Figuring out the best way to access your money overseas can be tricky. When deciding on the best travel money card you need to plan ahead. The tips outlined in this article require 1-2 weeks, as you need to be approved by the financial institutions.
Your local bank probably offers some sort of travel card where you pay X amount for foreign currency conversion and X for ATM withdrawals.
You are probably also aware of the prepaid travel cards from your local supermarket and post office touting similar fees and charges.
Well, there’s a better way. If you are in Australia there are two cards you can get, both of which compliment each other greatly. These cards are the Citibank Everyday Debit card and the Bankwest Platinum credit card. One is a credit card whilst the other is a bank account debit card.
If you’re travelling, you’re going to be either paying by card or by cash.
ATM Withdrawals (cash): Citibank Everyday
Credit Card (card) payments: BankWest
https://applynow.bankwest.com.au/platinum-creditcard (this link is for non-bankwest customers. ie you dont have an account with them already)
Both of these cards offer 0 foreign transaction fees and the citibank card offers a 0 fees for withdrawing from an ATM, something that I have not seen any other provider offer.
I was using the 28 Degrees Credit Card which also does not charge any fees, but after reading about BankWest and carefully combing through their PDS (product disclosure statement AKA terms and conditions), I found that they offer complimentary travel insurance.The conditions of the travel insurance are that your journey must begin and end in Australia. The cover lasts for around 6 months.
I could not find anything in the BankWest PDS about extreme sports (snowboarding), so after calling and speaking with a consultant from the company, he said that ‘I should be covered as long as I stay on piste/the groomed runs’. This is pretty standard for travel insurance when it comes to snowboarding, but it would be worth it yourself to also call and ask, as I am not 100% happy with a ‘you should be OK’, type response.
How do they make money? I assume they add a slight percentage onto their foreign exchange (skim off the top?), but it is still quite a bit lower than any other rate offered by other financial institutions.
BankWest would also hope that you end up paying interest on your credit card payments, one would assume. You have 2-4 weeks to pay off your credit card debt, within this timeframe you wont be charged interest or any fees.
I’m not going to go over the interest details and percentages as that’s not the point of this article. It is assumed you will be a good boy/girl and pay off your credit card within 2-4 weeks.