Are you packing a fee-free debit card for your overseas jaunt this summer?

As we approach the final weeks of 2019, many Aussies will be keeping half an eye on their calendar as they count down the days until it's time to head to the airport for their summer holiday abroad. 

But while the focus leading up to departure day will most likely be on flights, accommodation and sightseeing ideas, one oft-neglected area of preparation is how to actually pay while overseas.  

It’s not as though Australian travellers are without travel money options though, with travel debit cards, travel credit cards, prepaid travel cards, good old cash and even fintechs like Transferwise and Pellkin all offering ways to pay. 

But here’s the rub: many of these options come with a cost attached and it’s not necessarily a small one. 

In fact, according to research from Capital Economics, in 2018 Aussie travellers forked out a whopping $2.14 billion in fees in order to access their own money overseas. That included costs like foreign exchange fees, overseas ATM withdrawal fees, card ownership fees and exchange rate markups. 

RELATED: How to make the most of a travel loan this summer

But do Aussie travellers actually need to be paying fees? Well in the case of bank accounts and debit cards, the answer could be no. 

According to Mozo figures, 9 of the 178 different bank accounts (around 5%) currently being tracked in the Mozo database don’t charge any overseas ATM withdrawal fees or foreign exchange fees. 

Nor do any of those nine accounts come with ongoing account fees, though there may be deposit or card requirements you’ll need to reach in order to be eligible for a fee waiver, plus the actual ATM operator you withdraw money from or the vendor you swipe your card with may charge an additional fee. 

So be sure to check out the linked reviews below for more information. 

Bank accounts with zero foreign exchange and overseas ATM withdrawal fees

BankBank Account
CitiGlobal Currency Account
CitiPlus Transaction Account
HSBCEveryday Global Account
INGOrange Everyday
INGOrange Everyday Youth
MacquariePlatinum Transaction Account
MacquarieTransaction Account
UBankUSaver Ultra Transaction Account
XinjaBank Account

“While flights and accommodation may be top of the priority list, many Australians neglect comparing travel money options like travel-friendly debit cards and credit cards at all,” said Mozo Director, Kirsty Lamont. 

“Foreign exchange and overseas ATM withdrawal fees can really add up though, potentially to the tune of hundreds of dollars out of a travel budget, so it’s never a bad idea to do your research before you fly.” 

So how much could a fee-free bank account option actually save you? Let’s look at an example. 

Kevin and Jodie are heading over to Europe for a five week getaway over the summer holidays, during which they’ll be visiting a bunch of countries, including the UK, Spain, Portugal and France. 

The couple anticipate spending about $120 per day using their debit cards on accommodation, food, travel, sightseeing and souvenirs, plus they’ll withdraw cash from an ATM about once a week to use for smaller purchases.  

If Kevin and Jodie used a debit card with the average foreign exchange commission in the Mozo database (2.65%) and the average overseas ATM withdrawal fee ($3.50) they would end up paying $128.80 in card fees over the five weeks.

That’s $128 that couple be better put towards your travel budget for a night out or on a new experience, rather than on fees. 

RELATED: TransferWise have launched a new debit card, which they say is 11 times cheaper than the banks

Ready to compare even more bank accounts? Check out some of the great offers available below, or to learn more about travelling fugally then be sure to read our comprehensive guide on how to avoid fees when spending overseas.

Compare bank accounts - rates updated daily

Search promoted bank accounts below or do a full Mozo database search. Advertiser disclosure.
  • placeholder
    Glide Account

    account fee
    Payment Options
    interest rate
    $0.00
    Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayID, Samsung Pay, FitBit Pay, Garmin
    0% p.a.

    Unlimited free internet transactions. Super fast transfers & use Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay. No account keeping fees or ATM fees.

    Go to site
    Details
  • placeholder
    Everyday Options

    account fee
    Payment Options
    interest rate
    $0.00
    Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayID
    0.01% p.a.

    An easy, everyday banking account packed with flexible options to help you spend, budget and save better. Create up to 9 sub accounts.

    Go to site
    Details
  • placeholder
    Mozo Experts Choice 2021
    Everyday Snap Account

    account fee
    Payment Options
    interest rate
    $0.00
    Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayID, Samsung Pay
    0% p.a.

    Enjoy $0 monthly account fees and unlimited fee-free card, phone and online transactions. Tap and pay with Google Pay, Apple Pay or Samsung Pay. Refund of overdrawn fees and international ATM withdrawal fees and international card transaction fees^.

    Go to site
    Details
  • placeholder
    Go Account

    account fee
    Payment Options
    interest rate
    $0.00
    Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay
    0% p.a.

    Enjoy earning Virgin Money points on purchases (conditions apply). Bundled with the Virgin Money Boost Saver. No Account fees. Available as a joint account.

    Go to site
    Details
  • placeholder
    Orange Everyday

    account fee
    Payment Options
    interest rate
    $0.00
    Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayID
    0% p.a.

    Rebates on ATM fees anywhere in Oz. No ING international transaction fees. Zero monthly fees. Winner of the Mozo Experts Choice Awards 2020 for Exceptional Everyday Account.^

    Go to site
    Details

Mozo provides general product information. We don't consider your personal objectives, financial situation or needs and we aren't recommending any specific product to you. You should make your own decision after reading the PDS or offer documentation, or seeking independent advice.

While we pride ourselves on covering a wide range of products, we don't cover every product in the market. If you decide to apply for a product through our website, you will be dealing directly with the provider of that product and not with Mozo.