CommBank’s range of travel money services let you choose from travel cards, traveller's cheques, currency exchange or a combination of these three options when you go overseas. It also offers travel insurance to help keep your money safe and give you peace of mind wherever you go.
Here, we take a look at the different features and benefits of these products and who they are suited to so that you can make more informed decisions about what CommBank travel money products will suit your needs.
History of Commonwealth Bank
The Commonwealth Bank or ‘CommBank’ is one of Australia’s leading issuers of financial services and is one of the most recognised financial brands in Australia. They provide a full range of retail banking services including home loans, credit cards, personal loans, transaction accounts and term deposits.
The group also offers 24-hour access to banking services through telephone banking and has one of the most extensive EFTPOS and ATM networks in Australia (not overseas). They are also a leader in the online financial services in Australia with facilities such as NetBank, Commsec and apps like CommBank and Kaching - though there are no apps for CBA travel money.
- Money magazine’s Bank of the Year 2013
Commonwealth Bank Travel Money Card
The CommBank Travel Money Card is designed to be a convenient and affordable way to access money wherever you are in the world.
This prepaid, reloadable debit Mastercard lets you load up to 13 currencies at a time, which means you can lock in exchange rates before you leave. You can also use the card at more than 38 million locations, wherever Mastercard is accepted.
Benefits of CommBank Travel Money Card
- Security. The card features 24/7 fraud monitoring and chip-and-PIN technology.
- Free backup card. You get a free additional card so that you’ll still have access to cash if the Travel Money Card is lost or stolen.
- Card issue fee. There is a one-off $15 fee for issuing the card. This cost can be waived if you are a CommBank Gold, Platinum or Diamond credit card customer, or a Platinum Debit Mastercard customer.
- NetBank access. The card is managed through CommBank’s secure NetBank service, as well as the CommBank mobile app.
- SMS alerts. Set up SMS alerts so you know when your balance on the card is getting low.
- ATM fees. There are set fees for ATM withdrawals made with the card that vary depending on the location and currencies loaded onto the card. For example, ATM withdrawals in Australia are charged AUD$3.50, while in the USA they are US$2.50.
- No reload or transaction fees. CommBank charges no fees for reloading the card or using it for transactions (other than ATM withdrawals).
- NetBank or BPAY loading options. You can load money onto the card directly with an eligible CommBank account, or transfer money from any account using BPAY.
When you use the CommBank Travel Money card overseas, it will automatically use the currency of the country you’re in, providing you have that currency loaded on your card and can pay for the full transaction. This means you can avoid foreign transaction charges that can come from using an Australian debit card or credit card.
The CommBank Travel Money card lasts for three years and there are no fees for inactivity or cancellation of the card, giving you flexibility to use it as much or as little as you want without paying more for the service.
Other CommBank debit and credit cards for travel
You can also use your regular CommBank debit card or credit card for overseas transactions. While this is often a convenient option, it’s important to be aware that it could attract a range of fees, including:
- International transaction fee. When you use a CommBank debit card or credit card overseas, you will be charged an additional 2% to 3% of the total transaction amount depending on the type of card (American Express, Mastercard or Visa).
- Cash advance fee. A fee of AUD$2.50 or 2.00% of the transaction amount (whichever is greater) will be charged for cash withdrawals or other cash advance transactions made on a CommBank credit card when you are overseas.
- Emergency issue/lost/replacement card. If you lose your card overseas, a $20 fee will be charged to replace it.
There could also be other fees for using your CommBank debit card or credit card overseas, so make sure you check the standard fees and charges brochure and plan ahead if you want to take your regular CommBank card/s with you.
Traveller's cheques can be used like cash or exchanged for local currency in many locations around the world.
Unlike cash, however, traveller's cheques usually have a fixed value and recorded serial number that makes it easier to verify their value if they are lost or stolen. You’ll also be able to replace the cheques with a single phone call, and could be reimbursed within just 24 hours in some cases.
CommBank offers American Express traveller's cheques in five foreign currencies:
- United States Dollars
- Great British Pounds
- Canadian Dollars
- Japanese Yen
Like prepaid travel money cards, traveller's cheques let you lock in an exchange rate before you travel, which can make it easier to budget for trips. There’s no expiry date on them either, so you can save any unused cheques for your next trip or cash them in when you get back.
CommBank traveller's cheques can be purchased in branch or online via ExpressFX. There is a purchase fee of 1% of the total sale amount (minimum $12 per currency), with different minimum and maximum values for the cheques depending on the chosen currency.
This type of travel money is usually recommended for travel in one particular country or area, as the currency you purchase is fixed according to the cheque. Not every merchant will accept traveller's cheques as payment, so make sure you check these details or have another money option before you go abroad.
CommBank’s foreign cash service gives you the chance to buy or sell money in a wide range of currencies whenever you need it. This means you can have the correct cash on hand when you arrive in another country, which is often useful making small purchases such as meals at airports, or for catching a taxi to wherever you’re staying.
It also allows you to save money by locking in competitive exchange rates before you leave and means you can avoid expensive foreign ATM fees. The range of currencies available through CommBank includes:
- Brazil Real (BRL)
- Canadian Dollar (CAD)
- Chilean Peso (CLP)
- Chinese Renminbi (CNY)
- Euro (EUR)
- Fijian Dollar (FJD)
- Great British Pound (GBP)
- Hong Kong Dollar (HKD)
- Indian Rupee (INR)
- Indonesian Rupiah (IDR)
- Japanese Yen (JPY)
- Mexican Peso (MXN)
- New Zealand Dollar (NZD)
- Philippine Peso (PHP)
- Singapore Dollar (SGD)
- South African Rand (ZAR)
- Swiss Franc (CHF)
- Thai Baht (THB)
- US Dollar (USD)
- Vietnamese Dong (VND)
You can buy foreign currency from CommBank in branches, online via ExpressFX or at selected Foreign Exchange ATMs around Australia. There is a 1% fee for foreign cash purchases made at CommBank with a minimum charge of $8, and purchases made online will arrive at your nominated bank branch within 48-72 business hours.
If you need a currency that is not currently listed, CommBank can also order it in for you. Just make sure you leave enough time for it to arrive at your selected CommBank branch before you go overseas.
Travel insurance for CommBank
CommBank has a wide range of travel insurance options to suit your budget and needs, so that you can protect yourself and your valuables when you travel overseas. Policies are available for individuals and families, with basic, comprehensive and multi-trip options. CommBank travel insurance is underwritten by Allianz Global Assistance and features a range of benefits, including:
- Emergency medical assistance and hospitalisation overseas. Allianz Global Assistance provides emergency assistance when necessary. All hospitalisation cost will be covered, but you must do your best to keep expenses to a minimum.
- Cancellation fees and lost deposits. All unused travel and accommodation costs will be covered by your travel insurance plan.
- Luggage and personal effects. Your plan will cover the replacement or repair of lost or damaged luggage. In the case of misplaced or misdirected luggage, you will need to show written proof from the carrier.
- Travel documents. Your policy will cover the replacement of stolen or destroyed travel documents, bank cards and traveller's cheques.
Complimentary travel insurance included with Commonwealth Bank Credit Cards
Complimentary travel insurance is included if you are a current cardholder of a Commonwealth Bank Gold, Platinum or Diamond Cardholder (personal or business).
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CommBank Travel Money Card frequently asked questions
Do I have to take more than one form of cash with me overseas?
It’s often a good idea to have several payment options available when you travel so that you can make a purchase using the most appropriate method at the time. Having several ways to access money – such as a travel money card, cash and a regular credit card – can also help you reduce fees.
I have a problem with my CommBank Travel Money Card, who do I contact?
Please contact the CommBank Travel Money customer service centre available 24/7. If you’re within Australia please call 1300 660 700, if you’re overseas please call +61 2 9374 0609.
What happens if I don’t have a sufficient amount of money on my Travel Money Card?
If you have other currencies loaded on the card, they may be used to pay for the transaction. The amount will be converted at a foreign currency exchange rate determined by CommBank. As each transaction needs to be in one currency, if you don’t have enough funds on the card, the transaction will be declined.
I need a replacement CommBank Travel Money Card. What do I do?
You can request a replacement card by contacting the customer service team on +61 2 9374 0609. Alternatively, you can login to NetBank to make an online enquiry using the following steps:
- From the home page in NetBank, select More
- Under security select lost, stolen or damaged card
- Choose the card and select an action you would like to perform
- Follow the prompts.
I have a CommBank Travel Money Card but I am traveling to a couple of destinations where there is a currency that’s not available on the card. My question is what is the best currency to have as my default currency?
The default currency you may wish to choose will depend on a few things. Regardless of the currency you use, you won’t be charged a foreign currency fee or currency conversion fee. You may like to consider the exchange rate and which loaded currency will give you the most value for your money when shopping overseas to help you make a decision.
I have returned from a trip with foreign cash/traveller's cheques. What are the fees to exchange them for Australian dollars?
CommBank will buy back foreign cash or exchange traveller's cheques for a fee of $8 per transaction. You can also choose to have the bank donate foreign currency coins to UNICEF on your behalf.
Will I have to pay commission to exchange my traveller’s cheques?
Commission charges may apply and can vary by country and/or exchange partner. For information on where to use your traveller’s cheques, visit the American Express website.