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Travel Money Card Comparison

How to find the best card for your next overseas trip

What you need to know

  • The most important features to compare are the foreign transaction fees, exchange rates and usability.
  • If you want to withdraw cash, a prepaid travel card or debit card will likely be cheaper than a credit card.
  • It is a good idea to have several travel money options in case of loss, damage or theft.
Travel cards are one option you can take with you overseas. Here, we go through what you need to know about them and how they compare to credit and debit cards, so you know whether it's the right choice for you.

Travel money card comparison

Name Product Available Currencies ATM Withdrawal Fee Initial Load Fee Reload fee
Wise Travel Money Card

2 free ATM withdrawals per month up to AUD$350, then AUD$1.50 and 1.75% per withdrawal

Hold and spend funds in more than 40 currencies, with competitive exchange rates and $0 fees for the first 2 ATM withdrawals (up to AUD$350) per month.
Revolut Travel Money Card

Standard: $350 per month, then a 2% fee applies per transaction

Premium: $700 per month, then a 2% fee applies per transaction

Metal: $1,400 per month, then a 2% fee applies per transaction

Load and spend money in over 30 currencies with mobile payments and a Visa card. Plus, a 3-month Premium trial.
Qantas Travel Money
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
Load up to 10 foreign currencies or pay in Australian dollars around the world. Plus, earn Qantas Points on all eligible purchases.
Cash Passport Platinum Mastercard
USD $2.50, EUR €2.50, GBP £2.00, NZD $3.50, THB ฿80.00, CAD $3.50, HKD $18.00, JPY ¥260.00, SGD $3.50, AUD $3.50, AED 10.00
$0 (via online) or $0 (via branch)
Travelex Money Card

Overseas and domestic: $0 but some ATM operators may charge their own fee

$0 (via online) or $0 (via branch)
Lock in exchange rates for up to 10 currencies, pay no overseas ATM fees and get exclusive merchant offers.
Australia Post Travel Platinum Mastercard

Overseas: $3.50 AUD or equivalent in foreign currency Some ATM operators may charge their own fee

Domestic: 2.95% of the amount withdrawn

Holds up to 11 currencies and with free global Wi-Fi.

What is a travel money card?

A travel money card is a prepaid card which you can add multiple foreign currencies onto to use while you're travelling overseas. You can use it to make purchases and withdraw cash from ATMs.

Prepaid travel cards work similarly to debit cards as you can deposit a certain amount of money into the card and only spend what you've got available in the account. However, unlike a standard debit card, a prepaid travel card allows you to lock-in exchange rates before you travel.

You can also avoid some of the fees that you might be subject to if you were to use your normal bank card. Many transaction accounts have international transaction fees or other limitations, so getting a travel money card can save you money there. It can also feel safer to have a travel money card, avoiding the risk of losing your money if something were to happen to your bank card.

The pros and cons of different options

Qantas Travel Money Card

Prepaid travel money cards

Advantages of a travel money card

  • Pre-load your funds. Depositing your money on the card in advance can help you to stick to a budget, though you can always reload if needed.
  • Multiple currencies. You can convert Australian dollars into several supported currencies (great for a multi-country trip) and avoid currency conversion fees.
  • Locked-in exchange rates. Funds are converted based on the exchange rate at that time, so you avoid any exchange rate fluctuations while travelling. Caveat: this can be an advantage or a disadvantage.
  • Frequent flyer points. The Qantas Travel Money prepaid card means you'll earn frequent flyer points for your spending both overseas and in Australia.
  • ATM fees. Many travel money cards don't charge overseas ATM fees.

Disadvantages of a travel money card

  • Additional fees. Some card charge additional fees including ATM, reloading, account closure and inactivity fees.
  • Reload delay. Some cards may take a few days for the funds to be available.
  • Locked-in exchange rates. Funds are converted based on the exchange rate at that time, so you avoid any exchange rate fluctuations while travelling. Caveat: this can be an advantage or a disadvantage.
  • Acceptance. Travel money cards are not as widely accepted as debit or credit cards in some countries.

HSBC Everyday Global Card

Debit cards

Advantages of debit cards

  • Card fraud protection. If you use your debit card, your money will be protected if you are a victim of fraud while you're away.
  • Easy access to your own money. Unlike a prepaid card or a credit 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 loading money on a prepaid card and can help you avoid 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.
  • Worldwide acceptance. Most countries accept both Visa and Mastercard debit cards.

Disadvantages of debit cards

  • Foreign transaction fees. Unless your debit card offers 0% international transaction fees, you could be charged between 1% and 4% for payments made overseas.
  • Dynamic currency conversion. Paying in Australian dollars means the transaction will be processed using dynamic currency conversion, which usually adds between 6% and 8% to the transaction cost. Tip: when given the option, choose to pay in local currency to avoid this cost.
  • 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.

Bankwest Zero Platinum Mastercard

Credit cards

Advantages of credit cards

  • Flexibility. Credit cards allow you to borrow money up to the card's limit. So if you're travelling and don't have all the funds you need in your account, you can put your purchases on credit and pay it back over time.
  • Rewards. If you use a credit card you might be eligible for rewards or frequent flyer points such as access to airport lounges or flight upgrades.
  • Complimentary travel insurance. Some credit cards come with complimentary travel insurance. This can help you save on paying for additional travel insurance.
  • 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.

Disadvantages of credit cards

  • Annual fees. Unless you have a $0 annual fee credit card, you'll usually have to pay an annual fee for the account.
  • Interest. If you aren't able to pay off your purchases within the interest free period, you'll end up having to pay interest on your balance.
  • Currency conversion costs. Make sure to 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.
  • 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 (or the merchant) choose Australian dollars, your transaction will be processed using dynamic currency conversion, which usually costs more than paying in the foreign currency.

What are the travel money card fees I should know about?

ATM withdrawal fees: Fees change depending on which card you have and which country you're in.

Initial load and reload fees: Some cards charge you when you first put foreign currency onto the card and/or when you add more money to your balance.

Currency conversion fees: Depending on the card, you can pay up to 5% or more in currency conversion fees. Tip: Qantas Travel Money doesn't charge a currency conversion fee.

Finder survey: Would you use a travel card again for a future trip?

Overall, almost all Australians who used a travel money card in the past would use one again in the future.

Source: Finder survey by Pure Profile of 1009 Australians, December 2023
Bank account offer
Westpac Choice
monthly fee
ATM withdrawal fee
  • Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, Fitbit Pay, Garmin Pay, Digital Card
  • Monthly fees: $5

Westpac Choice

How to find the best travel money card

There is no universal best travel money card as your options vary from country to country and person to person. In saying that, some of favourable features of travel cards include:

  • No additional fees: including ATM fees, reloading fees and card closure fee
  • The option to lock in exchange rates before you leave
  • The option to add multiple currencies onto the one card
  • Digital wallet compatibility so you can add the card to Apple Pay or Google Pay
  • Low or no additional cost to convert your left-over money back to AUD
  • Security, including card pin

You should also consider exchange rates, conditions, limits and safety.

Top travel money tips

Here are our top travel money tips:

  • Pay for your purchases in the local currency. This will help avoid any currency conversion fees.
  • Keep an eye on your transactions. It's always a good idea to regularly check your transaction history to make sure there's no unauthorised transactions - and if there are, you should report them to your bank immediately.
  • Always take more than one travel money option. You don't want to be left stranded if you lose your card or it gets stolen. Consider bringing 2 forms of travel cards to avoid being left cashless in a foreign country.
  • Keep your travel money in a few different places. Having all your foreign cash and cards in a wallet means you'll have no backup if you lose your wallet. Instead, consider keeping some of your travel money in a separate place. For example, you could keep most of your cash in a hotel safe or a locked part of your luggage.
  • Inform your bank. If you're using your regular debit or credit card, let your bank know. You wouldn't want your card to be cancelled due to a 'suspicious transaction' while you're overseas because your bank thinks you're still in Australia.

Australian travel statistics

Australia is a nation of travellers. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there were 8,337,080 resident returns from overseas for the year 2022 - 2023. The most popular reason we travel is for a holiday, and the median trip duration is 15 days.

FAQs about prepaid travel money cards

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320 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    MarjorieDecember 30, 2023

    When travelling from Australia to Switzerland is it best to exchange money at Australia Post from AU dollars to Swiss Franc in advance rather that change on arrival in Switzerland.

      SarahFebruary 15, 2024Finder

      Hi Marjorie,

      If you exchange your money at an airport or at a kiosk once you’ve arrived overseas, you may pay a hefty commission – it’s hard to know what charge in advance. Banks and licensed currency exchange outlets are likely to offer the best rates overseas but again, its hard to know what fees you’ll pay.

      AustPost exchange is conveneint but it is not always the cheapest. Today, if you exchange $1000:
      – At AustPost, you’ll get CHF541.80
      – The same transfer with Travelex is CHF550.80
      – With Wise, you get CHF572.05

      It pays to shop around and compare to find the best value.

      Hope this helps!

    Default Gravatar
    CharlesNovember 5, 2023

    I want a good all-rounder card, locked in FX, no maintenance charges, ATM fees , no withdrawal fees. What card is best ?

      AmyNovember 13, 2023Finder

      Hi Charles,

      The comparison table in this guide includes details of ATM fees, load and re-load fees that can help you compare different options. For example, currently the Wise Travel Money Card and Revolut standard card both offer $0 ATM withdrawal fees for the first $350 per month, with charges for further ATM withdrawals. The Travelex Money Card also offers $0 ATM withdrawal fees.

      All of these cards also let you lock in FX rates for supported currencies, but may charge fees when you’re spending in a currency that’s not loaded on the card. So it’s a good idea to consider which currencies you plan to spend, as this could have a big impact on the overall costs and help you choose a card that’s suitable for you. You can also view more details on potential costs for each card on Finder’s review pages. I hope this helps.

    Default Gravatar
    KerryDecember 19, 2018

    I am going to the Uk in 2019. Confusions is supreme. I see there is information about conversation currency fees, however on individual travel card sites they claim 0 fees. If I have a facility with my current domestic bank that charges no fees to transfer money to another facility and I use a travel card that states they have 0 fees for upload and currency conversation fee, am I correct in believing that there will be no cost to me to upload AUD to GBP. I am traveling for about 3 months and with a budget of around AUD 20,000. What cards should I consider compared to using my domestic Credit and Debit cards. I have tried using your search engine for best card for country but it is not uploading.

      MayDecember 20, 2018Finder

      Hi Kerry,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      Sorry to hear about your confusion as to which card you would bring to the UK and apologies as well if you’re having a hard time uploading our page. Nevertheless, to help you narrow down your options, you can refer to our guide on travel money to the UK. From the page, you’d be able to compare your options for pre-paid, debit, and credit cards, and even foreign cash. Just click on the tabs to see the list. Once you have chosen a particular travel card, you may then click on the “Go to site” button and you will be redirected to the provider’s website where you can proceed with your application or get in touch with their representatives for further assistance.

      With regard to the cost, usually, there’s no cost in loading AUD to the prepaid travel cards. If the currency is supported by the card, say GBP, it’s also free.

      I hope this has helped.


    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…

      MayDecember 10, 2017Finder

      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.


    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?

      Default Gravatar
      DanielleSeptember 17, 2017

      Hi Jean,

      Thank you for contacting Finder.

      Our Travel money guide to South Africa will provide you some options that may suit your needs. On the page, is a comparison table for a list of travel debit cards and prepaid travel money cards. You can use the table to help narrow down your options. Once you have selected one, you may proceed by clicking the green “Go to Site” button.

      Before applying, please ensure that you read through the relevant Product Disclosure Statements/Terms and Conditions when comparing your options before making a decision on whether it is right for you. You can also contact the provider if you have specific questions.

      I hope this helps.


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