Commonwealth Travel Card Review – 
The Commonwealth Travel Money Card is a prepaid Visa debit card you can top up in 13 different currencies, for global spending and ATM withdrawals. That can be handy for managing your budget when you’re overseas, as you can lock in exchange rates in advance so you know exactly what you have to spend.
This guide covers the Commonwealth travel card in detail, including how the card works and the fees that you’ll pay to use it. We’ll also touch on a couple of Commonwealth travel card alternatives from Wise and Revolut, which support more currencies and may come with lower fees.
Commonwealth travel card: key features
The Commonwealth Travel Money Card has a good selection of supported currencies, and is globally accepted wherever you see the Visa logo. However, there are currency conversion fees to pay when you use the card to spend unsupported currencies, or when you don’t have enough balance to cover the cost of your purchase in a particular currency. Plus, you’ll pay an ATM fee at home and abroad.
This guide walks through the Commonwealth Travel Money Card in detail – to kick off, here’s a quick look at the key pros and cons of using the card on your travels.
|✅ 13 supported currencies
✅ Visa network – tap to pay globally
✅ No fee to order your card
✅ Manage your card from your mobile
✅ Some free purchase insurance
|❌ ATM fees of 3.5 AUD or the equivalent
❌ 3% conversion fee to spend unsupported currencies
❌ Exchange rates include a markup
Travel money cards can be handy when you’re away. They let you convert funds to the currency you need in advance, so you know your budget before you leave – plus, they’re not linked to your normal bank account which can increase security and offer peace of mind when you travel. However, the features and fees you find in travel money cards from different banks and providers can vary pretty widely. Shopping around is essential to make sure you get the best deal for your specific needs – this guide should tell you all you’ll need to know to help you pick.
Who is the Commonwealth travel card for?
The Commonwealth travel card supports 13 currencies including those used in popular holiday destinations like Thailand, Japan, Vietnam and New Zealand, plus major global currencies like US dollars, euros and British pounds. That can mean it’s a handy card to have for people travelling for business or pleasure, or for anyone shopping online with overseas retailers.
What is the Commonwealth travel card?
The Commonwealth Travel Money Card is a Visa debit card you can load in advance in AUD or any of the other supported currencies, for international spending and withdrawals. You can use your Commonwealth travel card when you travel, and also for online shopping in foreign currencies.
Is the Commonwealth Travel Money Card a multi-currency card?
Yes. You can add AUD to your Commonwealth card, and convert to any of the following supported foreign currencies:
- United States dollars (USD)
- Euros (EUR)
- Great British pounds (GBP)
- Japanese yen (JPY)
- New Zealand dollars (NZD)
- Hong Kong dollars (HKD)
- Canadian dollars (CAD)
- Singapore dollars (SGD)
- Thai baht (THB)
- Vietnamese dong (VND)
- Chinese renminbi (CNY)
- Emirati dirham (AED)
There is a fee – in the form of an exchange rate markup – added when you switch to the currency you need from AUD. However, it’s then usually free to spend the currencies you hold in your account.
If you’re looking for different currencies – or you’re planning on travelling more widely – you can also consider a travel card from a specialist service like Wise or Revolut. Wise supports 50+ currencies, while Revolut covers 25+ – more on that, including some other important features of Wise and Revolut, next.
Alternatives to Commonwealth travel card
The Commonwealth travel card has some handy features, but there are also some fees you’ll need to think about before you order one. One important cost is rolled into the price of switching from one currency to another. There’s a markup added to the exchange rate used when you initially switch from AUD to the currency you need, and if you use your card to spend an unsupported currency, or if you run low on the currency you need while you’re away, extra fees of 3% kick in too.
To weigh up whether the Commonwealth card is best for you, take a look at our comparison against alternative providers Wise and Revolut:
|Commonwealth Travel Money card||Wise debit card||Revolut debit card|
|Card order fee||No fee||10 AUD||No fee|
|Monthly fees||No fee||No fee||0 AUD – 24.99 AUD|
|International Money Transfers||Available to Commbank accounts and cards only – exchange rate markups apply when converting currencies||Fees from 0.41%, 70 + countries covered||Fees from 0.3% to 2%, 40+ countries covered|
|International ATM withdrawals||3.5 AUD or the currency equivalent||2 withdrawals to 350 AUD/month fee free, then 1.5 AUD + 1.75% after that||Some free withdrawals based on account plan, 2% after that|
|Currency Exchange||Visa exchange rate + 3% conversion fee where required||Mid-market rate||Mid-market rate to plan limit|
|Supported Currencies for holding and exchange||13 currencies supported||50+ currencies supported||25+ currencies supported|
|Business Accounts||Alternative account options available for business customers||Available||Available|
As you can see, Wise and Revolut both support a broader selection of currencies compared to the Commbank card, which can be helpful if you’re travelling more widely. Plus, you may find you get lower overall currency conversion costs with a specialist service. Revolut has some fee free currency conversion which uses the mid-market rate for all account holders – even if you’re using a standard account plan with no monthly fees. And Wise has mid-market rates for all currency exchange, with low fees based on the currencies you need, starting at 0.41%.
There’s a quick introduction to Wise and Revolut next, to help you decide if either may suit your needs.
Wise accounts can hold and exchange 50+ currencies, and come with an optional linked Wise card to spend with the mid-market rate and low fees from 0.41%, in 170+ countries. You can apply, and manage your account, from your smartphone, and get extra perks like fast payments to 70+ countries, and local bank details for 9 currencies, to get paid easily from 30+ countries.
Revolut accounts come with linked debit cards, and can hold 25+ currencies. You can either get a standard plan which has no monthly fees, or pay a monthly charge to access extra features and perks. Revolut currency exchange uses the mid-market exchange rate to plan limits, with fair usage fees after that. Out of hours fees may also apply if you switch currencies when the global markets are shut.
Commonwealth travel card fees & spending limits
Let’s take a look at the fees and limits that apply to the Commbank travel card. First, here are some important limits to know in advance:
|Spending & topping up limits||Commbank Travel Money Card|
|Minimum load||50 AUD|
|Maximum load||50,000 AUD|
|Maximum balance at any one time||50,000 AUD|
|Maximum for cash withdrawals||2,500 AUD/day|
And what about the charges involved with using a Commonwealth Bank Travel Money Card? Here’s a rundown of the key costs:
|Fees & charges||Commbank Travel Money Card|
|Charge for top ups||Currency exchange rate markups apply when converting from AUD to the currency required|
|Cash withdrawals||3.5 AUD or equivalent|
|Foreign transaction fee||3% when spending a currency you don’t hold in your account|
|Closure fee||No fee – exchange rate markups apply if you need to convert back to AUD to withdraw your money|
Information correct at time of writing – 24th May 2023
When you top up your card in AUD and convert to a foreign currency for overseas spending, the Commbank retail exchange rate applies. This rate can be found online, but it’s handy to know it won’t be the same as the mid-market rate you find using a Google search or currency conversion tool, as it includes a margin – which is a fee. The margin used by Commonwealth Bank can vary depending on the currencies in question, so you’ll need to take a look on their website to see the rate for your currency pair, and then compare it back to the rate you get from a conversion tool, to spot the margin that’s been added.
If you’re spending a currency you don’t hold in your account, the exchange rate applied is set by Visa, and there’s then an extra 3% fee to pay. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but it can mount up quickly if you’re travelling for a while.
As an alternative, you might want to check out prepaid international debit cards which offer the mid-market exchange rate – like those from Wise and Revolut.
How to get Commonwealth travel card
You can order a Commonwealth Travel Money Card if you fulfil the eligibility criteria:
- You must be at least 14 years old
- You must be a Commonwealth Bank customer, registered to use NetBank
- You’ll need an Australian residential address
Assuming you fit these criteria you can order in a Commonwealth Bank branch, or online. Once you have your card in your hands, you then need to activate it in NetBank or the Commbank app. You can also set a PIN for security.
What documents you’ll need
To open a Commonwealth Travel Money Card account you’ll need to be registered with NetBank. That means you’ll also need a valid Commbank account and card to get started. If you already have a Commonwealth Bank account you can open your travel card account with no new documents – just log into NetBank or visit a branch to get started.
If you don’t have a Commbank account yet, the process is a bit more involved as you’ll have to first select and open a bank account. This normally means you also need to provide proof of ID and address, which you can upload online or show in a branch.
What happens when the card expires?
The Commonwealth Travel money Card is valid for 4 years. Once it expires it’s not automatically replaced with a new card. You’ll need to request a new card in NetBank. If you don’t do this within 3 months of the card expiry date, you’ll lose access to your account – so make sure you open a new card in time, or remove any remaining funds from the account to avoid extra hassle.
How to use a Commonwealth travel card?
The Commonwealth travel card is a Visa debit card you can use online and in person for spending and withdrawals. You can also send money from the card account to other Commbank cards and accounts, although fees may apply for this service if you’re switching currencies as part of the transfer.
How to withdraw cash with a Commonwealth travel card?
Once you have funds on your Commbank card you can make withdrawals around the world, just as you would with your regular debit card. There’s a Commonwealth ATM limit of 2,500 AUD per day – although most ATMs have their own limits which are likely to be lower than this. You’ll also pay a fee of 3.5 AUD or the currency equivalent when you make a cash withdrawal, plus any applicable currency conversion fee if you’re withdrawing in a currency you don’t hold in your account.
Is the card safe?
Yes. Commonwealth Bank is a trusted and regulated bank, making it a safe provider to use. Plus, using a prepaid travel card when you’re abroad can be safer than using your normal card. As it’s not linked to your main day to day account, even if you’re unlucky enough to have your travel card stolen, thieves don’t have access to your primary account balance.
How to use the Commonwealth travel card overseas?
The Commbank travel card is issued on the Visa network, which means you can use it in millions of ATMs and with merchants worldwide. If you’ve got a balance in the currency you need, there’s no extra fee for paying at a merchant abroad. However, it’s useful to know that a 3% fee applies if you spend in a currency you don’t hold in your account, or if the balance you have in that currency isn’t enough to cover the purchase. This can push up costs significantly, so it’s worth keeping an eye on your balance in the Commbank app, so you don’t run low without realising.
Conclusion: is the Commonwealth travel card worth it?
The Commonwealth Travel Money Card is a helpful card for travel to any of the countries and regions covered by the 13 supported currencies. Using a prepaid card can help you set your travel budget in advance as you’ve locked in exchange rates before you leave. However, the Commbank card isn’t free to use. There’s a fee to switch currencies – either a 3% conversion cost for direct spending, or a margin added to the exchange rate when you convert within your account. Plus, there’s a 3.5 AUD fee for ATM withdrawals overseas.
Compare the costs and flexibility of the Commbank travel card against alternatives like the international debit cards from Wise and Revolut. Both offer a broader selection of currencies, and use the mid-market exchange rate to switch over your funds from AUD to the currency you need. This can cut the costs overall, and it’s more transparent as you can easily see all the fees involved in currency exchange.
Commonwealth travel card review FAQ
How does the Commonwealth travel card work?
The Commonwealth Travel Money Card is a prepaid international Visa card you can use for spending and withdrawals around the world. You’ll need to add money in AUD and can then convert to any of the 13 supported currencies within NetBank.
Is the Commonwealth travel card an international card?
Yes. The Commonwealth Travel Money Card can hold 13 different currencies, and as it’s issued on the Visa network you can use it more or less anywhere in the world. There’s a 3% fee to spend currencies you don’t hold in your account though – so if your currency isn’t supported by the Commbank card you might be better off with an alternative like the multi-currency cards from Wise and Revolut.
Are there any alternatives to the Commonwealth travel card?
Commonwealth Travel Money Card alternatives are available from banks and specialist digital providers. Compare the options from Wise and revolut as an example – both offer dozens of supported currencies, with low, transparent fees and great global acceptance.