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What Travel Card Is Best For You

What Travel Card Is Best For You

Taking a trip overseas is one hell of a lot of fun. Buying clothes, gear and researching where you might go are some of the most exciting parts of the planning stage. And then there are the more difficult tasks like getting visas, saving money to travel and bidding farewell to the family. Another one of the difficult tasks is working out the best travel card option to get access to your money while overseas.

Some 15 years ago it was all about travellers cheques or hiding the cash in your sock. These days you can get money just like you do at home, from the ATM.

A short note before I get started, my knowledge is only from the Australian market so sorry if this doesn’t relate to you but hey all you travelling Australians be sure to read on.

When researching my trip 3 years ago I looked up the options for how I could get my money out abroad cheaply and in the easiest possible way. The options then looked like the following:

  • Get a travel card
  • Take cash and stuff it in your sock
  • Get XYZ currency before you leave home
  • Take your current Debit/Credit card and use that

Travel Cards

All the big banks offer some form of travel card and here are the links to just a few I found quickly, Nab Travel Card, Commonwealth Bank Travel Money Card & the ANZ Travel Card. You’ll also find a bunch of other providers all offering the same sort of cards as well, there is a big up-sell to get travellers to use these. They sound great right? at least they do until you click the fees page.  You have the card fee, the transaction fee, the currency conversion fee, the inactivity fee…. (seriously they charge you if you don’t use the card). I thought these were cards to make life easier for travellers but in my mind they are all a complete rip off so please don’t get one.

Cash in the Sock Trick

This might be great for a week-long trip to Asia where there are money changers everywhere but if your planning a year-long stay or just a 3 month Europe backpacking trip then I doubt you’d get away with 10k stuffed in there. I tend to leave the country with around 20-30 Australian dollars that I can change at airports etc if need be to buy a drink or something to eat but that’s all.

Even if you did get your money overseas, how paranoid would you be staying at a hostel with that kind of money on you?

Get XYZ Currency Before You Leave

With this I’m talking about doing basically the same as above but converting it to Euros, Pounds, American Dollars etc before you leave home. Again great idea for a few days but long-term travel it’s hardly possible. You also stand to lose money if the exchange rate changes dramatically while away. Sure it may never be a big change but hey every dollar counts when on a budget.

Take Your Debit/Credit Card With You

This is one of the options I use all the time. It’s convenient as I can login to my online banking and easily see how much money is in my account. I’ve got the security of my bank that I know to look after me and to be honest the currency conversion fees and so on are far less than that I’d pay with a travel card.

While I can only speak for the parts of the world I’ve used my card (Europe/America) I’ve never once had a problem with it. One great tip for going down this route is you can add parents/friends you trust as authorised representatives on your account so if a card is stolen you can quickly call them to cancel your card. This saves you dealing with calling a bank overseas which can cut your stress levels after having had a card stolen or lost.

Bonus Option

28 Degrees Travel CardThere is of course always a bonus option for those with a good credit record and are willing to signup for a new credit card. In all my research the only card that comes close to what I’d call a real travel card is the 28 Degrees Mastercard (previously known as the Wizard Clear Advantage Mastercard). It charges no fees, no currency conversions fees or withdrawal fees at all.

For travellers serious about making the most of their money this is the card for you.

The best way to use this card is to preload the card with some of your travel funds before heading off to travel. You then use this for all ATM withdrawals and purchases. With the card in credit you’ll not pay any interest if you forget to top it up unlike using it like a credit card that you pay off each month.

How Do I Do It?

For complete security while I’m travelling I use two of the above options. Mainly because if one card gets stolen or lost I want to have a backup solution. Thus I travel with my 28 Degrees Mastercard and my Visa/Mastercard from my bank at home.

The 28 Degrees card gets used for all of my day-to-day needs and I use my local bank cards for big purchases that I have linked to my frequent flyer account. Given all the travel I do its worth getting a little reward with little things like these so the small extra fees are worth it.

How do you get access to your money abroad? Love to hear if you have another option or if your from another country what you use.

Photo Credit : redspotted

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54 Responses to What Travel Card Is Best For You

  1. BRIAN May 20, 2013 at 8:55 PM #

    We have specific cards and accounts that we use for international travel. Our basic no-fee Capital One Cash Reward credit card pays us 1% back on all purchases and, most importantly, doesn’t charge for foreign currency transactions. We also have a Capital One Direct Savings account and ATM card that we use specifically for travel. We only keep our travel money in that account so the rest of our finances are never exposed. For longer trips we’ll even pre-arrange periodic transfers into that account based on our expected travel budget. That way we don’t need to have six months living expenses sitting in our travel account.

    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD May 20, 2013 at 8:58 PM #

      Brian thanks for that info. What country does that apply to? Good tip re having all your travel money on the card. I tend to transfer a month or two across onto my fee-free card so that if it does get taken the thief doesn’t take all my travel funds.

  2. ANDI OF MY BEAUTIFUL ADVENTURES May 20, 2013 at 10:22 PM #

    Great tips mate! :)

  3. ALEX May 22, 2013 at 11:59 AM #

    Thanks for this great info! The 28 degrees MasterCard sounds fantastic if it doesn’t charge any fees. Have you looked at the multi currency cash passport you can get from Australia Post? I think you get charged one fee per transaction but less than the cards from the bank (I suppose the advantage is you can lock in exchange rates). Not sure what’s happening with the dollar so the MasterCard might be the way to go! Cheers Alex

    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD May 22, 2013 at 12:06 PM #

      Hi Alex, I’ve not taken a good look at the Aus Post card but did know there were fees involved which I can guarantee (providing you keep credit on the card) won’t be a problem with the 28 Degrees card.

      I’m not a big fan of locking in currency either. During my trip to Europe a little while back the dollar wasn’t great verses the euro and then mid way during my trip it improved a fair amount giving me an increase (although small) in what I’d get for my money.

      It’s difficult to decide what is going to be the perfect solution but I think if you can get a card with no fees thats a better start. I’ve also dealt with their support via twitter and via phone quite easily as well if it helps.

    • JOHN October 7, 2013 at 6:10 AM #

      Hi Everyone,

      I’ve just received notice from GE 28 degrees MasterCard that they will now be charging 3% or $4.00, whichever is the greater, on ALL cash advances, even if the card is in credit with your own money. Maybe this card doesn’t look all that attractive now.
      Regards,

      John

      • THE AUSSIE NOMAD October 7, 2013 at 9:41 AM #

        Thanks for the update John. I’ve not seen any notices on my end but will keep an eye out as it would have some impact for people travelling with this card.

        • EMMA October 29, 2013 at 8:43 AM #

          What John is saying is true. If you go to the 28 degrees website, the new fare rules for cash advances (or any cash transactions) will be charged at 3% of the value or $4 per transaction (whichever is greater) as of January 1st, 2014.

          I very happily used my 28 degrees card for a recent 2 month trip of the US and UK. Sad that I won’t be able to use it in the same way for Europe next year. Still, it’s the perfect card for everyday travel shopping/accommodation/restaurant transactions and the cash advance is still quite competitive against using your regular bank account or other travel money cards.

          If you only withdraw cash sparingly, then it still works out a bargain.

  4. ALEX May 22, 2013 at 1:26 PM #

    Awesome thanks!

  5. KADES May 23, 2013 at 5:36 AM #

    Good advice. I am leaving for Europe in 7 weeks (for 7 months) and have been looking into my fund management options as well. Here is some additional info based on what I have opted to do, to compliment yours ;)

    Firstly, I agree that travel cards are crap, not only do they have all the mentioned fee’s, but the banks sell/buy exchange rates for these cards are not very good (even though they are fixed – which may be beneficial depending on economic change). This is especially bad in the case where you may have a large amount of foreign currency (e.g. Euros) left over at the end of your trip and need to exchange it back to Aus dollars, as the banks ‘buying’ exchange rates are quite high (this is bad).

    Here is what I have chosen to do instead:

    1. I have set up a new fee-free (skeptical yes?) transaction account in through Citibank specifically for my travels (I have primary accounts with a different bank in Aus), which comes with a Visa Debit card (Named: Citibank Plus Transaction Account). I will transfer my funds from my current bank to my Citibank Plus account before I leave.

    The account has absolutely no fee’s. No account startup/closure fee’s, no foreign transaction fee’s, no ATM withdrawal fee’s (apart from ATM operator fee’s if any – can’t help this). As a bonus, Citibank offer free bottles of wine at selected overseas restaurants :P (there’s probably only like…1, I don’t know)

    I will use this as my primary account for transactions and ATM withdrawals.

    2. As backup and for mainly EFTPOS purchases only, I have also got myself a 28 Degrees MasterCard credit card as you have dsicussed. As specified, the card is completely fee-free and I have read many reviews of people confirming this and how great the card is (as well as great customer support while overseas). I will never withdraw from an ATM when using the banks credit (cash advance) as the interest free period will not apply to this and I will lose money quickly. To avoid this, I understand the point of pre-loading the card with your own funds, but must add that people should take caution when opting to do this, as 28 Degrees (GE Money) will not insure you for funds spent on a stolen card or via a fraudulent transaction. They will only cover you for money spent from the credit they provide. Thus, losing the card with pre-loaded funds of your own could be disastrous if you load too much. Obviously, this would be ideal if you load small amounts at a time and are willing to risk it.

    3. I am undecided yet, but I may also bring a my Aus bank rewards credit card as a last resort. Even though I will cop all the fee’s, it provides some peace of mind knowing I will be getting frequent flyer points!

    Hope this information helps!

    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD May 23, 2013 at 12:39 PM #

      Kades, thanks for the really detailed comment. I’ve heard about the Citibank offering but not had the chance to use it and when I left I don’t believe it was available.

      Given its a bank you’d assume there are better advantages to it over the credit card arrangement and I also agree about only swapping over money as needed but it for that card or the 28 degrees card.

      Would love to know how it all works out for you down the road.

  6. JARYD @ AUS GLOBETROTTER May 23, 2013 at 8:09 AM #

    Spot on! When I set off like you a few years ago my best option was to get the commonwealth bank travel money card. It charged me excessively to withdraw in countries that I couldn’t pre-load their currencies on which was crap but my only choice at the time. I started to use my MasterCard instead which wasn’t as hefty until I found out about the 28 DEGREES card and how much of an awesome deal it it is. If you anyone is going overseas this is what you need and it’s only a matter of time until another competitor comes up with another one. Great post, cheers

    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD May 23, 2013 at 12:41 PM #

      Jaryd great to hear your feedback on the travel money card from the commonwealth and the 28 degrees card as well. I avoided travel cards from the beginning for all the reasons you mentioned.

  7. CARLO CRETARO June 2, 2013 at 5:39 PM #

    Good information. For us Irish, we dont really have as many options regarding credit cards. Plus, we certainly don’t get any decent rates while abroad travelling.

    Thanks for the info dude.

    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD June 2, 2013 at 5:53 PM #

      Hi Carlo, that’s unfortunate about the travel cards in Ireland. It’s always a bit of a challenge to find something that’s going to work, even in OZ there is only one or two real options to avoid fees and so on.

  8. JUSTIN June 7, 2013 at 1:32 AM #

    Hey Aussie Nomad,

    Thanks for all the info. It’s very enlightening. My brother and I are heading off to Europe (Germany, France, Switzerland and Italy) for 2 months in August.
    This has, however, been my biggest dilemma to this point. Which is the best card option?
    It sounds like the 28 degrees card is a good option, but is there any way to keep account of what your credit balance is before you use the mastercards ‘credit’ services? Also, can you use this card to withdraw cash from ATM’s? My concern is the dropping AUD value to the EUR. If you only get the current exchange rate (determined by MasterCard) then that value could be less then the current rate…. Then am i getting less for my dollar?

    My other options is the Multi-Currency Cash Passport listed here:

    http://www.cashpassport.com/1/en/au1/multi-currency/About-Cash-Passport/Fees-Limits/

    As far as i can tell there is not ATM or withdrawal fees and no card start-up fee (however, you are charged 1.1% of whatever you initially load on to the card and 1% for every further cash loaded on).
    Sounds okay considering i can lock in the current exchange rate esp considering the recent decline in AUD-EUR value. No one can predict the future, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it drops even further…. However, i do see the downside of it if you have $$$ left over and you won’t get too much back from the balance….
    What are you thoughts considering the current dollar value?

    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD June 7, 2013 at 9:21 AM #

      Hi Justin, the 28 degrees card works just like a normal credit card would. You can check your balance online via their website and getting money out in Europe generally does’t give you options for cheque, savings etc it just comes off whatever is in there.

      You are stuck with just getting whatever rate the card offers at the time but considering your saving on the fees most other cards charge in my opinion it normally works out fairly well on par as the other standard credit cards do the same and charge a fee.

      I wouldn’t worry to much about dropping aussie dollar to be honest. By all means evaluate it when your trip comes but take for example 1 AUD at the moment is worth 0.72 euro cents. When I travelled 3 years ago it equalled around 0.66/0.68 euro cents. The margin for change generally isn’t that much so the additional fees associated with putting money on the card and getting it off would quickly eat up any saving you had from locking in a fee.

      Just my thoughts.

  9. ANDREW June 24, 2013 at 9:27 AM #

    I use Citibank plus visa debit card , its fantastic and its cheaper than any of the travel cards and a hell of alot safer than loading your own cash on a 28 degrees card. I have used my card in Thailand , Malaysia , Singapore and Indonesia with great success.

  10. MARY August 15, 2013 at 5:40 PM #

    I wish I’d found this website before my last trip to Europe last week! Just to show the extent of the ripoff of the nabtravelcard. I only went for a week and took a NAB traveller card into which I loaded $2110 Australian dollars (as euros, giving me only 1270.23 euros in my bank. however the direct conversion app on xe currency showed it should have been 1441 euros had there been no fees.) Starting on 3 August and returning 12 August I spent only 982 euros, leaving me with a theoretical balance of 459 euros.( around $A669). I actually have 322 euros left or approx $A469 ( before I try to convert it back at further exorbitant rates). So far I lost approx $A200 in 1 week in $2110 close to 10% on a very modest spend! I recognise that there are currency fluctuations involved – but someone just made a packet out of me – and I will NEVER be sucked in again by the bank travel cards – massive ripoffs – plus the NAB card is a nightmare to use online overseas – information on your balance and spend is very difficult to compute (I wonder why???) . Will follow your advice next time!!! Poorer but wiser!!!!

    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD August 15, 2013 at 5:49 PM #

      Mary thanks for the feedback on the travel card you used. You are right there will be some movement in currencies also the banks never give you the rate you see listed with xe and similar either.

      But wow to miss out on that much money and deal with all the troubles using it online just makes them an even worse idea. I’ve not used the citibank option others have listed here but can confirm the 28 degrees card is easy to transfer money and use online.

  11. AKI September 5, 2013 at 3:58 PM #

    Thanks to all of you above, and another whirlpool forum on this topic (which exalted similar stuff about 28 Degrees and the Citibank Pus Account for its Visa Debit Card).
    I am going from Sydney to Brazil, Germany then the Middle East/South Asia, in Oct 2013 for more than 2 months, on a holiday of a lifetime. Main security concerns are potentially Brazil and South Asia.
    I applied for and received very promptly the 28 Degrees card recently. And thanks to such forums, today i have made an online application for the Citibank Plus Account for its Visa Debit Card, the process for which was fairly easy. I might also carry my main Aussie bank’s credit card as 3rd back up!!
    I better carry a money belt as well, to carry one of the back up cards, or better still to keep it/them in a locker at a ‘reliable’ hotel in Brazil and other locations. Loading (top ups) small amounts was a good hint.
    These forums are amazing! Thanks heaps to all for their valuable input.

    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD September 5, 2013 at 8:30 PM #

      Hi Aki good luck with the cards. When I travelled I kept one card on me and one locked in the safe in my hostel at all times just in case I lost one while out and about. There’s always the chance something bad could happen but as long as you are careful and take precautions I’m sure your adventure abroad will be a safe one.

  12. MATHEW September 21, 2013 at 3:37 PM #

    Hi Nomad travel guy,

    Cool website man I pretty much was coming to the conclusion with my upcoming trip that these two cards are the way to go, definately happy for the confirmation. One question though in regards to overseas atm’s how much do they usually charge on their own? Are there certain atm brands in asia or europe that you would avoid? I have a bunch of other questions as I am leaving my life behind and intend on travelling for a few years and my travel experience is not great, but I’ll probably ask another time.

    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD September 21, 2013 at 3:55 PM #

      Hi Mathew, most ATM’s (at least in Europe/UK) have places that say the ATM won’t charge anything and then you are only left with any fees your bank card provider will charge. Using the 28 Degrees card this means no fees at all.

      Also many of the ATM’s will tell you what they are going to charge if there is a fee from them. Most of the time I’ve only seen it be 1-2 euros/pounds. I can’t help you with Asia but in Europe you are generally safe everywhere in my opinion. I normally opted to use ATM’s near banks etc anyway just to be sure.

  13. SANDY PATRICK September 30, 2013 at 7:37 AM #

    Thanks for your info, very informative site. My 15 yr old daughter is heading to USA for a months in december, with her Aunty. I am worried how she should carry money..travel cards sound shocking but unsure of any alternative. Guessing she is too young to qualify for a credit card to use overseas.
    Any ideas or thoughts greatly appreciated.

    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD September 30, 2013 at 11:49 AM #

      Hi Sandy, I’d say she would be to young for a travel card yes. I’d maybe look at the Citibank Plus Account as it provides a visa debit which might fit for her age but you’d need to check with the bank to be sure.

  14. AKI September 30, 2013 at 1:05 PM #

    Hi Sandy and Nomad, just my thoughts for Sandy’s daughter. Yes, it is worth trying the Citibank Plus Debit card but its unlikely they would give it to a 15 year old.
    Better to try a supplementary card from one of them 2 Travel Money Card companies. I am fairly sure that 28 Degrees allows this. So Sandy, ask 28 Degrees this asap, if they say yes, then get a card for yourself, and apply for a supplementary card for your daughter. Or if Citibank allow this as well, then presto, you have a choice!
    What do you think of that, Nomad?
    Btw, i got them 2 cards recently, 28 Degrees as well as the Citibank Visa Debit Card (from Citibank Plus Account), and as per advise from this site (or was it Whirlpool forum, can’t remember exactly), have used it to make sure they work prior to my long holiday in mid Oct 2013 across 3 other continents, South America, USA, Europe, Dubai (UAE) and the Indian subcontinent. Let you know how i go with the 2 travel money cards.

    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD September 30, 2013 at 4:21 PM #

      Aki that’s great advice and not something I’d thought of re getting a supplemental card. That should hopefully solve all the problems with you being the account holder.

      And yes always make sure you use the cards before you go to clear any potential problems and of course notify the banks you intend to use them abroad to that there are no nasty surprised when you go to buy something.

      • SANDY PATRCK October 1, 2013 at 2:30 AM #

        Thank you AKI and Aussie Nomad for your quick response and ideas. I got straight on the phone to 28 degrees, supplementary card holder has to be 16 yrs old. Citibank has to be 18 yrs old so unfortunately no go. I may have to go with a travel money card like CBA but am worried about the problems and bad rap these cards get. Any other ideas would be greatly appreciated.

        • THE AUSSIE NOMAD October 1, 2013 at 11:23 AM #

          You can’t give the money to her auntie can you and have her withdraw it as needed? Otherwise I think you are left with getting a travel card I’m afraid.

  15. SANDY PATRCK October 4, 2013 at 3:06 AM #

    Hi Nomad, just wondering why my last post regarding the travel cards has no appeared on here so
    AKI could see the outcome. In an email a reply from you shows up but none of that is on this website? Thanks

  16. SANDY PATRCK October 4, 2013 at 3:08 AM #

    Hi Nomad, My last post hasnt appreared here yet? I would have liked Aki to see outcome of his suggestions. In an email I received a note from you but it doesnt appear here? Thanks

  17. SANDY PATRCK October 4, 2013 at 3:10 AM #

    Sorry Nomad, a glitch happening here. As soon as I posted comment, the others appeared that I could not see on here 5 minutes ago? Sorry about that. Keep up the great work :)

  18. AKI October 4, 2013 at 8:31 AM #

    Hi Sandy, and Nomad.
    Yes, i saw your msg Sandy. Ta.
    I second Nomad’s idea to see if giving money to Auntie directly or in her bank account she could draw on overseas is worthwhile. If Auntie is trustworthy enough, lol. However, after 1 year the daughter would be eligible to get her supplementary card. If you would like any more advise, feel free to contact me on 0409914984.
    Going overseas for over 2 months, like i am after 2 weeks, is a huge thing, so much to take care of. An experience. I am almost there.
    Best wishes.

  19. AKI October 8, 2013 at 4:45 AM #

    Dear John and Nomad. Thanks John for alerting us about the news that 28 Degrees would be charging fees. I have not received any communication from them yet.
    I rang them today to inquire about that. This is what i was told. There will be a charge on cash withdrawals from Australian and overseas ATMs of 4% or 3% whichever is the greater amount, effective from Jan 1, 2014. There is still no change to transactions which is nil fees. They are letting customers know, apparently. Must be by slow mail.
    Nomad, this makes this card much less attractive, doesn’t it?! I might ditch it after returning from overseas in Jan 2014. Nil fees only on transactions does not cut it for me. What do you think?
    Just as well i got the Citibank Visa Debit Card for the future, thanks to such forums. .

    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD October 8, 2013 at 11:02 AM #

      Aki the changes they are making does impact on the use of the card for a few people yes. While its still great for making purchases and so forth, if you want to use it as a cash withdrawal card as well its not going to work.

      I’ll be making an update to the post as soon as I have all the details from them so that everybody can be well informed.

  20. MATT October 18, 2013 at 10:20 PM #

    I really can’t find a subsitute for the 28 degrees, does anyone else have a recommendation?

    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD October 19, 2013 at 5:20 PM #

      Hi Matt I think the only alternative is the Citibank Plus account you can get. It does require putting your money into there but could be a good solution. It seems all the good options are going away first it was the NAB Gold Account now the 28 degrees card is only good for purchases.

      I’ll update the post as soon as I find an alternative.

  21. DAMIEN October 21, 2013 at 10:33 PM #

    The following is directly from the 28 Degrees website – still worth a look

    Cash Advance Fee There are currently no fees for cash advances on your 28 Degrees MasterCard but you may be charged an ATM owner fee. You can avoid this in Australia by using Westpac ATMs. Please note: As of January 1, 2014, a cash advance fee of 3% of the cash advance or $4 (whichever is greater) will be charged to the account on each occasion on which you obtain a cash advance or make a cash equivalent transaction (except that if the cash advance is made by a direct transfer to a bank account nominated by you, this fee will not exceed $30 for that transaction).

  22. SUEB November 1, 2013 at 1:04 AM #

    Hi all,I am heading off to Scotland for four weeks . Am I better to use the Citi Bank Plus Transaction acct or 28 Degrees or Nab Visa Debit?.All the accomodation is prepaid so will only need money for trips,shopping and food

    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD November 1, 2013 at 10:58 AM #

      Hi Sue, I think for a 4 week trip the 28 Degrees card will still be best. You will still avoid fees by buying things on the card so shopping, food etc, its only if you wish to get a cash advance against the card that it becomes a problem and you’ll have to pay a fee from the new year.

  23. AKI November 4, 2013 at 10:39 PM #

    Hi Sue & Nomad.
    Just a point to answer Sue’s query; very relevant to travellers!
    I am from Sydney, and just finished visiting Brazil (the Amazon, which was amazing), and currently in Berlin, Germany; later heading to USA via Dubai.
    I have used both the 28 Degrees and Citibank Visa Debit Card in Oz before I left to make sure they both worked as well as after I left for transactions as well as withdrawing cash. At Brazil in one ATM, the 28 Degrees card did not work, that was weird and disappointing although i wondered whether I pressed the wrong button to answer to choose between the options of Savings/Cheque/Credit Card account. From memory, the Savings option did not work, but Credit Card option did at the 2nd time I went to visit the ATM. But it was really reassuring to have had (& used) the other card I had – Citibank Visa Debit Card after the 28 Degrees did not work the 1st time.
    This is my main msg – consider having a back up card. Not only for the above reason, but others as well; like losing one card, etc.
    it’s a shame 28 Degrees has decided to apply the fee on cash advances from next year. It will become much less attractive/useful just to be used for transactions to save on the fee for cash advances.

    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD November 5, 2013 at 1:50 PM #

      Aki, that is a great tip and one I think everybody should take note of. While I traveled with my 28 Degrees card I also had my NAB credit cards and at the time the Gold Card which offered no fees for getting money out as well. I always left one card locked in a safe where i was staying and took the other with me just in case it was stolen etc.

  24. SEB November 27, 2013 at 12:50 PM #

    Hi Everyone,

    I’d just like to thank everyone for taking the time to comment and give their thoughts, it has really helped me a lot since i am going overseas to central/south america next year for about 10months. to summarise everything?

    1. use Citibank Plus to withdraw money from ATMs (cash advance) as there is No account startup/closure fee’s, no foreign transaction fee’s, no ATM withdrawal fee’s (apart from the ATM fee, if any)

    2. Use a 28 degrees Mastercard for purchasing at stores, restaurants , groceries etc as there is no conversion fee and you are not charged for this, as long as you have a little bit of credit on the card as to not be charged for this.

    3. Possibly take your general credit/debit card you use everyday in AUS.

    4. Have 2 copies of the citibank card and the 28 degrees card, 1 for going out and the other in a safe location

    I hope that is all correct, but feel free to correct me if im wrong.

    also: can you just use the citibank card for groceries, stores, restaurants etc without being charged?

    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD November 30, 2013 at 8:40 PM #

      Hi Seb, what you have written is pretty much spot on. The 28 Degrees card used to be great for everything but now with the advent of cash advance fees etc its lost a little of its charm. It can still be used to pay for things via eftpos/credit just not for getting cash out of the wall. You also don’t need to have money on it but it helps to save you from forgetting to pay it off and get charged interest.

      From what I’ve seen of the citibank card you can use that for everything the 28 degrees card (except as a credit card) does now. Only its not a credit card so you need the money in the bank to buy for something. Thus having both still makes travel sense but you could as you say just use the citibank card.

      Hope that clears it up for you.

      • SEB December 2, 2013 at 11:07 AM #

        Thank you so much, you have been a great help!!

  25. BRENNAN December 6, 2013 at 11:39 PM #

    Legends!

    Thanks for helping my research. Traveling in December/January so get hit with the 28 degrees fees pretty much a week into travels. City bank for cash out, 28 degrees for general purchases.

  26. LSW December 10, 2013 at 1:47 AM #

    Hi. Do you know if there is a card that will allow me to load USD that I have at home without converting it back to AUD and then again into USD? It seems like such a simple concept yet I can’t find a solution. Thanks.

    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD December 10, 2013 at 11:05 PM #

      Hi LSW, so if I have this right you have USD that you want to load onto a card directly as USD and not going via AUD in the process? I’ve honestly never looked into that before but I’d ask the bank directly if you haven’t already.

  27. MELISSA December 13, 2013 at 3:24 AM #

    I am about to move over to the UK next year, and am trying to transfer a large amount of savings overseas before the exchange rate drops even further! I have found a company called ‘transferz’ which apparently offer no fees for international transfers, and can lock in the exchange rate whenever you like without having a UK bank account set up yet. Have you heard of this organisation at all? It sounds a little too good to be true…however they are affiliated with “ozforex” which I’ve heard is a reputable company.
    We are planning on traveling around Asia and then to Ireland before the UK too, so will probably need to get a travel card for this part of the trip also. I would love to hear your thoughts! Thank you for the informative website.
    Melissa

    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD December 13, 2013 at 5:04 AM #

      Hi Melissa, with anything to do with money I’ve be extremely careful. If you want to do something for the UK look into HSBC. They are a global bank and popular in the UK so believe they can help you get an account setup in the UK before you leave Australia.

      Otherwise look at the Citibank card people are talking about. Lets you take your money out without extra fees and as for the exchange rate well I don’t see it dropping much more but I guess you never know.

  28. AGGIE February 25, 2014 at 5:03 PM #

    My son had a travel card from CBA and he first used it at the hotel (day 1) and the hotel refused to take it as it wasn’t the card used to pre book but they made an error ( how I don’t know) by swiping it and taking out 500.00USD. Okay they apologised and said it had been refunded. It should be in his account in a couple of days. 10 days later he hasn’t been able to spend that money as it is still not credited to his account. Rang the hotel up and they claimed it was our bank that was the issue. Ring them up! He decided to wait another few days , just in case. 2 days before we flew out he rang CBA and found out that even though the error was made by the hotel, he needed to fax the bank of the transaction etc to release his funds! Fax? While on a road trip in a foreign country? Two weeks after he got home he was finally credited the amount. What a joke!
    We use our Visa and MC extensively while abroad. Even though we lost a wallet on the Qantas fight recently and had to cancel all the cards that were in that wallet.

    Tip here would be not to put all your credit / debit cards in the same place. Does any one know how to get a replacement Qld (in this case) drivers licence while abroad with out having to go home? It was lost with the wallet :(
    Happy travelling …

  29. CB February 26, 2014 at 4:14 AM #

    Many excellent (and spot on) suggestions here. In particular the one to steer well clear of all the various travel cards – unless of course you really do want to make a serious contribution to their owners bottom line.

    Been a satisfied 28D cardholder for many years and – like most – was horrified at the fee change this year. I’ve kept the card but now only use it as a credit card, both O/S and for online purchases. I now also have a Citibank Visa Plus Debit Card for ATM withdrawals. The application process is a little tedious so allow 3-4 weeks to get it done. I use this account purely for travelling, transferring money in a few days before departure and transferring the remaining balance out on return. I trialled this arrangement on a recent South African trip and it worked brilliantly.

    Some other general suggestions:

    1. Apply for a supplementary card (be it 28D or Citbank Visa Debit) if not travelling alone. This gives an extra level of backup if one card is lost.

    2. Always let 28D or Citbank know (via their customer service call centre) your intended travel destinations. This saves some potentially very awkward situations if a card is blocked or a transaction is declined.

    3. Consider setting up a direct debit to pay off the 28D balance in full each month. This saves a lot of hassles, particularly if you’re O/S for an extended period.

    4. Always take a standard credit card as a backup but only use it in a genuine emergency.

  30. FRASER March 23, 2014 at 9:41 AM #

    This post has been an immense help in planing for my next big trip, always used the commonwealth travel card but found i was getting stung with fees, thinking the Citibank Visa Plus Debit Card is the way to go!

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