Money or card? Easy methods to pay your method abroad with out getting stung

Spending cash in a foreign country can shortly drain your checking account if you happen to don’t do it the best method.

Information from purchase now, pay later firm Zip reveals 4 out of 5 Australians plan to journey in 2023, however with the price of every thing rising – from groceries to lease – many individuals might want to keep on with a finances.

Spending cash abroad could be an costly due to card prices, forex change charges and a weak greenback.

However whereas your first intuition could also be to get a journey cash card, specialists advised The New Every day it’s good to maintain a watch out for different choices.

Journey cash card

Journey cash playing cards are travel-specific debit playing cards which you could load up with foreign exchange earlier than travelling.

Canstar monetary professional Steve Mickenbecker stated the obvious benefit is which you could lock in a beneficial change charge for the pre-determined quantity of your chosen currencies earlier than travelling.

However if you happen to resolve to place extra money on the cardboard whereas abroad, otherwise you make an impulse determination to go to a rustic with out having preloaded the native forex onto the cardboard, you’ll be confronted with a double change charge.

“The change charge is horrendous, as a result of it exchanges into US {dollars} or one thing [like that], then into Australian {dollars} … So that you get ripped off each occasions, sadly,” Mr Mickenbecker stated.

Debit and bank cards

Mr Mickenbecker stated credit score and debit playing cards are just about interchangeable abroad, so long as they’re accepted.

In contrast to Australia, money is king in lots of international locations corresponding to Japan and Germany, and plenty of international locations nonetheless haven’t launched the choice to pay together with your telephone.

Utilizing debit or bank cards can present extra flexibility, as you’re not locking within the sum of money you’re going to spend, or which forex you’re going to make use of.

However utilizing your on a regular basis playing cards can develop into costly in a short time, due to change charges and surcharges on the checkout or ATM.

“In case you’re utilizing [your everyday] bank card in all places, you may find yourself paying a whole lot of {dollars} in forex conversion charges,” Mr Mickenbecker stated.

In case you look exterior of the foremost banks, you may discover playing cards that will probably be quite a bit cheaper to make use of throughout your travels, stated Uta Mihm, Selection senior cash and journey journalist.

“What it is advisable to search for are particular debit [and credit] playing cards which don’t cost an change charge price,” Mihm stated.

Bank cards supplied by Bendigo Financial institution and Bankwest supply no international change charges and no annual charges, though what you acquire in financial savings you may lose in journey insurance coverage protection, said Selection.

Each supply debit playing cards with no international change charges and no abroad ATM withdrawal charges (though the operator of the international ATM should cost you a price).


Money is without doubt one of the best strategies to pay your method abroad with out being caught out without warning hikes in change charges – if you happen to convert currencies earlier than your travels.

However carrying round giant quantities of money is a safety threat, and if you find yourself operating out and needing to change extra, you may face “big” change charges, Mr Mickenbecker stated.

If travelling in a gaggle, he advised spreading the money out amongst everybody so it’s not multi functional pocket or pockets.

The perfect answer

Mr Mickenbecker stated the most effective path to go when paying abroad is a mixture of money and card.

“Journey with money within the native forex, and journey together with your card; type of a hybrid mannequin that provides you a good bit of flexibility,” he stated.

It doesn’t matter what cost technique you resolve to go together with, ensuring your cash is roofed by journey insurance coverage is vital.

Despite the fact that many playing cards may routinely include journey insurance coverage, the extent of protection might range, or exclusions might apply.

“Don’t simply depend on the journey insurance coverage for the cardboard,” Mr Mickenbecker stated.

“Frankly, whichever medium that it’s, you may lose money, you may lose a card, you may have your PINs stolen, all types of issues can occur.

“Vacationers are simple marks … Have enjoyable, however don’t let your guard down.”