Travel-friendly money moves for your 2020 adventures

Travel-friendly money moves for your 2020 adventures

There’s no better feeling than travelling to places unknown or relaxing on a tropical beach holiday. But the last thing you want is to come home to unexpected debt from your travel spending.

It’s easy to rack up overseas costs, including foreign ATM fees and currency conversion fees, when you’re living in the moment. However, if you can put in a little time and planning before your trip, you could save big.

There are a few ways to keep overseas costs down, including:

  • Travel money cards

Travel money cards are preloaded with foreign currency before you travel. You can lock in an exchange rate, load multiple currencies onto a single card and avoid some transaction fees, like currency conversion fees.

These can be purchased at Australia Post. Keep an eye on exchange rates in the lead up to your travels so you can try to lock in exchange rates when the Australian dollar is buying the most.

  • Overseas-friendly bank accounts

If you’re not interested in loading your money onto a prepaid card, you could consider opening an overseas-friendly bank account. There are a range of bank accounts in Australia that don’t charge foreign transaction fees.

Bank accounts with no foreign transaction fees:

Bank Account About
ING Orange Everyday Shop online and overseas and you pay no ING international transaction fees, when you deposit $1,000 or more per month and make 5+ card purchases that are settled (not pending) each month.
HSBC Everyday Global Account Buy, hold and spend up to 10 currencies (including AUD). No fees for withdrawing cash overseas and no foreign transaction fees.
Citi Global Currency Account Buy, hold and spend up to 10 currencies (including AUD). Pay $0 Citibank fees for any overseas ATM or in-store transactions when the currency you are withdrawing is the same currency of your account. Where the currency you are withdrawing is different to the currency of your account, a 2.5% ATM foreign exchange fee will apply.
UBank] Ultra No ATM withdrawal and foreign exchange fees overseas or for online purchases with overseas merchants.
Macquarie Bank Transaction Account No international purchase fees when you shop instore or online overseas. No foreign ATM fees. Access to Macquarie Mastercard FX exchange rates. Travel Mode feature available in app.

Note: data accurate as of 17 December

Keep in mind, an ATM may charge you a foreign ATM fee. Ensure you’ve read through the bank account terms and conditions for a breakdown of all fees and costs before applying.

  • Overseas-friendly credit cards

If you prefer to whip out the plastic when in holiday-mode, credit cards that charge zero foreign transaction fees may be better suited to you.

Credit cards with no foreign transaction fees:

Bank Credit card Rate
Westpac Lite Card

9.90%

Bankwest Zero Platinum Mastercard

17.99%

Macquarie Bank Platinum Card

20.70%

Latitude Financial 28 Degrees Global Platinum Mastercard

21.99%

FlexiGroup Skye Mastercard

23.99%

Note: data accurate as of 17 December

When choosing a credit card for your next holiday, consider looking for one that not only doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, but also charges low ongoing and annual fees, or none at all.

Be aware that low fees can result in higher interest rates, which will leave a sting in the tail when you come home from your holiday. RateCity’s database shows the average credit card purchase rate for November 2019 was 17.05 per cent.

You don’t want to go into debt or make higher card repayments when you return. Do your research and look for a credit card which could balance low fees and low rates for your overseas trip.

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Learn more about credit cards

Current Annual Fees

These are the current annual fees on your existing credit card.

Can a pensioner get a credit card?

It is possible to get a credit card as a pensioner. There are some factors to keep in mind, including:

  • Annual income. Look for credit cards with minimum annual income requirements you can meet. 
  • Annual fees. If high fees are a concern for you, opt for a card with a low or $0 annual fee. 
  • Interest rate. Make sure you won’t have any nasty surprises on your credit card bill. Compare cards with a low interest rates to minimise risk.

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. 

How do you cancel a credit card?

It’s important to cancel your old cards to avoid any additional fees. Unless you’re doing a balance transfer, you’ll need to pay the outstanding balance before you cancel your credit card. If you’ve opted for a card with reward points, make sure you redeem or transfer the points before you close your account. To avoid any bounced payments and save yourself an admin headache, redirect all your direct debits to a new card or account. Once you’ve done all the preparation, call your bank or credit card provider to get the cancellation underway. Once you receive a confirmation letter, destroy your card and make sure the numbers aren’t legible.

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.

What to consider before transferring money from your credit card to your bank account in Citibank?

You can transfer money from a Citibank credit card to a bank account depending on the available limit of each. The process is known as a cash advance transaction, and Citibank should allow you to transfer some portion of the total credit limit.

Transferring funds from a credit card to a bank account is likely to attract additional charges, so please consider the following potential costs:

  • A cash advance fee, which is a per cent of the total transfer amount
  • A 2 per cent transaction fee when you transfer money from a Citibank credit card to a bank account
  • Cash advance interest rate applicable on the transfer amount without any interest-free period.

To learn more about such transfers, you can contact the bank via the online service desk, email, or by calling 13 CITI (13 24 84).

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.

Can I transfer money from a credit card to a bank account with HSBC?

With HSBC’s cash transfer function, you can transfer money from a credit card to a bank account. Customers who wish to make cash transfers have to apply through HSBC and are charged interest on the transactions, but no other fees. Under the program, customers can:

  • Borrow between $500 and $15,000, so long at least 20 per cent of the credit limit is still available after the transfer
  • Transfer to any nominated bank account quickly. 


Registered HSBC online banking users can log in to their accounts and select credit cards online from the My Banking tab. They can then complete the form from the Cash Transfer option. On approval, the requested amount is transferred to the nominated bank account within three days.

Customers can also register for the cash transfer program via the Mobile Banking app. Don’t forget to check the interest rate you’ll be charged, both before and after any promotional period.

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.

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.

Can I use PayPal to transfer from a credit card to a bank account?

You can easily link your credit card to your PayPal account. When you need to make a payment, PayPal makes an instant transfer from your bank account, provided you’ve linked and confirmed your credit card details.For credit card holders, you can transfer funds from eligible cards listed in the “Instant” section of the money transfer page.

Here is how you can transfer money from PayPal to your bank account:

  1. On the “My Wallet” tab, select “Transfer Money” and then click on the “Transfer to your bank account” option.
  2. Choose the bank account where you want to transfer the money and click “Continue.”
  3. Enter the amount, review and click “Transfer Now.”
  4. When you confirm the transfer, the amount should be moved to the bank account linked from the chosen credit card.

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.

Which credit card has the highest annual percentage rate?

The credit card market changes all the time, so the credit card with the highest annual percentage rate is also liable to change.

Keep in mind that credit card interest rates are expressed as a yearly rate, or annual percentage rate (APR). A low APR is generally good but also consider:

  • There can be different APR's for each feature of the card (e.g. purchases may have an APR of 14 per cent, while cash advances on same card could have an APR of 17 per cent.
  • Credit cards with a variable rate can change throughout the year, affecting your APR, so check the full details.
  • If you pay your balance in full every month, having the lowest APR is not as important as the other fees associated with the card. However, if you carry a balance from month to month, then you want the lowest APR possible.

How to get a credit card for the first time

A credit card can be a useful financial tool, provided you understand the risks and can meet repayment obligations.

If you’re a credit card first-timer, review your options. Think about what kind of credit card would suit your lifestyle, and compare providers by fees, perks and repayments.

Once you’ve selected a card, it’s time to apply. Credit card applications can generally be completed in store, online or over the phone.

When you apply for a credit card for the first time, you must meet age, residency and income requirements. As proof, you must also provide documentation such as bank account statements.