Travel Money Card Finder™

Rates and fees last updated on

Whether you're looking to shop in multiple currencies, save on foreign transaction fees or spend your own money, compare your travel card options for your next holiday today.

There are plenty of ways to take your cash overseas, but the right option will depend on your finances, travel plans and spending habits. To help narrow down your options, this guide will compare the three main travel card options: prepaid travel cards, credit cards and debit cards. For example, you could enjoy complimentary insurances, rewards points and $0 currency conversion fees with a credit card designed for use overseas. If you'd prefer to use your own funds rather than a line of credit but want to spend in multiple currencies, a prepaid travel card could come in handy. Otherwise, you might want to consider a debit card with no foreign transaction fees and no ATM withdrawal costs to access your cash with ease on your next holiday.

Use this guide to weigh up the features, fees and benefits of the available options to help you find the best* travel card for your next overseas trip.

Compare prepaid travel cards

Rates last updated November 21st, 2017
Name Product Description Available Currencies ATM Withdrawal Fee Reload Fee Initial Load Fee
You can load and hold up to eleven currencies on the Qantas Cash Mastercard with a locked-in exchange rate. A travel card to be used at home as well as overseas, rack up Qantas Points on all eligible purchases. Debit cards incur a 1% reload fee.
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
The NAB Traveller Card allows you to load up and lock in up to 10 currencies. Benefit from no fees for reloading funds. Comes with a secondary card for added security.
AUD, CAD, EUR, GBP, HKD, JPY, NZD, SGD, THB, USD

Overseas: $0 per withdrawal via international ATMs

Domestic: $3.75 fee applies

$0
$0

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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
  • Fewer fees.
      • No fees for currency conversion
      • No fees for ATM withdrawals

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
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What additional benefits come with prepaid travel 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.

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Travel Money Items Flatlay

How to compare prepaid travel money cards

Fees

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.

Acceptance

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

Pros

  • 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.

Cons

  • 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.
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Frequently asked questions about prepaid travel money cards

What's the best 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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This page was last modified on 16 November 2017 at 11:14am.

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49 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    AlexandraSeptember 15, 2017

    Hi, I’m traveling to South America soon, I’ve notice none of the travel cards offer the currencies for the countries I’m visiting. What is my best option, I’d need a card I can use for Brazilian reals, Colombian and Argentinian pesos, Peru soles?

    • Staff
      AshSeptember 15, 2017Staff

      Hi Alexandra,

      Thank you for reaching out to us.

      For Travel Money that you can use in South America, you can refer to this page The said page also has a list of credit cards as well as travel debit cards that may be helpful in your trip. Though there will always be Exchange Rate Fee charge to you for each International ATM withdrawal.

      I hope this helps.

      Let us know if there is anything else that we may assist you with.

      Cheers,
      Ash

  2. Default Gravatar
    TimAugust 20, 2017

    If you have money left on your travel card once the holiday is complete, can you transfer these funds back in to a nominated account?

    • Staff
      ArnoldAugust 20, 2017Staff

      Hi Tim,

      Thanks for your inquiry.

      Yes, you can transfer funds back off your Travel Money Card into your nominated account when you close your card. The process may depend on your travel card.

      Hope this information helped.

      Cheers,
      Arnold

  3. Default Gravatar
    johnAugust 3, 2017

    Hi. I am going on a cruise visiting Hong Kong, Korea, Japan, and China. Can I get a card for all currencies?

    • Staff
      LiezlAugust 3, 2017Staff

      Hi John,

      Thanks for your question.

      You may compare your travel money card options on this page for your Southeast Asia cruise. Although these travel money cards do not support Korean won (KRW) and Chinese yuan (CNY), as most travel money cards, you may find our travel money guides for Korea and China helpful in choosing the suitable travel money mix for your cruise.

      Cheers,
      Liezl

  4. Default Gravatar
    CharmaineJune 30, 2017

    Hi There, i will be traveling to Mexico soon for a month and would like to know what Travel Cards are available and which would be the best one to get?

    • Staff
      JhezelynJuly 1, 2017Staff

      Hi Charmaine,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Here’s a travel money guide to Mexico. On this page, you may compare travel cards for Mexico. Just click the Travel Cards tab and compare the cards in the table. Once you’re done in comparing, click the “Go to Site” button to apply. Please make sure to check the eligibility criteria before applying for one.

      Regards,
      Jhezelyn

  5. Default Gravatar
    DonMay 19, 2017

    I recently obtained a Commonwealth Bank Travel Money Card for a trip to the USA. When loading up AUS dollars into US dollars I found that the bank charged me 4.5% on top of the usual US dollar purchase rate. This seems exorbitant to me – do you agree and what is the usual fee that banks normally charge for purchasing US dollars?

    • Staff
      AnndyMay 22, 2017Staff

      Hi Don,

      Thanks for your question.

      I’ve checked the list of fees for Commonwealth Bank Travel Money Card on their website and it says that this travel card does not charge a fee when you request to transfer funds from one currency to another on the same card. If you are transferring AUD to USD on the same card, you should not incur a fee.

      You may have to directly contact Commonwealth Bank to inquire what the 4.5% fee is.

      Cheers,
      Anndy

  6. Default Gravatar
    MoiraAugust 29, 2016

    We will be travelling to Hungry, Czech Rep, Germany and England. Travel cards do not allow you to place Hungry or Czech currency on them. What do you think we should do amount regarding a card?

    • Staff
      SallyAugust 30, 2016Staff

      Hi Moira,

      Thanks for your question.

      Unfortunately, that’s correct. No Australian travel prepaid cards currently support the Hungarian forint or the Czech Republic Koruna.

      If you still want to use a prepaid card, this gives you two options. Firstly, you can use any travel card, load it with Australian dollars and pay the currency conversion fee (which can sit between 3% and 5%) each time you make a purchase in either of these currencies. Otherwise, you can look for a prepaid travel card that doesn’t charge currency conversion fees to avoid this cost when making purchases in unsupported currencies. Prepaid travel cards that don’t charge currency conversion fees include the Commonwealth Bank Travel Money card, the Multi-currency Cash Passport, the STA CashFlex card and the Qantas Cash card.

      Please note that the daily exchange rate will apply when your funds are being converted from Australian dollars (or whatever currency you’re using) to the local currencies in Hungary or the Czech Republic.

      I hope this has helped.

      Cheers,

      Sally

  7. Default Gravatar
    maryAugust 5, 2016

    Any advice about the 28 degrees travel money card? thanks

    • Staff
      MayAugust 5, 2016Staff

      Hi Mary,

      Thank you for your comment.

      If you want to use 28 Degrees MasterCard for your travel, you have the option to load the account and use it as a debit card.
      Though please note that when you withdraw cash (your own money) from overseas ATMs, the cash advance interest rate will not be charged to your account, however, the cash advance fee of 3% or $4 will still be charged on any ATM withdrawals. It is important to note local ATM fees may also apply.

      To load your account in credit, simply deposit funds from a bank account to your 28 Degrees MasterCard via BPAY. You will need to repay any outstanding credit card debt in order to reach a credit balance. More information about the 28 Degrees can be found here.

      Hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      May

  8. Default Gravatar
    hanaJuly 15, 2016

    can you buy things online with the travel card?
    have a good day :)

    • Staff
      SallyJuly 18, 2016Staff

      Hi Hana,

      Yes, you can purchase things online with most travel cards.

      Cheers,

      Sally

  9. Default Gravatar
    DanaJune 11, 2016

    I am travelling to the UK and Canada. What is the best travel cards for these locations please?

    • Staff
      SallyJune 14, 2016Staff

      Hi Dana K,

      Thanks for your question.

      As a financial comparison service, we can’t actually recommend any specific products to our users as the best option will depend on your financial situation and travel plans. Currently, all Australian travel money cards support GBP and CAD, meaning you’ll be able to make purchases in the UK and Canada without forking out a foreign currency conversion fee. If you want a travel card that lets you earn rewards points on your prepaid card, consider the Qantas Cash card or Velocity Global Wallet. Otherwise, you might want to consider how you’ll use the card and look out for cards with low or no ATM withdrawal fees, no or low loading and reloading fees and no purchase costs.

      You can start comparing prepaid travel money cards here.

      For further travel money tips for your holiday, please see our Canada and United Kingdom travel money guides.

      I hope this has helped.

      Cheers,

      Sally

  10. Default Gravatar
    RobertMay 22, 2016

    I am travelling to South America – Brazil, Peru, Argentina and Chile. If I get a Travel Card from a bank eg ANZ is it better to have it in Australian dollars and simple get the conversion done in each of the different currencies when used in that particular country?

    Regards
    Robert

    • Staff
      SallyMay 23, 2016Staff

      Hi Robert,

      Thanks for your question.

      Unfortunately, no Australian prepaid travel cards currently support South American currencies. Unfortunately, this means that you’ll be charged a currency conversion fee if you use a prepaid card with Australian dollars on it during your travels through South America.

      Instead, you might want to consider a travel card that doesn’t charge a currency conversion fee, such as the Commonwealth Bank Travel Money Card or the Qantas Cash card.

      Instead, you might like to consider a debit card or credit card with low or no foreign currency conversion fees.

      For more travel money tips, please see our South American Travel Money guide.

      I hope this has helped.

      Cheers,

      Sally

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