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