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Compare Travel Money Cards

Load foreign currency ahead of your trip and spend like a local with a prepaid travel money card.


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Looking for a travel card for your next overseas trip? A prepaid travel money card lets you load the foreign currency you need onto the card before your leave Australia. This means you'll be ready to use the card in stores and at ATMs when you're travelling without having to worry about converting your Aussie dollars.

In this guide we outline the main features and benefits of a travel money card and help you compare travel cards using the table below.

Compare prepaid travel money cards

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Available Currencies ATM Withdrawal Fee Initial Load Fee Reload fee
Travelex Money Card

Overseas: $0

Domestic: 2.95% of the amount withdrawn

1.1% of initial load value or $15, whichever is greater
1.1% of transaction value or $15, whichever is greater
Lock in exchange rates for up to 10 currencies, pay no overseas ATM fees and get exclusive merchant offers.

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How do prepaid travel cards work?

A travel money card is a convenient way to access your travel cash while you're on holiday. There are three main types of travel cards available in Australia: prepaid travel cards, credit cards and debit cards. This guide focuses on prepaid travel cards and their benefits.

Prepaid travel cards

How it works: Prepaid travel cards let you lock-in exchange rates before you travel. This type of travel card allows you to budget more effectively, by knowing exactly what exchange rate you have secured and how much money you have on the card.

Why you should consider a prepaid travel card.

  • Lock-in exchange rates. Preload and secure your exchange rate before you travel
  • Multiple currencies. Load up to 10 popular currencies for with prepaid cards
  • Avoid fees. No fees for currency conversion when you're there

Things to consider when choosing a prepaid travel card.

  • Currency availability. If you are travelling to multiple destinations, some of your currencies might not be supported
  • Lower exchange rates. Lock-in exchange rate from the bank is lower compared to physical foreign exchange (cash) and credit cards

What additional benefits come with prepaid travel money cards?

There are a number of different prepaid travel cards on the market. They can be broken down into the following categories.

Prepaid travel cards with frequent flyer points.

The Qantas Cash travel money card allows you to earn Qantas Points when you use the card to make eligible purchases. The Global Wallet from Velocity, functions in the same way, only rewarding you with Velocity Frequent Flyer Points. Points are awarded for eligible purchases, which are your usual everyday transactions. You won't earn points on cash transactions like ATM withdrawals. These cards couple the convenience of being able to spend without being charged international fees with rewards points earning. There are other products on the market that offer rewards and frequent flyer points when you spend, but these cards may also attract currency conversion fees, which negate any real value of rewards or frequent flyer points.

Travel Money Items Flatlay

How to compare prepaid travel money cards


The main fees to look out for include:

  • Initial load fee. Depending on the card, you might be charged a fee (such as a percentage of the loading amount) when you first load funds on the card.
  • Reload fees. If the card doesn't charge an initial load fee, it may charge another fee each time you load funds on the card. If this is the case, you might want to reconsider how often you reload the card.
  • ATM withdrawal fees. Some cards will charge a different ATM withdrawal fee depending on where you're withdrawing your cash. If the bank provider belongs to an ATM alliance, you might be able to avoid ATM withdrawal fees from the issuer. It's important to note that local ATM fees may still apply.
  • Inactivity fee. An inactivity fee is charged if you don't use the card (usually after 12 months) and there's money remaining on the account.
  • Currency conversion fees. Charged when you make a purchase overseas.


When comparing travel money cards to find the right one for you, check the available currencies on the card. Find a card that will allow you to load the currencies of the countries you plan to visit. If you spend on a currency not loaded onto the card, you will be charged for currency conversion. Remember that each type of travel card has its own pros and cons to accessing currencies, so travellers often take a combination of prepaid, credit and debit cards for convenience.

Exchange rate

In terms of receiving the best exchange rate, you can either pre-load currency or withdraw when you arrive at your destination.

  • Prepaid travel cards. Allow you to pre-load and secure your currency. Whilst the exchange rate may be considerably less favourable than the market rate, you are safeguarding yourself from receiving a worse exchange rate closer to your trip.
  • Credit and debit cards. Provide you with the exchange rate set by the card network (Mastercard, Visa) when you withdraw. This exchange rate is much closer to the market rate compared to prepaid travel card rates. To find out the exchange rate provided by your network on the day, simply google the "network + exchange rate + currencies" e.g. Mastercard exchange rate AUD to USD.
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Pros and cons of prepaid travel money cards


  • Spend like a local. Prepaid travel cards allow you to preload multiple foreign currencies onto the card at a time. Spend in a currency loaded onto the card and you avoid a fee for currency conversion.
  • Backup card. Designed specifically for travel (and the mishaps that happen when you're travelling), prepaid travel cards come with a backup in case the first card is lost or stolen.
  • Manage your travel budget. Reload the card when you need funds. The exchange rate is locked in. This protects you from movements in the exchange rate and also allows you to budget down to the last dollar.


  • Travel card fees. As convenient as these accounts are, they do come with fees and charges. Fees are usually charged when the card is first issued, when you first load the account with funds or when you reload the card with funds. Inactivity fees and ATM fees are also common among different travel money cards.
  • Exchange rates. It's worth having a look at the exchange rates offered through travel card products. Often, travel card issuers will have a different exchange rate for travel cards.
  • Reloading time. Typically, BPAY is the easiest way to reload your account with funds. BPAY transactions can take up to three business days for the transaction to process. It can take up to six days for the funds to clear in your account when you factor in Australian bank holidays and weekends.

Frequently asked questions about prepaid travel money cards

What should I look for in a travel money card?

This all depends on where you're going and how you plan to spend. In some destinations, you can use your plastic like you would in Australia. In other places, cash is king — so ATM withdrawals fees will factor into your comparison. Compare travel money cards and check out our travel guides to find the best one for your holiday.

How do I load funds onto my travel card?

This will depend on the card itself, however, BPAY is generally an accepted method for reloading your travel card with funds. Some cards use different systems, however, the card can be reloaded through your online banking facility. Make sure you can get internet access while you're travelling.

What is a currency conversion fee?

A currency conversion fee is an additional charge (expressed as a percentage of the total value of the transaction — usually about 3.00%) which is applied when you make a purchase or withdrawal in a currency which is not loaded onto the card. Travel cards have a 'default currency order'. This is the order available currencies will be debited from your account if you do not have the currency of the transaction.

How do I use my travel money card?

When you want to use your travel money card to make a purchase or withdrawal, press 'credit' when you want to complete the transaction. Travel cards use the Visa and Mastercard international payment networks and are accepted in most places where Visa and Mastercard are accepted.

Will an inactivity fee be charged if I do not have any money left on my card?

Some of these accounts will charge you a fee if your account is inactive for a period of time. A monthly charge will deduct the remaining balance on the card until the account has no funds remaining. Inactivity fees are listed within our travel card comparison and reviews.

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71 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    ThereseAugust 16, 2019

    If I had a Citibank plus account which allows me to withdraw funds my own account without fees, would I be likely to get a better exchange rate in the US on the day of withdrawal rather than getting a travel card and preloading it with US dollars?

    • Default Gravatar
      NikkiAugust 17, 2019

      Hi Therese,

      Thanks for getting in touch! Having a travel money card locks in exchange rates for times when you use the card and the exchange rate on the day is lower. That is the advantage, however, since exchange rates are volatile, for times that exchange rates are higher than when you exchanged and locked in your money, that would be the disadvantage.

      Hope this helps. Feel free to reach out to us again for further assistance.


  2. Default Gravatar
    CherylMarch 11, 2019

    I am about to travel overseas. I am 64 and never been out of Australia. I will have a credit card. What do you suggest I do for cash transactions. Of course, I do not want to pay lots of fees. I will be away two months. I am looking at incidentals.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JeniMarch 13, 2019Staff

      Hi Cheryl,

      Thank you for getting in touch with Finder.

      Having a travel card is a good option if you are not bringing much currency of the country you’re travelling to. Unlike credit cards, travel cards will not charge you cash advance fee and incur interest for withdrawing money from an ATM. You may also lock-in exchange rates.

      To help you decide on this matter, you may also use our travel money guide on this page. You may also click on the country you’re going to at the left side of the page to know your travel money options.

      I hope this helps.

      Thank you and have a wonderful day!


  3. Default Gravatar
    LCMJanuary 4, 2019

    Do you have any advice on the best cards to use in Vietnam with the lowest atm fees and transactions fees? Also what banks have the lowest atm fees in Vietnam?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoshuaJanuary 7, 2019Staff

      Hi LCM,

      Thanks for getting in touch with finder. I hope all is well with you. :)

      The best card to use in Vietnam would depend on your needs, preference, and budget. On this page, we list some of your options. On that page, you will see a table that allows you to conveniently compare your travel money options for Vietnam. You would also be able to compare your options based on ATM and transaction fees. Once you found the right one for you, click on the “Go to site” green button to learn more or initiate your application.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!


  4. Default Gravatar
    AdelOctober 13, 2018


    I’m going to Thailand. Which travel card is the best to use there?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JeniOctober 13, 2018Staff

      Hi Adel,

      Thank you for getting in touch with finder.

      Basically, Visa and Mastercard branded travel cards, debit cards and credit cards can be used for over the counter purchases and ATM withdrawals in Thailand. There’s quite a few Australian travel cards support the Thai baht such as ANZ Travel Card, NAB Traveller Card, Qantas Cash Card, Velocity Global Wallet and more. Choosing the best travel card for you depends on your travel needs and lifestyle. You may use this PAGE as your travel money guide in Thailand and compare your options.

      I hope this helps.

      Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any other enquiries.

      Thank you and have a wonderful day!


  5. Default Gravatar
    CaroleOctober 1, 2018

    I am travelling to New Zealand in a couple of weeks & thought of a travel card.Next year we are doing a big trip to Europe would I be able to use same card??Also do I just load Aus$ onto card & chose currency I need in relevant country or buy the relevant currency prior to travelling

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      CharisseOctober 2, 2018Staff

      Hi Carole,

      Thanks for reaching out to finder.

      Yes, you will still be able to use your travel card for your future travel to Europe, provided it has not expired yet as these cards also have expiration dates.

      You can just load AUD into your travel money card and convert it to any of the currencies it supports at anytime you feel the need to, then use it to pay for your purchases or withdraw the money in any ATM with Visa/Mastercard logo. Please note that certain fees will apply such as currency conversion and ATM withdrawal fees.

      Please make sure that you read the product disclosure statement and terms of agreement to see what works best for your needs, before making a decision. Hope this helps.


  6. Default Gravatar
    CathyMay 14, 2018

    I’m travelling to Peru from Australia soon and looking at prepaid travel cards.
    I can’t see any with the Peruvian Sol so if I was to load a card do I load from Aussie dollars to US dollars? Then when withdrawing from an ATM I get Peru sol? Does this mean I will get charged two times for the conversion?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JeniMay 14, 2018Staff

      Hi Cathy,

      Thank you for getting in touch with finder.

      Most of the Australian prepaid travel money cards have currencies from the top 10 most popular destinations for Australian travellers. Unfortunately, Peru is not one of them that’s why Sol is not included yet. It doesn’t necessarily need that you will convert from AUD to USD. You are correct, whenever you use your prepaid travel card in Peru, the currency that will be deducted will be your default currency, let’s say AUD, that depends on which currency you load up on your prepaid card. You can choose a default currency from the supported currency of your card. As per this page, prepaid travel cards have no currency conversion and international ATM withdrawal fees.

      As a friendly reminder, while we do not represent any company we feature on our pages, we can offer you general advice. I suggest that you contact the card issuer directly once you have your travel card for further assistance.

      For your reference, you may also check out this link to help you decide which prepaid travel card to use in Peru.

      I hope this helps.

      Have a great day!


  7. Default Gravatar
    AndyApril 20, 2018

    I have some Euro in cash that I wanted to load onto a card to spend overseas instead of carrying cash. But the cards I’ve looked at would convert the Euro to AUD during loading, then back to Euro stored on the card and I lose money on each conversion. Is there a card that will accept direct load of foreign currency?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JhezApril 21, 2018Staff

      Hello Andy,

      Thank you for your comment.

      This means that your card provider draws funds from your account according to the default currency order at their prevailing exchange rate, and it charges you a fee on top of that for converting currencies. It’s important to note that a currency order applies. The stored value currency order determines the order in which funds are loaded and the order in which fees or transactions are debited from your card.

      The default order is usually determined by your card provider, but some card providers offer flexibility by allowing you to change this order on your account.

      For instance, the ANZ Travel card, you may change the stored value currency order at any time online or by calling the ANZ customer service centre.

      This page might be helpful for you.


  8. Default Gravatar
    JanetMarch 27, 2018

    I will be travelling to Europe in 4 months time. Are there any pay wave travel cards available?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      DeeMarch 27, 2018Staff

      Hi Janet,

      Thanks for your question.

      Currently, we don’t feature any travel card with Visa Paywave. This feature is typically available in debit or credit cards. You may check this page to compare your options.


  9. Default Gravatar
    GaryMarch 20, 2018


    I’m looking for a prepaid travelcard that both myself and wife can use i.e. a joint account card.

    I cannot seem to find such a thing!



    • Default Gravatar
      JoelMarch 22, 2018

      Hi Gary,

      Thanks for leaving a question on finder.

      There is no prepaid joint travel cards. You will have to get one for you and your wife.


  10. Default Gravatar
    NancyMarch 13, 2018

    If I have a zero balance on my travel card and have not used it for 18 months, will the monthly inactivity fee for that period be deducted when I reload my card??

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      DeeMarch 13, 2018Staff

      Hi Nancy,

      Thanks for your question.

      For most travel cards, the inactivity fee is charged if you don’t use the card for 12 months and there’s still money remaining on the account. If you have a zero balance in your account, you’ll typically not incur any inactivity fee and no amount will be deducted when you reload.

      Kindly note that this is a general information only. You may have to directly contact your specific card provider to confirm.

      I hope this helps.


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