Best currency to buy?

We have some advice for Bryce who wonders which currency is the best to buy when loading an overseas cash card.

Q. Bryce

Do you have any advice about which currency to purchase when loading an overseas cash card?


This is not an easy question to answer Bryce, as it all depends on where you are travelling and what cash card you are using when overseas.

We featured an article in October last year comparing the Australia Post cash card and the MasterCard travel cash card.

The Australia Post card has five currencies available to load:  AUD, NZD, USD, GBP and EUR whereas MasterCard has 10 – AUD, USD, EUR, GBP, NZD, THB, CAD, HKD, JPY, SGD. Other cards on the market such as the Qantas and Velocity cards offer 10 currencies, while CBA’s Travel Money card offers the most currencies at 13.

Where travel cash cards differ is in the fees they charge for initially loading currency and subsequent reloads, with most cards charging anything from one per cent to a $15 cap. Try to be realistic about the amount you are likely to spend and load as much as you are able to begin with.

Be aware also of the ATM fees charged as they can be anywhere from $1.95 to $3.95 in some cases – this can certainly eat into your balance. Another “hidden” cost charged by some cards is an “inactivity” fee whereby, after 12 months of no transactions, a monthly fee will be charged until you start using the card. One way to avoid this is to use your card when online shopping once you get home from your holiday.

Lastly, if you use your card to purchase items in a currency which is not included on your card you will get slugged with a currency conversion fee – three per cent on most cards, but this can be up to nearly six per cent on other cards.

Written by Andrea