Westpac is ready for Black Friday, are you?

By Ben Tosi ·

Westpac has got a jump on the competition by today announcing it will be offering a special foreign exchange rate when converting AUD to USD on its Global Currency Card ahead of the globally renowned Black Friday Sales.

The promotion requires consumers to load up their Global Currency Cards with Aussie dollars (AUD) and promises a “preferential” exchange rate when converting them to US dollars (USD) between the 21st and 23rd of November.

This prepaid travel card will allow Aussies to make the most of a number of US-based sales when Black Friday rolls around the following day. Without any reload or foreign exchange fee, you can maximise the savings you’re making on your bargain buys.

What is Black Friday?

If you’re one of the few people in the Western world who is unaware of what Black Friday or Cyber Monday is and how to take advantage of these two days, let us sum it up for you.

Black Friday occurs directly after Thanksgiving, this year on the 24th of November, and is the US equivalent to our Boxing Day, when huge retailers such as Amazon, Walmart and even eBay offer crazy discounts on some of their most popular products.

While Black Friday may have originated and grown out of the traditional US mall, it isn’t a strictly American phenomenon. The power of the world wide web and the increasing popularity of online shopping means that Aussies too, can get swept up in the retail mayhem that has been known to crash some of the biggest sites on the web.

The Monday following Black Friday, this year on the 27th of November, is known as ‘Cyber Monday’ and is targeted specifically at those looking to nab an online deal. So if you’re looking to kickstart your Christmas shopping with a few bargains, have a piece of plastic ready for a weekend full of scouring sites both abroad and at home for some killer sales.

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How to pay for Black Friday?

Making the most of Black Friday will have a lot to do with how you pay for your purchases. While you’re likely to grab a bargain on some of the hottest new tech or some cool new threads you want to make sure that when shopping online on overseas based sites, you won’t be hit with any foreign exchange fees that have the potential to seriously offset your savings.

Prepaid travel cards

Prepaid travel cards are a great way to pay for overseas purchases, even if they’re online. While Westpac is promising a better foreign exchange rate than it would offer at any other time in the year, it hasn’t published what that will rate be just yet.

But when it comes to travel money, specialist providers often offer better rates than the big banks. At the time of writing, the Travelex Cash Passport boasts the most competitive exchange rate with $1 AUD reaping just over 74 US cents, meaning that for every $100 Aussie dollars you convert, you will earn just under $75 US dollars.

In saying that, exchange rates change on a daily basis and are also dependent on the provider, so that value may change. Luckily, you can keep up to date with the latest trends in exchange rates and compare a range of these types of cards using Mozo’s dedicated Prepaid Travel Cards comparison tables.

  • Pros:  Lock in your exchange rate, avoid foreign transaction fees, able to establish a budget.
  • Cons: Domestic fees if using on Australian sites, charges to recover unused cash.

Credit cards

Another option to fund your overseas online shopping binge this Black Friday is using a credit card without any foreign exchange fees. Also known as a foreign exchange margin, this is the fee a provider charges you to convert your currency on the fly and can reach as high as 3.4%.

Thankfully, Mozo data has revealed that there are 12 credit cards currently on the market that don’t charge any foreign exchange margin, meaning you won’t be charged when converting your Aussie dollars.

Headlining these 12 products is ANZ’s Rewards Travel Adventures Card, perfect for spenders who want to rack up rewards points and travel freebies. Or for frugal spenders who would like a piece of plastic with no annual and foreign exchange fee, you can check out the 28 Degrees Platinum Mastercard.

  • Pros: Able to use in Australia also, no foreign exchange margin, buy now and pay later.
  • Cons: Exchange rates fluctuate, potential to accrue debt.

RELATED: Top cashback credit cards to put dollars back in your pocket

Debit cards

Debit cards are the final option you have when spending your money on overseas sites during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. According to Mozo database, there are three debit cards that will allow you to make overseas purchases without the sting of a foreign exchange fee.

Macquarie won’t charge you for your overseas purchases if you hold either the Transaction Account or the Platinum Transaction Account and Citi’s Plus Transaction Account is also another option for those hunting a foreign bargain.

  • Pros: No foreign exchange fees, debt-free spending.
  • Cons: Exchange rates fluctuate.

If you’d like to do some more research before deciding how you’re going to fuel your Black Friday and Cyber Monday splurge, you can check out our dedicated Travel Money hub for a full rundown of all the costs associated with spending your money overseas, even if it is online.

*All information, including rates and product data is correct as of the published date.