Global Travel Card: Why not just take a credit card / debit card overseas?

This is one of the most common questions we receive at Atlas Currency Exchange. The following article explains why a debit or credit card is perhaps not the best choice when travelling.

Foreign Currency & International Fees for Credit Cards

Compare and Consider Think twice before using your credit card abroad. The foreign currency conversion fee and overseas transaction charge might shock you when you receive your monthly statement. The foreign currency conversion fee and overseas transaction charge might shock you when you receive your monthly statement. The most common question sent to us without a doubt is : ‘Where can I find the international and foreign currency conversion fees for each provider ?’
Too many Australian’s come home from overseas to find their credit card statement bombarded with foreign fees, and thus it’s imperative to be educated on what you will be charged whilst travelling. To answer our users questions, we have stockpiled all the main banks currency conversion and international fees in one place for your benefit. While practically every financial provider charges foreign currency conversion and cash withdrawal, only several charge percentage fees for any transaction made overseas. It is important to do a credit card comparison to ensure you have the best deal for you.
Credit Card Overseas Transaction Charges & Foreign Currency Conversion Overseas Cash Advance Fee
logos_03Compare Bankwest Credit Cards 2.95% 2.00% / Min. Fee of $4.00
logos_06Compare Members Equity Bank Credit Cards 2.00% $4
logos_08Compare ANZ Credit Cards 3.00% for Visa and MasterCard1.50% for American Express $5$2.00 for MAESTRO (Per EFTPOS transaction in a foreign currency)
logos_10Compare Commonwealth Bank Credit Cards 2.95% for MasterCard and Visa1.95% for American Express2.00% for transaction overseas in Australian dollars 1.50% / Min. fee of $4.00
logos_12 Compare NAB Credit Cards 2.50% multi currency for Visa2.50% multi currency for MasterCard1.50% multi currency for American Express(Multi Currency Transaction:A transaction made in a currency other than Australian dollars with an internationally or Australian-designated merchant) 1.50% / Min. fee of $4.00
logos_14Compare St.George Credit Cards 2.50% for Visa or MasterCard 1.50% / Min. fee of $1.25
SuncorpCompare Suncorp Credit Cards 3.00% 1.50%
logos_18Compare Bendigo Bank Credit Cards 2.00% 0.5% / Min. fee of $3.25
logos_20Review the Aussie Credit Cards 3.00% 2.00% / Min. fee of $4.00
logos_22Compare Westpac Credit Cards 3.00% 2.00%
logos_24Compare HSBC Credit Cards 3.50% 2.00% / Min. fee of $2.50
logos_26Compare GE Money Credit Cards 2.50% 3.00% / Min. fee of $1.95 plus international cash advance fees of $4.00 ATM / $5.00 over the counter
logos_28Compare Bank of Queensland Credit Cards 3.00% 2.00% / Min. Fee of $4.00 – maximum amount of $30.00
logos_30Compare American Express Credit Cards 3.00% Cash advances currently not available on American Express credit cards
logos_33Compare Citibank Credit Cards 3.40% for MasterCard 3.30% for Visa $5

What is a Foreign Currency Conversion fee?

Since you own an Australian credit card, your balance and credit is automatically in Australian dollars. When you make a purchase overseas, say $50 US, it will not only convert to roughly $80 AU, but you will be charged a foreign currency conversion fee as well. For instance, that $80 AU purchase in America on a St George Credit Card would impose a $2 AU fee (2.50% of 80 = $2). Visa and MasterCard automatically charge a 1-2% fee on foreign currency exchange, so this minimum can at least be expected. Anything in excess is generally a small margin of profit for the bank.

What is an Overseas Transaction Charge?

Regardless of the currency, purchase, or cash advance, a couple of providers impose an overseas transaction charge, which takes a clean 1-3% figure off the total transaction amount.

The owner of the ATM you use overseas may also charge you a fee, which will be disclosed at the time of your transaction.

What is a Cash Advance Fee? (International)

It’s general credit card knowledge that cash advances are expensive, even domestically. Once you begin using your credit card overseas, withdrawing cash will only escalate the fees. On top of the normal interest rate and lack of interest free days, you can be imposed a $1-$10 / 1%-4% fee (whichever is higher) everytime you carry out an overseas cash advance. You will also be charged the standard cash advance rate for your credit card (as well as the international cash advance fee).


Compare Your Bank

American Express Fees

  • “Foreign Currency Cash Conversion fee of 3%.”
  • Cash advances are currently not available on AMEX credit cards

ANZ International Fees

  • “A fee of 3.00% of the value of any foreign currency transaction will be charged to all ANZ Visa and MasterCard Credit Card Accounts.”
  • 1.50% of the transaction value will be charged for American Express transactions
  • Overseas cash advances incur a $5.00 transaction fee

Aussie International Fees

  • “When you make a purchase or cash advance in a foreign currency you’ll be charged 3% of the value of any foreign currency transaction.”
  • For cash advances, a $4 fee / or 2% of your total cash advance transaction (whichever is greater) will be charged, on top of any related foreign currency exchange fees.

Bankwest International Fees Foreign Currency Exchange Fees:

  • “Visa accounts ’2.95% Payable for each transaction posted to the account in a foreign currency, calculated as a percentage of the foreign currency amount.
  • MasterCard accounts ’2.95% Payable for each MasterCard transaction occurring outside Australia, whether in foreign currency or Australian dollars.”
  • For cash advances, the greater of 2% or $4.00 (maximum $50) applies, on top of any foreign currency fee involved.

Bendigo Bank International Fees

  • Foreign Currency Exchange Fees: 2% Foreign Currency Conversion fee.
  • For cash advances, the greater of 0.5% or $4.00 applies, on top of any foreign currency fee involved.

Citibank International Fees Foreign Currency Exchange Fee:

  • MasterCard – 3.4% of transaction amount.
  • Visa – 3.3% of transaction amount.
  • International cash advances are subject to the foreign currency exchange fees, as well as $5 per transaction.

Commonwealth Bank International Fees Foreign Currency Exchange Fee:

  • MasterCard & Visa – 2.95% of transaction amount.
  • American Express – 1.95% of transaction amount.
  • Overseas cash advances incur a $4 or 1.50% fee (whichever is higher) on-top of the regular foreign currency exchange rate.

Bank of Queensland International Fees Foreign Currency Exchange Fee: International Transaction Fee (also referred to as Foreign Currency Exchange Fee) – Visa and MasterCard

  • 3% of transaction amount An International Transaction Fee of 3% on the Australian dollar conversion of any credit card transaction made in foreign currency, of which a 1% service and assessment fee is payable by us to Visa or MasterCard. This will be charged to your account when you transact via your credit card overseas.
  • International Cash Advance Fee – 2.00% of transaction amount outside of Australia. Minimum amount of $4.00 – maximum amount of $30.00

GE Money International Fees

  • Foreign Currency Exchange Fee – 2.50% of the total currency amount converted.
  • Cash advances: 3.00% / Min. fee of $1.95 plus international cash advance fees of $4.00 ATM / $5.00 over the counter

Members Equity International Fees International Transaction Fee – total 2.0% 1% of the amount of any foreign currency transaction converted into Australian dollars and payable at the time the currency conversion is made. This fee is payable to Members Equity Bank.

  • MasterCard Fees: 0.2% of the amount of any foreign currency transaction converted into Australian dollars and payable at the time the currency conversion is made. This fee is payable to MasterCard International.0.8% of the amount of any transaction where the merchant account is not held in Australia. This fee is payable to MasterCard International.
  • International Cash Advance: $4.00 per cash advance

NAB International Fees NAB have a more complicated system of overseas charges which is subjective to the country of origin of the payment processing merchant. Single Currency Transaction: “A transaction carried out in Australian dollars with an internationally-designated merchant.” Multi Currency Transaction: “A transaction carried out in a currency other than Australian dollars with an internationally or Australian-designated merchant.”

  • Visa – Single Currency: 2.30% Visa – Multi Currency: 2.50%
  • MasterCard – Single Currency: 2.00% MasterCard – Multi Currency: 1.70%-2.50% (subjective to the payment processing).
  • Overseas cash advances impose a 1.50% or $4 fee (whichever is higher), on-top of any related currency conversion fees.

HSBC International Fees

  • Total charge of 3.50%
  • Overseas Transaction Charge: 2.0% of the total value amount of each such transaction
  • Foreign Currency Conversion: 1.5% in Australian dollars charged for payments made in foreign currencies.
  • Overseas cash advances impose a 2% or $2.50 fee (whichever is higher) on-top of any related foreign fees.

St George International Fees

  • Foreign Currency Conversion: 2.5% to exchange Australian dollars between foreign currencies.
  • For overseas cash advances, a 1.50% fee (min charge of $1.25) is charged on-top of any related foreign fees.
  • Note that BankSA is a subsidiary of St George, and the same fees apply.

Suncorp International Fees

  • Foreign Currency Conversion: 3.00% of the converted Australian Dollar transaction amount of any foreign currency transaction made or charged to your credit card
  • Overseas Cash Advance: 1.50% of the cash advance value

Westpac International Fees Foreign Currency Conversion:

  • 3% for any purchases which require a currency conversion.
  • Overseas cash advances impose a 2% fee. The maximum you can be charged is $150.

This article is from GE Money Australia

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