All financial products come with various fees and charges attached to them and travel money cards are no different.
Here’s a summary of fees you should be aware of.
Initial card purchase fee
You will pay an initial card fee for your new travel money card. This can be $11 or $15 for the card set-up. Most cards include the “cash load” in the purchase price but some charge from 1-1.1% on your initial cash amount.
Cash reload fee
Expect to pay 1 to 1.1% of the amount you are reloading and check if your card has a maximum cap, as this will save you money.
You won’t be charged as much as you would if you used your own card at an “other network” ATM but you will be charged a nominal flat fee in the respective currency. You’ll also be charged a usage fee by the ATM owner. This is supposed to appear on the screen so you can choose whether to continue or abort the mission. However, this doesn’t always happen overseas and you could be strung as a result.
Wrong currency conversion fee
You can use a currency other than what’s loaded on your card but you will pay a conversion fee for the privilege. These range from 2% to 5.95% of the transaction.
Monthly inactivity fee
If you haven’t used you card in over 12 months, some providers will eat away at the balance by charging $3 to $4 per month. Other providers will keep the account open free of charge.
Card expiry balance forfeiture
Once the card expires yet still has money on it, some providers will keep the balance while others will keep the money in trust until it is rightfully claimed.
Closing your account
Once back on home soil, you may want to convert excess currency into Aussie dollars and close the travel card account. To do this you will pay the normal currency transaction charges but you may also pay up to $10 to close the account.
Article updated 10/07/2012