Travel Money Debit Cards

Pick the right travel debit card, stop paying overseas ATM fees and save money

Debit cards are great if you don’t want a credit card. You’re not using the bank’s money so there’s no risk of getting into debt, and debit cards have fewer fees than credit cards and travel money cards. But taking your existing debit card overseas may not be the best idea. Like most accounts, the charges for using a debit card overseas can be excessive. You can pay anywhere between $5 - $10 per ATM withdrawal at an international ATM. And there’s a 2 - 3% currency conversion fee that applies to all transactions to think about.

There are accounts that have no charge for currency conversion, no international ATM fees and some banks have ATM partnerships with different lenders around the globe. There are even accounts that offer rewards points too. If you don’t want a travel card or credit card, and just want to transfer your travel money between your savings and transaction account as you need it, then a debit card is a good idea. We’ve compared and outlined the options available if you want to use a debit card while you’re on holiday, and listed the pros, cons and frequently asked questions about these products below.

International Debit Card Offer

HSBC Everyday Global Account

International Debit Card Offer

No foreign ATM or transaction fees. $0 monthly account fee. Enjoy no minimum ongoing balance or transaction requirements and the flexibility to hold up to 10 currencies. Apple Pay and Google Pay available.

  • Account keeping fee: $0.00
  • Linked debit card: Visa
  • ATM withdrawal fee: $0.00
  • Overseas EFTPOS fee: $0.00
Go to site

What you'll find in this guide

Compare debit cards for travelling

Rates last updated June 18th, 2019
Name Product Product Description Debit Card Access ATM Withdrawal Fee Monthly Account Fee Overseas ATM Withdrawal Fee Overseas Eftpos Fee
HSBC Everyday Global Account
No foreign ATM or transaction fees.
$0 monthly account fee.
Enjoy no minimum ongoing balance or transaction requirements and the flexibility to hold up to 10 currencies. Apple Pay and Google Pay available.
Citi Global Currency Account
Hold up to 10 currencies.
$0 monthly account fee.
Enjoy one linked debit card to hold up to 10 currencies and receive foreign currencies for free. Earn up to 2.00% p.a. interest on your AUD balance.

Compare up to 4 providers

  • How it works: You use a debit card overseas the same way you would at home; to withdraw money from ATMs, make purchases at point of sale terminals and check the balance of your everyday or savings accounts.

Why debit cards work for travelling

  • Global ATM alliances. Mean you can avoid ATM withdrawal fees and currency conversion fees for purchases whilst you are overseas.
  • Access your savings. Debit cards designed for travel allow you to manage your spending more effectively by only accessing your funds, avoiding the need to apply for a credit card if you are not inclined to use one.

Considerations when choosing a debit card for travelling

  • Booking services. When you book with a hotel, vehicle or other rental agency the holding fee/ bond can often take a few days to return. This may cause your account balance to be temporarily lower and cause inconvenience when funds are required.


What are the different types of debit card to take overseas?

Debit cards with no foreign currency conversion fee

This type of account does not charge for currency conversion when you transact in a foreign currency. Currently, both the Citibank Plus Transaction Account and the Macquarie Bank Platinum Transaction account do not charge an international transaction fee. The Citibank Plus Transaction Account also offers fee free international money transfers to any international bank account, and fee-free ATM withdrawals at Citibank ATMs all over the world. If you want to use this account while you’re on holiday, but don’t want to switch all your banking services to Citibank, you will need to ‘top up’ this account with funds so you can spend abroad. Remember that it takes a couple of days for a bank to bank transfer to go through.

Debit cards that offer rewards points

Rewards transaction accounts have traditionally only offered rewards or frequent flyer points on transactions made with the linked debit card. Offering points on the money held in the account — kind of like rewards points interest — is a new concept. Spend while you’re on holiday and you can earn points which can be redeemed for a number of rewards, including flights. You can also earn points just by having money in your account. Bankwest have two accounts that incentivise spending: The Bankwest Qantas Transaction Account and the Bankwest Rewards Transaction Account.

Debit cardFeatures
Bankwest Qantas Transaction AccountThe Bankwest Qantas Transaction account is a Qantas Points addict’s dream. Earn 5 Qantas Points per purchase with your Debit Mastercard, 5 Qantas Points for every overseas ATM withdrawal and 12 Qantas Points for every $100 you hold in your account per month.Although not as high as the standard 1:1 earn rate with most Qantas Frequent Flyer credit cards, the Bankwest Qantas Transaction Account does not charge for overseas ATM withdrawals and the account-keeping fee is waived if you deposit more than $2,000 per month.
Bankwest Rewards Transaction AccountThe Bankwest Rewards Transaction Account gives you Bankwest Rewards Points for a number of different transactions, and for having money in your account, too.Like the Bankwest Qantas Transaction Account, the Bankwest Rewards Transaction Account also waives the international ATM withdrawal fee. This is a saving of approximately $4 per transaction.As with all rewards accounts, you have to weigh the value of the rewards on offer against the fees. In the case of the Bankwest accounts, although they do not charge for overseas ATM withdrawals, there is a charge for currency conversion fee of 2.95% of the transaction amount.

How to compare travel money debit cards

You can have a look at the transaction accounts and debit cards suitable to take overseas in the comparison table at the top of this page. Compare these cards based on their fees and return value. Return value comes in the form of interest, rewards or the waiving of certain fees.

What are the pros and cons of using a debit card when you’re overseas?


  • Spend only what you have. Debit cards are not a credit product, you can only spend what you’ve deposited into the account and nothing more. This is great for the budget-conscious traveller.
  • Protected from card fraud. You won’t be liable for fraudulent transactions detected on your account if you stick to the requirements of the Visa and Mastercard no liability guarantees. These guarantees give you a full reimbursement if you’re the victim of card fraud.


  • No emergency cash. This can be a negative as well as a positive. There’s no access to cash through a cash advance facility if you find yourself in trouble and in need of funds not already in the account.
  • Fees and charges. Unless you have an account which waives the currency conversion and international ATM fees, using an Australian debit card overseas can cost you a fortune, especially if you’re making frequent ATM withdrawals.
  • No backup. Unlike travel cards, debit cards do not come with a backup. If you lose your debit card, or it’s stolen, it could be a couple of weeks before you get a replacement.

Avoid this if you use your debit card abroad

Avoid making frequent ATM withdrawals while you’re abroad. Even if you have an account that does not charge for you for international ATM withdrawals, local operator fees will still apply.

Frequently asked questions about using a debit card in another country

Back to top

Pictures: Shutterstock

Was this content helpful to you? No  Yes

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms of Use, Disclaimer & Privacy Policy and Privacy & Cookies Policy.

2 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    NadsheAugust 11, 2015

    I’m about to travel overseas and would need a card to carry the money. Is there any specific card that you may recommend?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      SallyAugust 11, 2015Staff

      Hi Nadshe,

      Thank you for your comment.

      As a financial comparison service, we can’t recommend any specific product, strategy or service to our users as the best option will always depend on their individual cards.

      However, you can use our travel money guide to compare your options and find the best option for you.

      I hope this has helped.



Ask a question
Go to site