Author: Rosy Jansen

Travel money options

It is the final week of our Greater Golden Passport Competition where you have the chance to win a $2,000 Greater Building Society Cash Passport to take on your next holiday. Nerang Branch Manager Rosy King takes you through five travel money options.

The strong Aussie dollar and the rise of low cost airlines means many Australians are heading overseas for their next holiday. Here are some of the pros and cons of five different travel money options. They all come with some fees to cover the cost of providing the service. Call in to a local branch of The Greater for more information and we’ll help choose the option that is right for you.

Five travel money options

1. Foreign currency. It is handy to have a bit of cash for when you arrive in a new country (for taxis, a snack, trinket or market shopping or tipping) or if you are going to more remote places where there are not as many ATMs or banks. As is the case wherever you are, avoid carrying more than you need to.

2. Traveller’s cheques. These were once the most popular travel money option but the age of electronic banking has dulled their appeal. Like foreign currency, they are good if your destination does not have an extensive ATM or credit card network though not all merchants may accept them and you may be limited to cashing them at your hotel.

3. Visa debit card. This is an increasingly popular option as ATMs and EFTPOS become more widespread. You can use the money in your own savings account but check all the fees that may apply before you leave. Your own financial institution may charge you an overseas transaction fee and the bank of the ATM you are using may also charge one.

4. Credit card. Credits cards are now very widely accepted around the world, including Asia. Even if it is not your main money option, it is a good idea to take one for emergencies. Again you need to be aware of fees. I would not recommend making an overseas cash advance using a credit card. Using a Visa debit card or Cash Passport is a cheaper option. (On credit cards used overseas, The Greater charges a 1% fee of the cash advance amount (minimum A$4, maximum A$20) plus a 2% currency conversion fee. So, if you were to withdraw $US500, the amount debited would be $US505. The Australian dollar equivalent amount would then be subject to a 2% currency conversion fee. Last time I looked, these charges are much lower than many of the major banks.) 

5. Cash Passport. A convenient and secure travel card that can be used online, in store or to withdraw cash in local currencies at ATMs when travelling overseas. It works like a credit or debit card but is not linked to your own accounts. You load your card before you go with up to nine (9) currencies. You can top it up via BPayⓇ, or (by application) SMS. Fees apply but there are no ATM withdrawal fee for purchases via point of sale and there is a 24/7 Global Emergency Assistance service. Read about our Product Manager’s recent experience using a cash passport here.

3 tips for travel money

  1. Check which option is best for you and the countries you are visiting. Having a couple of different options is a good idea.
  2. Check the fees on the options you have chosen.
  3. Have a fantastic time but set yourself a spending money budget so you don’t regret your holiday.

Here is a more detailed travel checklist to help you plan your trip.