A little-known credit card, "28 degrees", by GE Finance, is a fantastic card for travellers -- it offers foreign transactions with no surcharges.
It's unique on the Australian market -- the only credit card offering foreign purchases and ATM cash withdrawals at the MasterCard wholesale exchange rate, with no bank fees tacked on.
Typically, credit cards charge 3 - 3.5% on top of any purchase made in foreign currency ($30 - $35 on a $1,000 purchase), and charge $4-$5 plus 2-3% for an ATM cash withdrawal overseas ($24 - $35 for a $1,000 withdrawal).
However, the GE Finance 28 Degrees MasterCard (previously known as the Wizard Clear Advantage) charges no surcharge for international transactions, making it a money-saver for both travel and online shopping at foreign websites.
The card interest rate is aligned with 'reward' cards -- 20.24%, which suggests that GE Finance hopes to earn interest on carried balances to cover the international exchange fees it absorbs.
That being said, there is no annual fee -- something that is rare amongst reward cards.
The only other card on the market that Australian Business Traveller is aware of that offers no-fee international purchases and ATM withdrawals is the NAB Gold Visa Debit card, however that has a $10 per month fee unless you deposit $5,000 into it each month.
Of course, prepaid travel money cards are another way to do fee free foreign purchases and low-fee overseas ATM withdrawals, but even they have a fee to purchase the card, load money on to the card, and withdraw money at ATMs -- all of which are free on the 28 degrees MasterCard.
The best way to make use of the 28 degrees MasterCard from a money-saving perspective is to treat it like a prepaid travel money card -- deposit money into it before spending it, so the card is in credit, and spend only your own money, without dipping into debit.
For example, you could pay $3,000 into the card before leaving on a trip, spend $1,500 on hotel accommodation and withdraw three lots of $500, and you wouldn't have to pay any interest on it, as you'd be spending your own money.
The only fees you would risk incurring while overseas would be fees directly charged by ATM operators (which can be considerable -- Australian Business Traveller staff have been stung by an undisclosed $15 fee charged by a English-language ATM in the lobby of a five star hotel in China).
Unlike travel money cards, which we've already exhaustively compared, you wouldn't lose 1% of the amount you paid into the card. The 28 degrees card is simply a credit card payment, not a "travel money card reload".