Is a Travel Money Card worth it

By peterdoobs | Nov 15, 2017, 01:39 PM
Hi All,

I'm travelling to Hong Kong for a week and I can't determine if it will be worth getting a travel money card. I plan to spend max $2000 AUD but I don't think I'll spend that much and I want to transfer it back into my bank account when I get back. Is it better just to use my current debit card with commonwealth bank.
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By CBR boy | Nov 15, 2017, 01:44 PM
'Yes' was my reply, but the minimum allowable is 10 characters!
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By ecbailey | Nov 15, 2017, 02:00 PM
Much better to just use your debit card. Make sure it's a visa/master card debit card as you'll be fine.
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By Sibelius | Nov 15, 2017, 02:04 PM
I think travel money cards are worth it: you potentially get more FF points than on some other cards (QF gives 1.5 points per $A, VA gives 2 points per $A). The exchange rates are OK, depending on the card and the currency, but it's worth comparing them against what your credit card offers.
But the penalties (in the form of exchange rates) to transfer unused funds back to your bank account can be exorbitant and can quickly cancel out any benefit from using the card. A much better strategy is to put slightly LESS than what you think you'll spend on the travel card, and if you run out, you can always use your credit/debit card (especially if it doesn't charge overseas transaction fees) for that last little bit of spending. You can also transfer a little more into the travel card when you're overseas, if necessary.
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By Flying Gnome | Nov 15, 2017, 03:00 PM
I travel to HKG once a year for the races I normally use my Qantas card with a few hundred $A which I convert. My friend takes cash and changes at whichever currency exchange has the best rate. I top my card up overnight from my phone app. I only use a credit card for the hotel deposit then top up the Qantas two days before I check out. For a week and what you are going to spend Qantas or Virgin work well over there.
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By Greg84 | Nov 15, 2017, 05:46 PM
I'd say no - there are a number of credit cards now available with no FX fees & you're not losing any margin on the buy & sell. Team a FX free Credit Card with a Citibank Plus account & you're on you're way to fee free travel.
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By GregXL | Nov 15, 2017, 11:18 PM
Travel cards are useful if you want to lock in an exchange rate for future travel, but otherwise I prefer to use an FX fee free credit card. I still get points and I pay it into credit before I leave, so there are no interest charges on cash withdrawals.
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By elchriss0 | Nov 16, 2017, 08:50 AM
Travel cards are a rip off. If you're bothered about points then you're better off using a points earning credit card. I worked it out to save easily more than 1% using amex/visa credit when compared to QF and VA travel wallets. Otherwise if you don't care about points then use the citibank debit card with no FX fees and save another 3%.
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By traveller99 | Nov 16, 2017, 11:31 PM
Unless you're worried of currency fluctuations, and you have a credit card that doesn't charge international fees, then do NOT use a Travel Money card.

I use my Mastercard and American Express extensively overseas, and the exchange is always great -- it is basically the rate you hear quoted in the news, on XE.com and on Google.

For example, the current quoted rate (the "inter bank" rate I think it's called) for AUD to GBP is £0.58.

Taking a look now too at the Comm Bank travel money card the rate is £0.542. The Travelex card is £0.5524.

And looking at a transaction done today on my Comm Bank Amex, the rate I got was £0.579. As I don't pay any fees on that card, that is the actual net rate I'm paying.

So if your credit card has no international transaction fees then it will ALWAYS give you the best rate you will ever get.
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By GigiPk | Nov 17, 2017, 03:16 PM
I am traveling to Hong Kong & China next year & have been thinking about this. Usually I take Qantas Cash Card, credit card & a lot of cash particularly when traveling in US always tipping therefore hand in pocket all the time. I have decided to take Qantas Cash Card, Credit Card with no transaction or exchange fees, some Chinese YEN in cash for incidentals. In Hong Kong they will accept USD, HKD & any credit card, so I will have small amount AUD on my Qantas Card & can top up as required & I have my Credit Card. I use CC at Hotel & keep Qantas Cash card for shopping. I have found Qantas cash card is good when I travel is easy to use & I can top up when necessary, even if I don't have enough in other currencies Qantas moves money from AUD into that currency when used. Although cash in hand is much easier for small purchases, major purchases Credit Card is best.
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By evilbrian | Nov 17, 2017, 04:08 PM
Agree with all those who've advised against using money cards. In addition to appalling exchange rates, Travelex have some truly obnoxious practices. For instance, if you load AUD onto your money card, as well as the foreign currencies you want, you will be charged almost double their usual rip-off rate if you attempt to exchange those AUD on the money card for additional foreign currency down the track. Just stick with your normal cards, even if they do charge you a fee, because you'll still get a better overall rate than the money card gives, and you'll get FF points if your normal card offers them.
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By phil h | Nov 17, 2017, 05:28 PM
Which is the best FX-free CC that also earns points?
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By boris45 | Nov 17, 2017, 05:45 PM
When I travelled extensively I always used FX-free credit. I used a Travelex ATM card for small change pulling out US$100 equivalent in one hit to minimise handling fees. The exchange rate on the Travelex was always better than a bank rate. However some ATM's gave a better rate than others? This maximised the FF points received on the credit card.
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By pkjames | Nov 17, 2017, 08:52 PM
the rate is a rip off, just get a 28 degree, coles master or something like that.
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By traveller99 | Nov 18, 2017, 05:18 AM
Which is the best FX-free CC that also earns points?

Comm Bank Diamond Amex - $1AUD = 1.2 QFF, and no foreign transaction fees.

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By PCHammond | Nov 18, 2017, 05:31 PM
I went to HK last month with a 28 degrees card and a Citibank Plus card. Local cash exchange was doing 5.75HKD per AUD. Travelex was doing 5.69 at the time. 28 degrees was doing 6.12 and the Citibank plus was 6.10. Won't earn points using 28 degrees or Citibank Plus, but the exchange rate is damn good
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