High fees force travellers to pre-paid cards

High card fees are making pre-paid cards more popular. Dirk Hofman, spokesperson at financial comparison service Infochoice said a range of new pre-paid offers have been launched over the last few years.

“One of the benefits of the pre-paid card is that you can lock in your exchange rate which can provide some certainty for travelers. Some of the costs to look out for with the pre-paid cards are up-front card fees, re-load cost, ATM and transaction fees.”

The favourite pre-paid travel card is the Travelex cash passport card available through credit unions, Bank of Queensland, online and from many travel agencies. Initial set up charges vary depending on where the card was purchased from. The card is loaded up at the beginning in the currency of the country to which you are going to travel in.

The Travelex ATM card is available in seven currencies – EUR, GBP, USD, HKD, SGD, NZD and AUD. The debit visa functionality is available in five currencies – EUR, GBP, USD, NZD and AUD.
To reload the travelex cash passport card via BPay, there is a 1 per cent charge. The card can also be reloaded via SMS and there is a 1.1 per cent charge for that service. ATM withdrawals attract a AU$3.75 charge.

Commonwealth Bank's Travel Money Card costs $15 and has a reload fee of 1 per cent, ATM withdrawal fee of AU$3.50 or equivalent and a cross currency conversion fee of 2 per cent. To load $100 onto the card then withdraw that money in local currency overseas will cost between $6 and $7 in total.

The ANZ travel card costs $11 to set up and 1.1 per cent to reload the card with cash. ATM withdrawals are slightly cheaper than the other cards, but apply at all ATMs, even ANZ branded machines. There is no foreign currency conversion fee, with daily conversion rates set by Visa.

“Both CBA and ANZ's travel cards do not charge overseas transaction fees on purchases,” said Hofman.

Source: Courier Mail