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

Do you need a bank account to get a credit card?

To get a credit card, you need to show proof of income, which will almost certainly require you to have a bank account.

Do you need a bank account to sell on eBay?

You don’t need a bank account to sell on eBay. But if you don’t have a bank account, you must provide either a credit card or debit card.

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.

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 foreigners open bank accounts in Australia?

Many Australian lenders allow foreigners to open bank accounts in Australia. Often, this can be done before you arrive in the country – with no Australian address required. When you get to Australia, you can pick up your debit card, using your passport as identification.

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.

Can foreigners open bank account in Australia?

If you’re migrating, studying or working in Australia, you’ll be pleased to know that you can open an Australian bank account. For the most part, opening a bank account in Australia is a simple process which starts by comparing the types of bank accounts foreigners can open in Australia.

Once you’ve found a bank account that suits your needs, you can start the application process.

When you apply for the account, you’ll need to provide proof of ID which may include your passport, overseas ID or credit card. You may also need to provide a copy of your visa and proof of address in Australia.

Depending on the bank and the type of account you choose, you may be able to apply for the account online or over the phone before you arrive in Australia.

What do I need to open bank accounts online?

Opening a bank account online is a simple process and only takes between five to 10 minutes to complete. To get started you will need a computer or smartphone with internet access.

Information to have available when you’re ready to apply is:

  • Identification (such as driver’s licence, birth certificate, passport, proof-of-age card)
  • Tax file number
  • Residential address, email and a contact number

In some cases, you might be asked to provide employment details. If you’re not able to verify your identity online, most financial institutions let you provide this in the branch at a later date.

There are some types of bank account that you can apply for only in a branch. However, most bank accounts can be applied for conveniently online.

Can the government take your money from your bank account?

There are some instances when the government can take money from your bank account. This generally occurs in situations where you have an outstanding government debt.

Before it can take money from your bank account, the government authority owed money would first need to issue a garnishee notice. 

A garnishee notice is issued by the government agency (such as Centrelink or the ATO) to a third party that holds money for you or owes you money.

To take money from your bank account, your bank would be issued with the garnishee notice requiring it to pay ‘your money’ to the requesting agency to satisfy the debt.

How long does it take to open a bank account?

The length of time it takes to open a bank account varies, depending on whether you want to open it online or in person.


Most banks and credit unions have simple online applications that usually take no more than 10 minutes to fill out. It can be especially fast if you have your identification documents like your driver’s licence and passport handy. Sometimes you will instantly be approved and the bank account opened. However, depending on the financial institution, it may take a day or so to be processed and your account number issued. Your account information and ATM or debit card will then be mailed to you, which usually takes between five to 10 days.

In person

If you decide to go into a branch or office to open a bank account, it may take about half an hour. Make sure you bring your identification documents with you. Also book an appointment if you can, otherwise you might be forced to wait in line. Sometimes your ATM or debit card will be issued on the spot, otherwise you’ll need to wait for one to arrive by mail, which usually takes between five to 10 days.

Can you deposit money into somebody else's bank account?

One of the easiest banking tasks in the world is depositing money. You can even deposit money into someone else’s bank account if you wish.

The basic information you need to deposit money into a third-party bank account is:

  • Payee’s name
  • Bank, building society or credit union (though this isn’t necessary)
  • BSB (or bank code, which is the branch identifier)
  • Account number

Including the name of the financial institution isn’t necessary – particularly with online banking – because the BSB will identify this for you.

A handy tip is to record yourself (or add a personal message) in the transaction description or reference. This will show up on the recipients account, letting them know who’s paid them the money.

How to transfer money to another bank account

Transferring money to another bank is often called a bank transfer, and it can be done a few different ways.

Customers generally need three pieces of information to transfer money to another bank account. Customers need the account name, BSB and account number of the account they wish to transfer money to.

One way of transferring money to another bank account is in a branch with the help of a staff member; they will often give you a receipt as well as confirmation of the transfer.

Transfers can be also made via internet banking and phone banking.

Some banks also allow customers to make transfers via partnered ATMs, especially if the account is with the same bank.

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.