Overseas credit card spending sees significant growth

Taking around 9 million overseas trips each year, Aussies are enthusiastic travellers and using a credit card overseas is common and popular. So this year for the first time CANSTAR has researched the 183 credit cards and 152 transaction accounts on the CANSTAR database in terms of how they stack up for international travellers. Bankwest is a five star winner for outstanding value; we caught up with Bankwest Executive General Manager, Products & Marketing, Jason Chan, for some more information.

Q: What are the main benefits for travellers in using a credit card as opposed to, say, a travel money card?
A:
A Credit Card and a Travel Money Card are two very different products. At Bankwest, we′re committed to making banking easier for our customers and the range of Bankwest Platinum Credit Cards can help to make travelling overseas much easier.
We recommend all travellers consider their personal situation, such as the length of time that they will be away and what type of purchases they may make whilst travelling, as well as any fees and charges associated with each product, before deciding which product is right for them.
The benefits of travelling with a Bankwest Platinum MasterCard is that we don’t charge an overseas transaction fee for any purchases you make outside of Australia and we offer complimentary Credit Card Travel Insurance which is activated when you spend at least $500 on pre-paid travel costs on your card such as flights and accommodation, which must include your return ticket.
Plus, if you happen to lose your card whilst overseas, we offer free emergency card replacement worldwide.
Whereas a Travel Money card usually requires the user to load their funds onto the card prior to going overseas and potentially add more funds to the card during their time away.

Q: Do you know roughly what proportion of your credit card take their card overseas with them? Has the use of credit cards overseas increased over time?

A:
Given the benefits associated with a Bankwest Platinum MasterCard and how easy it is to use, our customers are increasingly taking their card overseas.
About 20 per cent of our Platinum cardholders currently use their card for overseas purchases and we’ve seen uptake increase year-on-year since we removed overseas transaction fees on these cards in 2012.
Customers receive the same benefit in terms of avoiding overseas transaction fees when using the Bankwest Platinum MasterCard for purchasing products online from overseas retailers.

Q: Do customers need to inform you before they leave that they will be using their card overseas?

A:
No, they do not need to inform us that they are travelling in order to use their card overseas. However, we do encourage customers to let us know when they are going overseas so we′re aware that their spending behaviour may change while in a foreign country, ensuring they can continue to access to their account while on holiday and receive ongoing service from Bankwest.

Q: Your concierge service is terrific. How can savvy travellers use the concierge service to their advantage?

A:
We′re really proud of this feature and our customers like it a lot too because it makes their banking, and their lives, much easier. You can use the concierge service to help you plan your trip such as booking your flights, organising tickets to events, booking dinner in your favourite restaurant and much more.

Q: Are there any common questions that customers have in relation to how to use their credit card overseas?
A:
There are some frequently asked questions, which we′re very happy to answer for our customers to ensure they′re getting the best product for their individual circumstances.

For example: do I get charged for using my card overseas?
The answer: with a Bankwest Platinum MasterCard you don’t pay any transaction fees on purchases made outside of Australia.

Using overseas ATMs may incur a fee charged by the foreign ATM operator, for example, when seeking a cash advance.
Customers have also asked about the exchange rate when they use their card overseas. For Bankwest MasterCards, the exchange rate used is set by MasterCard and is applied on the date that the transaction is processed by MasterCard, not on the date that the transaction was made.
Another popular enquiry is related to the use of a PIN. This depends on the merchant terminal, however, you are allowed to sign for your purchases if PIN is not accepted when performing transactions overseas.

CANSTAR congratulates Bankwest. Readers can download the CANSTAR Travel Credit and Debit Card Star Ratings here and can compare travel credit cards and travel debit cards here.

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