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Media releases

International ATM fees cost millennials $183 million per year

24 August 2016

Australia is a nation that loves to travel, and millennials are living large spending a whopping $11.3 billion overseas per year1. But it’s not all souvenirs and sangria, with $183 million spent on international ATM fees alone2.

Research from Westpac’s 2016 Travel Finance Report reveals, while millennials are responsible and budgeting ahead of their overseas trips, they are not considering the price of international ATM fees. In fact, most millennials believe international ATM fees cost around $3 per transaction; in reality fees are closer to $7 per transaction3.

Considering millennials who use overseas ATMs do so an average of 10 times per overseas trip, the price tag of these fees can quickly add up.

Ashley Gray, Westpac’s Head of Youth and Millennial Markets said, “The research shows millennials don’t know the cost of using international ATMs, a cost which can quickly chew through their budget, but can be reduced through some simple research.”

When told how much money they were spending on overseas ATM withdrawal fees, millennials who used overseas ATMs said they would rather spend that money on food and drink (61 per cent), shopping (42 per cent), gifts for others back home (32 per cent), visiting more attractions (30 per cent), more souvenirs (27 per cent) and extreme activities like bungee jumping, skydiving or white water rafting (11 per cent).

“Interestingly, the research also found that in order to save money on international ATM withdrawal fees, millennials’ overseas withdrawal amounts are more than double what they are in Australia and carrying this extra cash makes them feel vulnerable and worried,” said Mr Gray.

The average millennial traveller further indicated they would be willing to sacrifice 177.6 minutes of holiday time to walk an extra 8.7 minutes each way just to use an ATM where they were not charged an ATM withdrawal fee.

“I encourage millennials to thoroughly research their destination in advance and create a daily travel budget that takes into account current exchange rates, the cost of food and drinks, transport and sightseeing expenses. It’s important to be realistic when planning a budget. To help, Westpac has an online budgeting tool to get you started.

“Once overseas, a simple way for millennials to save cash is to take advantage of Westpac’s Global ATM Alliance which offers over 50,000 ATMs worldwide with no withdrawal fee. Use the Westpac mobile banking app ATM locator to pinpoint the exact locations of the Global ATM Alliance ATMs in the area you’ll be travelling to. If you do this ahead of departing, you’ll know exactly where to go as soon as you land and won’t need to rely on an internet connection,” added Mr Gray.

For further information, please contact:

Emalie McPherson, Westpac
E: emalie.mcpherson@westpac.com.au
M: 0409 454 858

Key research findings

  • Millennials spend $11.3 billion overseas per year, with $183 million spent per year on ATM fees alone
  • Most millennials believe international ATM fees cost around $3 per transaction, when in fact fees are closer to $7 per transaction
  • Millennials who use overseas ATMs do so an average of 10 times per overseas trip
  • When told how much money they were spending on overseas ATMs, millennials who used overseas ATMs said they would rather spend that money on food and drink (61%), shopping (42%), gifts for others back home (32%), visiting more attractions (30%), more souvenirs (27%) and extreme activities like bungee jumping, skydiving or white water rafting (11%)
  • The average millennial traveller would be willing to sacrifice 177.6 minutes of holiday time to walk an extra 8.7 minutes each way just to use a withdrawal fee free ATM

About the Westpac Travel Finance Report

The Westpac research was commissioned by Westpac and powered by Lonergan Research. Lonergan Research surveyed 1,023 Australians aged 18+, including 744 millennials who have travelled internationally in the last 5 years or intend to travel internationally in the next 2 years. Surveys were distributed throughout Australia including both capital city and non-capital city areas. The survey was conducted between 11 and 14 July 2016. Following the completion of interviewing, the data was weighted to the latest population estimates sourced from the Bureau of Statistics.

Westpac Global ATM Alliance

Pay no ATM withdrawal fee4 by using over 50,000 ATMs belonging to the Global ATM Alliance network and Westpac Group Partners. A 3% Westpac foreign transaction fee applies on debit and credit cards. Find your nearest Global ATM Alliance & Westpac Group Partner ATM with the Global ATM Finder, which is also available via the Westpac Mobile Banking App.


[1] There are 5.1 million millennial travellers who have made an estimated 3.3 million trips in the past 12 months.  With an average spend of $3,461 per trip, this equates to $11.3 billion

[2] 79% of millennial travellers use overseas ATMs, on average 10.2 times per trip. With an estimated 3.3 million trips in the past 12 months, at $7 per visit this equates to $183 million

[3] Based on average international ATM withdrawal fees of $7.00

[4] Over 3,000 Westpac Group ATMs in Australia and over 50,000 ATMs via Global ATM Alliance partners.  A 3% Westpac Foreign Transaction Fee applies to overseas debit or credit card withdrawals. A 2% cash advance fee applies to credit card withdrawals where the "Credit" option is selected, Some Global Alliance ATMs require you to select the "credit" option. A list of Global Alliance members is available. Excludes American Express card.