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The Best Travel Debit Cards for Australians In 2023

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Tom Goward | 01/01/2023

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No matter where you’re going or for how long, making use of a good travel debit card is one of the easiest ways to save money when travelling overseas. While airport currency exchange booths and your day-to-day bank may be convenient, they’ll often rip you off. That’s because they often charge exorbitant currency exchange fees, some of which are hidden in poor exchange rates while advertising “0% commission” or “zero fees”. Although, with a little research and planning, you can save a considerable sum just by using the right card!

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New: watch our latest video where we test and compare 11 of the most popular travel cards in Australia!

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Not All Travel Cards Are Created Equal

Generally speaking, there are three main fees associated with using your day-to-day debit or credit card overseas. Namely;

  • Foreign transaction fees are charged on any purchase made with an overseas merchant, often as a percentage of the total transaction. In Australia, many banks charge upwards of 3% on top of any international purchase.
  • Overseas ATM withdrawal fees are typically a fixed sum charged for the privilege of withdrawing your own money. In addition to the fee from your bank, some overseas ATM operators will charge an additional fee. How fun!
  • Foreign Exchange Markup is where banks can be especially sneaky. While you might think you’re getting the real exchange rate (the one you’d find on Google or XE) more often than not banks will set their own rate which includes a hidden fee on top. Of course, you will only be shown the “final” rate to hide the markup.

Foreign Exchange Rates: Visa vs Mastercard

While Visa and Mastercard don’t offer cards themselves, they do have a say in determining the foreign exchange rate you’ll get. While most big banks set their own rates, some run off the exchange rate of the payment network instead. That’s relevant here as many of our top picks use either Visa or Mastercard’s exchange rates, without applying any markup.

The good news is that there is barely any difference between Visa and Mastercard, so there is no reason to select one payment network over the other. The table below shows how much Visa and Mastercard offered for $1 AUD as of 28 October 2022.

 VisaMastercard
USD0.650.65
EUR0.650.65
GBP0.560.56
JPY95.5095.51
SGD0.910.92
THB24.8424.83
NZD1.121.12
AED2.292.39
CAD0.880.88
HKD5.115.11

How Much Can I Save By Using A Good Card?

How much you can save will depend on the fees associated with your day-to-day card, how much you spend and where you spend it. Keep in mind the ATM operator could charge a fee, but this will apply to most cards out there. Depending on your card of choice, some ATM operators might waive their fee.

Let’s compare a €200 transaction using a typical Commbank Debit Mastercard and the superior Up Bank Debit Card.

Withdrawing £200 From An ATM

 Commbank Debit CardUp Bank Debit Card
Mastercard Exchange RateA$312.51A$312.51
ATM Fee (your bank)A$5.00A$0.00
Conversion FeeA$9.38A$0.00
TOTALA$326.89A$312.51

Spending £200 On Card

 Commbank Debit CardUp Bank Debit Card
Mastercard Exchange RateA$312.51A$312.51
Conversion FeeA$9.38A$0.00
TOTALA$321.89A$312.51

What About Prepaid Travel-Branded Cards?

You’ve probably heard of travel money cards before. They are somewhat similar to your everyday debit card, and are often popular among novice travellers. Travel money cards work by allowing you to preload the foreign currency you wish to spend, thereby locking in the exchange rate. While it might sound nice to know exactly how much foreign currency you have, if the exchange rate changes in your favour, you could lose out big time. Things get even worse when you consider the hidden foreign exchange markup fees.

At Flight Hacks, our goal is to help you travel better, which is why we wouldn’t recommend using a travel money card as your first option. In truth, most of the pre-paid “travel” branded cards are some of the worst options out there. A good debit card with overseas features will almost always outperform a travel money card. So, unless you have good reason to believe the exchange rate is about to tank, I wouldn’t see it as a benefit myself.

What About Earning Points Qantas Travel Money?

Qantas Travel Money (issued by Heritage Bank) is a travel money card with points-earning features. Within Australia, cardholders earn 1 Qantas Point for every AU$4 spent. For international purchases, you can earn 1.5 Qantas Points for every AU$1 equivalent spent in foreign currency. Like above, the Qantas Travel Money card is branded as “fee free” – but the kicker comes when you take a look at the poor exchange rate offered, which can add up fast when spending large amounts.

The table below shows how much Qantas Travel Money offered for AU$1 as of 27 October 2022, compared to the straight-up Mastercard rate.

 MastercardQantas Travel Money
USD0.650.62
EUR0.650.61
GBP0.560.53
JPY95.5189.59
SGD0.920.86
THB24.8322.96
NZD1.121.06
AED2.392.24
CAD0.880.83
HKD5.114.78

Our Favourite Travel Debit Cards For Australians

Up Debit Card

  • Currency Conversion: Mastercard rate
  • Overseas Transaction Fee: $0
  • Overseas ATM Fee: $0
  • Foreign Exchange Fee: $0
  • Account Keeping Fee: $0
  • Sign Up Bonus: $9

What we like: Speedy setup and cheeky marketing wrapped up in the best baking app out there. Fabulous currency availability with zero fees. Plus, you can use our referral link to score $9 cash in your new Up account!

Ubank Bank Account

ubank referral

  • Currency Conversion: Visa rate
  • Overseas Transaction Fee: 0%
  • Overseas ATM Fee: $0
  • Foreign Exchange Fee: $0
  • Account Keeping Fee: $0
  • Sign Up Bonus: $20 – [Limited time: get a $20 welcome bonus when you sing up (free) and complete 3 transactions within 30 days of account activation]

What we like: Ubank (previously known as 86400) is a digital bank owned by NAB. We love this card as it’s completely free and comes $20 bonus cash in your new account when you sign up via our Ubank referral link. Copy our code C7N1TAZ to sign up and score $20 (previously $30) – absolutely free!

Revolut Debit Card

  • Currency Conversion: Revolut rate (real FX rate)
  • Overseas Transaction Fee: 0% (2.5%)
  • Overseas ATM Fee: $0 ($350 to $1400 monthly fee-free based on plan)
  • Foreign Exchange Fee: $0
  • Account Keeping Fee: $0 to $24.99 monthly
  • Sign-Up Bonus: We’ve partnered with Revolut to offer Flight Hacks readers an exclusive $15 when they sign up and make 1 transaction!

What we like: Everything is accessible with Revolut, a digital bank that’s jam-packed with all things money. Open your account in a flash to send, spend and save smarter. You can also invest in stocks and EFTs, crypto, gold and silver. From a travel perspective, Revolut offers minimal fees and the ability to preload your card with one of several currencies or spend using AUD at the current exchange rate. SmartDelay also offers complimentary airport lounge passes for you and up to 3 friends when your flight is delayed by more than an hour.

Tip: Under 18? Revolut offers parents and legal guardians the option to create an account for their kids, they can then manage their own money and have a unique card to use while having access to the same money-saving benefits as the main account holder.

Click this link to get $15 when you sign up and make 1 transaction with your Revolut card.

Revolut offers Australian users a choice of Standard (free), Premium (AU$10.99 monthly) or Metal (AU$24.99 monthly) membership, with increased perks for each plan. While also including a solid reinforced steel card, the Metal option offers monthly perks such as fee-free ATM withdrawals up to AU$1,400, 3 fee-free international payments and unlimited fee-free weekday currency exchange. Not willing to pay for a full year? You can always upgrade for your trip and cancel the plan once you return home.

Check out our Revolut Australia review here.

Wise Multi-Currency Account

TransferWise Card

  • Currency Conversion: TransferWise rate
  • Overseas Transaction Fee: 0%
  • Overseas ATM Fee (up to A$350/month): $0
  • Overseas ATM Fee (over A$350/month): 2%
  • Foreign Exchange Fee: $0
  • Account Keeping Fee: $0

What we like: Wise (previously Transferwise) is of very few currency exchange services that offer a real mid-market rate (the rate that banks use to trade between themselves). Interesting card design and a simple app that makes it easy to send, receive and spend in almost any currency with minimal fees. You can choose to preload your card with one of several currencies or spend using AUD at the current exchange rate.

Want to know more about the TransferWise Borderless Account? Check out our review!

Citibank Plus Account

Citibank Plus Account

  • Currency Conversion: Mastercard rate
  • Overseas Transaction Fee: 0%
  • Overseas ATM Fee: $0
  • Foreign Exchange Fee: $0
  • Account Keeping Fee: $0

What we like: Citibank’s worldwide presence makes it easy to spend money wherever. Withdraw at Citibank ATM’s worldwide to guarantee zero operator fees. Free bottle of wine at partner restaurants, as long as you pay with your Citibank card.

Macquarie Platinum Transaction Account

Macquarie Platinum Transaction Account

  • Currency Conversion: Mastercard rate
  • Overseas Transaction Fee: 0%
  • Overseas ATM Fee: $0
  • Foreign Exchange Fee: $0
  • Account Keeping Fee: $0

What we like: Zero fees and discounts of up to 10% on eGift cards with Macquarie Marketplace.

Which Travel Debit Cards To Avoid?

The cards we mentioned above are some of the best options you can get and best of all they are 100% free to sign up to! Many big banks also market travel cards but often these come with a bunch of hidden fees which make the product useless. Here are some of the cards you should avoid if you want to save on fees:

Commbank Travel Card

Believe it or not, the Commbank Travel Card (also known as the Commbank Travel Money Card) is still one of Australia’s most used travel debit cards. The reason for its popularity is that Commbank is one of the biggest banks in Australia and many people do not bother researching better options. The Commbank Travel Card offers 13 different currencies that can be pre-loaded onto the card. While the card itself is free, there is a 3% fee on all converted currencies.

For a card with the same currency conversion option, you would be better off getting a Revolut debit card, which does not charge a 3% fee. In addition, the Commbank Travel Card also charges $3.50 for each ATM withdrawal, making it less attractive compared to other options.

When loading foreign currency onto the Commbank Travel Card, the rates are set using the Commonwealth Bank’s currency conversion rates, which are approximately 4.4% worse than the Visa spot rate at the time of writing. This means that you would lose 4.4% by loading foreign currency onto the Commbank Travel Money Card. Therefore, if you are considering getting a Commbank Travel Card, we recommend Up, Ubank, or Revolut instead. These options can be funded instantly if you already bank with Commbank, so there is no downside.

Summing Up: Our Tips

  • Never allow the ATM or EFTPOS machine charge you in Australian dollars. It’s one of the biggest travel card scams out there as it’s all too common for merchants to use their own terrible foreign exchange rate to convert the local price to Australian dollars. While it might sound like you’re getting a better deal and avoiding fees, this is never the case. Plus, the merchant will probably add their own fees on top of an already poor exchange rate. Be sure to pay in the local currency, using a good card above.
  • Watch out for fees applied by ATM providers themselves. While any good debit card will offer zero ATM fees, that doesn’t stop ATM operators from charging their own fees. The machine should tell you before charging a fee.
  • Be prepared with multiple card options ready, just in case your card stops working, gets stolen, or is lost. By keeping a few of the cards above at hand, you’ll be prepared for anything!
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Tom Goward

COO and Aviation Nerd at Flight Hacks

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  1. Off to Singapore and KL in October, got the BankSA Worldide Wallet card. Unsure whether I’d be better off using a card like the Up debit card instead.

    • Seems like an “ok” product but they charge for ATM withdrawal, in Europe 2 euros per transaction, 2USD in the US and 1.5GBP in the UK unless you use one of their partner ATMs.
      I’d say use UP if you’re unsure about whether the ATM you’re about to use is affiliated with Bank SA to save on the fee.

      • Hi Emmanuel, with the up debit card an u bank card , can you load the money from central america on there to take out? and or can you use the card over there anyway?

      • Re: unbanked & up – both are digital banks so when I go overseas to Europe how do I notify these digital ‘banking institutions’ of my overseas travel dates so they don’t block my cards?

        • Hi Jefr, digital bank only means they don’t have a physical branch you can walk into. Personally, I can’t recall the last time I went into a physical bank. As for letting them know you’re travelling, I’ve never done this with either Ubank and Up and have had zero problems. When it comes to fraud, 99% of happens online so they do have a function where you can turn on or off international payments within the app. When you’re traveling and shopping, most of the banks now are smart enough to detect genuine transactions and don’t block you.

  2. I have the Citibank one, it’s fantastic I find. Good rate which I locked in before travel so I know exactly how much I have to spend, I am even in Hawaii at the moment and even though the ATM operator says it charges $4.35USD per withdrawal, my card has not charged it.

    • I think it’s a mistake to lock in rates before you travel unless you have a crystal ball and know which way the FX market is going to move. Personally, I prefer to convert on the spot which gets you the best rate each time.

  3. Not sure why Wise (previously known as Transferwise) makes on the list but HSBC Everyday Global Account didn’t make the cut. They also offer $0 ATM fees (no cap on withdrawal per month) and 0% overseas transaction fee.

    • Hi JW, it’s definitely not a complete list and HSBC is a pretty good product as well. I’ve got an HSBC Everyday Global Account but don’t use it because the app is a pain.

  4. what do you think is the best travel card for Moldova?
    I know not many people go there, but being a non EU country whose currency isn’t in much demand, I think we get stung when withdrawing from an atm.
    I’m using the QANTAS travel card. It was many currency wallets, but no Moldovan Leu.
    In Chisinau, Moldova seems to default to taking US dollars.
    I get the feeling we are double converting. AUD to USD and then to Leu. Ouch!

    Do you know any other alternative?

    • Hi Ben, one of the debit cards listed here will work just as well. You should never convert money beforehand unless you have a crystal ball and know which way the FX markets will move 😀
      The Qantas travel debit card isn’t a great product as they take a much too large percentage on every transaction or conversion you make. I would just use a debit card (or credit card) that doesn’t charge FX and let your bank do the conversion on the spot, much easier.

  5. Thanks for a very interesting article about these attractive products. However, a doubt remains – how do these cards make money out of you? That is, what they do not take with one hand, must be taken by the other.

    • Hi Tom, most products listed above are not advertised as a “travel card”; why is that you may ask? It’s because the features they offer don’t make them much money, sure they might get a cut from the Mastercard or Visa spot rate but that’s not their main breadwinner. These products offer these specific features in the hope that you will move away from your traditional bank (think Westpac, Commbank, ANZ) and do all your everyday banking with them.

    • I’d go with Ubank since they are an actual Australian bank and the limits of Transferwise are somewhat limiting (no pun intended). Citi is also good but the app and website are not user friendly IMO. Bonus of Ubank is that they give you $20!

    • JEN,
      Citi have withdrawn from the multi currency markets since they where purchased BY NAB.
      SAD, they were a great card

  6. I have been researching some of the reviews on the cards, some adamantly say don’t use ING because of poor customer support when something goes wrong.
    Do you know of any that standout as having a good track record for customer support?

    • I’ve used ING in the past, and didn’t have a bad experience. That said, I’ve never been in a situation where I would need real customer support. For what it’s worth, Up bank has a chat feature within the app so that’s handy when you need a replacement card or something.

    • Can confirm support is not great, had several issues lately.
      Call centre times 20-30+ minute wait minimum, which especially sucks while overseas. Need to use Skype, etc or request a call back which can take days.
      Trying to resolve via messages is useless, appears they are unable to authorise anything this way.

      On the plus side only ones that refund ATM fees so unfortunately still recommend them, have saved me a significant amount. Make sure you have several backups, to be honest have all the cards recommended – no fees and no stress if issues occur.

  7. Hey Immanuel,
    Which is the better of Ubank and Up and why, especially considering you say Mastercard gives better rates than Visa?
    Thanks in advance!

      • Maybe times have changed but Travelex offers the worst travel cards/services IMO. As a general rule it’s safe to avoid anything that has the word travel in its name.

        • I found out that Travelex have competitive rates on their card – and the fees are $0 from our point of view. We can’t protect ourselves from the other side, but at least we can protect ourselves from the Australian point of view.

          Plus, you can talk to a physical person in store about it. You can’t do that with the others – I’ve tried wise – and you do a chat – which i hate. I prefer the customer in person approach – especially if things go wrong – you can talk to a person in person and over the phone – and they have toll free numbers around the world for help.

          Rates and fees are one thing – BUT HELP AND SUPPORT is a big factor for me when using a Travel card overseas.

          • Hi Miguel, I would argue the opposite. Travelex makes some of the worst products on the market, that said they do offer convenience (exchange money at the airport). For this, you’re paying a conversion fee of 3.65% (based on the Visa spot rate AUD-USD calculated today), this might not sound like a lot but it’s a rip-off in my book. Up, Ubank, Revolut, Citi Bank, ING etc. offer far superior products with full support (they have a banking license) and best of all they don’t charge fees, on top of that they’re just everyday bank accounts which is an added bonus.
            The physical people you talk to at Travelex are just salespeople, I’m not sure what sort of support you would need/expect from them? Personally, I carry multiple (free) cards with me so if one gets blocked for whatever reason (which has never happened) I just switch to the other one. Cheers, Immanuel.

    • Both are pretty much the same, bonus is that you get $20 with Ubank. For rate difference between Visa and MasterCard to matter much you would need to spend a lot of $$, instead, I would prioritise ease of use.

  8. Going to US in 2 weeks. Just wanted to check your advice please. You mentioned “You should never convert money beforehand unless you have a crystal ball and know which way the FX markets will move”. Does this mean I should load up a Ubank Card with AUD and use this for both direct purchases and ATM withdrawals & rely on spot rates? It seems from the discussions above that foreign exchange occur at the UBank end. Is this a correct understanding?

    • Hi Geoff, your understanding is spot on. Converting currency in advance, hoping you will get a good deal is the equivalent of gambling, nothing wrong with it but the chances you get it right are just as good as the chance of getting it wrong. Ubank is just like any other Australian bank account, free to have money in your account and once you pay with your card it will be converted on the spot by Ubank.

      • Is there a conversion fee when you buy on the spot with a Ubank or Up card? Also can i book accommodation here in Australia and then just pay at the hotel using the Ubank card and it will just convert with no transaction or conversion fees?

        • Hi Karen,

          Ubank is an Australian bank, they issue a free debit card (just like any other bank in Australia). You can’t have any currency other than AU$ on it so yes, your account will always have AU$ and it will be converted on the spot to pay for any transaction in any currency that’s supported by Visa, as per our article there’s 0% conversion fee imposed by Ubank (that’s why we like it). The card and bank account have no fees so of course you wouldn’t be charged a fee for booking accommodation using this card either.

    • Hi Raymond, for cards with travel insurance you can check out our frequent flyer credit cards here, I can’t think of any debit cards that would offer free travel insurance. Since insurance is very personal, I can’t give you a recommendation as I don’t know your circumstances. However, I can tell you which one I personally use. For me I rely on Amex Business Platinum travel insurance as it’s activated even if I don’t use the card to purchase my flights, it also covers additional card holders so anyone I have listed on my account is automatically covered.

      • Amex non business credit card don’t give you travel insurance unless u buy your ticket with their card. The issue is if you buy a points flight, which is only technically paying tax, not actual flight, they won’t cover you with travel insurance when u claim as haven’t actually bought a fight. Hard lesson to learn.

        ANZ Black or Platinum give you 6 months travel insurance per trip ( including family traveling with you) plus 6 months income protection of $1700/month(may be more $ now, they paid that much in 2017). As long as you spend $250 of your trip eg accommodation on your ANZ card and have a return ticket which can be a points bought one before leaving Australia. Also any auxiliary card holders are entitled to this insurance cover if travelling independently from you. Both my adult children used this to cover them on international trips at great savings. Also earn the most points / $ spend with ANZ black of any credit card except maybe business AMEX card. I never paid for travel insurance and have saved heaps over the years with this. Non cover you for extreme sports though or riding motor bikes if don’t have a bike licence in Australia or illegal to in the country you are riding eg Vietnam. Also can get a certificate prior to leaving saying they are covering you in certain countries of travel if needed.

  9. Hi Immanuel
    I have a 15 year old daughter going on a 3 month student exchange to Italy at the end of this month. A number of travel websites recommend paying in cash in Italy so regular ATM use will be expected. She will be staying in a smalll village in Tuscany so may not have access to some of the “international/fee-free” ATMs. She will likely be spending around $600 per month (which exceeds some of the monthly fee-free ATM limits). A lot of the recommended debit cards have restrictions for under 18s.
    What do you recommend for her?
    Thanks

    • Hi Stephen, I believe all of these products have an age limit of 16 or older, not sure why but no doubt has something to do with government legislation. What I would do is open an account in your name and just give her the card to use and app login to manage her money. Paying by card is much more popular in Europe now than it ever was and it’s especially usefull when adding the card to a mobile wallet such as iPhone/Samsung etc. Ubank and Up are both very much geared towards young people so I think those would be good options to try out.

    • Westpac is alright but they charge ATM fees so I’d pass for that reason alone. Commbank, avoid unless you want to pay 3% on your transactions. The problem with these cards is that they want you to load it up with foreign currency, however, unless you’re a successful FX trader by profession, the chance of you timing the markets is slim. So essentially you’re gambling on the idea of currency either going up or down, if you were to just let your card convert it on the spot, you would always pay the market price which would then average out over time.

      • Do you know if you need to convert currency with the Westpac worldwide wallet? I’m travelling to Vietnam and it’s not a listed currency. I would like to withdraw cash.

        • Hey Mae. Yes, Westpac Worldwide Wallet would require you to convert AUD before using the card, essentially gambling on the exchange rate. While that could work in your favour if the exchange rate worsens, you could also lose out big time. Westpac Worldwide Wallet does not currently support VND. Because of this and the extra fees Westpac charges, you might prefer the UBank or Up cards as mentioned above. Happy travels, Tom.

  10. What is the best travel card for ATM withdrawals. We intend to pay for most things such as meals, taxifares and public transport by cash in the UK and Ireland. Is this the most cost effective method or are we better off just presenting our card when paying for goods and services. TIA

    • Hi David, Ubank and Up both don’t charge ATM fees so that would be my pick. When paying, it might be easier by card as then you don’t have to convert any leftover currency back but it depends where you go. Small towns in Europe for example sometimes don’t have card facilities so it’s just easier to pay in cash.

  11. Hi Immanuel.

    Just confirming, is the link below the ‘travel’ card for UBank, as it is coming up as a ‘transaction’ account rather than ‘travel’ card, so I want to make sure it is the right one?

    https://www.ubank.com.au/banking/transaction-account

    Any other advice regarding using this card (if the correct one) or UBank’s travel card (please send link) would be greatly appreciated.

    Kind regards

    Joe

    • Hi Joe, they only have 1 type of account as far as I’m aware. The product isn’t advertised as a “travel card” because they don’t really make money from it. That said, it makes an excellent travel card because it doesn’t charge fees, it’s easy to manage, free and they give you $20 for joining. As previously mentioned, by warry when a product brands itself as “travel” related; there are usually fees associated.

    • Hi, no you don’t unless you plan to send money to family/friends via international transfer. If you just want to use the debit card to pay for stuff and take money out of the ATM, you don’t need to do anything.

  12. Hi Immanuel, Do you know which card would be best to take to Bali? My son will be taking AUD cash as well to change over there for a more favourable rate but lots of cash is a risk.I’ve also heard that ATM’s charge their own fee (randomly) and when making purchases using a credit or debit card a 3% fee is charged. Can you confirm or deny? 🙂 Thanks

    • Hi Jenny, I wouldn’t take cash, the rate you would get from a vendor will most certainly be worse than what you can get at an ATM. The debit cards listed above such as Up, Ubank etc don’t charge any fees. If an ATM charges you fees, it will always disclose this before you proceed with the transaction, most often it’s a fixed amount. Always use reputable bank ATMs and you will be fine 🙂

  13. Hi Immanuel, thanks for the advice above.

    Which is the best card for us?

    My partner is heading of the the USA, Canada. Then we are flying across to meet her in Netherlands, then Scotland followed by a trip to Italy for a holiday.

    She likes the Wise Travel, I like the Macquarie. I think the limit on withdrawals from atms is a pain in the wise one. She thinks the Wise one has a better currency conversion rate since Macquarie uses Mastercard rate.

    What are your thoughts? It’s hard to find detail on ubank and what their currency conversion rate is.

    • If you plan to use the ATM a lot, I’d stay clear from Wise as they are very limited on withdrawals. If the cards are free, get both that way you always have a backup. Personally, I take an Up debit card and Ubank debit card, if one gets blocked or I lose it somehow I have a backup and it takes seconds to transfer funds from one account to another.

  14. I just wanted to come here to say thank you Immanuel, so much information – exactly what I wanted to know and have been agonising over! The fact you are still answering the questions a few months after the article was written!

    • Hey Chantelle, thanks for the kind words! We’re actually planning to add more products to this article soon to expand the comparison for people.

      • Ditto from me – your info has been really helpful to me to choose the right card for travelling o/s. Just got word from Citibank that they will be closing down their travel card that I have used for last 10 years, so I am in the market for a new one. This article and the follow up discussions have been invaluable. I’m tossing up between UBank & Up Bank. Thanks again for a very informative article and more importantly, the follow up discussions.

        • Thanks Lisa! Both Ubank and Up are pretty much identical when it comes to real world use. It will come down to which app you find easiest to use. Try them both, it’s free after all 🙂

    • Totally agree!! How often do we find a site with an article and ability to comment…only to never hear from the author…way too often!

      I travel internationally on occasion (Australia bound next month) and I think this discussion is incredibly valuable!! I’ll be getting both Up and Ubank as there is really only an upside to both.

      • Thanks for the feedback Bryan! When readers take time to comment, we take time to respond. It’s also very useful for others reading this article as it adds information that might not have been clear or mentioned in the main content.

  15. Hi After reading all this I’m still not too sure. I’m traveling to UK and USA in December 22 and have applied for a Revolut card, what do you think?
    Regards Elly

    • Hey Elly, Revolut is also really good. You might even want to consider switching to their premium product for the duration of your travel as it might be worth it 🙂

  16. Hi, Interesting article on paying for things overseas! One question/comment. I think it is necessary to advise the bank that your card will being used overseas? Otherwise the bank may put a stop on the account in case it is being used illegally.

  17. Hi Immanuel, we are travelling to Thailand next year. My sister uses Latitude 28 Degrees Global Platinum Mastercard. Is this any good? Otherwise, I’ll go with the Ubank card. Thanks for some great advice.
    Regards, Melissa

    • Yes, it’s good, no FX fees but it’s a credit card so not good if you want to take cash out. Ubank is a debit card/bank account so it’s perfect for taking cash out of ATMs etc.

      • Hello

        Im going to europe this year, ill be using card a lot, dont think i need to use atm much. Im considering either UP, wise or NAB platnium. I have considered the NAB platnium because they offer free travel insurance. Do you have any more advice, which would be best for me. Thank you.

        • Hi Karla, if you plan to use the card a lot it should work out ok since they charge $10 a month account-keeping fee which can be offset by the cashback rebate of up to $10 per month. Just make sure you read the T&C of the insurance to make sure it’d adequate for you.

  18. Hi Immanuel going to Bali and if I get the UBank card do I just put aud in it, and when I pay at restaurants does it just convert to IDR then or do I have to change my Aud to idr.

  19. Hi, thanks for providing such great information it’s really helped narrow down the search for the best debit card to use for our honeymoon. We are travelling to Cancun Mexico and considering either Citibank Plus or HSBC Global account. Do you think we will be fine with these cards?

    • Hey Adele. HSBC is a good product, although the app needs some serious work. Citi will serve you well along with the other cards listed here. Happy travels, Tom.

  20. Am going on a six month trip – 3 months total in Morocco and Tanzania, and then 3 months in Europe. Am agonising over how to do the money thing – don’t want to carry wads of cash and don’t want to pay loads of fees if I pay by card or make frequent atm withdrawals. Would the Ucard be a good option for me if I just load it up with AUD before I go?

  21. Choosing a card is really hard as the reviews are not that great with any of them. Want to get a card which offers security for my money and easy access to it. I am planning to go to Europe and am worried I wont be able to use my card because its blocked or funds have disappeared (comments in a few google threads). Are all these cards covered by the government guarantee? Are these cards supported by large banks with good customer support should something go wrong?

    Many thanks

    • Hi Diane. We have listed the best cards for travel above, you may wish to consider these for your trip to Europe. Under the Financial Claims Scheme (FCS), deposits of up to $250,000 are protected at licenced banks in Australia. As for the neobanks cards above, Up is backed by Bendigo Bank and UBank by NAB. In my experience, their customer support is fantastic. Cheers, Tom.

    • Hi Diane. We have compared Visa and Mastercard currency conversion rates above – there is little difference here. As long as you are using a card with zero foreign transaction fees, these are the rates that will apply. Cheers, Tom.

  22. Thank you for the article. My concern is how long will it take for money to be transferred from another bank account onto these Travel Cards so that funds are available? Are you better off getting a travel card from your current bank to get the instant transfer?

  23. Surely ING is worth a mention? As far as I know they’re the only one that offers ATM fee rebates. Unfortunately they’ve recently limited this to 5 per month (whether domestic or international), but depending on the country this could still be worth ~$50. If you only withdraw cash once a week or so while travelling this really isn’t an issue. It’s saved me 100s of dollars in the past while travelling so I’m happy to deal with some sub par support!

    • Hey Jordan. We did have the ING Orange Everyday card listed when putting this guide together a few years ago. ING was since removed after the benefits became slightly more restrictive, although it’s still a worthy contender for travel. Blue skies, Tom.

  24. We’re going to Argentina in January, which is a money minefield! – with the official dollar rate via banks vs the blue dollar that is worth nearly twice as much when exchanged for USD cash. Apparently the govt is in the process of introducing blue dollar (or better) rates for tourists using foreign cards, so that makes taking a debit card instead of wads of USD cash much more feasible. Are you aware of this? Do you have any advice at all? If not, we’ll take a chance on one of your recommended cards and hope that it works over there. Thank you!

    • Hi Diane, yes Argentina isn’t your typical country haha the “blue dollar” is the black market exchange rate for USD to the native peso and indeed, you will be much better off bringing USD (make sure you get the newer bills) as everyone in the country wants them. You will still be able to use a debit card at ATMs but when doing so you will convert at the official rate which as you stated is far from favorable. Are you transiting via the USA before getting to Argentina? In this case, I would get USD cash from US ATMs using an Australian debit card, this way you will get the best exchange rate, then take the cash to Argentina and exchange it to Peso on the black market.

      • Thanks so much for your reply and advice Immanuel. We are flying direct from Sydney to Santiago and from there to Buenos Aires, so no opportunity to use a US ATM I’m afraid. We’ll continue to watch the situation (with a sceptical eye) and assume that USD cash is still the way to go. Sigh.

    • Hi Diane, if you use Western Union they give you the Blue $ exchange rate. Initially I thought this was only with US $ but according to a discussion on Travel Advisor, it works for other currencies as well. By setting up an account and have Argentina as your home, you can apparently transfer au $ to Pesos while you are in Argentina. Although sometimes hard to find a WU office that hasn’t run out of $, and not always an instant transfer. Apparently you can play around on the WU site to check your exchange rate before doing this.
      If you already have USD in $100 bills, all very new and clean, you can go to an Arbollito on Florida St and exchange. Remembering the Blue rate does fluctuate.

      Cheers Annmarie

      link to recent TA conversation if you want to read info
      https://www.tripadvisor.com.au/ShowTopic-g294266-i977-k13815837-o30-How_to_get_dollar_blue_exchange_rates_through_Western_Union-Argentina.html

  25. Hi there, I am travelling to the UK and Europe for 4 weeks and tossing up between two options which I can’t choose from. Is it better to use a fee free card overseas (Up in particular) and convert on the spot and cop the varying exchange rate, or preload a travel card so I have converted funds, but risk the fees from ATMs and conversion fees when I need to do so? Cheers

    • Hi Michael. Check out our section on travel-branded cards above. It is just as likely to lock in a bad exchange rate as it is to lock in a good one. It’s up to you, but seeing I don’t hold a crystal ball I avoid gambling on the exchange rate. Once you pay in foreign currency using Up it will be converted to AUD at the current rate with no fees or markup. Cheers, Tom.

      • Thanks mate, I’ve made the decision to use Up and even going to change my regular banking there cause I love it! Thanks again

  26. Signed up for the U Bank card, used the code – it appears that actually the referrer gets the $20 credit, not the new signed up customer. I used the code C7N1TAZ as mentioned above.

  27. Hi!
    Im travelling to the UK and Europe for a month is December and would prefer to use a travel card as opposed to cash. I’ve looked at all of these options but the reviews are a little worrying. Have you used any personally? What would you suggest? Im ideally trying to not spend a whole heap on fees and things and I dont plan on taking much out at an ATM if at all.
    Also looking for a card that wont cost be a fortune to put the left over money back into my bank account once ive returned.
    I was originally going to get a qantas card but once again reviews arent very good.
    Thanks

    • Yes just as good but you don’t get free money for signing up haha! Also, I’m not sure if their application process is as straightforward. Both Up and Ubank instantly activate your digital wallet while you wait for a physical card.

  28. Thanks for the detailed articles team, I’ve always used cash when I travelled in the past but after reading this article I’ll use debit card instead.

    Quick question though, would you recommend using Australian credit card overseas? I understand there’re fees (1-5%) but it earn points in return. Still tossing if points are worth the additional fees.

    • Hi Daniela, most Australian credit cards will charge you a 3% fee on each converted amount. It’s pretty high but if you earn points it can somewhat offset the cost. There are some credit cards that have no fees and earn points but the earn rate is generally pretty bad + they also have annual fees which might outweigh the benefit of saving 3%
      Macquarie Platinum Qantas, ANZ Travel Adventures, and Bankwest are a few you can look into.

  29. Hi Immanuel,
    My 15 year old daughter is going to Japan on exchange for a year. I am a bit worried about sending her with a card in my name in case she is questioned (why she has a card in another person’s name). Other kids are going with CommBank as kids 14 and over can use it but I don’t like the sound of their fees. Any suggestions? Thanks

    • hey Elizabeth, to play it safe you can always have a Commbank account as a backup. Transferring money from Australian banks is instant via Osko so in theory you could give your daughter a card in your name (to take advantage of the low fees) and have a Commbank card as back up if it should be required. That said, you can also use mobile wallets to store Up, Ubank etc for contactless payments, this way the name on the card isn’t shared or displayed.

  30. If I already have a Ubank account (for savings), will this suffice for using on overseas trip? Don’t have a card attached to it, but daresay I could apply for one. Travelling in the new year to UK and France.
    Thanks

    • Hi Denise, yes the Up savings account you got now is what you can use overseas. If you don’t have a physical card, you can order it via the app. It usually takes a week or so.

    • Hi Zara. Any of the above cards can receive overseas payments, but Wise was designed especially with regular international payments in mind. Cheers, Tom.

  31. Hi Zara – this is an excellent site and your advice much appreciated. My 19 year old son is going to Japan for working ski holiday next week for 7 weeks. He will need to use cash Yen in most places and hence, a number of ATM withdrawals. From what I read above, he would probably be best off just using his existing Bendigo Bank debit Mastercard – as he can use for payments as well as ATM withdrawals. Do you agree? Thanks in advance – Ian

    • Hi Ian, Bendigo bank charges 3% on each converted transaction overseas (that’s very high). Since your son is 19, he would be much better off switching to a bank that doesn’t charge those fees. Up bank, Ubank, Revolut, ING etc all offer better banking features and no fees.

  32. Hi Immanuel, I plan to use Macquarie debit card for my upcoming overseas travel. How does Macquarie debit card compare to Citibank? And would Aud convert to other currencies automatically when I pay with my debit card?

    Thanks

    • Hey Linh. Your Australian Dollars will convert automatically for all cards listed above. Both Macquarie and Citibank offer good products with zero fees, although I’m not a fan of their mobile apps. At least Citi has a worldwide presence. Cheers, Tom.

  33. Hi, I’m travelling to Vietnam, I have the 28 degree MasterCard but need a debit card to withdraw cash. What are your thoughts on Westpac worldwide wallet? I don’t want to lock in a currency.

    • Hey Mae. I wouldn’t recommend the Westpac Worldwide Wallet as you will pay extra fees compared to any of the cards we have listed above, for no reason. You would also need to lock in the currency, plus the card does not support VND. The 28-degree MasterCard is also one I would avoid, as you can’t make fee-free withdrawals and they apply a markup to overseas transactions. You might prefer the UBank or Up cards as mentioned above. Happy travels, Tom.

  34. Just fyi – ubank is no allowing joint accounts at the moment. Very annoying as all their marketing says they do, but you get to the “new account” section and get a weird error message. Only after 50mins on hold to the call centre did it all become clear.

    The argument is that they are being used for phishing which seems odd/unlikely – each of the joint owners need to give over ID but after Optus etc who knows.

    I’ll be checking out some of the others – thanks for the tips!

  35. Hi there,

    I’m hoping to take advantage of the exchange rate for japAn before it drops, I have a trip booked in April.

    Can you please advise which travel card would be best. I want to transfer $2000 across as a piggy bank. And then continue to use my up account for purchases once this $2000 is gone.

    Would it be better to do this or go to a cash exchange in Australia and change money before I leave as a lot of purchases will be in cash?

    • How do you know the Aussie will drop against the JPY? If you know for sure, why only bet $2,000? Jokes aside, Revolut would be my #1 choice for converting currency.

  36. I feel that when you recommend these cards you take customer service into account. UBank has been in the news of late for poor service and I wouldn’t have believed it unless I experienced this myself.
    My daughter is in Rome with a UBank card, that we got for her because we read this review.
    They did an upgrade last night during the early hours of the morning AEDT but that was peak time in Europe.
    She was not able to use her card and then when they came back online, she still can’t use the card.
    I was in a queue for over two hours, which is minimum for them, no chat option, which is terrible for a bank.
    I spoke to someone and they assured me they would fix it and they still haven’t. Luckily her friends are with her and they are paying for her items, but this is a terrible bank it really is.
    Please factor this into your reviews and don’t worry about the referral fees, think about the people this affects.

    • Hi Bill. Sorry to hear about your daughter’s poor experience. I have never had an issue using my UBank card overseas, including getting through on the phone. In my experience their customer service is fantastic, but perhaps following the NAB takeover this is no longer the case. Of course, we would always recommend having a few good travel debit cards at hand, in the event that one card is stolen or stops working. Limiting yourself to a single card is undoubtedly risky, hence why we have listed several above. All the best, Tom.

  37. Hi, I’ll be traveling to Germany and Denmark at the start of next year, all of these cards look viable. Is there a specific one that you would recommend…maybe location-wise? Thanks

    • Hi David. I am a fan of Up Bank for their outstanding customer support and ideal app layout. But yes, all of the above could work for your travels. Cheers, Tom.

      • Hey Tom, just opened both an Up Bank and Wise account for my Europe trip , thanks for your help there. If I understood correctly, if I tap and buy something with the Up Bank card, it converts the Australian dollar I have in my account at the Mastercard rate and if I tap and buy something using the Wise card, it converts using the Wise Transfer rate? (assuming I haven’t preloaded the Wise card with Euros already)

  38. Hi Tom
    So is this correct? I miss my choice if card(atm between Up, UBank & Wise) with AUD and use it to pay for things OS (Canada). Therefore I won’t be charged any fees and the money is converted to CAD at the time of transaction?
    If I choose to withdraw actual cash OS then I may incur a fee of over $350 is withdrawn for the month?

    • Hi Jo, each card is different: Up, Ubank don’t have withdrawal limits, Wise & Revolut do have limits on free withdrawal, go over and you will incur a fee. Hope that helps?

      • Hi Immanuel
        Yes thanks so if I’m mainly using the card as a debit card and not to withdraw cash, then any of those 4 would be ok? If I want to withdraw cash – more than $350 a month- (I’m assuming it’s withdrawn as CAD) then Up & Ubank are best?
        Is this correct?

  39. Hi,
    Im going to Europe for 2 months next year which would be the best travel card with the lowest fees? as i will only be using euros and pounds for the trip. My last pre- covid trip I used an ANZ travel card but they dont offer them anymore.

    thanks

  40. Hi Immanual,
    I’m travelling to Mexico and Hawaii in feb for the whole month and I’m stuck on which card to get. I’m unsure if I should get a prepaid or a debit card. Do you have any tips? I assume in Hawaii I’ll be using eftpos (transaction) more, whereas Mexico I think cash. But I’m really not sure, I’m just going off what people have said in travel blogs. Thanks!

    • Hi Ava, the answer to your question is in the article, but in short: pre-paid travel cards suck. Get a debit card or if you want to convert currency before your trip, get Revolut.
      Pro tip: get 2 accounts, that way you have a backup in case you lose a card or it gets blocked.

  41. I’ve got HSBC, Revolut, Wise and Qantas.
    Don’t know why people criticise the HSBC website and app, I’ve never had any issues. Exchange rates are pretty good and there’s 2% cashback on paywave purchases under AUD$100 (not sure if this applies OS).
    Revolut and Wise have the best exchange rates. Revolut Metal plan offers more ATM withdrawals. Lounge access is nothing special (slightly below normal fee unless there’s a +1 hour delay). Wise has no subscription fee.
    Qantas exchange rates are terrible, points bonus kicks in for overseas spending.
    I think Wise is the best all-round option if you don’t need many ATM withdrawals.

    • Hey John. I find the HSBC app outdated and clunky, but if it works for you that’s great. The HSBC 2% cashback will only apply to purchases made in AUD. Personally, I feel Wise and Revolut are far superior as above. Cheers, Tom.

  42. Hi Emmanuel
    Travelling overseas first time to Europe for five and half weeks. Spain, France, Italy and Greece.
    I’m looking at both of these, Up Mastercard Debit card and UBank Visa Debit card, as you said have a back up.
    1- I have a westpac bank account, how do I transfer money onto these cards from westpac, will I be charged any fees for transferring?
    2- For security is it best to have a seperate westpac account with x amount $ in it that is for transferring onto these two debit cards while over seas?
    3- Reason I ask about seperate westpac account, if scammed or the debit card is hacked can the scammers get into my main westpac accounts?
    4- Do I transfer onto both cards or just one at a time?
    5- Would I only have one as back up with no funds on it, and if needed can I transfer while in Europe?
    6- As you mentioned, if the card I’m using eg: Up Mastercard Debit card is stolen, lost or blocked can I automatically transfer the funds on that card to my back up card eg: UBank Visa Debit card? Or because it’s compromised I wont be able to transfer those funds to my back up Debit card?
    7- If that happens are my funds gone/ lost. Or will the banks that back these cards reinburst me for funds lost?
    8- Is Up Mastercard Debit card backed by Bendigo Bank and UBank Visa Debit card backed by NAB bank?
    9- With any funds left on these two cards once back in Australia can all the funds be transferred back into my westpac accounts, is there fees to do this?
    Thanking you in advance for your reply to all my questions.

    • Hi Pip,

      1 – You can make a bank transfer the same way as any other bank account/debit card.
      2 – Personally I don’t worry about this.
      3 – No they are separate banks in the same way Westpac and Commbank are separate.
      4 – Up to you, but it can be nice to have a backup.
      5 – It is good to have a backup loaded with enough cash to get you out of trouble, but it is very easy to transfer in a pinch.
      6 – Yes you can transfer funds and lock the card.
      7 – It depends but you might be protected under the FCS.
      8 – Yes.
      9 – Yes you can transfer AUD back with no fees.

      Cheers, Tom.

  43. Hi my grand daughter is travelling to the U.S.A,
    For sport competition, what would be the best travelcard for her as she is a minor.

  44. Hi Immanuel I’m travelling for the fist time overseas to the Pacific Islands of Fiji for a 2 week holiday with family and kids. What card would best suit me? I do have accounts with Commonwealth and ANZ if it matters?
    Regards Mick

  45. I’m off to Nepal and Bhutan shortly. What is your opinion on the NAB Platinum Visa Debit Card? I believe it’s targeted at o/s travel but I wonder why it hasn’t made your recommendation list. Cheers

    • Hi Simone. We haven’t included the NAB Platinum Visa Debit as there are better cards out there (eg. Up Bank, UBank and Revolut). NAB charges a $10 monthly card fee, $5 per overseas ATM withdrawal and $1 per overseas ATM balance enquiry (in addition to what the ATM itself charges). You might be better off with one of the cards mentioned in this article, as many won’t charge these fees. Cheers, Tom.

  46. Hi Tom,
    We are going to the Maldives in Feb and Europe in June/July, it looks like UP or Revolut are our best options.
    We are with HSBC which doesnt have OSKO. Would we be best to open an account with these other banks for easy transfer.
    Do you know if you can get multiple cards for the one account with UP & Revolut?

    • Hi Heidi, I find that transfers from HSBC usually take 1 business day so while it’s not instant like it is with Australian-based banks, it’s also not that slow. You can only get 1 card for your Up/Revolut account but both options also allow you to generate digital cards which you can generate as often as you want.

  47. Hi – I am curious about the markup fees on these cards. Upbank clearly states they don’t do forex markup fees, but I cannot find information on the others. HSBC Everyday Global Rewards does have a forex mark up fee for the currencies you can load into the card for example. What about Ubank?

    • Hi Alee, HSBC charges a markup if you exchange money within your account; there’s no fee if you exchange it using the spot rate by paying or using your card in a foreign country. As I’ve said many times in these comments: there’s no benefit in exchanging money beforehand UNLESS you have a crystal ball and know what a currency will be worth at the time that you need it. So I never exchange money, all the cards we listed here do that automatically when you pay or use an ATM and do so without any fees.Ubank doesn’t have any exchange fees for the fact that it doesn’t have the option to convert currencies ahead of time, it simply converts based on the best spot rate as stated above.

  48. Hey! Firstly this is the greatest thread regarding travel cards! Thanks for the replies!

    I am travelling to Europe in June with my partner, we are heading to Denmark, UK, Greece, Croatia, Albania, UAE, Italy, France, Macedonia and Lebanon (just over 3 months).

    I was originally considering Wise, however I see your point on withdrawal caps without fee.

    Tossing between the Citibank plus, Wise, HSBC global and now the UP and UBank (open to others)

    What would be your best recommendation for no fees and best exchange rate for these countries?

    Could I get 4 best card recommendations for;

    1/ Exchange rate and fees?
    2/ Exchange rate, fees and atm withdrawal
    3/ Atm withdrawal
    4/ A extra card to carry to withdraw USD dollars to take to Lebanon (don’t want to be carrying a large amount of cash that I need for my last destination)

    Thank you in advance! 🙂

    • Hi Faydi, personally, I use Revolut, Up and Ubank. Mostly because I like the apps they have; my issue with Citi and HSBC is that the mobile applications are somewhat clunky and not as user-friendly. When it comes to rates, all the cards we’ve listed here either use Visa or Mastercard spot rates (these are the best you can access as a consumer), all the cards listed above have no fees. In any case, I would made sure to have at least 2 debit cards (they are free anyway) so you can transfer money between if one stops working for whatever reason or if you lose a card. With Lebanon, from what I hear, it’s best to avoid ATMs because they will exchange your money at the official rate, since the people there want USD, there is a “black market” rate which is much more favourable but this would mean you have to carry some USD with you.

      • Hi Emmanuel,

        Thank you.

        Regarding withdrawing USD to use in Lebanon, my plan was to withdraw the USD in a different country (possibly from Macedonia) so I’m not carrying the cash for 2 months around Europe.

        Any cards that are best for withdrawing money from ATM’S?

        Thanks! 🙂

  49. Hi,

    Thank you for taking the time to hear me out. What would be your best recommendation as I am trying to do a lot of research on what would be the best debit card to use for overseas this year. Travelling through to Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Malta, London and Dubai. Would probably mainly try to use the debit card mostly for purchases if that’s what would be best recommended and do minimal cash withdrawals from the ATM. What would be best for saving money on 0 fees and also what would offer the best exchange rate? Secondly would you recommend to load whichever card with AUD and then spend overseas and then apparently when I go through the eftpos machine select the purchase in euro option or exchange the AUD to euro before travelling? And lastly with taking out cash in euro or gbp would you recommend to take out at an exchange rate or public ATM when overseas or exchange it in AUS before travelling ?

    Thanks 🙂

    • Hi Nicholas, in the article, we have listed all our favourite cards. These are the best you can get (in our opinion). While features and fees might vary slightly, it’s negligible. If you plan to mostly pay using the card, I’d go for Revolut as the app is my favourite. As a backup, take Up or Ubank. You can’t go wrong. As for loading money: ALWAYS load AUD. Unless you like to be ripped off.
      Your card will do the conversion for you at the ATM or eftpos machines. And yes, always chose to pay in local currency overseas, never let the machine offer you a converted AUD rate. As for ATM, again, always take out cash at your destination if you can. This way, you will avoid the fees.

  50. Hi there. You mention… many of our top picks use either Visa or Mastercard’s exchange rates, without applying any markup. which ones are these?

  51. Hi Immanuel,
    What a great article! Thank you so much.
    Can I ask how you think the Mastercard rate compares to the mid-market rate offered by Wise?
    Thank you.

    • Wise has a variable fee of 0.44, so the Mastercard spot rate is still better. I’m planning a real-life comparison between all the cards so that should interesting 😀

  52. Hi there. I’m slightly confused with all these options. I have been flying to EU in past and using INg.. would UBank compare? What do I go for? Thank you.

    • Hi Irena, nothing wrong with ING; it’s actually a really good travel card. The only reason we haven’t listed it is because in order to get the benefits out of ING it takes a lot of requirements to maintain. In our opinion, it’s too annoying to keep track of. Ie: in order to get the fees waived you need to make 5 purchases a month and deposit $1000. This is ok if you use it all the time but it’s too much work if you casually use it as a travel card.

    • We have a whole section in the article dedicated to this product and even compared it with the spot rates, did you read it?

  53. hello , we are travelling from AUS to US and staying in multiple hotels and conscious of the Hotel pre-auth holds whilst using Debit cards – could you recommend the best travel credit card for first time users

    • Hi Ren, there are a few credit cards that don’t charge 3% on top of each converted transaction but the downside is that they have poor points earn rates, and usually they also have high annual fees. Personally, I have Amex Platinum but also use Macquarie Qantas Platinum Visa (only because I get this product fee free). Key ones to look at are Bankwest Platinum & World Mastercard, ANZ Adventures Visa, and Commbank Ultimate Mastercard. There are probably some others I’ve missed but these are the main ones that earn points. I avoid credit cards that don’t offer rewards as they have no purpose other than to create debt. One exception might be 28 Degrees as they have a fee-free card with no annual fee.

      • Thank you for your reply , totally on your same page about not wanting to get a credit card either but unsure on other options when hotels will take large holds which can take some time to be released , have you used debit cards previously ?

  54. Hello,

    Regarding withdrawing USD to use in Lebanon, my plan is to withdraw the USD in a different country (possibly from Macedonia) so I’m not carrying the cash for 2 months around Europe.
    Any cards that are best for withdrawing money from ATM’S?
    Thanks! 🙂

  55. Hey
    Great article!
    I am travelling to Japan and Mexico in a month and was wondering what cards I should use while travelling and why. I have the following transaction accounts/cards already Up, Ubank, ING and Commbank debit. I also have a Westpac altitude black credit card.
    Thanks

  56. Hi thank you this article was very useful for me as I was planning on using a travel money card with preloaded converted currency. I will be travelling to Europe soon, I currently have a Bankwest Easy Transaction account. They do not charge international transaction fees or ATM withdrawal fees. However I don’t know whether they charge any hidden foreign exchange markup fees. Would you recommend this card for travelling.

    • Hi Fiona, the Bankwest debit card is actually another good one! They also use Mastercard spot rates, so it will be comparable to the likes of Ubank/Up. They have no hidden fees from what I can see. One thing I didn’t like about BW in the past is their somewhat clunky mobile app, but maybe this has been updated since? In any case, make sure you have a backup card of some sort; transferring money from a Bankwest to another OSKO-supported account such as Up, Ubank etc, would be instant.

  57. Thanks for this article, it is really helpful as we try and narrow down our best option. Do you happen to know if the UBank one lets you have a joint account for the times my partner and I are not together ? I will control the app (not his forte) but I would prefer we both have a card we can load to Apple Pay so we can go our own ways at times.

    • Hey Karen! Yes, they do offer a shared account, you can choose this option during the sign-up process. It will also give you 2 debit cards (one purple and one aqua) to keep it simple to manage. Both of you will need to download the app to verify your identity etc.

  58. Great article – I got the Ubank card without fuss and it has worked without hassle – at a good exchange rate too (way better than i could get cash pre departure).

    Only concert is in Apple Wallet you have to choose between Visa, eftpos Savings, eftpos Cheque. Neither of the first 2 worked, i didn’t try Cheque, but the physical card worked. Don’t know why this would be

    • Hey Alex, thanks for the kind words! As for Apple pay, sounds odd? Which country did you experience the issue? I’ve got Ubank added to apple pay but never had an issue.

  59. Hi Great advice. I am travelling to America, England and Switzerland this year. I will mainly use a card for tap and go purchases what would you suggest. With the CHF is it costing me twice as it appears most options is Euro and not CHF. Thank you

    • Hi Sarah, both CHF and EUR are very much on par at the moment. Nor sure why it would cost you double? If you don’t take out much cash, I would go with Revolut.

    • Hi Chris, all the cards we mention here are our favourites. You can’t go wrong with any of them. Personally I use Ubank, Up and Revolut.

  60. Hi! Great article! Have planned a trip to Japan and Korea for March and this is exactly what I needed do THANKS. I’m thinking of getting the Citibank and the UBank cards — thoughts on these for Japan and Korea? I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on the Citibank card since they have been acquired by NAB. Or do you have any other recommendations on top of the previous ones in the article?

    Additionally, along with my current NAB debit card (for emergency, if the previous two cards fail), would you recommend bringing a credit card as well? Thanks again!!

    • Hi! Yes, Citi is now part of NAB, but NAB also owns Ubank. The key difference would be in the user-friendly side of the apps. Personally, I’m not a big fan of the clunky Citi mobile app. Also, Ubank gives new members $30 with zero strings attached… might as well have a free beer in Japan at their expense 😉

  61. Hi, I’m travelling to Hawaii in a few months and need a new travel card. I’ve always used the Virgin one which was great, but it’s now closed. I’ve been looking at the Westpac Worldwide Wallet, just keen to here your thoughts? They seem to have no fees and the best conversion rate at the moment. The downside it seems is I have to be a Westpac customer. I’ve had poor customer service with uBank before so I want to steer clear of them.

    • Hi Sam, it’s an “OK” product; however, they do charge ATM fees which we’re not a huge fan of. In Hawaii, you’d be stung US$2 each time you take out cash. As for the exchange rate, it’s a MasterCard, so the spot rate will be identical to Up & Ubank (owned by NAB) and all other debit cards that use Mastercard for their product.

  62. Hi, is it true that Wise has one distinct benefit for travel….it allows purchase verification codes via the app….not SMS? This would be a game changer for me when using o/s sim in phone.

    • Hi Gary, yes both Wise and Revolut use the app for the verification of payments (usually happens when you make a purchase online)

  63. Hi Immanuel,

    I’m travelling to Europe and with NAB – and they don’t seem to have a free option! I’ve clicked the link to Up included in your article. I just followed the prompts and now have a digital card – am I now free to use the digital card on my phone in Europe and incur no fees? Thanks so much for this article by the way!

    • Hi Micaela, yes that’s correct! You can use the digital card with your phone to tap and pay without fees. Make sure to always pay in the currency of the country you’re in. Sometimes (actually most of the time) the machine will prompt you to choose between Euro or Australian dollar. Always chose Euro as otherwise, you’ll pay 5% for no reason. Up should get you a free physical card within a few days as well though.

  64. Is the westpac worlwide wallet able to be used in unsupported countries such as Denmark? Will it just convert the aud in the account at the time of a purchase?

    • It will just convert at time of purchase using Mastercard spot rate with no markup. The card is ok but we don’t rate it highly since they charge ATM fees for taking out cash overseas.

  65. Thank you for the article and recommendations. I have been leaning towards the Citi Debit Card to use alongside the Latitude 28 degrees credit card for my 6 weeks overseas trip to Italy in May. This was because the Citi Debit Card has essentially no fees and a worldwide presence (although I am concerned about the constant reference to non user-friendly app). I have just read that NAB will cease sign up to new Citi accounts from May 20th 2023 but will still support active Citi accounts which were opened prior to that date (I’m guessing they are trying to move customers to their UBank product???). Sounds to me that there would be extra risk going abroad with a Citi debit card and it seems from posts by your readers, that there is some question surrounding recent customer service with UBank. I plan to use the Latitude card for most of my purchases and the Debit card for incidentals and ATM withdrawals where necessary. This will be my first foray into the world of internet banking and as such I’m still uncomfortable with the idea of a ‘digital bank’. I will therefore hold my savings in my regular bank account and transfer money from there to my ‘travel debit card’ and my Latitude 28Degrees account. I am thinking to get another debit card as a backup for my Citi card and to cover bases am thinking to go with a Visa network card. I have read your article in Flighthacks re: Revolut Premium. I note that the Standard card does not have 24/7 customer support and I am not keen on paying the monthly account keeping fees when I return to Australia. Could you suggest a pair of Debit cards that can team with my Latitude card to see me comfortably through my travel?

    • Hi G, digital bank just means they don’t have a physical branch, apart from that they have to comply with all the regulations like any other bank. For example Ubank is just a brand from NAB but geared to a younger audience which means everything can be done via their mobile app. I can’t recall the last time I visited a bank branch. As for support, I have all of these cards and travel frequently. Not once have I had to get support, so for me, it’s not a priority. As always, when it comes to feedback regarding banking support, you will be able to find negative comments on every bank… it’s simply because people don’t complain when everything works as it should. For me the priority for a travel debit card is that it A) has no fees and B) user user friendly app where I can check balances, make transfers and do things efficiently on to go. As for Citi, nothing wrong with it but it’s pretty much the same as all the other products we mentioned with the key difference being an outdated app that will probably lose updates and supports going forward as NAB attempts to integrate these into their own ecosystem. In any case, it’s always smart to have 2 debit cards (since they are free) incase something happens with one you can transfer money to the other one.

  66. Hi Immanuel,

    I have read most of the comments and will go with one of your suggestions for sure. Only question I have is that I have a few grands of EURO in cash from my last trip and I don’t want to carry it on with myself to spend it. Is there anyway that I load that money to one of the above cards so that I can use it in Europe?

    Cheers

    • Hi Sam, no you can’t. There’s no way to load Euro to an Australian account without converting it twice. If you were to deposit it, it’s always going to get converted to AUD first.
      I’d just keep it in cash, alternatively lose a few % and convert it back to AUD at a currency exchange.

  67. Hi there, we have Citi and 28 degrees and have always found them to have the best exchange rates when paying local currencies overseas. Has this changed at all in the last 3 years since we’ve travelled?
    I did notice on Citi with the new feature to add a global wallet, the exchange rate to lock in a transfer now seems quite a bit lower than the wholesale rate. Is this the new rate that Citi uses even for on the spot transactions overseas?

    Thanks

    • Citi just uses the Mastercard spot rates so it’s the same as all the other ones that use Mastercard. Exchanging currency within a wallet is always a bad idea, the spot rate will give the best rate on the date as no one can predict FX movements.

  68. UBank and Up Bank have appalling review on ‘Product Review’ website, mostly related to customer support and account accessibility. I had personally experienced that with UBank when trying to open a term deposit account and ended up giving up. If one has difficulty, stress, time pressure and frustration getting customer support at home in your comfort zone, imagine what you will experience if you need customer support while overseas. I am sure it will spoil your holidays or might end your holidays with a fatal heart attack. Very afraid and concern about given UBank anothergo and Up Bank ago. I believe online and/or neobanks have less than satisfactory and acceptable customer support. One may also say that customer support by most business are substandard and not meeting consumer expectations and neeeds.

    From what I read and understand, Up Bank is not actually a ‘bank’ and not listed as an ADI by APRA but a brand of Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Limited covered by it.

    Relating to the above mentioned, do you have any comments or advice regarding other products mentioned in your article or any others not mentioned such as Bankwest, HSBC or Suncorp? Are you aware of any credible and sizable database review by real people using these or any cards while travellig overseas particularly in Europe and ASIA?

    Finally, I complement Flighhacks for a well presented article on the topic and so glad that I came across it. Your ongoing discussions and support to readers via this forum is highly commmendable. The fact that I joined the discussion group speaks for itself because I rarely do so. It has been tremendous help and I thank you. I am sure my appreciation is shared by all your readers. Keep up the good work. If banks and businesses are as good and committed as you guys, the world would be different.

    • Hi Bill, I do my business banking with Commbank. Normally I can do everything online but the other day I got locked out after entering a wrong password. After being on the phone for 2h waiting for “Australian support” the guy told me he couldn’t help because they were also doing a system upgrade. Annoying… yes. Will I run off to “product review” to leave a negative review, probably not but a lot of people would. In any case, my point is that whatever bank you use… sometimes you will run into a less-than-ideal experience. It’s wort noting that Product Review is full of people who are pissed off and want to vent their frustration, people that are happy don’t tend to bother writing reviews about these kinda services so take it with a grain of salt as reviews are skewed to the negative side. I’ve been with Up (Yes they are owned by Bendigo Bank) for 3 years and 10 months. Never had an issue. Customer support is done via their app chat system which for me is super convenient. The only time I’ve hat to reach out was to request a new debit card after mine was stolen. Apart from that it just works…
      I’m not sure what your issue was opening a Ubank account but I’ve also been using them and had no issues. Bankwest, HSBC, Suncorp also offer similar products. I’ve actually just signed up to Suncorpt to test out their debit card as it has no atm fees and no FX markup which is good for what’s a bigger bank.

    • From a fee perspective, no. The only difference: you get $30 for signing up for a free account + the app is lightyears ahead of Citi so it’s just more user friendly.

  69. Hi there.
    I’m off to Japan in May and I’m considering using the Westpac Worldwide Wallet.
    I’ve seen your comments about not recommending this option because of ATM withdrawal fees but according to the Westpac website there are no ATM withdrawal fees.
    Just wondering if I’ve read it wrong.

    • Hi Tom, Westpac only allows free ATM use when you use a “Global Alliance”. There are no such ATM’s in Japan, so you will be paying the fee. While you did read it correctly on their product page, you should also read the fine print as that’s where they tell you about all the fees.

  70. Hi there,
    I’m 18 and going to be travelling around europe for 2 months. I’ve read all the comments and it seems like Up or Ubank is the way to go… is there much difference between them which could help me decide what to pick? Would getting both cards be a good idea incase one has issues (lost, not working, etc)?
    Thanks heaps

    • Not a huge difference. I think Up is easier to deal with because you can message them in the app. But otherwise just as good, both are free and offer a welcome bonus to sign up 🙂

  71. Hi,

    Im heading to Europe for 2 months and will be in countries that use the pound and euro. What would be my best option regarding what would be the best travel card to take, I’ve been looking online and there is so many options that its kind of confusing me (wise/revolout/aus post/travelex just to name a few) and are travel cards the best option to take?

    Just wondering what your opinion would be for the best options, thanks!

    • Hi Ash, all the products we’ve listed in this article are very good and will suit your purpose. Avoid Aus Post and Travelex unless you want to pay fees for no reason. As I’ve mentioned a few times, personally I use Revolut, Up and Ubank.

  72. Hi Tom, I am going to Europe for 7 months. I have got the basic Revolut plan with the cards. I have already put some Aud and Euro on the card. I have added the Revolut card as my payment card on booking.com and Airbnb. If I choose to pay this accommodation now using this card will they take the money out in Euros or Aud( as I have both on my card?)
    Also, for a longer stay trip like this should I upgrade my plan?
    Thankyou for all your advice
    Leanne

    • Hi Leanne, it depends on what currency AirBnb is going to charge you in. For example, if AirBnb says AUD$100, you will be charged in Australian Dollars so long as you have enough of that currency in your account. If you had AUD$0 and EUR$200 on your card, you would be charged in EUR as it is the only currency loaded to your Revolut card. As far as upgrading your plan I can’t provide financial advice but can suggest you work out how much you plan to spend, and then compare the fees on a Basic and Metal account. Hope this helps, Tom.

  73. I will be doing some travel in Europe (Malta, Greece, Spain, France etc) before living and working in the UK for a couple of years, paid in GBP. Do you think I should open a local UK bank account to get paid or will one of these travel debit cards work for me as a good allrounder? If yes, which would work best. Just looking to keep it simple.

    • Hi David. If you are looking to keep it simple and will be in Europe for several years, you might as well open a UK account. You can also get a travel card for when you travel. Cheers, Tom.

  74. Hi Tom,

    Great article / recommendations 🙂

    I’m travelling from OZ to the UK, stopping at potentially some European countries (for a few days)
    I have a bank acc in the UK so can transfer money there (and use UK card in UK where I’ll spend the majority of my time)
    I’ll probably use the travel card to pay for all bills if possible (rather that use cash)

    I’m tossing up between UP card / U Bank?

    Any advice from yourself on a preference, and can I get an additional card linked for my partner or do I have to get a separate card?

    Thanks in advance for your help 🙂

    • Hi Matt. Both are good options but I think the Up app is superior, plus the customer service is better and you can message them directly from the app. Both are free and offer a welcome bonus to sign up. Cheers, Tom.

  75. We are a family of 4 (2+2) going to be travelling in India for 1.5 months. Just wanted to get your thoughts on what’s the best card to carry to cover our expenses in India (ATM withdrawal, paying for restaurant/shopping etc.).

    • Hi Alap. Please read the article for a list of the best travel debit cards. Any of these would work in India. For ATM withdrawals and general spending, I like my Up Debit Card. Cheers, Tom.

  76. Hi I’m travelling to Europe in June for a month with my husband and I’m wondering if wise or Revolut would be best to use? Not sure which one is better but they seem to be very similar, or do you have any recommendations on any other cards
    Thanks!

    • Hi Rebecca. Both Wise and Revolut offer a cheap way to spend overseas and you are right in saying they are very similar. The major difference is when you go to make an ATM withdrawal. Both offer AU$350 equivalent of fee-free ATM withdrawals per month before Wise charges 1.75% plus AU$1.50 where Reolut charges 2%. If you subscribe to Revolut Metal for AU$24.99 per month (cancel anytime), you can withdraw AU$1,400 every month before that same fee kicks in (remember the ATM itself might charge a fee). Personally, I like the Wise app more, and use my Up card for unlimited fee-free withdrawals. Safe travels, Tom.

  77. Hi there
    Thanks so much for this article , it was so helpful
    I opened a Citibank currency card but they are now closing . I’ve got an Ing orange everyday card which I’ve used before I’ve traveled to japan. Apart from the other comments saying about the bad customer service If you needed to call . And keeping in mind the 5 withdrawals fee free . Do you think it’s on the same level as one u bank ? Much of a muchness ? I won’t be missing out on much if I just take my ing card for convenience sake ? Thanks again

  78. Hi,

    Im travelling Europe later in the year and was wondering with the UP bank card do you convert AUD currency into (euro/pound) or is it payed in AUD? so would you just transfer AUD currency to the card and it withdraws from that?

    Thanks!

    • Hi Jessica, the card automatically converts the money for you using the spot rate. If you use a product that allows you to convert currencies, you’re essentially betting on FX rates going either up or down. Unless you can predict the future, it’s probably smarter to average your FX rates at the time of transaction.

  79. Hi Immanuel,
    Thanks for the great article and all the chat.

    We’re going to France for 10 weeks in late June. We’ll want to be able to pay for some things by card and also withdraw cash. I note you recommend Revolut for paying by card and Up or Ubank for withdrawing cash from ATMs. Is it not possible to pay for things using a debit card? For example, could I pay for hotel accommodation, or some clothing using an Up debit card for example?

    We’ve not had a Debit card before, always just had one credit card (NAB Platinum). When travelling in the past we used a NAB travel card and if necessary we used our credit card and accepted any fees that applied. A couple of questions:

    1. If we open an Up or Ubank account should we just open it as an individual account for one of us rather than a joint account?

    2. You suggest having more than one debit card. Would it be worth getting both an Up and a Ubank debit card or would we be better to get a Revolut card, and either an Up or Ubank debit card?

    As we are in WA we might also look into a Bankwest account with a debit card.
    Thanks.

    • Hi Michelle, Revolut is a debit card as well. I just like the app interface and they have some extended functionality. It’s definitely possible to pay for things with a debit card. If you have a bank account in Australia, you also have a debit card. Joint or personal… it’s up to you. It would depend on how you like to manage your money. You can try both Up and Ubank and see which one you like the best. The difference would come down to how easy you find the app to use, apart from that they are pretty much the same. As for Bankwest, their debit cards are also pretty good. Just avoid Travelex and Commbank Travel Money card and you’ll be fine 🙂

      • Thanks for responding Immanuel. I got an Up in my name and my husband got a UBank in his. We haven’t got the physical cards as yet and we haven’t tried the Apps yet so not sure which one we will find the best to use. I think two debit cards will be sufficient so I probably won’t worry about Bankwest. It seems easy to transfer funds from our NAB account to the cards so it should work well overseas. We now just need to decide how to manage internet access whilst out and about in France! Any hacks on best e-sims for data when travelling in Europe?

        • Hi Michelle, perfect! Yes, you’ll have no issues funding either account from NAB as it’s all instant using the OSKO protocol. For eSim I’ve used Airalo in the past, they are one of the biggest providers. We actually partner with them and we have a discount code for 10% off all their plans with code “HACKS10”. If you do sign up, consider using our affiliate link 🙂

        • https://flighthacks.com.au/recommends/airalo/
  80. Hi Immanuel,

    I am wanting to go overseas and currently have a 28Degrees, Up and Citi account.

    With the recent cyber attacks on Latitude would you still use the card while overseas? Would you recommend getting another card together with the Up and Citi or will these two cards be enough.

    Also with Citi not taking new customers from May 23 am concerned there will be issues with this card as well.

    I am worried as I do not want to be without access to funds should I go overseas?

    Appreciate any suggestions you may have.

    Thanks so much.

    • Hi Alisha, I think the Latitude issues only revolve around them exposing your personal information (which is bad), however it shouldn’t affect their credit card product. Up has been great for me and hasn’t skipped a beat. My understanding with Citi bank is that they will be closing down account sometime in the future since NAB now owns them and they are probably not getting much money out of the debit card side of the business.

  81. Hi, what is quickest way to get a travel card in Australia- Westpac travel card any good as believe I can pick up one in person at bank?
    Thanks RA

    • We recently did a test and the Westpac Worldwide Wallet card came out as one of the worst options, from our tests you would be 4.6% worse off compared to using the Up debit card. Most cards take about 1 week to arrive so I would go for Up, Ubank, ING, Macquarie, Revolut or Wise.
      I’d say from all of them my Revolut was the fastest one to get to me.

      • Hi Immanuel,
        As we are tight on time, and only travelling to NY for 10 days we would only use the Westpac card for direct purchases (ie: no ATM use as we’ll take a little cash). Would that be a feasible option?
        Kind regards RA

  82. Hi Immanuel,
    When comparing the Ubank Visa Debit foreign exchange rate versus the Wise mid market rate + Wise exchange fee, which provides a better exchange rate usually for UK and America? Or is there a general trend, where one is just better than the other?

    • They are pretty much the same, on the test we did, Wise came out slightly worse. We cashed out 10k JPY, Wise converted that to AU$114.98 and Ubank converted it to AU$114.76 (all fees included). If you’re sending money overseas, the contenders would be Wise and Revolut.

      • Hi Immanuel,
        Thanks for the reply. May be a bit of a silly question, but are you saying, if I want to pay by card when overseas, Ubank is marginally better, whereas if I want to send money overseas, Ubank can’t do that, and you recommend Wise and Revolut?

      • Thanks so much for doing the real world comparison between wise and ubank. I read right through the entire thread to find it after you suggested you might do one. I have to say your responses are outstanding and it’s a rare thing to see an author so committed to sharing useful information.. Also I would like to commend you for your polite manner in the face of so many people asking questions that could easily be answered by actually reading the article and your previous responses. That must be very frustrating. Impressive!

  83. Hi Immanuel, thanks for your dedication to this post and the discussion thread – both insightful and incredible!
    I’d be grateful for your opinion on the best card for travelling through Taiwan for a couple of months.
    I expect to be able to pay with a card at most places in the city centres (Taipei, Taichung, etc) but many places only accept cash. So I’ll need the occasional ATM withdrawal facility, preferably with a bank that has a strong local presence in Taiwan.
    I’d be grateful for your recommendations.
    Thanks in advance
    Tony

    • Hi Tony, any of the card we’ve mentioned here will work perfectly fine for you. Visa/Mastercard are some of the most accepted worldwide and in Taiwan. In our recent test, both Ubank and Up came out on top in terms of the best rates.

    • Great card, as long as you meet the minimum spend requirements and funding requirements each month. The reason we don’t list it here is because if you are a casual user, the ING Everyday debit card actually works out very expensive. FYI; you need to make 5 card purchases each month as well as deposit $1000 each month to get the benefits.

  84. Hi Immanuel

    My partner and I are travelling to Spain/Portugual/Morroco in June. We would like to usE a combination of ATMs (take out a larger sum of money) and travel cards. We also current customers of Macquarie Bank. My partner is a little hesitant in using banks/travel cards of merchants she’s not heard of. Should we contact Macquarie and use one off their Visa cards or get a travel card. Any advice would be great

    Thank you

    • Hi Scott, yes the Macquarie Platinum Debit card is just as good as Up/Ubank etc. Only difference is that it doesn’t come with free $$ to open one 😀

  85. I was about to open up a CBA Travel Money Card (Visa) and a Westpac World Wide Wallet (Mastercard) today with foreign currencies pre-loaded, but fortunately I stumbled across your site and I’m now going to open up 2 debit cards instead because they have $0/low transaction/international fees.
    I do like taking both a Visa and a Mastercard overseas in case one of them is not accepted.
    I’ll probably be applying for an Up Bank (Mastercard) debit card and a UBank (Visa) debit card.
    Many thanks for your advice.

    • Glad to hear that David! We’re currently working on a video comparing 11 different debit cards and so far CBA came out as one of the worst options on our real-world test taking out money and spending on the card.

  86. Hi,
    Great content here and advice – thank you!
    Quick question though – Have you evaluated the different fx rates between Wise, Ubank or Up at one point in time? Considering either one of these and leaning to Ubank or Up given no ATM withdrawal fees but are there rates worse than Wise?

    • Hi Adam, yes we have! I’m actually making a video about it but it’s still being edited. We tested both ATM withdrawals overseas and in-store transactions for 11 different cards. Up & Ubank both came out on top with the same rate for cash out at ATM and also the same rate for in-store purchases. Wise came out slightly worse but only by 1c ($1.34 vs $1.35). For cash-out, 10k JPY converted to $114.57 for both Up and Ubank and $114.98 for Wise. Hope that helps!

  87. Hey,
    I’m off to Japan in a few weeks.
    Last year when I went to South Korea I got a Wise card/account which is still active. I’m also a Westpac customer and while at the bank today mentioned I’m going to Japan and they gave me a Worldwide Wallet pack with the two cards (why two cards?).
    What would be the better option? Sticking with Wise, or going Westpac WWC?

    • They give 2 cards in case you lose one or it gets eaten by an ATM machine or stolen etc. Westpac Worldwide Wallet is one of the worst products we’ve tested. I’d avoid it. Your Wise card is exponentially better.

  88. Hi, just about to go travelling to Europe and came across your article which is very helpful – thank you. I will now be getting an Upbank and U bank debit card based on your recommendation. I was also wondering if you could recommend a good credit card for large purchases when overseas. I currently have a CW platinum Visa. TIA

    • Hi Colette, for credit cards the ones that don’t surcharge overseas usually have a poor earn rate for reward points. In general, I never recommend credit cards that don’t provide rewards as there’s no real benefit. For reward-earning cards with no 3% surcharge: Commank Diamond, ANZ Adventurers, Bankwest QF Platinum & World Mastercard, Macquarie Qantas Platinum Visa (that’s all i can think off top of my head).

  89. Hi Immanuel,

    We are travelling to USA/Canada in a few weeks & are still unsure whether to take cash & a credit card or cash & travel card (currently have Stgeorge World Wide Wallet).Any advice would be appreciated TIA

    • Hi Michael, why would you take cash? Just leave it in your bank account and use an ATM when you’re in the USA/Canada to take out cash when you need it using one of the travel cards we suggested. Converting your AUD to USD in Australia (or US) in an exchange is a rip-off.

  90. Hi Immanuel

    Thank you for this article. I am frequent visitor on your website. Always great content.
    Just a quick question, I have had Citibank card for decade and have enjoyed benefits while travelling overseas. Since they have been bought by NAB and they are changing product services one by one. Have their transaction account been affected as well or they still offering same benefits?
    Website doesn’t give clear information either.

    • Hi Manish, from what I understand they will be closing down the free debit card at some stage this year. Personally, I’ve switched to Up/Ubank for my ATM cash-out needs overseas and Revolut for sending money internationally as they have the best rates.

  91. Hi Immanuel,
    Just wandering if there is much difference between using my standard Suncorp debit card while travelling Europe in comparison to actually getting a travel card like UP?
    thanky ou

    • I don’t think there is, I’ve been wanting to test Suncorp as they also offer no fees but I’m yet to receive my debit card after waiting a month!.

  92. I have the Westpac worldwide wallet travel card that I have loaded money into.
    I was told it is fee free. So I hope that’s true. I also have the Qantas cash card, but the exchange rate is not as good as the westpac card.

    • Both are pretty bad. We recently did a test of 11 of the most popular debit cards in Australia and Westpac Worldwide Wallet came in 7th place. Their rates where 4.63808% higher than what Up Bank charged. Qantas Money came in 19th place…

  93. Hi, tossing up between UBank, Up or Wise debit card? I can’t decide, which one would you go with?
    And, was looking at getting the BankWest Breeze Platinum Credit Card? Is this a good credit card to use when travelling in Europe?
    Lastly, is it best to order Euros before i travel (was going to order thru S Money) or use an ATM in Italy with my Debit card?
    Many thanks 🙂

  94. Hi Immanuel,

    Firstly let me say this site has been extremely helpful and your recent video comparing 11 cards in Japan was also very informative.

    A big thank you for creating this site and spending time to make things easier for travellers who need clarity around this topic.

    I am about to travel to Europe and thanks to your post have both an Up and Ubank account. I understand there are no fees from these banks to use these cards overseas however I have been told I will still be charged fees by the overseas banks when using their ATMs to make withdrawls and making overseas instore card purchases? What are these fees? Is there any way these fees can be avoided?

    Ideally I dont want to pay any fees to banks while I’m overseas and would like to maximise my funds while on my holiday.

    Appreciate your time and advise

    Many thanks

    • Hi Dianne, there are no fees charged by Up/Ubank but the owners of the ATM you use will generally charge a fee (that’s how they make money). It varies, for example for the video we made the ATM charged us AU$1.25 for taking out cash. My tip would be to use the ATM of big brand banks as their fees will be reasonable. The fee is always displayed on the screen and the machine will prompt you to accept it or deny. If you deny, your card comes out. There’s no fee for making in-store card purchases with these cards, your AUD is converted on the spot by Mastercard or Visa which is the best rate you can get as a consumer using a card to pay.

  95. Thanks for this awesome up to date review and the video – so helpful. I’ve been reading up the last few weeks in prep. for our next trip knowing you have to be organised well ahead.

    I’ve been a UBank and ING customer for years and was planning on using ING for Cash withdrawls on our next trip but was reassessing because they dropped the ATM reimbursement.

    I’ve always used 28degrees Mastercard for purchases thinking it would be a better exchange rate than UBank or ING – I don’t know whether they are or not.

    Anyway, reason I’m commenting because there are many many articles online saying how good Wise is. Unfortunately, last night, before reading your article and watching the video I joined Wise and was charged $10 for the Card. I paid before reading this article and am really annoyed about it. I paid because I thought they were way ahead on exchange rate so thought overall I’d be better off. But it seems ING and UBank are as good if not better and their cards don’t cost anything.

    I’m thinking of cancelling my Wise card – in principle.

    What do you think ?

    Did you know there was a $10 fee to get the Wise Card ?

    thanks

    • Hi Barbara, thanks for the kind words! Your 28 Degrees credit card will use the same Mastercard spot rate used by Up for example. Therefore I’d expect the conversion to be pretty much the same.
      Wise is really good for sending money overseas but I feel their debit card (although it’s also one of the best) is somewhat lacking compared to the free options out there. My key concerns with them are: card fee for ordering a card as you mentioned, limitation to cash withdrawal and as per our test their conversion rates on in-person payments and ATM cashouts where beaten by Up and Ubank which are both free and have zero limitations.

  96. The Westpac World Wide Wallet card will cost you hundreds of dollars. Westpac claim no fees, but their exchange rate is always poor and slow to change. I have already lost hundreds of dollars converting to Euros. My cousin has one, and he consistently gets a higher exchange rate than myself, because he has more money in his Australian account than I do. I complained and was blown off, my cousin’s higher exchange rate wasn’t even addressed. I wish I’d read some reviews before blindly accepting their lies. There are better cards out there, you might pay a fee, but the better exchange rate will save you a lot of money.

    • Absolutely! It was one of the worst cards we tested. The best cards are actually free, for our tests Up and Ubank came out on top: zero cost to get it!

  97. So confused with debit cards, travel cards, varying reviews on which one is best and worst. Please help.

    Travelling to Europe for 7 weeks in June and we already use a NAB visa credit and an AMEX card so do we need yet another card?

    I understand we have fees to tap and use at places and also for atm withdrawal etc but from what i can find its not a lot of $ but guess over 7 weeks it will add up.

    Should i get a NAB Ultimate or Mastercard debit card or just use our current visa amex cards? Thanks for any help in advance everyone. Thank you

    • Hi Chris, this article is mainly focused on debit cards which you’ll need if you want to take money out of an ATM. Credit cards are good for in-person payments but you’ll get charged cash advance fees if you use credit cards to take money out. Also, keep in mind that a lot of credit cards will charge a 3% fee on the converted amount (if you’re earning reward points this is somewhat offset by the value you get back).
      As for debit cards, we’ve compared 11 of them in our latest video: https://youtu.be/5KjgrNJTe1s

      • Thank you for the link to video and very informative. When you check out reviews of both Ubank and Up however there is more unhappy customers than happy. Again my confusion grows as to whats best and who actually tells the truth about these cards.

  98. Hi Immanuel,

    Currently a ING customer. Travelling to Greece,Crotia and Italy. Looking at Up & UBank any preferences on either? Will be hopefully using card most of the time. Should I look at other options? Should I get hung up on currency conversions that HSBC and Wise offer?

    Thanks again for the article

  99. Hi Immanuel, the Bankwest Debit card seems to offer no fees for international transactions. Is this a good option for travelling overseas, paying and also withdrawing?

  100. AWESOME REVIEW!
    Just what we’re looking into right now. What do you think would be the best option for travel to the UK.

    I previously used the Qantas Cash Card but that was a disaster

    • Hi Steven, any of the cards mentioned here or in our video will be exponentially better than the Qantas Cash one and will do the job just fine.

  101. Hi I intend travelling to Europe late next year and want to start saving now by putting a certain amount in a card monthly now. I will probably lean toward the ubank option because of their benefits. Is it too early to apply for a card now

  102. Hi Immanuel, your article and answers here are incredibly useful. Thank you so much! I will be touing in Morocco for 2 weeks, and of course will have to buy things!. What is best card for me to use please? I have a Wise card already. Should I get another one as well? many thanks

    • Hi Christina, Wise is great but they do limit how much money you can take out. From our tests Up and Ubank had the best conversion rates.

  103. Hi Immanuel,
    My wife and I are travelling to Europe for 3 months and whilst we already have Cash Passport cards pre-loaded with some Euros from last year, we are considering debit cards, but need one that provides 2 cards for joint access to the one account. Any suggestions? Thanks.

    • Hi Kym, from our tests, Cash Passport came out as one of the worst in terms of fees and conversion rates. As for joint account, it’s probably much easier to open a new account for your other half. Up/Ubank both use OSKO which means transfers from 1 account to the other are instant. From what I know, Ubank does offer join accounts during sign up.

  104. Hi there
    We are travelling to UK/France/Italy next month. Originally we were going to get the card from Travel Guides TV show LOL travelmoneyoz.com/travel-money-card – after reading the comments and your article would it be safe to say the UBank option would likely be better as i think you have to preload the currency onto the Travel Guides one?

    • Hi Dan, from what I can tell it’s pretty much the same as AusPost and the likes. The giveaway is in their name “travel money oz”, golden rule is to avoid any company that really advertises the travel aspect of their product as the best cards don’t really advertise or push these features (because they don’t make much money from it). You will 100% be better of with Ubank, Up, Wise, Revolut etc.

  105. Hi, thank you for the advice above. As yet, I don’t think anyone has asked about cards for India and Nepal. Do your suggestions of Up, UBank and Revolut still the best for these countries. They do prefer cash in many places so am guessing atms will be needed regularly.

  106. Hi, great review. The one thing I am not clear about is the difference between the VISA or MasterCard exchange rates vs the mid point rate that WISE provides. Can that be a big difference? Also not clear which rate Revolut uses

    • Hi, Wise uses Visa so to convert transactions on the spot, the mid point rate you refer to only applies when you’re converting money within your Wise account. However, it’s always smarter to convert on the spot. From our tests, the Mastercard spot rate is slightly better than Visa at the moment but it’s negligible. You can check out our video where we test 11 travel debit cards: https://youtu.be/5KjgrNJTe1s

  107. Presently in Japan on vacay, and signed up for the UP BANK, thanks for the referral bonus. As a digital card in Apple Wallet it works well, except a lot of places (regardless of store size) here “no touch, insert card only.” So if coming to Japan, grab UP’s physical card as well. The SUICA travel card is also available in Apple Wallet, and is easiest topped up from your UP BANK. This reduces your need for cash. The exchange rate for UP BANK Mastercard is so much better than CommBank Visa, and am only using the Visa when paying with the phone is not accepted. UP will probably end up being my default bank when we get back.

  108. Hi 🙂 I’m heading off to Singapore in Sept/Oct, in which you can use mostly debit but I will likely withdraw small amounts of money. I already have a ubank card (from back when they were 86 400). I am looking to grab a backup card. Do you think the Wise or Up Bank, and would you suggest 1 VISA and 1 Mastercard to cover all bases? Thanks so much, Bianca

  109. Hi Immanuel,

    My partner and I are going around Europe for a month during December and a deciding what cards to take over with us. Based off your article and the majority of the comments I have read through I am thinking the Up or Ubank will be the way to go and also easiest as we won’t have to worry about have lots of different curriences or enough of each currency like a travel card. I also have a Suncorp banking debit card that has no international conversion fees I can take as a backup.

    We are just wondering about security deposits for hotels that are paid when checking in- I have read that using a debit card for these can be a disadvantage as the money is withdrawn and can take a while to come back into your account after checkout, leaving you down a few hundred dollars in the meantime. Do you think it would be beneficial to have a credit card for these type of situations? Or would all associated fees make it better to just cut the losses with the debit card and factor in that “missing money” when planning budgets.

    Thanks!

    • Hi Keely, looks like you got it sorted for debit cards! Personally I try use my credit cards as much as possible in order to earn points and have added benefits of not having to touch your own funds as well as the insurance benefits etc. However, I do understand that a lot of people don’t like using credit cards for whatever reason which is one of the main reasons this article exists 🙂 I use my debit cards to take out cash mainly as doing this on a credit card would attract cash advance fees and currency conversion fees. As for credit cards, there are a few that don’t attract foreign exchange fees but their annual fees might make it a not so attractive proposition.
      I mainly rely on my American Express (Platinum) and Macquarie Qantas Platinum Visa for daily use. I don’t hold any cards that don’t earn points but if you’re after a fee free card that doesn’t earn points but also doesn’t charge exchange fees, 28 Degrees by Latitude is an ok option.

    • HSBC uses Visa so it would be mostly a Visa vs Mastercard thing. Difference will be minimal but from our testing, Mastercard is currently slightly better. One other downside of HSBC is that they don’t participate in OSKO so if you transfer money it usually takes 1-2 days.

  110. Hi Immanuel,

    I am travelling to Japan in couple of weeks and interested to hear what debit card is best to use in Japan? Hoping to be able to get actual physical card within a coming week.

    Appreciate all your insights, so amazing is come across this article!

    Thanks

    Dragan

  111. Hi Immanuel,
    I’m travelling to Egypt in October, and trying to figure out how to handle my money there… This is a great article and has given lots of good info, but wondering if these recommended cards would be OK for travel in Egypt?

    • Hi Zelly, the same rules apply in Egypt. The Egyptian pound is what they use there and Visa/Mastercard are widely accepted so you shouldn’t have any issues taking out the local currency via an ATM.

  112. I’m travelling in October and was researching cards and saw your site. I was sold on Ubank but not only can’t I complete registration on the App which is so frustrating , I also checked out Customer Reviews on various sites and nearly all the reviews weren’t only bad, they were horrendous.
    Confused but definitely no longer confident

    • Hi Deb, with many review sites people are usually incentivised when something goes wrong. That said, I can only speak from personal experience. Having banked with Up since 2019, I have had zero issues. What a lot of people do is just transfer money from their “everyday bank” for example, Westpac, Commbank etc. to Up, Wise, Ubank etc when they need the money for overseas use and just transfer as much as you need.

    • Hi Deb, we have been with UBank for a very long time with multiple accounts – including travelling overseas very recently. They have been awesome. Hopefully this gives you some confidence, cheers Barbara

  113. I saw ‘Revolut’ on the list above and I wouldn’t touch them with a bargepole. They hold the accounts of, in particular, the Microsoft Scammers. I stupidly got scammed and wrote a VERY bad review on Trustpilot and Revolut responded with a link to address the issue and reimburse the money but the link didn’t work and I never got a refund.

  114. Update 23 October – Singapore, Spain and Portugal

    sorry, some of this might be a repeat of what you have already provided:

    I’m not sure where is the best place to put this up to date information as of October 2023:
    Have just been to Singapore, Spain and Portugal. I hope this information is helpful. Full disclosure – I am allergic to Bank Fees.

    Cash – Good News: before leaving Australia how to obtain cash in a cost effective way took a lot of effort searching the internet and I still wasn’t sure until actually travelling and testing ATMs whether we would be successful keeping fees to a minimum.

    First Rule: in case you have not read this before – Do Not Use any ATMs associated with Euronet – ever! The charges are outrageous. And Euronet are everywhere, outside convenience stores, restaurants etc… so very tempting – I cringed everytime I saw someone at an Euronet.

    ATM machines – Debit Cards (hopefully you know not to use your Credit Card at a ATM)
    UBank Debit Card & ING Card were equivalent to each other with no fees and the same fair exchange rate:
    ING has more rules – but I was already used to their rules and managed to do my 5 transactions at the beginning of every month to meet the requirements. If that is too difficult – UBank is awesome.
    I used UBank and kept ING as my back-up. You need a back-up.

    ATM machines – countries
    Singapore – one ATM was going to charge 8SGD we walked around the corner to Maybank (yellow colour) and it was zero fee. Suggest google the nearest Maybank to your accommodation – there might even be one at Changi. I took out $20 with ING, UBank and Wise to test their exchange rates (fee free so it was a worthwhile exercise as I was travelling for 66 days). All 3 were similar. I don’l like Wise because they charge you to move your money around. UBank and ING are truly fee free.

    Spain – The first banks we tried charged Euro8 or more; the 3rd bank we tried was Deutsche Bank, charged Euro3 on a withdrawl maximum of Euro300, and we went with that. I would google Deutsche Bank and go to the nearest one to your accommodation.

    Portugal
    we used Multibanco – Caixa Geral de Depositos and got charged zero fees. Apparently all Multibancos do not charge a fee – but we stuck with the same brand after having success at Caixa Geral de Depositos in Lisbon. We found that brand everywhere in Portugal.

    The maximum withdrawl at one time was Euro200. It didn’t matter because 3mins later or after someone else used the ATM or using a different card accessing the same account you can get another Euro200. We got Euro600 out at a time, (3 times) because in Portugal they appreciate cash – and some smaller businesses only accept cash – fair enough.

    Note that during the process the ATM asked if we wanted to accept their exchange rate and we pressed Decline, then it asked a second time in a different way, like do you want to lock in the the exchange rate?, we pressed Decline again – then it processed the withdrawl at our banks exchange rate – which is many many Euros better than the rate offered by the ATM – for us anyway as we were using a Debit card with Australian UBank and Australian ING and both give the best exchange rates on offer.

    Credit Card – Lattitude 28 degrees: for good exchange rate and no fees is still the best Credit Card for overseas travelling – in my opinion. Unless you are a points gatherer the best fee free / no points earning credit card.
    As a couple we have an account each and each of us has an additional card with the others account. We use one card / one account all the time – it’s easier to track our transactions using only one card – and therefore to know quickly whether there is a fraudulent transaction. We have the other card as our back-up. You need a back-up.
    Travelling alone I would either use my UBank Debit Card for everything and keep the 28 degrees Credit Card as back up – or the other way around.

    I hope this is helpful

  115. Thank you for all this information. I have poured over all the posts several times. For three weeks in EU countries, making ATM withdrawals where we have to pay cash (local transport costs mainly, I guess) but mainly using a card to pay for expenses, am I correct in thinking that UBank or Up would be the best options? I read that you personally use these two, but then I also saw that you recommended Revolut for card payments, with UBank or Up as backups (for ATM withdrawals, I assume). I have poured over your comments and exhaustively researched other sites, but I cannot find out why you would use Revolut as your first option for card payments. They seem to offer the same exchange rate as UBank and Wise, whilst Up seems to offer a very slightly higher rate (MasterCard rate). Would you mind telling me what would be the advantage of using Revolut (or Wise) ahead of UBank or Up as your main payment option please? I am not concerned about ATM withdrawal fees in relation to Revolut or Wise, as we would use UBank or Up for these. I am just trying to figure out whether we should open both a UBank and an Up account and nothing else, or whether we should open either a UBank or an Up account and then also get a Revolut or Wise card – two bank debit cards OR one bank debit card and one travel money card? I would really value your advice! Thank you.

    • Hi Julie, you can check out our video review of 11 of the most popular cards. Up and Ubank do come out on top, I have accounts with all of them (cause it’s free). I use Revolut mostly for sending money overseas (it has the best rates for that) and also as a back up. If you go for their Metal plans they do offer cash back as well overseas which can be handy.

  116. We currently have Commbank Travel Cards, a friend said she tried the Ubank and UpBank cards and said they were good no fees, but can you load more money onto them whilst you’re away?
    Can the Citibank one be loaded as well.

  117. Thank you for this article- I’ve since decided on an Up card for my travels!
    Out of interest have you encountered many places that only accept Visa and not MasterCard or vice versa?

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