The 3 Best Travel Cards For Aussies to Use in the USA
Travel cards aren't exactly the most exciting thing you need to decide on before your holiday to the United States. But they are an important part, and choosing the wrong one can mean that you can lose a lot of money through fees, charges and exchange rates.
The solution? Finding the one that best suits your needs whether it's a prepaid card, debit card or a credit card.
To help narrow your options, here is a list of the best Travel Cards and the key benefits and pitfalls of each one.
What are different types of travel cards?
They can be either prepaid, debit or credit cards designed specially for overseas use. You can use travel cards to make purchases online, in stores and to withdraw money at ATMs. There are 3 popular types:
Let's have a look at each one.
Prepaid Travel Cards
For prepaid cards, you're able to load the card with a set amount of money in the currencies you need. Ideally you do this before your trip, but often you can reload them as well.
Most prepaid travel cards allow for multiple currencies to be loaded onto the card. So it's important to know what currency you'll be using on your travels. Airlines also offer prepaid cards so the money you spend can earn you reward points.
With prepaid travel cards you need to be careful. They can have numerous fees and charges, which can make it more expensive than other options. But if you're organised and travelling to multiple cities a prepaid travel card is a good option.
Revolut is our best value prepaid travel card.
With this card:
- No purchase fee, load fee, reload fee, exchange rate margin or minimum balance requirements
- Unlike other Travel Cards, its free and easy to use the balance of your currency or convert it back to AUD
- The exchange rates are unbeatable. They use the same rate you see on XE or Google with no hidden mark-up
It's not all good news though
- For the free Standard account, there is a 2% ATM withdrawal fee when you withdraw over $350 during a month
- The premium account costs $10.99 a month, which can really add up if you are not using it often
- Very easy to use app
- Free to set up
- No hidden fees or exchange rate mark-ups (except on weekends)
- You can use it to transfer money to a bank account overseas
- Additional fees for using the card on a weekend
- 2% ATM fee once you withdraw more than $350 in any 30 day period
- 3-4 business days before you receive your card
- Ongoing subscription fee for Premium and Metal cards
Travel Debit Cards
Debit Cards offer the convenience of a credit card, but work differently. They draw money directly from your bank account when you make a purchase. It's designed for everyday money transactions and means that you're not accumulating debt.
If you have spending issues, it's a better option to use your debit card whenever possible. This is because it will prevent you from falling into credit card debt. And for daily purchases, we think a debit card can help you stick to your travel budget, because you can't overdraw money from your account.
Generally, we recommend having the combination of a travel debit and travel credit card for safety, flexibility and convenience on your trip.
Wise is our best value travel debit card.
With this card:
- It's very easy to set up and order
- You can receive foreign currency into a free multi-currency account linked to the card
- You can transfer money to a bank account overseas
It's not all good news though
- There is a 2% ATM withdrawal fee when you withdraw over $350 during a month
- It takes 7-14 days for delivery
- No annual fee, hidden transaction fees, exchange rate markups
- No minimum balance requirements
- Allows you to make payments and withdrawals wherever you are in the world in over 40 currencies
- Local bank account details in Australia (AUD), the UK (GBP), the USA (USD), Europe (EUR) and New Zealand (NZD)
- It takes 7-14 business days to receive the card
- Can't always access local technical support depending on where you are
- Free cash withdrawals limited to under $350 every 30 days
- Only currently available in the US, UK, Europe, Australia and New Zealand
Travel Credit Cards
Credit cards have obviously been around for a long time. But now there are specialised travel credit cards. Generally, these cards give you longer to pay back what you've spent but the interest rates after this time can be quite high.
The main advantage with credit cards are the reward points you get in return for your customer loyalty when you spend. But it only works if you pay off the balance in full each month.
Credit cards are great to use for car hire, restaurants and accommodation - larger expenses that are easier for you to pay back over time. Some services only take credit cards to hold purchases so they can definitely be handy while you're travelling.
28 Degrees is our best value travel credit card.
The 28 Degrees Platinum Mastercard is our best value travel credit card. With this card:
- There are no annual fees
- No overseas purchase fee or currency conversion fee
- You get 55 days interest free on purchases
- Access to free 24/7 concierge service
- Emergency card replacement worldwide
The 28 Degrees Platinum Mastercard has additional benefits including shoppers and repayments benefits cover.
- Can have 9 additional cardholders
- No overseas purchase fee, or currency conversion fee
- No foreign transaction fee
- Free Replacement Card
- High interest rates after the initial 55 days
- Minimum credit limit is $6,000
- No introductory offers or rewards