Money – what is the best way to take it overseas?

I have been lucky enough to have travelled overseas 9 times over the past 6 years. I therefore have had experience in learning the best way to carry money with you when overseas. Some of the options I used early in the piece, like the NAB Gold Banking Card, are no longer available, which is frustrating because there really wasn’t a downside to that card.

Currently this is what I use and why:

The 28 Degrees MasterCard:

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(click on the photo to be taken to the 28 Degrees MasterCard Site)

Pros

  1. No international transaction fees or currency conversion fees on purchases – what this means is you are not charged a fee when you purchase something in a foreign currency and it is required to be converted to Australian dollars. This is a great feature for if you just want to purchase items online from the US or if you are using it when overseas.
  2. No annual fee – you pay nothing to have the card each year which is a nice bonus.
  3. Interest free days on purchases – 55 days (conditions apply)
  4. Worldwide emergency card replacement – Free

Cons

1) Cash Advance Fee – 3% of the cash advance or $4 which ever is greater. – This is a fee present on every credit card known to man if you are taking money out from an ATM off a credit card. Where it is sometimes different is if your credit card is in credit i.e. you have put $2000 on your credit card. Essentially your credit card can then become like a debit card until the $2000 runs out. Originally the 28 Degrees MasterCard was if you put your card into credit it was like a debit card. It wasn’t until a few years ago when they introduced the Cash Advance Fee on EVERYTHING. Therefore now even if I put the card in credit and then go to take money out of an ATM I am charged this fee. 

This fee has driven me insane. Essentially I hate giving over money for nothing to massive corporations just like most people. This then started me on the hunt for the new best way to carry cash with me overseas. This is what I have found and what I will be trialling when I head over to Lombok in April. 

Citibank Plus Everyday Account (Debit Card)

(click on the photo to be taken to the Citibank Site)

Pros:

  1. Fee-Free International Transactions – No Citibank fees for any overseas ATM or in-store transactions.
  2. Free international money transfers – Citibank don’t charge fees when you transfer money to any bank anywhere in the world.
  3. Fee-Free – No account fees or transaction fees with a Citibank Plus everyday account.
  4. ATM Partners – I can use Westpac, BankSA, St George and Bank of Melbourne ATMs for free.
  5. Complimentary WINE – You’ll receive a free bottle of wine every time you dine at Citibank Dining Program partner restaurants and pay with your Visa Debit card.

Cons:

1) It isn’t a credit card – therefore what is on the card is on the card and it doesn’t give you the option of emergency money if you desperately need it. This infact though could be a pro for some people if they have a habit of overspending.

I am yet to find any other cons with this account because I am yet to try it out overseas, If anyone has used card and account I would love to hear your feedback.

Overall I will be taking my Citibank debit card and my 28 Degrees MasterCard with me on my trip to Lombok to see how they work together. Ultimately I like the protection a credit card gives me but was hating the fees 28 Degrees were slugging me. I am hopeful these two options working in combination will be as good as the 28 Degrees MasterCard used to be.

There is the other option of Cash Passports I haven’t even touched on yet and that is another ball game in itself that I will happily post about down the track. Any comments surrounding this option is welcomed because I would love to hear other people’s experience with the cash passports.

Otherwise any comments are welcome as always.

Thanks – LJO

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