Top debit and prepaid cards for when you travel

By Kelly Emmerton ·

Exotic destination picked out? Check. Plane tickets booked? Check. Holiday budget saved up in an account labelled “poolside mai tais”? Double check. An easy, fee-free way to get at those funds? Well…

If you’re not quite sure about the best way to actually spend all the dosh you’ve saved up for your next holiday, don’t worry - that’s where we come in. Our experts have scoured the market to identify the best value debit card and prepaid card options for all your overseas spending needs in our recent Experts Choice Travel Money Awards.

So before you pack your bags and head to the airport, make sure you have one of these pieces of plastic handy.

Debit cards - spend your own money

Got a nice plump holiday fund just waiting to be traded in for souvenirs, fancy dinners and once-in-a-lifetime experiences on your international getaway? Then make sure you’ve also got a competitive debit card to access it.

1. Citi - Plus Transaction Account

What we think: 

The Citi Plus debit card is super convenient, because you can use it anywhere around the world where Mastercard is accepted. When you’re overseas, ATM and over the counter purchases are fee free, and here in Australia there’s no monthly account fee or ATM fees to worry about. All that makes the Citi Plus an attractive option for budget conscious travellers - but add a free bottle of wine when you dine at Citi Dining partner restaurants, and it’s also a winner for anyone who likes to travel in style.

Find out more here.

2. Macquarie - Platinum Transaction Account

What we think: 

If you want a little something extra from your travel debit card, then this is the one for you. Macquarie’s Platinum option comes with no monthly fee and no fees within the rediATM network in Australia. Travellers need to be aware of the $5 ATM fee while overseas, but that can be justified when you consider that this account has premium perks on offer like 90 day theft and damage protection and concierge. The catch is, to access these features, you’ll need to deposit at least $4,000 a month.

Find out more here.

3. RAMS - Action Account

What we think: 

The RAMs Action Account is a great all-rounder, whether you’re spending here in Oz, heading off on an overseas trip, or indulging in your online shopping habit at your fave international retailers. With no account fee, and fee-free use of any Westpac, St.George, Bank of Melbourne or BankSA ATM in Australia, it’s great value. And when you head abroad, it’s still wallet-friendly - you can withdraw foreign currency from ATMs or make purchases at shops on your travels without paying any fees.

Find out more here.

Prepaid cards - manage your budget

These pieces of plastic allow you to lock in an exchange rate and load currency before you travel, so you’ll always know exactly what you’re spending. So if you’re keeping a close eye on your holiday spending, a prepaid credit card is the perfect addition to your carry-on.

4. ANZ - Travel Card

What we think:

If you’re after a great value piece of plastic from one of the big banks to help you manage your budget while you hop from one must-see destination to the next, then check out ANZ’s offering. With 10 options for loading currencies, it will take you pretty much wherever you want to go. There’s no purchase or reload fee to dent your budget, but avoid hitting the ATM too often, as you will pay a fee there.

Find out more here.

5. Travelex  - Cash Passport

What we think:

With a Travelex Cash Passport in your pocket, you can head around the world while keeping your budget firmly under control. There are 10 currencies you can load, no overseas ATM fees, and to top it all off, no cross currency conversion fee. Just be aware of the purchase fee, which will be the greater of $15 or 1.1% of your initial currency load and the reload fee, which is $5 if you use a debit card, or 1% of your reload if you want to use BPay.

See the full list of Experts Choice Travel Money winners here.

If you’d prefer to have a little extra wiggle room in your budget, check out our list of the top travel credit cards of 2017. Otherwise, you can also head over to our travel money section to find other debit or prepaid card options.