Australian travel banking recommendations

If you are an Australian travelling abroad, foreign exchange fees, travellers cheques and bank fees can quickly add up. Here are a few ways you can avoid these extra charges!

Note: Your situation may vary, check first that these options are best for you. Information was correct at time of writing, but verify anything directly with the financial provider.

Accessing Cash

Need cash? Go to any ATM with these banks! Never use travel cards.

Citibank Australia

https://www1.citibank.com.au/banking/bank-accounts/citibank-plus

Account name: Citibank Plus Everyday Account

Fees: none. Of any kind, anywhere.

Bonuses: Free to send money to anywhere in the world. Sometimes get a free bottle of wine in very limited locations when pay by debit card.

Requirements: none.

Simple, straightforward. This is what I usually use.

ING Bank

https://www.ing.com.au/everyday-banking.html

Account name: Orange Everyday

Fees: none. Of any kind, anywhere.

Bonuses: Rebate of ATM fee (for ATMs which charge a fee, such as 3rd party ATMs, or all ATMs in Thailand and the Philippines). 50c bonus if you withdraw $200AUD or more via EFTPOS in Australia.

Requirements: Each month, transfer $1000 into the account and make at least 5 card purchases.

If you can make the requirements, ING is fantastic. Pay a bill or two and such, buy a few things – easy. Can be very difficult while overseas. NOT recommended to long-term travel, but perfect for frequent short-term travel.

Credit Cards

For online shopping, from any seller not in Australia, this credit card is one of the best options. Add insurance for a small fee.

28 Degrees

https://www.28degreescard.com.au/

Account name: 28 Degrees Global Platinum Mastercard

Fees: none. Of any kind, anywhere.

Bonuses: 55 days interest free. Free wifi via Boingo. Card insurance is 1% (max $50/month)

Requirements: Minimum $6000 credit limit.

Also:

Flight delay pass:

https://flightdelaypass.mastercard.com/28degrees?AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1

Register your flight, and if it’s delayed by two hours or more the drinks, nibbles and Wi-Fi are free. (You get a lounge pass for free). Don’t forget, most travel insurance covers delays of 4 or 6 hours, but none for only 2 hours.

Reasonable travel insurance: https://www.scti.com.au/affiliates/28-degrees-card/?utm_source=Latitude&utm_medium=affiliate&utm_campaign=28degreescard.com.au&utm_content=get-a-quote 

Transfering Money

If you have large money to send, like paying a big hotel or dive trip bill, Transferwise is almost always the best option by far.

For person to person transfers, between mates covering each other bills, Beemit is great, (Aussie to Aussie).

Transferwise

http://transferwise.com/u/michaelf713

Fees: varies based on country

Send money internationally for a fraction of the bank or Western Union rates. Can send from bank transfers, credit cards, debit cards and POLi.

First time is for free! (first 500GBP/$930AUD for new users)

BeemIt

http://download.beemit.com.au/QRPF5Z

Fees: none at all.

Requirements: Australian Mastercard or Visa debit card. Can only activate and sign up which geographically, physically in Australia (or using an Australian VPN) – but once active, can use anywhere in the world.

Send money instantly to anyone else with the app. It also helps with bill splitting, can pay friends later or on the spot. App is owned by Commonwealth Bank, NAB and Westpac.

Complete registration and enter my referral code: QRPF5Z, and you’ll get $5.


Bonus: shares

Selfwealth

While not directly related to travel, I’ve had good success using Selfwealth. Their website is easy to use, and while I’ve had my ups and downs, at least they’re charging less than half of what the banks do.

Fees: $9.50 per trade, regardless of size.

SIgn up with my referral, and your first 5 trades are free!