Cash vs Travel Money Cards

By duffa | May 20, 2019, 11:28 PM
I spend two months per year in the US.

There is only one option in my opinion:
Citi Plus Account for ATM withdrawals - no ATM fee and uses the wholesale rate set by Visa/MC. And debit card transactions if that’s how you want to transact. And....
Bankwest Zero MasterCard for general purchases, hotels, car hire etc - no overseas fee, no annual fee.

I would never use the pre loaded travel money cards. Even AMEX abroad is expensive unless you can somehow justify the point accrual.


Every bank (apart from Citi) has charged me 2-3 dollars per ATM withdrawal in USA and Canada on my Citi Plus Debit C

Last edited by duffa at May 20, 2019, 11.31 PM.
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By boris | Jun 24, 2019, 03:44 PM
There is no perfect answer but we have settled on 28 Degrees MasterCard for credit purchases and Citibank Debit MasterCard for cash withdrawals. We also have an HSBC Visa Debit card for cash mainly for use in Japan where you get 5% off for paying with Visa at some stores. It is also a good back up card. There is no % fee ever and the exchange rate is very good. HSBC was a little worse than Citibank but not by much. All 3 cards have no annual fees and can be applied for online.

We do get charged an ATM fee of A$2-3 sometimes but minimise this by making larger withdrawals. I believe ING will rebate ATM fees but their account comes with requirements to deposit and have charges to the account regularly every month. The way the fees are charged might make it difficult to demonstrate a fee was actually charged - it is not shown separately on your statement but hidden in the net exchange rate or as a an addition to the amount withdrawn (for example 50,000 yen cash dispensed but 50,216 yen charged to our account - 0.43% fee). There is no minimum transaction requirement with Citibank or HSBC.

Avoid using your big 4 banks cards ever overseas for cash or credit. Also, avoid the cash cards and buying currency in Australia or at the airport. Of course, don't accept the offer to pay in A$ while overseas!
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By sq or qf | Jun 26, 2019, 12:43 AM
It'll be an improvement when Aussie residents can get the Transferwise Mastercard debit card.

Midmarket rates, lowest fees and way more currencies than you get on your travel money card.

Also, if you haven't loaded up enough of a particular currency, it deducts from another currency you have on the card - at the most favourable rate for you. That's what I hear anyway.

Most helpful for overseas travel.
Last edited by ChrisCh at Jun 26, 2019, 09.16 AM.
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