AUD card in the UK: What are the options? 2023
If you’re off for a trip of a lifetime to Australia, or even if you’re moving there for good, getting an AUD card can make it easier to manage your money in AUD, alongside GBP. Many AUD cards offer great exchange rates and low overall fees when you pay in Australian dollars.
This guide covers how and why an AUD card can help - and we’ll also take a look at how AUD cards from providers like Wise and Revolut can help you spend less overall when you’re using foreign currencies.
What is an AUD card?
AUD cards offer convenient spending and cash withdrawals in Australian dollars. You’ll also find you can often access great exchange rates and low overall fees for conversion and foreign currency spending.
An AUD card is also commonly called a multi-currency card, as most AUD cards also have the facility to hold and exchange several - or even dozens - of other currencies. You’ll be able to get a card online or in person, and add money in pounds or the currency of your choice to the linked digital account. Depending on the card you pick you can then either switch to dollars in your account, or keep your money in pounds to convert at the point of purchase.
What is an AUD card good for?
An AUD card can be a smart way to cut your costs when you’re abroad, as well as being a safe choice.
If you’re heading to Australia for a holiday, getting a travel card can mean you get a better exchange rate compared to using your GBP debit card, as you’ll avoid foreign transaction fees. Travel cards are also more secure than sticking with your bank - if you’re unlucky and your AUD card is lost or stolen, you can just freeze it without needing to cancel your normal GBP debit card.
Heading to Australia for a working holiday, to study or to move permanently? AUD cards from providers like Wise and Revolut are handy both for short term travellers and longer stays in Australia, as they offer cheap ways to manage AUD digitally alongside GBP. That lets you spend easily in Australia while keeping on top of any bills you still need to pay in the UK.
Pros and cons of Australian dollar card
AUD cards often support dozens of currencies, and so can be used in other destinations too
Some accounts are set up to let you manage your money in a selection of currencies long term, with no ongoing fees - handy for longer stays
You may be able to access currency exchange with a better rate compared to your bank
Safe as there’s no need to carry lots of cash in Australian dollars
It’s usually free to spend currencies you hold in your account
There’s no need to sort your AUD travel money in advance - just make cash withdrawals on arrival in your destination
Most AUD cards do have some fees which can include transaction and fair usage charges
Cards are usually from specialist providers, rather than banks - if you plan on moving to Australia permanently you’ll probably still need a local bank account to get a full range of services
Topping up your card might incur a fee, depending on how you make your payment
3 best AUD cards in the UK
There’s no shortage of choice when it comes to AUD cards you can get in the UK. Let’s look at our top 3 picks so you can decide which is right for you.
Open your Wise account online or in-app, to hold and exchange 40+ currencies including GBP and AUD. There’s a small fee to get your Wise card, but then no ongoing costs, and you can use your card in 150+ countries globally.
When you switch from pounds to dollars you’ll get the mid-market rate and low fees from 0.43%. You can either change your money in advance of travel to lock in the exchange rate and set your travel budget, or just let the card’s autoconvert tool do the conversion for you at the point of payment.
Currency conversion uses the mid-market rate, fees can be as low as 0.43%
Convert in advance or let the card automatically switch to dollars as and when required
No monthly fees or minimum balance
You’ll need to pay a one time fee to get your card in the first place
Some transaction fees apply, including ATM fees once you’ve exhausted your fee free allowance
Revolut UK customers can choose from 5 different types of account, including the Standard plan which has no monthly fee, and higher tier options which have more features and a monthly fee from 2.99 GBP to 45 GBP. All accounts let you hold and exchange AUD, and come with linked physical and virtual cards for easy spending. Revolut accounts also offer some currency conversion which uses the mid-market rate. How much you get depends on the account type you prefer, and higher tier account types may have no limits to the amount you can exchange with no extra fees to pay.
Revolut accounts also offer some currency conversion which uses the mid-market rate. How much you get depends on the account type you prefer, and higher tier account types may have no limits to the amount you can exchange with no extra fees to pay.
Varied account plans that suit different customer needs and spending habits
Hold and exchange 29 currencies including pounds and US dollars
All accounts have some currency conversion which uses the mid-market exchange rate with no extra fee
Physical and virtual card options available
Higher account tiers have lots of extras and perks including cash back and airport lounge access
Fees apply for the most feature packed account tiers
Out of hours and fair usage fees may apply depending on how you use your account
No branch network for face to face service
The UK Post Office offers a flexible travel money card which can hold 22 currencies including AUD. You’ll be able to order your card online or - if you’re pressed for time - get one at a Post Office branch by visiting with your ID documents.
Once you have your card you can add money in pounds, and manage your account in the Post Office app, to convert over to AUD before you travel or spend online. Currency exchange is likely to include a markup, and it’s handy to know that there’s a fee to pay every time you make an ATM withdrawal. That can mean it’s better to make a few larger withdrawals, rather than lots of small ones, provided you have somewhere secure to keep your Australian dollars, like a hotel safe.
Hold up to 22 currencies, covering many popular destinations from the UK
If you’re in a hurry you can get a card at a Post Office branch instantly
Manage your account in the Post Office app, to top up or convert
If you spend in a supported currency but don’t hold enough balance, the card can convert for you
Compatible with popular mobile wallets like Apple Pay
Exchange rates may include a markup
3% fee if you spend in an unsupported currency, and a 3 AUD fee for ATM withdrawals in Australia
Inactivity fees apply if you keep the card after expiry and don’t order a new one or clear your balance
Where can I use an AUD card?
Use your AUD card in person when you’re in Australia, and also if you ever shop online with any merchant based in Australia. You can use your card both for spending and making cash withdrawals at an ATM.
If you’re heading to Australia for a holiday you can add your money in pounds and convert to AUD for spending - often with a good exchange rate with low fees and no foreign transaction charge. Some cards also offer the option to just leave your money in pounds and allow the card to automatically convert to dollars when you spend.
Australian dollar (AUD) card in the UK
The multi-currency cards we’ve looked at so far can be used in the UK as well as in Australia. Generally you’ll be able to use your card wherever the network is supported - although fees may apply if you’re spending in an unsupported currency.
There are a couple of things to remember if you want to use a travel card in the UK. One thing is the cost of currency conversion. If you add pounds, then convert to dollars, and back to pounds for UK spending later, you’ll pay conversion fees twice. Fees may be shown transparently, or added to the exchange rate used - but in either case you could end up with less than you expect.
The second thing to consider is the exchange rate. If the rate has changed between you getting dollars, and changing back to pounds, again, you’ll get less back in GBP than you added in the first place.
A smart option is to get a card that lets you keep your balance in pounds until you need it so there’s no risk of getting hit twice by conversion fees, or getting stuck with a bad exchange rate when you switch back to pounds.
Costs of getting an AUD card in the UK
As we’ve seen, there are several different providers you can choose to get an AUD card in the UK. Each card has its own fees, so it’s important to check over the costs of the one you choose to get. Here’s a rundown of the key costs for the cards we looked at earlier.
AUD card fees
|Get a card||7 GBP||No extra card fee, although delivery charges may apply||No fee|
|Add money||Free to add money with local bank details in 9 currencies||Free from a UK bank or using a UK card|
Fees vary depending on how you add money
1.5% fee applies to add month in GBP
|Account maintenance fee||None||0 GBP - 45 GBP/month||None - a monthly fee of 2 GBP will apply from 12 months after your card expires if there’s a residual balance|
|Spend in AUD|
2 withdrawals, to 200 GBP in value free every month
0.5GBP + 1.75% after that
|Standard accounts: up to 5 withdrawals, totalling up to 200 GBP/month free, 2% after that||3 AUD in the UK, 1.5 GBP in the UK|
*Information correct at time of writing - 19th September 2023
What exchange rate will be used?
While each AUD card provider sets their own rates and fees, good ones to check out include Wise and Revolut. Wise uses the mid-market exchange rate and low, transparent fees from 0.43% to switch from one currency to another. Revolut offers some currency conversion which uses the mid-market rate to all account holders. Fair usage fees may apply if you convert more than is included in your account plan, but higher tier accounts can have unlimited mid-market currency conversion, which is handy for big spenders.
How to get an AUD card in the UK
Most Australian dollar cards can be ordered for home delivery either online or in-app. The Post Office also lets customers walk into a branch to pick up a card instantly. As with all financial service providers, AUD card services have to complete verification checks to comply with law. That means you’ll need to either upload or take along a passport or driving licence when you register your account.
If you’ve ordered your card to be delivered to your home by post, check if the provider offers a virtual card. Services like Wise and Revolut have virtual cards you’ll get as soon as your account is registered and verified, to make mobile payments with Apple Pay, Google Pay and similar wallets.
Check out the AUD card order process for the provider you prefer, so you can prepare everything that’s needed.
Conclusion - Is an AUD card worth it?
If you’re heading to Australia either for a holiday, to work for a while, to study or to move permanently, getting an AUD card is a smart move.
If you’re in Australia for only a short while, an AUD card is safe for overseas use and can mean you get better exchange rates and lower overall costs compared to using your bank debit card. If you’re moving to Australia longer term or even permanently, getting a multi-currency account in advance means you can start holding and sending payments in AUD before you move. That’s handy for getting things set up in your new home, making a downpayment on rent and so on.
Options like Wise and Revolut are good all round options which offer easy ways to hold and convert dozens of currencies, to make it cheaper and easier to travel or live internationally.
FAQ - AUD card in the UK
### Benefits of using an AUD card
Using an AUD card can mean you pay lower overall costs when you're in Australia, or if you’re shopping online with merchants that charge in AUD. AUD cards are handy both for short term holiday makers and anyone moving to Australia for a longer time, as the digital accounts they come with offer convenient ways to hold and spend both AUD and GBP.
Are AUD cards available in the UK?
Yes. Several providers, including Wise, Revolut, and the Post Office, have AUD cards you can easily pick up in the UK.
How much does an AUD card cost?
The costs of an AUD card can vary depending on the specific card you select. You’ll often find there are free ways to add money, and some transactions are free too. However, in many cases there are some fees to pay for currency conversion or ATM withdrawals - double check the fee schedule for the card you prefer so there are no surprises.