Does the Australia Post Load & Go Travel go the distance?

November 13, 2012 17 Comments »

A couple of months ago, we gave you the lowdown on Australia Post’s Load & Go Visa Prepaid - our national postie’s first Visa card. We were impressed with its novel prepaid approach which allowed people to enjoy all the benefits of Visa’s worldwide network, without having to go through the fussy sign-up process normally associated with credit cards. However, we found its lack of travel money features disappointing, which made the Load & Go an expensive choice for travellers wishing to make purchases in currencies other than Aussie dollars.

australia-post-load-and-go-travel

Cue the Load & Go Travel, a revamped version of the standard Load & Go but with extra features to win over the hearts of globetrotters, and savvy online shoppers who like shopping with overseas retailers.

What’s different between the two Load & Go Visa cards?

The standard Load & Go is a great alternative Visa card designed for people who need to make simple online purchases in Australia, while the Load & Go Travel is specifically targeted towards international travellers.

One key difference that separates the two cards is the multi-currency functionality that comes with the Load & Go Travel, which allows it to hold up to 5 different currencies at any one time ($AUD, $NZD, $USD, €EUR, £GBP). While the standard card only takes Aussie Dollars and charges a 3% conversion fee for purchases made in foreign currencies, the Load & Go Travel’s multi-currency feature waives that fee if your payments are made in New Zealand, American, European, or British currencies.

Other differences include an increased minimum loading amount to $100 on the Load & Go Travel ($20 on the standard card). You can load up to the equivalent of AUD$10,000 on the Travel, compared to $999 on the standard card. And the cherry on top? Australia Post has scrapped the one-off purchase fee on the Load & Go Travel, saving you $6.95.

But here’s where Australia Post finds itself in a bit of a conundrum. The standard Load & Go is one of the few prepaid Visa cards on the Australian market. But the Load & Go Travel competes with many other prepaid travel cards offered by the Big 4 Banks, and major foreign exchange players such as Travelex and OzForex.

How the Load & Go Travel compares

Since the Load & Go Travel is a prepaid multi-currency card, we’ll be pitting it against other prepaid multi-currency travel cards to make our comparison fair. The Load & Go Travel starts off on a good note by having no purchase fee, which when you consider that some of its competitors such as OzForex’s Travel Card charge customers $15 for just the card, is great value. It’s also one of the few prepaid travel cards with no reload fees but the Load & Go Travel has a relatively low maximum loading amount, so you’ll need to reload it more often than its rivals. Other features of the Load & Go Travel include the $2 ATM withdrawal fee, $15 replacement card fee, and 3% cross currency conversion fee, all of which are pretty standard in the prepaid travel card market. See the table below for a full breakdown of the comparison:

Purchase Fee Reload Fee Replacement Fee Cross Currency Conversion Fee Maximum
load amount ($AUD)
ATM
withdrawal fee
($AUD)
Australia Post Load & Go $0 $0 $15 3% $10,000 $2
OzForex Travel Card $15 $0 $35 3% $25,000 $2.95
Cash Passport $5 1% of value $0 8.45% if foreign currency card or 5.45% if AUD $100,000 $0
ANZ Travel Card $11 1.1% of value $35 3% $80,000 $3.50
Commonwealth Bank Travel Money Card $15 1% of value $15 none $100,000 $3.50

 

One of the key benefits of using a prepaid travel card is the ability to lock in exchange rates before you travel. This means you’ll know exactly how much you’re spending, and can budget accordingly. However, exchange rates vary between different providers of travel cards, so it’s important that you find the highest rate to get the most of our of your hard earned Aussie dollars. When we compared rates on the Australia Post website, it showed that the Load & Go Travel offered the best exchange rates by a clear margin. Here’s a look:

$USD $NZD €EUR £GBP
Australia Post Load & Go 1.0077 1.222 0.7789 0.6229
OzForex Travel Card 0.9949 1.2058 0.7668 0.6163
Cash Passport 0.9928 1.2038 0.7633 0.6136
ANZ Travel Card 0.9979 1.2036 0.7731 0.6188
Commonwealth Bank Travel Money Card 0.9983 1.2142 0.7714 0.6185

Data correct as at 8-11-12

Things to look out for

Although the Load & Go Travel lets you lock in some of the best exchange rates on the market, keep in mind that rates are dynamic and fluctuate all the time. So before you load up your currencies, it’s important to check the exchange rates that Australia Post advertises on the day. You can choose to load money on the Load & Go Travel via BPAY but keep in mind that BPAY takes a 1% commission fee, and will convert your Aussie Dollars at its exchange rates, not the rates you’ll get at Australia Post.

If you’re going to be travelling to more exotic destinations, there’s a 3% cross currency exchange rate that’ll come into effect if your purchases are made in currencies outside of $AUD, $NZD, $USD, €EUR, and £GBP. Australia Post also charges a curious little transaction fee of $0.09 for payments made in Aussie Dollars, but this fee is capped to $0.99 per month. And if you ever find yourself in need of phone assistance, you’ll need to cough up $4 for the privilege of calling live customer service.

Does it go the distance?

The Load & Go Travel stands out amongst the multi-currency prepaid card pack by having no reload and purchase fees, and offers competitive exchange rates that’ll stretch your dollars further. It’s multi-currency functionality also lets you make purchases in $AUD, $NZD, $USD, €EUR, and £GBP without charging you foreign exchange commissions, which is something that standard credit cards cannot attest to.

We reckon that the Load & Go will also suit online shoppers. It’s low cost, low maintenance features makes it worth checking out if you’re planning to buy most of your Christmas goodies from online retailers overseas.

Shaun Leung

Shaun Leung

Shaun Leung is Mozo’s infographics chief and staff blogger, demystifying hardcore financial information and stats into easy to read masterpieces. Check out the infographics section for samples of his latest work and cool financial factoids.

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17 Comments

  1. Amber Evans December 16, 2012 at 2:25 pm - Reply

    Getting one and loading money is easy, getting money out is impossible I’ve been to ATM’s of major banks in France that accept visa but not this card :( what good is money I can’t spend?

    • Kellie March 17, 2013 at 12:34 am - Reply

      I’m thinking about getting the Aussie Post’s Load & Go Travel Card for my upcoming trip to Europe. Why are there problems getting cash in France @Amber Evans? I thought if the Visa logo was displayed at ATM, it should issue you money???

    • Lydia April 26, 2013 at 7:32 pm - Reply

      Hi Amber, did you have a regular Load and Go, or a Load and Go Travel card that didn’t work in France? I’m going to Europe soon, and will be wanting to use the Travel card in France also…..?

      • Jan sutton June 16, 2013 at 5:17 pm - Reply

        Please DO NOT get this card, we have just returned from the Greek islands and before leaving Australia I had loaded 5000 aust dollars and converted to euro which was about 3800 euro, after doing three withdrawals totaling 1400 I checked my account online and there’s was only 1300 euro left on it, after calling the so called help centre they told me they would email aust a d get back to me in 2 days……10 days later and still no callback, my friend also purchased the card and she was about 1500 out in her balance, called the help centre 4 times and they told us the Greek banks had taken out our transactions twice but the money should go back in within a few days…..this was my money and I couldn’t access it!!!!! After 3 days 600 went back in but I am still waiting for the remainder ! If you want a stress free holiday please don’t buy this aust post load and go travel card it was the only BAD thing about our trip

  2. Bryan M February 18, 2013 at 3:39 pm - Reply

    Good summary of the information. One key thing missing is comparing it to a normal credit card, especially with respect to the exchange rate (and conversion fee and ATM fees). My research has shown that the travel cards rate are about 4% worse than the standard VISA card rates. However most Australian Credit Cards have about 3% currency conversion fee on top and high international ATM fees as well (eg $5). Screwed which way you go it would seem BUT The whirlpool forums seem to converge on 28 degree MasterCard for credit card purchases and Citibank plus (with Visa Debit card) for ATM withdrawals. Both seem to offer the raw VISA/MasterCard exchange rates without ATM fees, conversion fees or any other monthly fees. It is possible to set things up to do ATM via 28 degrees and credit card purchases via Citibank but the combination seems to give the best overall experience.

  3. Tina T March 6, 2013 at 10:25 am - Reply

    Hate the Load and Go Card
    Have purchased 2 Load and Go cards as gifts and find them useless. It’s so hard to reload and you can only put in $250.00 from a credit card in 24 hours (not overnight – have to wait exactly 24hours). Not much good in an emergency which is what I brought these for. You can only put in extra if you go to a post office which seems ludicrous when it only takes up to a thousand dollars which is what you may need if your in a spot of bother. I would only recommend them for people that are unable to manage their own funds.

  4. Amy Hobbel March 22, 2013 at 11:46 pm - Reply

    I have used my Load & Go Visa throughout Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and vietnam…. it was best way to do it. Heaps of ATMs accept Visa, as well as some stores and hotels. I found the fees to be heaps better than other times I have travelled. I had no problems with the card and would happily use it every time I travel.

  5. AtJenice Currie June 27, 2013 at 8:21 am - Reply

    Oh no bought one yesterday. Loaded 2000. On it.had a stuff around registering it,but think might have been because I wanted to use the password ect that I gave at post office. I note there is a limit of 500 a day. And have to use credit at ATM ect. Getting pin was easy. Put money on at home bill pay info on site is wrong. All info required for pay any one and bill pay on the BACK of card. When went back to check balance, could not get back in. Did the forget password thing and they text info immediately. Also got caught trying to log into load and go normal card, not the travel card.

  6. Alaryse June 27, 2013 at 7:08 pm - Reply

    Do not buy a Load & Go card is you can aviod it – if you have any problems with it while you are overseas it is very hard to get help. For problems there is only an Australian number to call and it can be very costly, especially when they continuously don’t fix the problem and you need to call back. All it takes is entering your pin or password three times wrongly and you’re locked out with no assistance.

  7. Fred the cashstrapped wonder July 7, 2013 at 12:09 am - Reply

    See Jan Sutton’s reply above… I TOTALLY agree with this, it is almost impossible to withdraw cash from this card in france. I have been to several ATM’s showing VISA, using correct PIN etc, just can’t get my money out. It is simply the biggest drag. Stick to your ING card or normal 4digit PIN bank debit card, they work just fine. I got this as a backup card and it’s turned out to be the problem.

  8. Lynne July 8, 2013 at 4:16 pm - Reply

    I got an Ausralian Post Load and Go Travel card to take to Europe in a few months time. It had the making of a good option, UNTIL I found out that they issue ONE card only – I think almost all other travel cards offer a secondary one in case one is lost or misplaced. When I phoned Australia Post to ask if I could purchase a second card to link to the account that I had put my money into, I was told NO. Aust. Post told me that would try to send one a replacement card abroad for me to collect (honestly…..!!). Hence, I will be ditching this card. Simply not up to scratch with one card only. Mind you, I have yet to try and get the money out of the account yet. This could be another story…….

  9. Nolan July 9, 2013 at 3:54 pm - Reply

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts about Australia Post Load & Go.
    Regards

  10. Gillian Obolevics August 2, 2013 at 12:12 am - Reply

    Was thinking of getting a load and go visa travel card from Aus post. I am going to Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam this month. After reading the comments, all bar one seem that it may not be good idea. Can anyone please advise me. When I travelled to Europe I used a debit card but the bank fees were so high.

  11. belinda December 12, 2013 at 9:31 am - Reply

    um i noticed they are changing the withdrawal to 250 a week what does this mean? seems ridiculous

  12. jo February 10, 2014 at 12:11 pm - Reply

    I purchased a multicurrency load and go, and it has not worked in New Zealand ATMs. Even New Zealand Post could not use it in their eftpos. They said the card had a different computer chip on it ?? and telephoned the load and go people, they then gave the phone to me, but I could not understand the lady’s accent. Very disappointed as had to waste time not only registering the card online, but also in addition to that, spend time ringing them to set it up in the first place.

  13. vanda April 27, 2014 at 1:17 pm - Reply

    I used this card on a recent trip to Canada and the US. On previous trips I have used a travelex cash passport, which is ok, but I always seemed to have money missing. So I thought I’d try the Australia Post product.

    It is terrible, to say the least. The on-line accounting of where my money went makes no sense at all, and I seem to be missing money, but I can’t work out how. My online account constantly showed money on my account that I couldn’t access. I ended up having to borrow money from a friend in New York, which was really embarrassing. When it worked, it worked – had no trouble at ATMs (although it wouldn’t let me take the amount I wanted), or using it as a credit card.

    Furthermore, there is no email address to correspond with anyone, and if you want to ring, you can’t do so on a weekend.

    It is simply a terrible product, and made my trip a bit of a nightmare. I would not recommend it to anyone.

  14. jackie October 16, 2014 at 3:12 am - Reply

    I find the load n go really helpful for online shopping, almost every site accepts visa and they can’t even tell it’s a prepaid card, so I’ve never had a site discriminate against my card, tho I did lose some money from it while
    I was in an a online checkout n my phones battery ran out, right in the middle of processing my order n bam $250 gone, the site couldn’t find my order, even tho the help line said it went through n Australia post won’t give my money back because their records show it went through, but other then that I love my load n go card because the cost to have n use one is a million times cheaper then the banks credit cards.
    O(∩_∩)O

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