What are the benefits of using a travel money card?
When it comes to planning an overseas trip, it’s worthwhile putting some thought into how you’ll access your money while you’re away. True, out of all the things to get excited about before you head away, how you’ll be paying for it might not rate that high, but a bit of thought in advance can go a long way to avoiding unnecessary hassle – not to mention how you could skip unnecessary fees.
Here's the lowdown on a relatively new player on the block and some of the benefits of making sure you’ve got a travel money card in your wallet before you take off.
You can lock in your exchange rate before you go
A travel money card works by loading your own money onto the card, then converting it into an available foreign currency.
The advantage of being able to lock in your exchange rate before you go is if the Aussie dollar is doing well against the currency where you’re going, you’ll still be able to make the most of it, even if you’re not travelling for a while.
They can give a helping hand keeping tabs on your travel budget
Budgeting your spending money and travel costs can be a bit of a headache if you’re constantly having to convert from Aussie dollars into the local currency.
Using a travel money card to access cash and pay for your expenses can take the hassle out of managing your budget, as you’ll know exactly how much you have in the local currency.
You can skip the foreign conversion fee
Generally speaking, if you’re using a credit card while you’re away, you’ll also likely be paying foreign conversion fee – this can usually add on an extra 3% every time you use your card1. It might not seem like much, but by the end of your holiday it can really add up.
Enter your travel money card. If you’re using your card to spend the local currency preloaded on your card of where you are, you won’t have to pay the foreign conversion fee.
You could avoid ATM fees
You can use your travel money card to get cash out in the local currency at an ATM, just like you would with a debit card. Unlike a debit card, though, you can avoid paying the foreign conversion fee.
You can have multiple currencies on the one card
With a travel money card, it’s possible to load a variety of different currencies onto your card. This is particularly handy if you’ll be travelling to more than one country and need to use a few different currencies. With a travel money card, you can also move money between the different currencies – useful if you’ve got money left over when you leave a country and still have others to go to.
With a Westpac travel money card, you can load up to five currencies from a choice of USD, EUR, GBP, NZD, CAD, JPY, THB, ZAR, SGD and HKD.
You’ll get a backup card
What happens if you lose your card? If it were a credit card, you likely have to cancel it and wait for a replacement. With a travel money card, however, you’ll also get a backup card. That means if your card is lost or stolen, you’ll be able to switch right away to using your second card.
You can also use your card for shopping online at home
Travel money cards aren’t just handy for when you’re overseas – they can also be used for shopping the world online from the comfort of your own home. When you use a travel money card for shopping on overseas sites, you won’t pay the foreign transaction fee you’d pay when using a credit card.
What to look for when choosing a travel money card
It’s important to shop around for a card that will suit your needs. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re looking:
- Look for a low fee card – keep a look out for a card that won’t charge you to load or reload your card. It’s also worthwhile choosing a card that won’t charge you for ATM withdrawals.
- Choose a card you can reload instantly – some cards will reload instantly; others can take a while before the money is available. Look for a card that’ll let you recharge right away – you don’t want to be overseas and waiting three days before you can access your topped-up funds.
- Find a card with easy smartphone access – make it easy on yourself to switch between currencies in a flash and choose a card with an easy-to-use app you can download to your phone. That way you’ll be able to manage your money on the go, no matter where you are.
Things you should know
Any recommendation made in this communication is general in nature and does not take your objectives, financial situation or needs into account. Read the terms and conditions, including the Online Banking Terms and Conditions before making a decision and consider whether the product is right for you.
1. A 3% Foreign Exchange Fee applies to overseas transactions in a currency other than a Supported Currency.
2. No ATM withdrawal fee at over 3,000 Westpac Group ATMs in Australia and over 50,000 ATMs globally via Global ATM Alliance partners. Other fees and charges may be payable.