Buyer's Beware (CBA TRAVEL MONEY CARDS) and others

Submitted: Friday, Jan 30, 2015 at 21:12
ThreadID: 110920 Views:3111 Replies:7 FollowUps:11
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Went away 2013 over seas used my money card come home .
It is now 2015 approx 15months after trip I thought I would check on my credit which is my money not the banks, ZERO, ZIP, NOTHING, CLOSED.
Was told by bank rep to find it (money) myself after a lengthy conversation, all he was interested in was feedback, and said to contact ASIC or STATE REV OFFICE.
After spending 1hr on computer ZERO,ZIP,NOTHING.
Nothing registered on either site, what happens next back to the bank I suppose,
Anyway the long and the short of it is DO NOT LET YOUR CARD RUN OUT OF DATE.
I now what my balance is and it is not worth chasing but the people with a big balance left over whose has got it (the money) .
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Reply By: TomH - Friday, Jan 30, 2015 at 21:40

Friday, Jan 30, 2015 at 21:40
I have a Velocity prepaid Mastercard and it doesnt expire for 6 years.
However if I dont use it for 12 consecutive months they charge a monthly fee.

When I came home in July I had a fair bit of money left so just changed it into AU$ and used it up. Will close it next month as wont be going overseas with the $ the way it is.
Only about 80c in it now so they wont be getting paid any cancellation fees LOL
AnswerID: 545089

Reply By: Ron N - Saturday, Jan 31, 2015 at 13:24

Saturday, Jan 31, 2015 at 13:24
These travel money cards are the greatest rort out, and that's the reason why there's been an explosion of them in the last 3 or 4 yrs.
Everyone and his dog knows that they're a recipe for money-making, like no other.

As well as rorts on exchange rates, they are full of traps, such as fees for every single thing you want to do.
You open the card account, there's a fee. Then there's often monthly "inactivity" fees.
Put money in, another fee. Every time you take money out, another fee.
Lose your card? Another big fee to replace it. Close the account, another fee.
Try to get any leftover money out, the card-issuer snaffles it.
They should be renamed the "money-grubbing card".

When the missus and I travelled to Europe in 2010, we just took our regular credit cards, our Bendigo Bank debit cards, and some cash, converted at a no-commission currency exchange booth before we left.

We took the cash for those times when cards are not accepted - such as country entry fees at airports, tips, small purchases such as casual food items and other personal purchases, and entry fees to tourist sites.
Every time we ran low on cash, we found an ATM and got out 250-300 Euros each to keep us going for another week or so.
It cost $5 for each ATM withdrawal and the exchange rate was good. Everything else went on the CC.

We were warned about pickpockets, but we kept alert, kept our "tourist" appearance level right down (no jewellery, no big watches, no "designer" clothing, no backpacks), and kept our wallets in zipped front pockets.
We even went through the notorious Barcelona, and rode the even-more-notorious Madrid Underground at peak hour, and had no problems.

It will be a long time before any travel card looks even remotely attractive to me.

Cheers, Ron.

AnswerID: 545111

Follow Up By: TomH - Saturday, Jan 31, 2015 at 19:28

Saturday, Jan 31, 2015 at 19:28
Sorry but you are incorrect We used Velocity cards which by far have the best conditions. The only fee we paid was the difference in currency costs which is normally about 3% regardless of the card or in cash.

If you use an ATM overseas you pay a fee from the machines owner and your card provider Same as using a card at a different banks machine in Aus. If we needed cash we took several hundred $ out at a time so as to minimise fees. Most were under $3 a time except a casino in Vegas which wanted $10. No thanks

There was no topup charge on ours and no fees when we paid in shops or hotels.

We intend to cancel the cards next week and there wont be any fees as there is only a few cents in each one.
There is only inactivity fees of $2 a month after 12 months of non use. Was far cheaper than the ANZ ones we used in 2012 which had fees like you describe.

I also took $1000US in cash and 750CA for incidentals.

I had been to USA using CC's before and it cost a lot more in fees as every time it came back to the bank it was $5 a time. Cost a fortune.

Just our happy experience.
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Follow Up By: Ron N - Sunday, Feb 01, 2015 at 00:13

Sunday, Feb 01, 2015 at 00:13
Tom, we used ATM's all through Europe and never got charged any other fee apart from the $5 fee from Bendigo.
It might be different in the U.S. or U.K.
Perhaps the ATM owner fee was included in the $5, but we never saw it.
We never got any CC fees all around the European countries we travelled - which were Greece, Turkey, Portugal, Spain and France.
In fact, in numerous places we were given the option to pay in Australian currency on the CC, instead of Euros.
FollowupID: 832675

Follow Up By: Bazooka - Wednesday, Feb 04, 2015 at 23:02

Wednesday, Feb 04, 2015 at 23:02
Sounds to me like you're operating from old info Ron. Different travel card providers have different terms but apart from an establishment/card fee many don't have any other charges apart from cash-out charges and relatively poor exchange rates, which you can lock in if you like - a big plus in today's market. Most CCs also have abysmal exchange rates and ATM fees.

It's possible Reggy's provider forgot to tell him about the expiry (which ought to be illegal) but the details are all in the PDSs and when you're dealing with money and banks you really have to do your homework these days.

On a slightly different tack we've recently used Ozforex to send money OS in lieu of bank transfers. MUCH better exchange rates (close to the daily market rate ) and lower fees. They also have a travel card but I don't know how it stacks up. I've read (but have no experience) that if you're doing "Europe" you could do worse than open a Citibank account.
Some discussion here:
and here:
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Follow Up By: Jarse - Thursday, Feb 05, 2015 at 08:54

Thursday, Feb 05, 2015 at 08:54
I have no problem with using credit cards. The people that do are usually those that either don't read the PDS, or don't know how to manage their cards. That's important.

I have one card I use for most domestic purchases, one for when I'm overseas (or purchasing online overseas), and a third with a small amount of cash loaded for emergencies.

The international card has one of the best exchange rates available (close to market) with no fees whatsoever. Almost makes it pointless to carry a large sum of money around when abroad. When I do use it I pay it out in full a couple of days before the due date.

The trick is to know the conditions of your card (difficult with all the legalese of PDS's) and if you don't want to pay interest-have the discipline to clear the account before the due date. I haven't paid a penny of interest in 15 years.
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Reply By: dean ( SA ) - Saturday, Jan 31, 2015 at 14:00

Saturday, Jan 31, 2015 at 14:00
We used the Westpac version for 5 weeks in Europe last year.
Worked great for purchasing and taking money out of ATM's.
This won't help you now but to avoid it happening again you simply withdraw or spend the remaining cash when you get home and leave the cards at a zero balance.
AnswerID: 545113

Follow Up By: Gronk - Saturday, Jan 31, 2015 at 14:38

Saturday, Jan 31, 2015 at 14:38
Yep, easy isn't it....although we haven't been overseas yet ( 6 weeks )

No fees to top it up ( Aus post mastercard ), no fees to use overseas atm's, free replacement card if lost, and as said, withdraw the funds when back home and convert back to aus dollars ( might make a profit there the way the USA dollar is ).
FollowupID: 832642

Follow Up By: get outmore - Saturday, Jan 31, 2015 at 14:54

Saturday, Jan 31, 2015 at 14:54
i used ANZ travel card got 2 cards which only one could be active
a freind got the aus post master card
the unused card got lifted and used which could not happen with my ANZ card
FollowupID: 832643

Follow Up By: rocco2010 - Saturday, Jan 31, 2015 at 15:03

Saturday, Jan 31, 2015 at 15:03

I have been using them for abt five years and as more banks and others like Australia Post get into the act the fees have come down.

My banks only fees are $15 to issue or replace a card and a small ATM cash withdrawal fee which is easily avoided by using the card as a debit card.

It can all be managed on line (though I daresay someone will warn me that on line banking is the work of the devil) and there are no worries about your credit card being skimmed.

And like you Gronk I have some UK pounds on the card that are worth a lot more in $A than they were. Sort of makes me feel like one of those international currency traders.


FollowupID: 832644

Follow Up By: dean ( SA ) - Saturday, Jan 31, 2015 at 17:09

Saturday, Jan 31, 2015 at 17:09
We didn't pay any fees as first load is included and in our case with only two currencies it was easy and we didn't need to load while away.

I imagine all banks would be the same but there are no ATM fees if you withdrew from one of their banking partners.
For us that was Barclays and BNP Paribas.

FollowupID: 832651

Follow Up By: TomH - Saturday, Jan 31, 2015 at 20:02

Saturday, Jan 31, 2015 at 20:02
To Gronk

I think you will find when you take money out of an ATM overseas the machine will tell you that there is a fee to withdraw cash and give you the option or or not.
We never found a free one and usually it was between $2 and $2.95, except as I said above in Vegas it would have been $10 in a Casino.

To Getout more

The Velocity card was significantly cheaper than the ANZ card in all ways. Yes you get a back up card but with Velocity we got one each and could swap money between them free as well.

Also in the USA they are treated as CREDIT cards regardless that they are actually prepaid cards and here are treated as debit cards.

We never got ours to work with a pin anywhere and always had to sign and it registered as a Credit transaction.

Interestingly our ANZ card in 2012 would not work at Chevron Servos Anywhere..
Also I never ever signed mine as the ballpoint wouldnt write on it and not once did I get asked to verify my signature in 9 weeks and 3 countries.
FollowupID: 832665

Reply By: gelatr - Saturday, Jan 31, 2015 at 17:42

Saturday, Jan 31, 2015 at 17:42
We travel overseas a bit and we use Citibank for our debit card and a GE MasterCard for most of our credit purchases. Both offer low fees and close to market exchange rates. We also take our day to day visa and Amex cards just in case but try not to use them because of poor exchange rates and high fees but it is worth having them just in case. I'd never touch a money card.
AnswerID: 545124

Reply By: Zippo - Saturday, Jan 31, 2015 at 21:23

Saturday, Jan 31, 2015 at 21:23
Our experience is positive, having used ANZ T/C's in USA Canada and NZ on six trips since late '08. They have an $11 initial issue/load fee. Thereafter it is 1.1% so a $1000 re-load is the same cost as a new card. We have never reloaded. Apart from ATM charges (by the machine operator, affects all cards) there were NO transaction charges/fees - unlike our credit cards which had international transaction fees on each use.

ANZ issue 2 cards, and although they state one is the active card and the other a backup only, both are active and bank staff will tell you that for convenience a couple should carry/use one each.

The only issue we had with travel cards per se was at service stations. Some brands (as mentioned elsewhere) simply can't deal with them at the pump and require operator intervention. Some - and this has happened in Oz with CC's - require prepayment at the checkout. Some work at the pump but require a 5-digit zip code - these would often accept 00000 or a zero in front of our Aussie postcode - it is supposed to be checked against the card account info as a fraud-prevention measure.

On each occasion we have had no reservations about using one to store the majority of our planned spend. We DO make sure we wind them up after the trip before any expiry date and before inactivity charges kick in.
AnswerID: 545138

Reply By: Lex M - Saturday, Jan 31, 2015 at 23:01

Saturday, Jan 31, 2015 at 23:01
Suggest you have a look at the 28 degrees card.
AnswerID: 545141

Follow Up By: Jarse - Thursday, Feb 05, 2015 at 09:15

Thursday, Feb 05, 2015 at 09:15
I use one of these for all my O/S transactions. Never had any hassles with them.
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Reply By: Member - Bruce and Di T (SA) - Sunday, Feb 01, 2015 at 09:32

Sunday, Feb 01, 2015 at 09:32
Check out the Choice article which has a pretty good rundown on these cards including the various fees. According to them the QANTAS Cash and Virgin Global Wallet as the two best cards of this type.

We're about to go OS and will simply use our NAB Debit Card as using a Cash Card you need to be away for quite awhile.

AnswerID: 545151

Follow Up By: TomH - Sunday, Feb 01, 2015 at 12:49

Sunday, Feb 01, 2015 at 12:49
Yep the Virgin ( Velocity) Global wallet is the way to go.

Time is irrelevant for the use of the card.

In the US although the card is a debit card it is always swiped as a credit card and would NEVER WORK as a DEBIT card for us.

Always had to go into servos, would never work on swipes at the pump.

Our pin number wouldnt register as a debit card so we just hit credit and it worked every time.

The advantage for us was we got it months in advance when the exchange rate was good so we put $25,000 over 2 cards and that rate stays for the duration. Was at $1.07 then and was down to even when we went on holiday. So we made 7% on it

Using an AUS credit/debit card you are subject to the daily fluctuations of currency which ATM is in a downward spiral.
FollowupID: 832699

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