USING a pre-paid travel card when overseas can be cheaper and more convenient than relying on a credit or debit card.
More Australians are travelling overseas than ever before, with figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showing overseas travel increased by more than 10% in the last 12 months. And according to ING Direct, two thirds of Australian travellers still rely on a credit card overseas.
But while credit and debit cards are a convenient way to access money, transaction fees and exchange rates can add hundreds of dollars to your holiday spending if you are not careful. That's where pre-paid travel cards come in.
Designed to cut out costly admin for your bank, which in turn saves you fees, pre-loaded travel cards let you lock in an exchange rate before you go and pre-load multiple currencies.
Your Money Magazine compared the four brands currently available in Australia to find the best value for travellers.
Managing editor Jackie Pearson said pre-paid travel cards are both safer and cheaper than conventional credit and debit cards.
"You save cash every time you use your pre-paid card because you don't pay bank fees on every transaction," Ms Pearson said.
"And even if the worst happens and your card is lost or stolen, your loss is limited to the money on the card, not your maximum credit limit."
However, Ms Pearson cautions travellers to watch out for fees when purchasing pre-paid travel cards.
"There can be fees involved in purchasing the card initially or to close it down the track, so it's important to do your research," she said.
"We found the travel cards currently on the market are all very different so make sure you compare them carefully to decide which one offers the best value for your overseas spending plans," Pearson said.
Detailed information about the features, fees and limits of each pre-paid travel card is available in the current issue of Your Money Magazine and online at www.yourmoneymag.com.au.