What is your ideal travel money companion?

Your One-Stop Guide to Travel Money

In this day and age of too much choice and variety, choosing the right travel money option to take with you on holiday can be difficult. Travelling with money has become hassle-free nowadays, and there are now an abundance of options for those who prefer not to travel with cash or traveller’s cheques. We explore the benefits and features of travel money cards, with comparisons between the different types. Here are a few to get you started:

These cards can be preloaded ahead of travelling, which can be ideal when organising your travel budget.

  • ANZ Travel Card. The good thing about this card is that you can lock in the exchange rate ahead of time, knowing exactly how much money you have upfront. While there are no transaction fees, the reload fee is .
  • NAB Traveller Card. You can load up to 10 foreign currencies and move funds from one currency to another via internet banking. The reload fee is , but there are no fees on withdrawals from NAB international ATMs.
  • Travelex Travel card. You can load up to nine foreign currencies, save with zero overseas ATM fees. However, there is a reload fee of AUD$15 each time you load funds onto your card.

Prepaid Travel Money Cards Comparison

Rates last updated February 22nd, 2018
Name Product Description Available Currencies ATM Withdrawal Fee Reload Fee Initial Load Fee
Hold up to 11 currencies on the card and get a locked-in exchange rate. Use at home and overseas to rack up Qantas Points on eligible purchases.
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

Hold up to 10 currencies and lock in your exchange rate. No transaction fees on purchases with a backup card in case one is lost or stolen.
AUD 3.50, USD 2.50, GBP 2.00, EUR 2.20, NZD 4.50, CAD 3.00, HKD 20.00, SGD 4.00, THB 95, JPY 260

Load up to 5 different currencies and hold up to AU$10,000. Save with a $0 card issue fee and $0 load fees.
AUD$2 equivalent
Lock in exchange rates for up to 10 currencies, pay no overseas ATM fees and get exclusive merchant offers.

Overseas: $0. Although, some ATM operators may charge their own fees or set their own limits

Domestic: 2.95% of the amount withdrawn

The greater of 1.1% of the initial load / reload amount or AUD 15.00

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Compare Prepaid Travel Credit Cards

Travel credit cards are like any other credit card but with bonus features such as frequent flyer programs and zero fees on foreign transactions.

  • Coles Rewards Mastercard. With no foreign transaction fees for online shopping and overseas travelling, this card also racks up 2 flybuys points for every $1 spent. The annual fee is $99, and it has a cash advance rate of 19.99% p.a.
  • Bankwest Zero Platinum Mastercard. This card offers complimentary travel insurance and a 24/7 concierge service, with $0 annual fees and foreign transaction fees. The cash advance rate is 21.99% p.a.

Travel Credit Cards Comparison

Rates last updated February 22nd, 2018
Name Product Foreign Currency Conversion Fee Overseas ATM Withdrawal Fee Overseas Cash Advance Fee Annual fee Product Description
American Express Essential Credit Card
of transaction value
$0 p.a.
Get Smartphone Screen Insurance of up to $500 when you pay for your phone or contract with this card. Plus, a $0 annual fee for life.
American Express Platinum Edge Credit Card
of transaction value
$195 p.a.
Receive a bonus 50,000 Membership Rewards points, a yearly $200 Travel Credit and complimentary domestic and international travel insurance.
American Express Platinum Card
of transaction value
$1,200 p.a.
Receive an annual $300 Platinum Travel Credit, 80,000 bonus Membership Rewards points and access to more than 1,100 VIP lounges.
David Jones American Express
of transaction value
$99 p.a.
Receive 20,000 bonus points, David Jones benefits including complimentary standard delivery, gift wrapping and invites to exclusive fashion events.
American Express Gold Business Card
of transaction value
$169 p.a.
Take advantage of 10,000 bonus points, no pre-set spending limit, data that feeds to MYOB and up to 51 days interest-free on purchases.
American Express Platinum Business Card
of transaction value
$1,500 p.a.
Enjoy 150,000 bonus points, a platinum business concierge, complimentary Virgin Lounge access, worldwide travel insurance and hotel benefits.
American Express Business Explorer Credit Card
of transaction value
$395 p.a.
Earn 100,000 bonus points when you meet the spend criteria. Plus, 2 yearly entries to the American Express Lounge at Sydney International Airport.
David Jones American Express Platinum Card - Qantas Frequent Flyer
of transaction value
$295 p.a.
Fly faster with up to 3 Qantas Points per $1 spent and receive complimentary travel insurance when travel is booked on your card.

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Compare Travel Credit Cards

Travel debit cards allow you to access your own funds overseas and limit holiday costs by reducing fees at eligible international ATMs.

  • Citibank Plus Everyday Account. This card is fee-free and helps you save with free international money transfers and $0 fees on Citibank ATM withdrawals. Plus, you can enjoy a bonus bottle of wine when dining at eligible restaurants.
  • Bankwest Qantas Transaction Account. You can earn Qantas Frequent Flyer Points on purchases and enjoy no monthly maintenance fees when you deposit 2000 into your account each month.
  • Westpac Choice. Cut your travel money costs with no ATM fees at eligible ATMs overseas and no monthly service fee as long as you deposit 2000 a month.

Compare Travel Debit Cards

Rates last updated February 22nd, 2018
Name Product Product Description Debit Card Access ATM Withdrawal Fee Monthly Account Fee Overseas ATM Withdrawal Fee Overseas Eftpos Fee
Westpac Choice
Take advantage of Westpac's Global Alliance and save on overseas ATM fees at over 50,000 locations worldwide with fee-free cash withdrawals.
St.George Complete Freedom Account
Part of the Westpac Global Alliance, save on overseas ATM fees at over 50,000 locations worldwide with fee-free cash withdrawals.

Compare up to 4 providers

Compare Travel Debit Cards

How to select the right combination of travel money options

There’s no such thing as the one perfect travel money card. When it comes to securing your holiday budget, it’s best not to put all of your eggs in one basket. The ideal option will depend on your financial situation, spending habits and holiday plans.

For example, if you travel frequently, a debit and credit card could be a good way to earn points as you spend. If you’re a student traveller, a prepaid travel money card could be a better way to access your own funds across multiple currencies.

While one travel money option may be preferable over another, you may wish to select a backup in the case of emergencies. So, if you’re using a prepaid travel money card, you might like to consider carrying a credit card in the case of emergencies. Consider your financial situation and how you’d like to use your cash when you’re on holidays to determine which combination of travel money possibilities is right for you.
Guide to Travelling With Money Overseas

Mistakes to avoid

  • Relying on one option. It’s better not to rely on just one option, for “just in case” situations. A backup debit or credit card could come in handy if your prepaid card is misplaced or stolen,.
  • Reloading time. If you’re using a prepaid travel money card and need to use BPAY or an online bank transfer to load funds on the card, keep in mind that it could take 1-3 business days to process (not taking into account bank holidays or weekends).
  • Fees. Make sure you’re aware of all the fees involved, including overseas interest charges, so you don’t encounter any nasty surprises on your next bill.
  • Accepted currencies and worldwide access. Check ahead of time whether the countries you are planning to visit will accept your card as an acceptable form of payment. It’s also important to confirm whether the local currency is supported by your card or if you’ll have to fork out currency conversion fees and foreign transaction fees each time you make a transaction.

Ultimately, your choice of card for travelling comes down to what you feel would work best for you and your requirements. Although some may prefer one option for convenience, others may decide on a combination of options. Comparing your options will ensure that you know what’s available on the market and which is the right choice for you.

Happy travelling!

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Sally McMullen

Sally McMullen is an editor at who is a credit cards, frequent flyer and travel money expert by day and music maven by night.

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