Best travel cards to take overseas

Best travel cards to take overseas

When planning a trip overseas, most people want the answer to the same question: What’s the cheapest way to get travel money?

The short answer is that it depends on a number of factors, like the length of your trip and how you’ll be spending money. However, if you’re travelling for more than a couple of weeks and plan to make purchases and access cash frequently, a travel card could be a good option.

A travel money card can be preloaded with foreign currency before you travel. Some of the benefits include:

  • Locking in an exchange rate before you go
  • Loading multiple currencies onto a single card
  • Avoiding certain transaction fees, such as a currency conversion fee

What are the best travel cards to take overseas?

Whether you’re heading off on a backpacking pilgrimage or hitting the beach for some R&R, there’s a card for almost every traveller’s need. Here are some of the top travel cards for overseas spending.

NAB Traveller Card

Key features:

  • $0 load fee
  • $0 reload fee
  • No overseas ATM fees
  • 10 currencies available
  • 24/7 global emergency assistance
  • 4 per cent cross-currency conversion

With no fees charged by NAB for overseas ATM usage and no load or reload fees, you can avoid being hit with extra charges that cut into your spending money. Plus, 24/7 emergency assistance means you can get help whenever you need it.

Commonwealth Bank Travel Money Card

Key features:

  • $15 load fee
  • $0 reload fee
  • Variable ATM fees depending on currency
  • 13 currencies available
  • 5 per cent cross-currency conversion

The Commonwealth Bank Travel Money Card offers the largest number of currencies of any travel card currently on the market, making it a good option for people travelling to multiple countries. The $0 reload fee also makes topping up cost-effective.

Qantas Cash Card

Key features:

  • $0 load fee
  • $0 reload fee (1 per cent if using a debit card)
  • Variable ATM fees depending on currency
  • 11 currencies available
  • 0 per cent cross-currency conversion
  • Earn 1.5 Qantas Points per $1 equivalent spent overseas and 1 point per $4 spent in Australia

If you’re a fan of frequent flyer miles, you can earn Qantas Points for spending with this card to put towards future flights, upgrades and other rewards. The 0 per cent cross-currency conversion fee also means you can spend in multiple currencies without incurring a fee, even if you don’t have a particular currency preloaded on your card.

Velocity Global Wallet

Key features:

  • $0 load fee
  • $0 reload fee
  • Variable ATM fees depending on currency
  • 11 currencies available
  • 3 per cent cross-currency conversion
  • Earn 1 Velocity Point per $1 equivalent spent overseas and 1 point per $2 spent in Australia

Just like the Qantas Cash Card, the Velocity Global Wallet allows you to earn frequent flyer points for spending abroad and in Australia. It’s also a cost-effective option if you plan on topping up your balance regularly thanks to $0 load and reload fees.

Australia Post Load&Go Travel Card

Key features:

  • $0 load fee
  • $0 reload fee
  • Variable ATM fees depending on currency
  • 5 currencies available
  • 3 per cent cross-currency conversion
  • Not linked to your bank account
  • 24/7 global emergency assistance
  • Emergency card replacement

Because this card isn’t linked to your bank account, only your card’s balance would be impacted in the event of skimming, theft or other fraudulent activities. And, if you do need help for a lost or stolen card, you have access to 24-hour emergency assistance and emergency card replacement.

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Learn more about bank accounts

How do I open a bank account if I'm under 18?

The good news for savvy young folks like you wanting to take charge of your finances is that there are many bank accounts available for under-18s.

For bank accounts that require you to be 18 or older, you’ll have to rope in a parent or guardian to open the account for you.

Otherwise, you can apply by yourself online or at the branch of the bank, credit union or building society that has the account you would like to open. 

If applying online, you might be asked for a form of identification. For under-18s, this could be a Medicare card you’re listed on, your birth certificate and/or your current home address.

In most cases, you can verify your identity online (at the time of applying) or at the branch afterwards.

Can you open a bank account at 16?

Yes, you can open a bank account at 16, or even younger. If you’re 13 or under, you will probably need a parent to accompany you to a branch.

Can I open a bank account in another country?

Despite having a bad rap for facilitating tax evasion, it is possible and legal to open a bank account in another country, also known as an ‘offshore account’.

Some people choose to open a bank account in another country to invest overseas, for higher interest-earning potential or to access foreign banking services.

The process for opening an offshore bank account differs depending on the financial institution and country in which you’re opening the account.

Typically, you will need to provide identification such as a passport, a local bank statement and a signed declaration proving the source of the money being used to open your account. Usually, deposits into offshore accounts can be made by international money transfer.

Do I need to open a business bank account?

Just because you’re in business doesn’t necessarily mean you need a business bank account. You could be a sole trader not registered for GST, and use your personal bank account for business.

If you do want a business account, there are plenty of benefits attached to business transaction and savings accounts, as well as business term deposits.

There are business bank accounts designed for businesses with a high volume of transactions, and those for start-ups with a small amount of trade. You could also include an EFTPOS service with your account.

Some business bank accounts charge for the number of transactions per month, while others offer a pay-as-you-go fee structure, where you only pay fees for transactions you make.

It’s up to you whether your priority is mainly transactions, or earning the maximum amount of interest on your principal. There’s a business banking solution for you if you need one.

How do you delete your bank account from PayPal?

Deleting your bank account from PayPal is a simple three-step process:

  • Go to your Wallet
  • Choose the account you’d like to delete
  • Click ‘Remove bank account’

How can I wire money to a bank account?

You can wire money to an Australian bank account either through your own bank or by using a money transfer company such as Western Union or MoneyGram. Either way, you’ll need the other person’s name, BSB number and account number. If you use a money transfer company, you might also need to provide the recipient’s address for large payments.

What do you need to open bank accounts?

Opening a bank account is one of the simplest online tasks you could perform. The hard part is deciding which type of bank account you want to open.

All banking institutions have a website where you hit ‘apply’ on the account of your choice and step through an application in less than 10 minutes.

Here’s a list of information that is generally required for applications.

  • Identification (driver’s licence, passport, proof of age card, proof of citizenship and/or birth certificate)
  • Tax file number (so you don’t get charged the highest tax rate)
  • Address, contact email and phone number

If you decide to open a new account at the branch, make sure you ask beforehand what information you need to take with you, or take all of the above to be safe.

Can I set up a bank account online?

Most Australia-based lenders will allow you to set up a bank account online. Requirements vary from lender to lender, but you will probably need to provide a passport or birth certificate, as well as a driver’s licence, Medicare card or another form of secondary ID.

Can I start a bank account online?

Yes, most lenders that operate in Australia will let you set up a bank account online. The process is usually simple and takes five to 10 minutes. You will probably need to provide a passport or birth certificate, as well as a driver’s licence, Medicare card or another form of secondary identification. Requirements differ from lender to lender, so some institutions might ask for more or different forms of ID.

How do you open a bank account in Australia?

Opening a bank account in Australia is usually a straightforward process. Some banks give you the option of opening an account online, while others require you to visit a branch.

Different bank accounts offer different features, so it’s best to compare your options to find one that suits you.

All banks require you to pass an identity check to open a bank account. Australia uses the 100-point identification system, which means you’ll need to show a number of forms of ID that, together, add up to 100 points.

Common ID types include a driver’s licence, passport, Australian visa in a foreign passport, and Australian Medicare card. You’ll find out what types of ID are accepted when you go through the sign-up process online or at a branch.

Once your account is open, you’ll be given or sent a debit card that you can use to make purchases and withdraw money from your account.

Can I have a PayPal account without a bank account?

You don’t need a bank account to send or receive money through PayPal. However, you do need a bank account if you want to withdraw money from your PayPal account.

How do you transfer money from PayPal to a bank account?

Transferring money from PayPal to an Australian bank account is simple. Just follow these three steps:

  • Go to your Wallet
  • Click ‘Transfer Money’
  • Follow the instructions

The money will take three to seven business days to reach your bank account.

Once you’ve made the transfer request, it can’t be withdrawn.

How can I close a Commonwealth Bank account?

You can close your Commonwealth Bank account at any branch, provided you have appropriate identification. You can also close your account over the phone, by calling 132 221, 24 hours a day.

Can I close a bank account with pending transactions?

You can close a bank account with pending transactions. But after the account is closed, any incoming transactions will be declined by your (old) bank.

The best way to ensure this doesn’t occur is to either wait to close your account until all pending transactions are complete, or contact the creditor and supply them with alternate bank details.

If you’re unsure whether you have any scheduled transactions, you can speak to a banking representative over the phone or via online support.

In most cases, your bank withholds the amount owing for pending transactions (such as online purchases).

Because the pending amount is deducted from your bank balance, you can close your bank account and the purchase will be honoured.