Learn how to easily access your money overseas.
If you’re travelling overseas for business or pleasure, it’s important to have easy access to your money. There are lots of options on the market, including debit cards, credit cards, and dedicated pre-paid travel money cards. While accessibility should be your biggest concern, it’s also important to think about fees, exchange rates, safety and whether or not you can recoup excess funds. Let’s take a look at how travel cards work and compare the usual suspects.
Most people use a debit card for their daily transactions. Conveniently, Visa and MasterCard debit cards are also accepted in most popular tourist destinations. While a debit card is the easiest way to access money overseas, it can also be expensive due to non-competitive exchange rates and overseas charges. For example, the big four Australian banks currently charge $5 per ATM withdrawal along with a 3% currency conversion. There are exceptions to this rule, with some banks not charging fees at all for overseas transactions.
Using the existing credit card linked to your transaction account can also be a great option, especially if you’re travelling for a short period of time. Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted across the world and can be used to reserve hotel rooms or rental cars through a hold arrangement. There is always the risk of overspending with credit cards, however, like all cards linked to existing transaction accounts, there is also the risk of loss or theft. Just like debit cards, credit cards generally come with poor exchange rates and high overseas charges.
Pre-paid travel cards
A pre-paid travel card is the most flexible, affordable and accessible solution for global travel. A travel money card allows you to deposit a set amount of money before you leave home, which minimises your risk if the card is lost or stolen. These cards also come with known exchange rates and overseas charges so there will be no nasty surprises when you get back home.
The exchange rates available can be fairly ordinary with travel cards as they come with opening, loading and transaction fees. There have also been issues in the past with people trying to reclaim unused money. Australian travel card holders can now reclaim funds on all expired travel cards. Travel cards are available from banks, credit unions, Qantas, Australia Post and many other providers.
Regardless of where you travel, having access to a reliable travel card is essential. While standard debit and credit cards can be useful for short trips or those that involve minimal ATM transactions, pre-paid travel money cards are a safe and affordable alternative. If you’d like to discuss you current situation or any points in this article further, please contact one of our Financial Specialists today. Alternatively, you can complete your details below and we’ll be in touch or give us a call on (03) 9835 8200.