Travel cash card

Just as you choose your accommodation, activities and travelling partners, you should also give careful consideration to how you take your money when you travel.

Q. Marilyn
Just wondering if you think the Australia Post cash card or the MasterCard travel cash card is best.  We are travelling to the United States and wonder which is the best way to take our money.

A. Good question Marilyn. 

The Australia Post cash card, the Load&Go Travel Card, allows you to hold up to five currencies on the one card and use it anywhere Visa Cards are accepted, including ATMs displaying the Visa logo. The five currencies available are AUD, NZD, USD, GBP and EUR so this would be fine for your purposes.

The Load&Go Travel Card has the ability to lock in the value of the currency before you leave on your holiday. It is easily available, and free, to purchase and reload from any Australia Post outlet. However, if you reload your card via Internet Banking your bank may charge a fee for this, so it is best to check this with your bank before you leave.

Also, it’s worth noting the fees and charges assciated, which you can view at auspost.com.au. You will be charged nine cents for each transaction, not ATM, up to a maximum on 99 cents in any month. Also, ATM operators may charge a fee for using the card which will be deducted from your balance.

And finally, there are plans to impose a weekly withdrawal limit of $250 from 1 November 2013, so this may not be enough for your needs.

Alternatively, the MasterCard Multi-Currency Cash Passport travel money card can be used at over two million MasterCard ATMs worldwide and 35.9 million locations including shops and restaurants that accept MasterCard. You are able to load 10 currencies the card – AUD,USD, EUR, GBP,NZD, THB, CAD, HKD, JPY, SGD which could be more practical if you have a stopover on your way to or from the US.

There is an initial fee of 1.1 per cent of the load or AU$15, whichever is the greater when setting up the card, and charges also apply when you reload the card – one per cent of the reload amount if using BPAY. Again, you may be charged a fee by ATM operators when withdrawing cash.

The market for prepaid travel cards is exploding, with Qantas now also getting in on the act. Qantas Cash enables you to load up to nine different currencies and as with all cards, there are fees involved. If you’re a member of the Qantas Frequent Flyer program, you can earn points for each transaction, which may make this a more attractive option. You can find out more at Qantas Cash.

Lastly, I would suggest contacting your own financial institution and asking which services it can offer. Often you can access your own cash with minimal fees if you use a certain ATM while travelling.

Written by Debbie McTaggart



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