Tips on using Travel Money Cards
1. When you’re assessing the fees for each card, make sure you also check the exchange rates they’re offering; if the card you’re interested in has minimal or no fees, but the exchange rate for the currency you require is not competitive then it may not be worth it. Some travel money cards have better exchange rates for certain currencies.
2. Before you leave for your trip, familiarise yourself with how the card works so you’re not juggling being in a new country and learning how to use your card to get money at the same time.
3. For the well-known destinations, travel money cards are a convenient and safe way of carrying your money around. However if you can’t preload the money you want on the card, then it’s best to consider a credit or debit card instead.
4. To minimise the fees you incur, be mindful of how you plan to use your travel money card – this will probably depend on what country you are planning to visit; and also keep in mind how much money you would realistically need.
5. Make sure you’re on top of your spending and know how much money you have on your card. When you reload your card, you don’t get the money straight away – it takes a few days for the money to appear on your card. Also consider public holidays and bank holidays back in Australia when working out when to reload so you’re not caught out.
6. Check the type of currencies you’re able to load onto your card – not all cards support the same currencies.
7. Make sure you only spend the money that you have loaded onto your card, otherwise you’ll be hit hard with the currency conversion fees – don’t get caught out while on a short stopover in a destination where you don’t have the currency for that country loaded!
8. If you’re on a small budget, it may be wiser to use a regular bank issued debit or credit card. The travel card fees and charges may exceed the credit and debit card ATM charges.
9. It’s not advisable to use your travel card for a security deposit. The deposit will be locked on the card so you won’t be able to access the money, and it may take a few days for the funds to be returned.
10. Limit your ATM withdrawals so you don’t get hit with ATM usage charges, withdraw larger amounts of money less often.
11. If you are planning on taking a lot of money with you, it’s probably better to consider a card with a set purchase fee rather than one which charges a percentage of the amount you load.
12. Set up your Default currency order properly before you load or reload the currency you need, so you’re not hit with cross currency conversion charges or exchange rate costs.
13. If you’ve finished your trip and want to keep your travel money card for your next trip in a few months’ time, get around the monthly inactivity fee by just doing a balance enquiry at an ATM each month.
14. Travel money cards can’t be used for over the counter cash withdrawals (like cash out with a purchase), so you can’t get past the ATM usage fees.
15. Following on from the above point, if you have a travel money card from a bank, check if the bank you’re with operates under a different name overseas – you may be able to use those ATMs without being charged a fee.
16. You can use the travel money card in Australia, however, you’ll still be hit with fees and charges and it may end up being just as, or more expensive as using it while overseas.