As any of you who have travelled outside of Australia know, getting and spending money can be a costly exercise while overseas. Cards have come and gone over the years, but at the time of writing, there really only seem to be a couple of limited options, neither of which will get you any points in a loyalty program.
The best credit card for Australians travelling overseas
Now- if you’re looking to earn airline or loyalty reward points, then as far as I’m aware, it’s not going to happen unless you’re happy to be slugged with fees.
Most cards will charge around 3% (sometimes more) for a ‘currency conversion fee’. So for every $AUD1000 you’re putting on your credit card while out of Australia, you’re effectively giving the bank $30. Bugger that. This also counts for online transactions in foreign currencies.
The 28 Degrees Platinum Mastercard from GE Money is the best choice for overseas and online shopping. There’s no annual fee, and no fees for overseas purchases. They also offer 55 days interest-free, so you can swipe your plastic while holidaying and not have to think about the bill until you get home.
If you’re absolutely dead-set on getting some points on your overseas spend, then the BankWest Platinum card is the best card for you. Although it does have a $AU160 annual fee, it does pay out 0.75 Qantas points per $1 spent. Not as good as most other cards in that bracket of annual fee, but .75 points are better than none. They can sometimes have generous signup bonuses as well, ranging from 8000 – 50000 Qantas points. If you’re a frequent overseas traveller, or buy a lot online in foreign currency, then this is the card for you.
The best debit card for Australians travelling overseas
For withdrawing cash from ATMs while overseas, the Citibank Plus Visa debit card is what you’re after. Simply transfer cash to it before (or during) your holiday, and then withdraw from a multitude of ATMs fee free while travelling overseas.
Most other savings accounts will charge a 3% (or more) conversion fee for withdrawing foreign currency, and some also have added fees for using overseas ATMs. That 3% also goes for Qantas cash and Velocity Global Wallet. From a quick glance, the exchange rates on the airline backed cards aren’t too hot either.