Making the most of your international adventure starts with a clear understanding of how your travel money card works. That way, you’ll hit the ground running and spend more time sightseeing rather than wrestling with money hassles.
Advantages of a travel money card
- Your travel funds are locked into the foreign exchange rate of the country you plan to visit on the day you pick up the card. So if the exchange rates take a dive while you’re on holidays, you won’t suffer a loss of funds.
- A variety of currencies (such as USD, EUR, GBP, AUD etc.) can be added to your account but you can also make purchases in a different currency and have your funds converted on the fly. This opens up your spending options.
- Your travel card can be used for most standard debit transactions, either online or in store.
- There’s no need to carry around copious amounts of cash or out-dated travellers cheques.
- Withdrawing money is painless at a large number of ATMs across the globe.
- You can keep track of the money left on your card through internet banking.
- If you need a top-up, transfer funds online from your bank.
- Most travel cards come in pairs so you can keep one in your wallet and the other in the safe at your hotel.
- A travel card is not connected to your transaction account so, in the event of skimming or theft, potential losses are restricted.
Disadvantages of a travel money card
- Locking your funds into a certain currency means you miss out in the event of the Aussie exchange rate suddenly spiking.
- A card from your own bank may prove cheaper if you compare your bank’s wholesale exchange rate to the travel money card company’s exchange rate.
- You will be charged a currency conversion fee if you spend in a currency other than what is on the card.
- Travel money cards will not be accepted by a vendor who only deals in cash transactions.
- ATM charges vary across the world and you will be charged for use by ATM network provider.
- Internet banking is not always “real-time” so you could accidently spend over your budget if you’re not careful.
- Cards reloaded by BPAY can take up to 2-3 days for the funds to be credited.
- Some cards charge a fee to refund the unused money after you return home.
- If the card is inactive for 12 months, you may pay a monthly inactivity fee on the remaining balance.
- If your account is inactive and your card expires during that time, you may either forfeit the unused money on the card or the money will be kept in trust until it is claimed.
Article updated 10/07/2012