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Mozo’s travel money picks: What’s the perfect plastic for you?

Tuesday, 08 December 2015

Posted by Rebeccah Elley

Here at Mozo, we like to think of ourselves as the love gurus of the banking world, matching Aussies with the perfect products. As this time of year is all about travel, this month our challenge is to set jetsetters like you up with the ideal plastic for your upcoming trip.

We’ve come up with five main travel personalities and matched them with the top travel money suitors. Read below to choose your travel personality and see which card we’ve picked for you (of course feel free to mix and match):

1. Resort goer

Best travel money match - Travel debit card

After a long year of slogging it out at work, all you want to do is chilax by the resort pool with a margarita in hand. But you may pop out from time to time to withdraw cash from an ATM for dinners at local restaurants and to pick up some souvenirs.

To ensure you avoid the bite of high withdrawal fees overseas, we’ve matched you with the travel money option of a travel debit card. This means you’ll spend your own money overseas, helping you avoid the slippery slope of credit card debt and if you choose the right card you could enjoy low or no overseas ATM withdrawal fees.

Top suitors:

Citibank Plus Transaction Account: $0 account keeping fees, $0 overseas ATM fees and no foreign exchange commission. Plus enjoy a free bottle of award winning wine when you dine at a Citibank Dining program partner restaurant.

Bankwest Rewards Transaction Account: $6 account keeping fee ($0 if you deposit over $2,000 per month), $0 overseas ATM fees and 2.95% foreign exchange commission. You’ll also be rewarded with 10 points per eligible transaction overseas.

2. International shopper 

Best travel money match - Rewards credit card

You love nothing more than hitting the shops on Rodeo Drive or meandering the boutiques along Avenue Montaigne in Paris. A trip isn’t a good trip unless you’ve picked up a new high fashion ensemble to add to your designer wardrobe back home. Why not add some rewards points to your holiday hoard?

With all that shopping you’re planning to do, a rewards credit card could quickly see your point stash soar. But only go down the rewards card path if you know you can repay whatever you spend in full before the credit card due date.

Top suitors:

Citibank Signature - Earn 4 points per $1 spent overseas (usually 2 points per $1 spent in Australia) and receive 70,000 bonus points after your first spend. $299 annual fee and 20.99% purchase rate.

St.George Amplify Platinum - Earn 2 points per $1 spent overseas (usually 1 point per $1 spent in Australia) and enjoy complimentary features like travel insurance, concierge and extended warranty. $99 annual fee and 0% purchase rate for the first 3 months, then 19.49%.

3. Thrifty jetsetter 

Best travel money match - Prepaid travel card

You love to travel but don’t want your holiday to cost you an arm and a leg, so are always on the look out for thrifty ways to get ahead. With the Australian dollar recently lifting to over US 72 cents (and tipped to fall in the next few months) now could be your chance to lock in a great exchange rate, all you need is a competitive prepaid travel card.

The great thing about a prepaid travel card is it allows you to lock in the exchange rate now, so you won’t have to worry about getting less for your Aussie coin if the dollar drops while you’re overseas.

Top suitors:

NAB Traveller Card – $0 purchase fee, $0 overseas ATM fee, load up to 10 currencies and 1% reload fee.

Cash Passport Prepaid Currency Card – $0 purchase fee online, $0 overseas ATM fee, load up to 10 currencies and 1% reload fee.

4. Globetrotter

Best travel money match - Travel credit card

You’ve been saving up for the trip of a lifetime and have a bucket list full of destinations you are eager to tick off your “to-visit” list. Since you’ll be hopping across the world to different destinations, you’ll want to avoid using a prepaid travel card, because if you don’t have the currency loaded onto the card you could be charged a high cross currency conversion fee.

Instead a good choice is to go for some plastic that has a low or no foreign exchange fee like a travel credit card, which will ensure no matter where you are - whether it’s backpacking through Europe or following the South American Inca trail - you’ll avoid pricey currency conversion fees.

Top suitors:

28 Degrees MasterCard – no foreign exchange commission, $0 annual fee, 20.99% purchase rate with 55 interest free days.

Bankwest Zero Platinum – no foreign exchange commission, $0 annual fee, complimentary travel Insurance for you and your family, 17.99% purchase rate with 55 interest free days.

5. Spend now, pay later kind of traveller

Best travel money match - 0% purchase rate credit card

You are ready to jetset overseas now and want to have a blast, spending up big but don’t want to have to worry about paying back everything you spend on that big holiday straight away. The answer? An interest free credit card of course.

While 0% credit cards aren’t specifically designed for travel, they do allow you to spend on the card and enjoy your holiday, whilst giving you plenty of time to pay it back free of interest. Credit card providers usually offer interest free periods between 3 to 18 months and all you need to do to enjoy this 0% offer is pay the minimum repayment each month. But beware these cards often revert to much higher rates, so make sure you start hacking away at that balance as soon as you return from your great exploration and pay it off before the honeymoon period comes to an end.

Top suitors:

Citibank Clear Platinum - 0% purchase rate for 9 months, reverts to 13.99% and $49 in the first year ($99 every year after). You can also enjoy a free bottle of award winning wine every time you dine in a partner restaurant.

NAB Premium Card - 0% purchase rate for 15 months then 19.74%, $90 annual fee, complimentary travel insurance, extended warranty and purchase protection.

Mozo’s bonus travel money tips

1. Check if your credit card comes with complimentary travel insurance. Many rewards and premium credit cards these days come with the perk of free travel insurance, so it’s worth checking if the card you’re taking with you does too. Just keep in mind, most providers that offer complimentary insurance require you to have a return flight and have paid for a set amount on the card to activate the insurance.

2. Take more than one money option with you. What happens if your travel money card is lost or stolen? Not only will it make for a holiday headache but it will also mean you’re without access to cash in a foreign country. So always carry more than one travel money card with you as a back up.

3. Avoid ATM withdrawals with your credit card. If you decide that your travel money match is a credit card, steer clear of cash withdrawals as you’ll be charged the cash advance rate which can reach up to or even over 20%. So make sure you either bring some AUD cash with you to exchange when you arrive or as we suggested in point 2, another travel money card option.

4. Keep your travel money cards on you. There have been countless travel horror stories of luggage going missing with wads of cash or credit cards inside. So always put your travel money cards in a safe place or even consider investing in a travel money belt.

5. Only pay in the local currency. If a merchant asks you if you want to pay with AUD currency for your overseas purchase it may seem easier, but you’ll usually be charged a much higher currency conversion rate than what your credit card provider charges.

For more tips for your upcoming trip, visit our travel hub here.

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