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 Travel Cards?
Travel cards are a good alternative to carrying cash. They can be either prepaid, debit or credit cards designed specially for use while you're overseas. You can use travel cards to make purchases online, in stores and to withdraw money at ATMs.
1. 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, as 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.
Best Prepaid Travel Card: The Travelex Money Card
The Travelex Money Card is our best value prepaid travel card. With this card:
There are no ATM fees so you can withdraw cash at no extra cost
You can access Travelex's online rates
You can lock in your initial loading cross currency rate
Ideal for the organised traveller.
Can load up to 10 currencies including AUD, USD, EUR, GBP, NZD, CAD, THB, SGB, HKD and JPY.
|Smartphone App & Free Wifi||Limited Currencies|
|$0 overseas ATM fees (Australia excluded)||5.95% currency conversion rate|
|Free Replacement Card||$100 minimum initial load|
|24/7 Global Support||2.95% Australian ATM withdrawal fee|
2. 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.
Best Travel Credit Card: 28 Degrees Platinum Mastercard
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. For more information read our review.
|Can have 9 additional cardholders||No introductory offers or rewards|
|No overseas purchase fee, or currency conversion fee||High interest rates after the initial 55 days|
|No foreign transaction fee||Minimum credit limit is $6000|
|Free replacement card|
3. 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 is 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, 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 a combination of a travel debit and travel credit card for safety, flexibility and convenience on your trip.
Best Travel Debit Card: Citibank Plus Everyday Account
The Citibank Plus Everyday Account is our best value travel debit card. With this card you can benefit from the following:
Withdraw cash at no extra cost with no overseas ATM fees
Free cash withdrawals from over 3000 ATMs Australia-wide
No monthly fee or minimum opening balance
Transfer funds to friends and family anywhere in the world for free in 25 countries and currencies
Free bottle of wine at Citibank Dining Program partner restaurants if you pay with your Citibank card
Please be aware, there are daily transfer and withdrawal limits. $10,000 for online transfers and $1,000 for ATM withdrawals and EFTPOS transactions.
|No international ATM or transaction fees||Cash deposits available within 24-48 hours|
|Fee-free international money transfers to any account worldwide||Can’t have two cards active at the same time|
|SMS notifications through Citi Alert||$5 account closure|