Five money tips for travelling overseas

Five money tips for travelling overseas

While it is possible to see the world on a shoestring budget, there are several ways that an otherwise perfect overseas holiday can be derailed by money problems, from losing access to your funds, to being charged more than you expected to access your accounts. 

Here are a few simple tips that are worth keeping in mind when planning your next international adventure:

Tell the bank where you’re going

Unless you’re a freewheeling nomad who constantly drifts from one continent to the next, overseas travel requires a bit of planning in advance. One small but important step when organising your overseas travel is to let your bank know the dates you’ll be overseas, and which countries you’ll be visiting.

Usually all it takes is a short and simple phone call – a bit of a hassle to be sure, but one that can make a big difference between being able to make full use of you debit and credit cards, and finding yourself locked out of your own accounts, having to make tricky international phone calls to put things back in order. 

And if your find yourself making spontaneous changes to your travel itinerary – say, popping across a border for the weekend – it may be worth contacting your bank to let them know, just in case. 

Watch out for fees

Using your cards to access your money overseas often involves paying a variety of fees for the privilege. For example, when getting money out from an overseas ATM, you may be charged:

  • A fee from the local ATM provider
  • An ATM withdrawal fee from your own bank
  • A currency conversion fee from your bank
  • An international transaction fee from your bank

This is all in addition to possible finding yourself worse off due to international exchange rates, depending on what country you’re visiting. 

If you expect to be using a lot of cash while overseas, consider using a card with minimal overseas fees and charges, and make your ATM visits strategically, to avoid being charged too many of these fees.

For example, rather than making multiple trips to the ATM and withdrawing small amounts of money as you need it, you could withdraw a large amount of money in one ATM transaction, then split this total up between your travelling companions and/or divide it up between your wallet, pockets, bags and hotel room so there’s always some cash available in case of emergency.

Use local currency

Sometimes when shopping overseas, the shopkeeper will offer to let you pay for your purchases in Australian dollars, rather than the local currency. While this may be a nice concession on their part, and allow you to get a clear idea of exactly how much you’re spending without having to do a bunch of mental calculations, it could end up ultimately costing you more.

This is because the exchange rate used by the retailer may be more expensive than the rate used by your bank and/or credit card provider. Additionally, even though your bank may not be charging you for currency conversion when you pay in Australian dollars while overseas, you may still be charged fees for making international transactions anyway.

Consider the risks of cash versus cards

Every transaction you make, both at home and overseas, carries some degree of risk, where you could lose your money, your financial details, or even your identity. Different payment methods come with different risks, and it’s worth being aware of all of them.

Paying with cash may seem relatively risk-free in a digital age, as only currency is exchanged cash transactions, with little information changing hands.

However, this can come back to bite some travellers, as not only can cash be physically lost or stolen, but cash transactions can be much harder to trace if you find yourself being ripped off – once you lose your cash, you may never get your money back.

Credit cards have different risks, such as card skimming and other scams, which could potentially see thousands of dollars in fraudulent transactions being run up in your name.

That said, most credit card companies use a range of security and encryption measures to protect your transactions, and can provide replacement cards or access to funds if your cards are lost or stolen. Plus, the digital record of your credit card transactions can be helpful when resolving any disputes.

And if the worst happens and you are a victim of fraud, many card providers offer fraud guarantees, where if you diligently report fraudulent transactions in a timely manner, they can be investigated and reimbursed with relatively little fuss. 

One possible third option is the pre-paid travel money card, which can be used similarly to a credit card, but limits you to only spending money you’ve pre-loaded in advance, instead of providing access to credit. While these cards may not offer quite as much flexibility as some other card options, if your travel money card is lost or stolen, only your pre-paid funds should be at risk, rather than your entire credit limit. 

Check if you’re already insured

Did you know that with right credit card, you may not need to organise travel insurance for your trip? Some credit cards (particularly Gold and Platinum-tier cards) offer complimentary access to travel insurance, provided you book your flight and accommodation using the credit card.

Before making any assumptions, it’s important to contact your credit card provider and check exactly what’s required to receive this complimentary travel insurance, and also to confirm what is and isn’t covered, in case there are any areas where you’d like to get some additional insurance. Also, it’s worth checking what excess you’d need to pay for making a claim, and confirm whether any other fees or charges are involved.

Also, keep in mind that some of these cards offer access to other features that could come in handy while travelling overseas, such as 24-hour access to a concierge service that can help you in booking tickets and planning future adventures. 

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Learn more about credit cards

How do I transfer money from my Commonwealth bank credit card to my bank account?

Your Commonwealth bank credit card may include a cash advance benefit, but you won't be able to transfer money to your bank account. 

You can, however, withdraw cash from your credit card at an ATM. You should remember that you have to pay a fee for such transactions, and you’ll be charged interest from the day you withdraw the cash. 

Unlike other credit card transactions, you don’t get an interest-free repayment period for cash advances. Also, you may not be able to access your full credit card limit for a cash advance.

How to get money from a credit card

You can get money from a credit card, but generally it will cost you.

Withdrawing money from a credit card is called a cash advance, as it operates more as a loan than a simple cash withdrawal. Because it is a loan, you may be charged interest on your cash advance as soon as you make the withdrawal. Interest rates are also usually much higher for cash advances than standard credit card purchases.

In addition to the interest rate, you may also be charged a cash advance fee. This could be a flat rate, or a percentage of your total cash advance. If you are considering a cash advance, make sure to add up how much it will cost you before committing.

Can I transfer money from my American Express credit card to my bank account?

If you’re an American Express credit card customer, you may not be able to transfer money from your credit card to your bank account. However, you may be eligible for cash advances, which involves withdrawing money through an ATM. 

To qualify for a cash advance, you’ll likely have to enrol for American Express Membership Rewards. Consider checking your online credit card account to see if you can withdraw a cash advance and, if so, the fees and charges you’ll incur for this transaction. 

You should remember that cash advances are different from balance transfers, which were available with some American Express credit cards earlier. Balance transfers allow customers to consolidate debt from high-interest credit cards to a credit card offering a lower interest rate. If you only recently applied for an American Express credit card, balance transfers may not be available irrespective of the card you own. 

What is a credit card?

A credit card is a payment method which lets you pay for goods and services without using your own money. It’s essentially a short-term loan which lets you borrow the bank’s money to pay for things which you can pay back – potentially with interest – at a later date. Credit cards can also be used to withdraw money from an ATM, which is known as a cash advance. Because you’re borrowing money from a bank, credit cards charge you interest on the money you use (unless you repay the entire debt during the interest-free period). When you apply for a credit card, the bank gives you a credit limit which sets the maximum amount you can borrow using your card. Credit cards are one of the most popular methods of payments and can be a convenient way of paying for goods and services in store, online and all around the globe.

How do you use credit cards?

A credit card can be an easy way to make purchases online, in person or over the phone. When used properly, a credit card can even help you manage your cash flow. But before applying for a credit card, it’s good to know how they work. A credit card is essentially a personal line of credit which lets you buy things and pay for them later. As a card holder, you’ll be given a credit limit and (potentially) charged interest on the money the bank lends you. At the end of each billing period, the bank will send you a statement which shows your outstanding balance and the minimum amount you need to pay back. If you don’t pay back the full balance amount, the bank will begin charging you interest.

How do you use a credit card?

Credit cards are a quick and convenient way to pay for items in store, online or over the phone. You can use a credit card as a cashless way to pay for goods or services, both locally and overseas. You can also use a credit card to make a cash advance, which gives you the flexibility to withdraw cash from your credit card account. Because a credit card uses the bank’s funds instead of your own, you will be charged interest on the money you spend – unless you pay off the entire debt within the interest-free period. If you pay the minimum monthly repayment, you will be charged interest. There are many different credit card options on the market, all offering different interest rates and reward options.

How do credit cards work?

Think of credit cards as a short-term loan where you use the bank’s money to buy something up front and then pay for it later. Unlike a debit card which uses your own money to pay, a credit card essentially borrows the bank’s money to fund the purchase. When you apply for a credit card, the bank assesses your income and assigns you a credit limit based on what you can afford to pay back. At the end of each billing cycle, which is usually monthly, the bank will send you a statement showing the minimum amount you have to pay back, including any interest payable on the balance.

Does Macquarie Bank offer any credit card insurance?

Yes, Macquarie Bank may offer credit card insurance; it just depends on the type of Macquarie Bank credit card you have. There is a range of credit card insurance offers you can benefit from when you take out a Macquarie Bank credit card.

If you have a Macquarie Black or Platinum credit card, you have access to travel insurance for you, your spouse and any dependent children while travelling overseas. Under this travel insurance you receive:

  • Interstate Flight Inconvenience Insurance, which provides cover for meals and clothing, depending on the delay
  • Medical Emergency Expense Cover, which offers you unlimited cover for most medical expenses, and limited cover for dental treatment and emergencies caused by an act of terrorism
  • Baggage, Money and Documents Cover, which is subject to certain sub-limits mentioned in the terms and conditions

As a Macquarie Bank credit cardholder, you could be eligible for Extended Warranty insurance, which provides an extension to the manufacturer’s Australian warranty on certain products. To access this cover, you must have purchased the product using your Macquarie Bank credit card.

Select Macquarie Bank credit cardholders might also be able to take advantage of Rental Vehicle Excess Insurance. This insurance will cover you for any excess or deductibles that you’re liable to pay during the rental period.

Most Macquarie Bank credit cards also come with purchase protection insurance which protects you against fraudulent transactions. You should check the terms and conditions to find out more.

How to get cash with just a credit card number

Banks and merchants usually will not allow you to access cash without a physical card, because doing so would open up opportunities for fraudulent activities. Even most non-cash credit card transactions (such as shopping online) require you to know the expiry date and CVV on your credit card in addition to the card number.

However, some banks offer cardless cash for transaction accounts. Using a secure app installed on your mobile phone, you can log onto an ATM and withdraw the money you need. This could be a practical and secure solution if you don’t have a card and need cash.

Does ING increase credit card limits?

You may want to increase your credit card limit for many reasons, such as having access to more spending money. However, if you are using the Orange One credit card issued by ING, you may not be able to do so. 

ING customers can choose a credit limit of their preference when applying for the Orange One credit card. Depending on your financial situation, this limit can be anywhere between $1,000 and $30,000. If you qualify for a Rewards Platinum card, the minimum credit card limit will likely be $6,000. 

Ideally, you should set your credit card limit knowing how much you can afford to repay each month and keep your expenses lower than this level. With most credit cards, you should have the option of requesting a credit card limit increase at a later time, although you will need to qualify for any increase. With an ING credit card, limit increases are out of the question (at the time this was published), which means you may want to apply for a higher credit card limit from the beginning. Remember that you have the option of decreasing your ING credit card limit at a later time.

How do I file a Virgin Money credit card insurance claim?

To make a claim, you can either call Allianz Global Assist at 1800 072 791 or visit their claims page. If you’re making a claim related to any travel-related complimentary insurance, such as international travel or transit accident insurance, you may need to visit their travel claims website. Again, for filing a claim while travelling overseas, you can call Allianz at +61 7 3305 7499.

Before filing your claim, consider checking which complimentary insurances are available with your Virgin Money credit card. Customers who own a ‘no annual fee’ or ‘low rate’ credit card don’t get these benefits, while some other credit cards only come with guaranteed pricing and transit accident insurance.

Remember that you’ll need to submit proof that your credit card offers the complimentary insurance benefit which you are claiming. You can read the credit card complimentary insurance terms and conditions for details regarding the benefits available on your credit card.

Does Bendigo Bank offer credit card insurance?

No matter which type of Bendigo Bank credit card you own, you may qualify for complimentary purchase protection insurance, extended warranties, and best price guarantee. 

If you are eligible for one or more of these complimentary insurances, you won’t need to activate them separately. Consider checking the coverage limits as well as the terms of purchase to find out if they apply to your purchases. For instance, the annual coverage limit under Bendigo Bank’s purchase protection insurance for one type of credit card is $25,000. However, the coverage limit per item is $5,000, and you may have to pay an excess of $250 every time you file a claim.

Some Bendigo Bank credit card customers may also qualify for mobile device insurance, which covers the accidental damage to or loss of your phone. Again, the coverage limit varies for repairing or replacing your phone,compared to repairing accidental damage to your phone’s screen. Other complimentary insurance offered by Bendigo Bank on some credit cards includes coverage for overseas travel, domestic flight inconvenience, and transit accidents. If you rent a car using an eligible Bendigo Bank credit card, you may be able to get a waiver on the car rental excess as well. 

What does ANZ credit card insurance cover?

ANZ offers complimentary insurance on some of its credit cards, which can provide some protection against unforeseeable incidents, like the theft of your card. Depending on the type of credit card you own, you may be eligible for different insurances. For instance, most ANZ credit card customers may qualify for Purchase Protection Insurance and Extended Warranty Insurance. Customers who own premium credit cards may also be eligible for Guaranteed Pricing, Rental Vehicle Excess, International Travel, and so on.

Consider checking your ANZ credit card insurance features listed in the Insurance Policy Information booklet to know which items are covered. Also, while ANZ issued the credit card, they are not the insurer. For this reason, you may need to send your insurance claims - and get your ANZ credit card insurance refund - to the insurance provider.

What types of NAB credit card insurance are available?

If you hold a NAB Premium, Platinum or Signature credit card or a NAB Platinum Visa Debit card, you could be eligible for the bank’s free travel insurance. You may be covered for overseas travel and interstate flight changes, along with transport accidents, domestic hotel burglary, purchase protection, extended warranty and price protection. 

It’s important to note that the NAB credit card insurance only kicks in after you’ve made an eligible purchase, so you won’t get the credit card insurance benefits if you haven’t used the card.

To make a NAB credit card insurance claim, you can send an email to cardclaims@allianz-assistance.com.au. You can check the eligibility of your claim or make a claim online as well.

If you have a travel incident and need to speak to someone regarding your NAB credit card insurance, contact 24x7 Emergency Assistance on +61 7 3305 7499 (reverse charges may apply). You can also send an email to medical@allianz-assistance.com.au.