Do you love to travel overseas, but you’re not sure which card is best to take with you? Have you heard off-putting stories of friends having problems with traveller’s cards and cheques and finding themselves stuck without money when they need it, so you figure that the safest bet is to simply use your usual credit or debit card even though you know it incurs fees?
I absolutely love to travel, but to be honest, for the longest time, I didn’t really pay much attention to the fees and charges associated with using my card overseas. The 2-3% surcharge had always felt like such a ‘tiny’ insignificant amount worth ignoring, and I had always thought that we didn’t have much of choice anyway when all the major banks were charging approximately the same fees.
Until one day I happened to have a conversation with a work colleague who was planning a trip, who talked about a card he uses for travel called “28 Degrees”, which introduced me to the idea for the first time that there are actually bank cards that exist that don’t charge fees for use overseas! That evening, I got into research mode, searching the internet, on a mission to learn about all the possible options, their pros and cons, before I found the best travel card that has saved me, my family and friends a lot of money! What’s interesting though is, if you do a search yourself, “best travel card”, you will actually struggle to find a single website telling you about this card, many comparison websites recommending travel “credit cards” (I wonder if this has something to do with the fact that they can’t make any money from recommending the card I am about to share with you like they can by recommending credit cards…).
In my humble opinion, the best travel card is not actually “28 Degrees” – although there are no foreign conversion fees, it does still charge an ATM withdrawal fee of $4. By far, the best card I recommend for travel is the Citibank Plus Transaction Account Debit Card. The account itself requires no minimum deposit, has no account keeping fees, let alone any fees associated with overseas use – no conversion fees nor even ATM withdrawal fees when you take money out of a Citibank or Citibank Partner ATM.
To highlight the money you could save, let’s do some calculations:
I’m with Bankwest and let’s say I’ve saved up $3000 as spending money for my whole trip. Every time I take money out of the ATM, it costs me $5. On top of that, every time I use my card at a restaurant or shopping centre, I am charged a 2.95% “foreign conversion fee”. All the major banks charge very similar fees.
Now, let’s say I refuse to take money out of the ATM and only use my card for all purchases, let’s work out the foreign conversion fee:
Foreign Conversion Fee = $3000 x 0.0295 = $88.50
In other words, it costs me an additional $88.50 to spend the full $3000 I’ve worked hard to save! So by using a Citibank Plus Transaction Account Debit Card instead, it would be like having an extra $88.50 to spend that I would have otherwise donated to the bank (who, let’s face it, probably don’t need the money as much as I do!).
Furthermore, when I went to Malaysia last year, it cost me about $40 Australian to buy $100 Malaysian Ringgit through a Travelex, yet when I arrived and simply took out cash from a Citibank Partner ATM, $100 Malaysian Ringgit only cost me about $30 Australian. So you are even better off taking money out of a Citibank/Partner ATM at the airport in your destination country than buying the country’s currency from a Travelex!
If you feel this article would benefit someone else you know, click one of the share buttons below.