A lot can go into planning an overseas holiday – flights, accommodation, visas and vaccinations are just a few of the things you might have to take care of before setting off. A travel money card may help make the financial aspects of an overseas holiday more manageable for some travellers.
However, not all travel money cards offer the same bang for your buck, baht, pound or yen. That’s why Canstar has crunched the numbers on 15 travel money cards on our database to see which ones offer Outstanding Value to Aussie adventurers. This year’s Travel Money Card Star Ratings saw three products awarded 5-Stars.
The ratings use a sophisticated and unique methodology that compares both cost and features across travel money card products in Australia. As part of the cost component, cards are assessed on their competitiveness across seven different currencies: New Zealand dollar (NZD), US dollar (USD), Euro (EUR), Great British pound (GBP), Thai baht (THB), Japanese yen (JPY), and Singapore dollar (SGD).
This year saw Citi, HSBC, and Travelex (listed below in alphabetical order) win the Outstanding Value award for their travel money cards. This makes it the second year in a row HSBC has won the award, and the fourth year in a row for Travelex. Citi’s Global Currency Account was being rated for the first time.
The winning products got the nod for their combination of low fees, competitive exchange rates and the features on offer. Canstar Research noted that this year’s 5-Star products were all cheaper to use on average than the rest of the market, and offered a selection of features that provide added convenience for users, including contactless payments, the ability to reload the card directly via the provider’s mobile app, and emergency card replacement.
Citi Global Currency Account
This was Citi’s first year to be reviewed as part of the Travel Money Card Star Ratings, and its Global Currency Account received a 5-Star Rating.
Canstar Research noted that when converting significant amounts of money into a foreign currency, exchange rates are often the largest part of the overall cost of the transaction, so a competitive exchange rate across several currencies contributed to Citi’s Global Currency Account receiving a 5-Star Rating.
It also scored points for its strong feature offering, which included no maximum total balance and no fees for ATM withdrawals.
HSBC Everyday Global Account
HSBC’s Everyday Global Account received a 5-Star Rating for the second year in a row, as a result of its strong features and price. Like Citi’s Global Currency Account, the HSBC Everyday Global Account had no maximum total balance and no fees for ATM withdrawals. It also offered other consumer-friendly features including fee-free emergency card replacement, contactless payments, and the ability to reload the card directly via HSBC’s banking app.
HSBC performed strongly when it came to price competitiveness across the various currencies considered.
Travelex Money Card
Travelex has been awarded a 5-Star Rating for its travel money card every year since 2016. Canstar Research noted that this year saw increased competition at the top end of the market, and Travelex was among the standout providers, offering competitive exchange rates across the seven currencies assessed relative to the market as a whole.
Travelex’s Money Card was also commended for being strong on features, including 24/7 assistance, emergency fund transfer and no overseas ATM fees.
How are the Canstar Travel Money Card Star Ratings calculated?
Products included in the Canstar Travel Money Card Star Ratings are assessed on their competitiveness when it comes to fees and exchange rates across a weighted basket of seven currencies. They are also assessed on their feature offerings, with individual features allocated points and weightings. To be eligible for consideration in Canstar’s Travel Money Card Star Ratings, each product must:
- Have the ability to store multiple foreign currencies on one card
- Allow you to lock in an exchange rate before you travel
- Allow you to use your own funds – no credit or borrowing is allowed
- Provide up-to-date exchange rates via the provider’s website.
For more information about how travel money cards are compared and rated by Canstar, view the ratings methodology.