSeptember 17, 2017Staff

      Hi Jean,

      Thank you for contacting finder. We are a comparison website and general information service, we’re more than happy to offer general advice.

      You may refer to this page for options that may suit your needs. You may review and compare the offers available on the table. Once you have selected one, you may proceed by clicking the green “Go to Site” button.

      I hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Danielle

  3. Default Gravatar
    BrendaSeptember 15, 2017

    Can i take english currency to greece or should i take euros

    • Default Gravatar
      GruSeptember 16, 2017

      Hello Brenda.

      Thank you for reaching out to finder for your trip to Greece.

      As a friendly reminder, please note that finder is an Australian comparison website and general information service.
      We can offer you general advice.

      Yes, you may take English currency to Greece and have it changed to Euros there, but you may also take Euros. As to what you should bring is all up to you.
      You may continue reading up on the information we have on this page to assess what would be best to bring. Please also note that exchange rates vary on a daily basis, also depending on the travel money provider or exchange bureau.
      Alternatively, you also have several other options to choose from aside from taking cash. You may use your debit or credit card, a travel card, or traveller’s cheque. Again, choosing what would best suit you and what you would be comfortable with is all up to you.

      Hope this helped.

      Cheers,
      Gru

  4. Default Gravatar
    DorothyJuly 10, 2017

    Which travel card is best for me – for 3 weeks in England in September

    • Staff
      DanielleJuly 11, 2017Staff

      Hi Dorothy,

      Thank you for contacting finder. We are a comparison website and general information service, we’re more than happy to offer general advice.

      You may refer to this page for options that may suit your needs. You may review and compare the offers available on the table. Once you have selected one, you may proceed by clicking the green “Go to Site” button.

      I hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Danielle

  5. Default Gravatar
    KiaJune 17, 2017

    Hi,
    I am going to Russia is a couple weeks time and I would to known that if I load my 28 degree Platinum Mastercard card with Australia dollars, do I still have to pay any fees for withdrawing cash from ATM?
    Many thanks!

    • Default Gravatar
      JonathanJune 17, 2017

      Hi Kia!

      Thanks for the comment.

      The 28 Degrees Mastercard doesn’t charge for international ATM withdrawals, but ATM withdrawals may have a fee of 3% of the cash advance or $4 (whichever is greater). Local ATM operator fees may still apply too. This will be advised prior the transaction.

      You can read our guide right here.

      Hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Jonathan

  6. Default Gravatar
    FranndonMay 3, 2017

    We are currently holidaying in Bali. Before leaving we loaded our GE 28 Degrees Platinum Mastercard so it was in a positive/credit balance. We have done this on previous holidays & it worked perfectly for us.
    This time we are being charged a Cash Advance Fee everytime we withdraw money from an ATM.
    Is this correct, even though its our own savings & not technically a cash advance?

    • Staff
      LouMay 4, 2017Staff

      Hi Franndon,

      Thanks for your question.

      If you have preloaded money into your account, you will still incur a cash advance fee of 3% of the amount your withdraw or $4 (whichever is greater), even if technically it is not a cash advance. Also, third party ATM operators may charge a fee.

      Cheers,
      Anndy

  7. Default Gravatar
    JulieApril 26, 2017

    I am going to live in England for about 18 months or more and have CBA credit cards and debit cards. I will be wanting to withdraw money regularly and also use credit card, which would you recommend?

    • Staff
      HaroldApril 27, 2017Staff

      Hi Julie,

      Thank you for your inquiry.

      Unfortunately, we cannot recommend what is best for you. Our company finder.com.au is a financial comparison website and general information service designed to help consumers to make a better decision. Please note we do not represent any company we feature on our pages.

      With Commonwealth Bank, MasterCard credit cards are accepted in millions of locations all over the world. Use your card to shop online, make purchases over the counter and withdraw cash from ATMs everywhere MasterCard is accepted.

      I hope this information has helped.

      Cheers,
      Harold

  8. Default Gravatar
    LINDAApril 3, 2017

    I am travelling to the US and Canada do I need to take US and Canadian money or convert US dollars while in the US to visit Canada. Would the exchange rate be higher in the US than purchasing Canadian dollars in Australia.

    I am looking for the easiest way to travel without carrying a lot of money on me.

    I have a velocity mastercard which I can load with my own money or would a Travelex travel card be a better way to go.

    I do not know whether to buy now while the US dollar is around .76 or wait closer to the time when I leave.

    • Staff
      LouMay 8, 2017Staff

      Hi Linda,

      Thanks for your question.

      When you travel overseas, it would be best to bring a combination of cash and card for your needs.

      Unfortunately, we can’t tell if the rate in the US is higher than in Australia when purchasing Canadian dollars. We also cannot forecast the movement of US dollar rate in the coming weeks.

      In regards to having a Velocity Mastercard, since you did not mention the full name of the card, I am unable to check its complete features and fees. Generally, credit cards charge foreign currency transactions fees while Travelex Travel Money does not charge currency conversion and international ATM withdrawal fees.

      You may check our travel money guide to Canada on this page for more information.

      Cheers,
      Anndy

  9. Default Gravatar
    SteveMarch 21, 2017

    I’m travelling from Australia to Argentina then NY and LA. what are the best options for travel cards when a credit card or any kind of loan is out of the question?

    • Staff
      LouMarch 24, 2017Staff

      Hi Steve,

      Thanks for your question.

      If you’ll be spending most of your time in the US, you may compare your travel card options here.

      Alternatively, you mentioned going to Argentina. Our travel card comparison page for South America can be found on this page.

      Cheers,
      Anndy

  10. Default Gravatar
    DonnaNovember 24, 2016

    Hi im going to the UK and europe i have a travel card i tried to get a 28degree credit card just for a backup but was denied I have a visa card but i don’t want to use it because of all the fees .what i want to know is would it be cheaper to transfer $2000 from my commonwealth credit card and put it in my commonwealth travel card while im still in australia and when i come back if i haven’t used the $2000 transfer back to the visa card

    • Staff
      MayNovember 24, 2016Staff

      Hi Donna,

      Thanks for your question.

      When transferring a balance/money from a credit card to another account, that would be treated as a cash advance, so most likely, you’ll be charged cash advance fee and interest on your credit card.

      So in this case, if you will load your CBA travel card with funds from your CBA Visa credit card, then the CA fees and interest will be applied to your credit card.

      Cheers,
      May

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