How to Choose a Prepaid Travel Card

These days, we have heaps of choices when it comes to Travel Cards, but are they all the same? Absolutely not. We’ve had a good look through a dozen of the most widely used Travel Cards and came up with some tips that might save you some money.

Prepaid Travel Cards have different features and fees, but the most important thing when choosing a card is considering how it will be used. It takes a while to go through each Travel Card in detail, so here are some of our picks based on different situations. For a quick comparison table of fees and features of all the Travel Cards we compared, go to our Travel Card Fees & Features page

For other ways to help while you travel, you can browse our articles about how to save when exchanging currency here

For the Frequent Traveller: 

If you head overseas frequently, make sure the card you use has the best exchange rates. This will make a big difference to the cost of buying the currency. It's also important to avoid a card that has a reload fee.

The other fee to look out for is the cross currency conversion fee. This is particularly relevant for frequent travellers. 


Cross Currency Conversion Example: Chris loads up 5,000 US dollars but when he stops off in Thailand, the transaction goes through in Thai Baht. He can still use the US dollars on his travel card but may incur an additional fee to convert it to Thai Baht.


Our verdict: Travelex Money Card

Why? The Travelex card had the best exchange rates of the cards we compared. It also has no reload fees or cross currency conversion fees. The downside of this card is that it comes with a closure fee and an inactivity fee but both are easily avoided if you are travelling often.

Honourable mention: Commonwealth Bank Travel Money Card & Qantas Frequent Flyer Qantas Card with Qantas Cash


Single Trip: 

If you plan on buying a travel card for a specific holiday, make sure you find out the set up and closure fees. The Australia Post Load and Go and Virgin Global Wallet both have $0 set up fees. But, the Global Wallet is only available to Virgin Frequent Flyer members. Recently ANZ and NAB offered to waive the set up fee, so keep up to date with any special promotions. Some travel cards also charge you a percentage of your initial load.

Most cards have a closure fee between $10 - $15. Cards without a closure fee usually have an inactivity fee which will slowly eat away at any balance left on it.


Our verdict: ANZ Travel Card 

Honourable mention: Australia Post Load and Go / Virgin Global Wallet


Buying Travel Money in Cash?

Exchange rates and fees will vary at each bank or currency exchange outlet so it's important to compare before you buy your travel money.

Compare Travel Money Exchange Rates


View the full list of Travel Card Reviews here.

More from The Currency Shop:

How to Travel With $10,000 Australian Dollars.

How to Take $5,000 Overseas and Save While You Do.

Best Ways to Exchange $2000 Before You Travel.

How to Save Money When Exchanging up to $1,000.