By Maria Bekiaris
Money magazine, April edition
One of the dilemmas for overseas travellers is the best way to take their money with them. Travel cards have become an increasingly popular option and there are now have two more cards to choose from – the Jetstar Travel Card and the Access Prepaid Cash Passport. Launched last month, these cards are competing with established products from ANZ, Commonwealth Bank, American Express and Travelex.
For those unfamiliar with travel cards, you can load them with foreign currency, which you can then access through ATMs, or use them to pay for purchases via EFTPOS or using the credit function. One of the big pluses of travel cards is that they allow you to lock in the exchange rate before you go so you don’t have to worry about volatility.
The Cash Passport offers seven currencies (Australian dollars, euros, British pounds, New Zealand dollars, US dollars, Singapore dollars and Hong Kong dollars), while the Jetstar Travel Card offers those and an extra two – Canadian dollars and Japanese yen.
The two also differ in the fees they charge. With the Jetstar Travel Card, you’ll have to pay a $15 fee the first time you load the card and 1% of the load amount each time you reload. To load the Cash Passport card, you’ll pay $15 or 1.1% of the initial load – whichever is higher. If you use BPAY to reload the card, you’ll pay 1% of the reload amount.
With most cards you’ll be charged an international ATM fee when you make a withdrawal or do a balance inquiry from an overseas ATM. The fees vary depending on the country. The Cash Passport, however, does not charge international ATM fees.
Money cards can be a great option for anyone travelling overseas because they are flexible and you don’t have to worry about exchange rates because you lock in the rate when you load/reload your funds.
Both cards offer a good range of currencies, but not as many as one of their main rivals, the ANZ Travel Card, which offers 10 (the Thai baht is the additional one).
The fact that the Cash Passport does not charge international ATM fees – which it describes as an industry first – is a big advantage for anyone who thinks most of their transactions will be performed at an ATM.
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