Travel Credit and Debit Cards - August 17th
Should you leave space in the top of your suitcase for souvenirs, or should you plan to post your shopping home from overseas? How much will postage cost?– Read more
Travel Money Cards - July 18th
All financial products come with various fees and charges attached to them, and travel money cards are no different.– Read more
Travel cards are a type of specially-designed debit card so you can spend your own money while travelling overseas. They are popular because they’re a convenient way to load up one card with already-converted foreign currency and take it overseas with you. They’re also more secure than carrying cash or traveller’s cheques.
Another advantage is that you can buy this pre-paid card whenever you want, so you can pick a time when the exchange rate is in your favour and the New Zealand dollar is looking strong. Using a pre-paid card also means you don’t pay a conversion fee every time you buy something in the local currency. You can even pre-load several currencies if you’re travelling through multiple countries.
You can use your card to withdraw cash from ATMs, shop for souvenirs, pay for restaurant meals, and book accommodation. You can even use it for online transactions like a debit or credit card. You can reload your card or switch currencies whenever you need to while travelling, on the internet or your mobile phone.
According to Statistics New Zealand, new Zealanders take around 200,000 overseas trips each month, with the most common destinations of choice tending to be Australia, the USA, Fiji and the UK.
The ideal card according to CANSTAR’s research is one that allows the following:
It can be hard to know what travel money card is the best, so our brightest researchers at CANSTAR have done the hard work for you. Compare travel money cards on our website.
All travellers like to get around differently so we all have individual needs, but there are some common strategies for making the most of a multi-currency travel money card:
If you run out of local currency cash, and you’re staying at a really posh hotel, it’s worth asking at the front desk. Some hotels will give you a cash advance and just add it to the bill for your room.
Your “awesome holiday” can start to feel a little less awesome if you return home to find a bunch of unexpected fees have been charged to your travel money card. Keep in mind that a better conversion rate might still make paying those fees worthwhile. The usual fees you might expect to pay are as follows.
CANSTAR’s 2016 research found the following minimum, maximum and average fees on the travel money cards we compared.
|24/7 global emergency assist fee||$0.00||$0.00||$0.00|
|BPAY reload fees||0.00%||1.00%||0.50%|
|Cash over the counter fee||$0.00||$10.00||$5.33|
|Fee for card closure||$0.00||$10.00||$2.50|
|Fee for refunding the balance||$0.00||$15.00||$8.75|
|Merchant (POS) surcharge||$0.00||$0.00||$0.00|
|Monthly inactivity fee||$0.00||$4.00||$1.00|
|Negative bal/insufficient fund fee||$0.00||$20.00||$5.00|
|Replacement card fee||$0.00||$10.00||$5.00|
|Secondary card fee||$0.00||$10.00||$3.33|
|Third party network reload fee||0.00%||1.10%||0.55%|
Source: CANSTAR Travel Money Card ratings
Whether you use a travel money card or a credit card may depend on how often you travel overseas, the cost of having the different cards, and whether or not you plan to withdraw cash from an ATM.
The currency you need to put on your travel money card depends 100% on which countries you will be visiting, but not every currency in the world is available. If you’re travelling somewhere where a travel money card won’t do it, you might want to consider a travel credit or debit card and a supply of cash. We’ve listed the currencies quite commonly offered by New Zealand travel money card providers:
(Not all providers will offer all of these currencies. You should check your card’s product disclosure statement.)
At time of writing, these were the currencies on offer across the Travel Moneh Cards that CANSTAR assessed for the 2016 ratings:
|Company||Product||NZ Dollar||Australian Dollar||US Dollar||British Pound||Euros||Singapore Dollar||Hong Kong Dollar||Thai Bhat||Japanese Yen||Canadian Dollars||Chinese Renminbi||Emirati Dirham||South African Rand||Vietnamese Dong|
|Air New Zealand||Onesmart||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||No||No||No||No|
|Kiwibank||Loaded for Travel||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||No||Yes||No|
Written by: TJ Ryan
Please note that these are a general explanation of the meaning of terms used in relation to travel money cards. Your provider may use different wording and you should read the terms and conditions of your product carefully to understand what you are and are not covered for. Refer to the product disclosure statement from your provider.
Accommodation: Any type of dwelling or lodging where you pay a fee to stay overnight.
ATM: Automated teller machine where you put your card into the machine and withdraw cash from the account attached to that card.
ATM fee: A fee charged to your travel money card to make a cash withdrawal from an ATM.
Balance: The amount of money remaining and able to be spent on your travel money card at any point in time.
Closing fee: A fee charged to close your travel money card account.
Conversion fee: Any fee charged to convert one currency into another. Usually refers to a fee charged to your travel money card to pay for something in the local currency using a different currency loaded on your card.
Conversion rate: Also known as the exchange rate.
Currency order: The order in which the next available currency will be selected if you run out of the currency that you are using in the current transaction.
Exchange rate: The ratio at which one currency buys another. For example, the exchange rate from NZD to USD at the time of writing is $0.72 to the dollar. Determines the value of one country’s currency by comparison to another.
Foreign currency: The currency of any country outside New Zealand.
Home: Your usual place of residence (where you live) in New Zealand.
Inactive fee: A fee charged to your travel money card for not using it in that month.
Initial fee / Issuing fee: A fee charged to your travel money card for opening the account and issuing the card to you.
Journey: The time period from the day you leave home until the day you return home. Also known as a “trip”, “voyage”, “your travels”, or other terms.
Limit: Travel money cards have a maximum limit to the amount of money you can load onto them, the amount you can withdraw in one day, and the amount you can reload onto them in one go.
Pre-paid: A card onto which you load your own money when you open the account. You cannot spend more money than you have loaded onto the card.
Refund: Cash or company credit given to you as reimbursement for any leftover money remaining on your travel money card, according to the terms of your card.
Reload fee: A fee charged to your travel money card for adding an additional amount of money onto your card.
Secondary card: An additional card that also accesses the funds on the same “travel money card” account.
Travel insurance: A form of insurance policy that covers you for various events happening to you while you are away from home. Depending on the policy, it may include medical emergencies, unexpected changes in travel plans outside your control, and lost luggage or other items. For more information, see our travel insurance page.
Traveller’s cheques: A cheque or bill of exchange, available in fixed denominations of various currencies. Can be accepted as cash in many places.
The following travel money card providers were included in our comparisons in 2016 and details are correct as at that time. Please check the current terms and conditions of the card providers.
Qantas Cash Mastercard: Qantas Cash travel money cards received our Travel Money Card Award in 2016. Qantas is one of Australia’s travel giants so they also offer airline flights, travel insurance, hotel packages, car hire, cruises and more. Their travel money card offers online purchases, emergency fund transfers, earning rewards points, a maximum of 9 currencies (AUD, USD, EUR, GBP, JPY, CAD, HKD, SGD and NZD) and 8 currencies ta any one time. It advertises no monthly account fees, no fees to pay when loading money and no domestic ATM fees with Qantas Cash within New Zealand.
Cash Passport: Cash Passport is a MasterCard company. At time of writing they have a delightful offer where you get an extra $25 loaded onto your travel money card just for choosing them and loading at least $1,500. Their Multi-Currency Cash Passport MasterCard offers online purchases, emergency fund transfers, a balance at any one time of $75,000. Initial Card fee and Distribution Outlet reload fee the greater of 1% of the initial load / reload amount or NZ$10.00. Domestic ATM withdrawal fee of $2 and cash over counter fee of $10. Monthly inactivity fee of $4 per month and currency conversion fee of 5.95%.
Kiwibank Loaded for Travel: Kiwibank’s travel money card allows 11 currencies to be loaded at an one time with a maximum total balance of $20,000. It charges an initial fee of $12 and reload fees of 1% up to $10. There is no card closure fee, but a $15 fee for refunding the balance. The conversion fee is 2.5%.
Air New Zealand OneSmart: The Air New Zealand OneSmart travel money card provides Airpoints Dollar™ rewards – sure to be a drawcard. It charges a $1 per month account fee, but no loading fee if done online. Domestic ATM withdrawal costs $2, and it offer 3 fee international ATM withdrawals per month. The currency conversion fee is 2.50%.