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Ultimate travel money cards to pack for your overseas holiday

Thursday, 04 December 2014

Posted by Rebeccah Elley

The peak summer holiday season is almost here and you can finally give work the flick for a good few weeks and prepare yourself for an epic overseas vacay.

While it’s important to pack everything from your camera to flippers, don’t pack the wrong travel money plastic or you could find yourself paying high interest rates and hefty foreign transaction fees.

We know you’d much rather spend your pre-trip time browsing local eating and shopping hotspots, so we’ve done the hard work for you and compiled the ultimate list of travel money deals to make your holiday money go further.

1. Prepaid Travel Cards

OzForex Travel Card - competitive exchange rates, load up to 9 currencies and no reload fee.
NAB Traveller Card - no overseas ATM fees, load up to 10 currencies and 1% reload fee.
Velocity Frequent Flyer Global Wallet - no purchase fee, no foreign exchange fee, load up to 10 currencies and no reload fee.

When packing... consider how you’ll be using the prepaid travel card overseas. For instance, while the OzForex Travel Card took home gold in this year’s Mozo Experts Choice Travel Money Awards thanks to its standout exchange rates, if you’re planning on using a prepaid card for ATM withdrawals only, you may be better off with a prepaid travel card with no overseas ATM fees like the NAB Traveller Card.

Traveller no no... using your prepaid travel card in a currency that is not loaded on the card. Why? You’ll have to pay cross currency conversion fees, which can be as high as 5.95% of the purchase amount.

2. Fee Free Travel Credit Cards

Bankwest Zero Platinum - no foreign exchange fee, no annual fee, complimentary travel insurance and concierge, 17.99% standard interest rate with 55 interest free days.
28 Degrees MasterCard - no foreign exchange fee, no annual fee, 20.99% standard interest rate with 55 interest free days.

When packing... keep in mind while the above fee free credit cards don’t come with the nasty bite of foreign exchange fees, you will still have to pay your credit card balance when you get home. Make sure you budget appropriately, so you’re not still paying off that Prada bag next Christmas!

Traveller no no... using a credit card for ATM cash withdrawals. Why? You’ll be charged a cash advance fee and steep cash advance rate (the average cash advance rate in Mozo’s credit card hub is 19.73%). On top of this, interest free days don’t apply to cash advances, so you’ll be paying the higher cash advance rate immediately you take the money out of the ATM.

3. 0% Purchase Rate Credit Cards

NAB Low Rate Card – 0% purchase rate for 15 months, reverts to a low 13.99% and $59 annual fee.
Coles No Annual Fee MasterCard – 0% purchase rate for 6 months, reverts to 17.99%, 0.5 points per dollar on MasterCard and no annual fee.

When packing... shop now and pay later with an interest free credit card but be mindful the 0% honeymoon period will come to an end, so give yourself a set holiday budget and stick to it so you can pay off the balance within the interest free period to steer clear of credit card debt.

4. Rewards Credit Cards

ANZ Rewards Platinum - 3 uncapped points for every $1 spent on AMEX and 1.5 points for every $1 spent on Visa, 25,000 bonus points when you apply by 13 January 2015 and make an eligible purchase.
HSBC Platinum Qantas - 2 uncapped Qantas Points for every $1 spent overseas and up to 20,000 bonus Qantas points when you make an eligible purchase within 3 months.

When packing... only choose a rewards credit card if you’re jet-setting with a healthy bank balance and can pay off your credit card balance in full each month. If you’re paying any interest on a rewards card you won’t be getting any real value from your rewards spend.

5. Debit Cards

Citibank Plus Transaction Account - Visa debit, no overseas ATM fees and no foreign exchange fee on purchases or withdrawals.
RAMS Action Account - Visa debit, $5 overseas ATM fees, $1.75 overseas purchase fee and no foreign exchange margin.

When packing... remember overseas ATM fees and foreign transaction fees can add up, so always withdraw a good amount of money each time you visit the ATM. Also ensure you are careful with your PIN and keep an eye on your statements for any fraudulent activity.

General travel money tips:

1. Pack a few travel cards. When jet-setting overseas, it’s a good idea to take more than one travel money option with you because you don’t want to get caught out in a foreign country with no money if your only card is lost, stolen or isn’t accepted.

2. Be PIN-wise. Most countries now require PIN for credit card purchases, so be sure to have your number memorised.

3. Pay in local currency. You may get asked if you want to pay in local currency or AUD when you make overseas credit card purchases. Generally it’s best to always pay in local currency, as you’ll get a better exchange rate.

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