Spenders using the Velocity Global Wallet Visa Debit travel card will earn Virgin Australia Velocity frequent flyer points at revised rates and be stung with several new and increased fees under changes being made this month.
But the shake-up is a real mixed bag, with some transactions earning more points than before, some payments earning fewer points – or no points at all – with the fees applicable to some purchases also being decreased.
Whether you’re an existing Velocity Global Wallet user or are preparing to activate your card before your next trip, here’s what’s changing, and when.
Earn more Velocity points on international transactions
As of September 1 2017, all Velocity Global Wallet purchases made overseas will collect twice as many Velocity points as before, with the earning rate doubling from one Velocity point to two Velocity points per Australian dollar spent abroad (or the equivalent in a foreign currency).
This change applies to new and existing cardholders and takes immediate effect – so even if you’ve already loaded-up your card with spending money, you’ll still earn points at the higher rate when using that money to make purchases overseas.
Fetch fewer Velocity points on transactions in Australia
Presently, Velocity Global Wallet users earn one Velocity point per $2 spent in Australia, on-par with 0.5 Velocity points per dollar spent wherever their Visa Debit card is accepted for purchases.
But from October 1 2017, existing Global Wallet users will instead earn one Velocity point per $3 spent in Australia, equal to 0.33 Velocity points per dollar spent.
Payments to the Australian Taxation Office will also earn no points from October 1 for existing customers.
New customers who activate their Velocity Global Wallet card on or after September 1 2017 will earn points at these new rates on all domestic spend from their very first purchase, including transactions made in September. The restriction on ATO payments will also apply immediately.
Did you know? Compared to the newly-revised Velocity Global Wallet card, you could be earning three times as many points per dollar spent within Australia on the American Express Velocity Escape credit card, which churns out one Velocity point per dollar spent, uncapped, and has no annual fee either.
You could use this in tandem with your Velocity Global Wallet card to maximise your points: using the AMEX wherever it's accepted in Australia and Global Wallet everywhere else, including overseas where Global Wallet earns the most points.
(Even then, the AMEX Velocity Escape card comes in handy when checking-in at overseas hotels which reserve a certain amount of money on your card a 'pre-authorisation': taking that away from your credit limit rather than your spending money on the Global Wallet card, even if you settle your hotel bill using the Global Wallet card at check-out.)
New fees for withdrawing cash in Australia, overseas
Using your Velocity Global Wallet card to withdraw cash from ATMs in Australia will attract a $1.95 fee – over and above any fees imposed by the ATM operator – compared to today where Australian withdrawals attract no Velocity Global Wallet fees at all.
Existing cardholders are spared the change until October 1, although customers who activate their Global Wallet on or from September 1 2017 will be subjected to this fee straight way.
Fees for withdrawing cash at overseas ATMs are also being set at $1.95 per transaction, for both new and existing customers – replacing the previous system where different fees applied to different currencies.
Foreign currency exchange fees reduced
Although no international transaction fees apply when making purchases in a currency already loaded onto your card, Velocity Global Wallet does levy a ‘foreign exchange fee’ on transactions in one currency which draw on funds stored in another currency.
For example, if your card is loaded only with Euros but you make a purchase or a withdrawal in Great British Pounds, a foreign exchange fee will apply.
As of September 1, that fee is cut from 3% to 2.25% for all Velocity Global Wallet users.
Inactivity fees increased
Keeping your Global Wallet card in a drawer while you plan your next international trip?
If you haven’t made a transaction for 12 consecutive months, an ‘inactivity fee’ of $1 per month is currently deducted from your balance.
From October 1, that fee is almost doubled, rising to $1.95 per month.
New fees for loading money onto your card
Using BPAY to move funds from your bank account onto your Global Wallet card's Australian dollar balance will attract a 0.5% fee from October 1 2017 for existing customers, or from September 1 for new cardholders who activate the product on or after this date.
You can avoid this fee by using Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) instead, which, as with BPAY, can be actioned via most online banking portals. You can also avoid the fee by using BPAY to load money directly into a foreign currency balance (when your 'preferred wallet' is set to a foreign currency) as opposed to your Australian dollar balance.
These changes to Velocity Global Wallet – particularly to its frequent flyer earning rates – follow similar changes made to competing Qantas Cash travel card, on which international spend now attracts 1.5 Qantas Points per dollar spent, and domestic spend fetches 0.25 Qantas Points per dollar spent.