The 6 Best Travel Money Cards for Australia 2024
Heading to Australia to kick back on the world famous beaches, soak in the city atmosphere, or explore the open road? Or maybe you’re off for a working holiday, or as a longer term move to live, work, retire or study. In any case, picking up a travel debit, prepaid or credit card can help you manage your money across currencies, and cut the overall costs.
Different travel money cards have their own benefits and drawbacks. Join us as we look through your key travel money card options, and introduce a couple of our favourites from each category so you can see if any suit your preferences and needs.
Wise - our pick for travel debit card for Australia
Wise accounts can hold and exchange 40+ currencies, and you can get a linked Wise card for a one time delivery fee. Top up your account in GBP and switch to AUD before you travel. All currency conversion uses the mid-market exchange rate, with low fees from 0.41%. Here are some of the pros and cons of the Wise travel money debit card, to help you decide if it’s right for you.
Hold and exchange 40+ currencies, including GBP-AUD
No fee to spend any currency you hold, low conversion fees from 0.41%
Mid market exchange rate on all currency conversion
Some fee free ATM withdrawals every month
No ongoing fees and no interest to pay
7 GBP delivery fee
No option to earn points or rewards
What is a travel money card?
A travel money card can help you cut costs whenever you spend in foreign currencies. Travel money cards can be debit or credit cards, but they all offer some international features and benefits such as options to hold a balance in multiple currencies, low or no foreign transaction fees, or cash back or rewards for spending and withdrawals overseas.
Once you’ve picked the travel money card that suits your needs you’ll be able to use it as easily as any other payment card, for in person and online shopping and cash withdrawals. Some cards also offer virtual card options for mobile payments.
What are different types of travel cards?
Travel cards can fall under the following categories. We’ll walk through the features and benefits of each in a moment, so you can see which might work best for your specific needs:
Quick summary: Best travel cards for Australia
The right travel card for you might depend on how long you’re spending in Australia and what you’ll be up to while you’re there. To help you weigh up some different options, we’ve included reviews of 2 of our favourite travel money cards from each category to help you choose. Here’s what we’ll be looking at:
Wise travel debit card: Hold 40+ currencies including AUD, with no ongoing fees, and spend with the mid-market exchange rate with no foreign transaction fee and low conversion costs from 0.43%
Revolut travel debit card: Hold 25+ currencies including AUD, in one of 4 different plan types, including some with no monthly fee, and some which comes with ongoing costs but which unlock more benefits and no fee transactions
Post Office travel money card: Hold AUD and 21 other currencies, with no fee to spend a currency you hold - 3% fee applies if you don’t have the currency required in your account
Monese travel money card: Hold a balance in GBP, then spend in AUD with no fees, up to your plan’s limit. Different plans on offer, including Simple which has no ongoing fees to pay
Barclays Rewards Visa travel credit card: Spend with the Visa exchange rate, and earn 0.25% cash back, with no foreign transaction fee and no cash advance fee. Interest and penalties can apply
Halifax Clarity Mastercard travel credit card: No foreign transaction fee, no annual fee, and no cash advance fee if you withdraw money at an ATM. Variable interest and penalties can apply
Travel money cards for Australia compared
Here’s a brief comparison of all the cards we’ve picked out - in a moment we’ll also look at each card in more detail.
|Overseas ATM fee
|7 GBP order and delivery fee
|2 withdrawals, to 200 GBP value per month for free, then 0.5 GBP + 1.75%
|Free to spend currencies you hold in the account
|Mid-market rate with conversion costs from 0.43%
|Variable fees may apply depending on account plan
|No fees to plan limit, 2% fair usage fee may apply once you exhaust your plan no fee limit
|No fee to spend currencies you hold in the account
Mid-market rate to plan limit
Fair usage fees of 0.5% - 1% apply after you exhaust your plan limit
|No fee for spending up to your account limit, which varies based on plan chosen
|Network exchange rate
Free to spend currencies you hold in the account
3% fee to spend a currency you don’t hold in your account
Variable exchange rate depending on how you top up
|No cash advance fee, but interest may apply
|28.9% representative APR
|No fee - interest may apply
|Network exchange rate
|No cash advance fee, but interest applies instantly
|Variable based on credit score
|No fee - interest may apply
|Network exchange rate
When you’re figuring out which travel card suits you it’s worth thinking a bit about how you’ll use your card and account in Australia. If you’re there for work or need to send and receive AUD payments, a card with options to hold and receive Australian dollars - like the Wise card - can be handy.
If you’re looking for a card you can use on this trip and then in future for other holiday destinations make sure you pick one with no ongoing costs so you don’t run up a bill even when you’re not using your card. Finally, travel credit cards might suit you if you need to spread your costs over a few months - but bear in mind that fees and interest can apply in this case, pushing up the price in the end.
Travel Debit Cards for Australia
Travel debit cards can be ordered online from specialist providers, and will usually be linked to a digital multi-currency account. Different card accounts have their own features, but you can usually add money in GBP and then convert to AUD in the provider’s app, or just let the card manage the conversion for you at the point of payment. It’s worth knowing that some travel debit cards come with accounts with a broad suite of AUD functionality, including getting local bank details to get paid in AUD by local transfer. This can be a handy feature if you’re working in Australia, or visiting family and friends who may need to send you money in dollars.
Travel debit card option 1: Wise
There’s no fee to open a personal Wise account, but you’ll pay a one time card order fee of 7 GBP. After that there’s no minimum balance and no monthly charge. Wise accounts can support 40+ currencies for holding and exchange, with low fees from 0.43% when you convert currencies, and transparent ATM fees when you exhaust the monthly free transactions available with your account. Accounts come with local bank details for AUD so you can get paid easily.
No fee to open a personal Wise account, no minimum balance requirement
7 GBP one time fee to get your Wise card
2 withdrawals, to 200 GBP value per month for free, then 0.5 GBP + 1.75%
Hold 40+ currencies, convert between them with the mid-market rate
Get local account details to receive GBP, NZD, EUR, USD and a selection of other major currencies conveniently
Travel debit card option 2: Revolut
Revolut has a selection of different account tiers for personal customers in the UK, including Standard plans with no monthly fee, to the top end Ultra plan which has a 45 GBP/month fee and comes with loads of perks including a fancy platinum plated card. You can hold around 25 currencies, and convert currencies with the mid-market rate to your plan’s allowance. The higher account tiers also come with extras like various different forms of complimentary insurance, discounts, cash back opportunities and travel benefits.
No monthly fee for a Standard Revolut account, or upgrade to one of 4 different account plans which have monthly fees running from 3.99 GBP/month to 45 GBP/month
All accounts have some no fee weekday currency conversion with fair usage fees after that which are 1% for Standard plan holders
Standard plan holders can withdraw 200 GBP overseas per month for free
Hold around 25 currencies
Pros and cons of using debit travel cards in Australia
|Pros of using debit travel cards in Australia
|Cons of using debit travel cards in Australia
✅ Hold and exchange 25+ currencies in the same account
✅ Spend in 150+ countries - including spending in currencies the card can’t support for holding balances
✅ Order your physical card and get instant access to a virtual card for mobile payments
✅ Accounts can be opened and managed digitally
✅ Safe for spending and withdrawals when travelling overseas
❌ Some account plans have ongoing monthly costs
❌ Transaction and currency conversion fees may apply
❌ You may need to wait a few days for delivery of your physical card
How much does a travel debit card cost?
Different travel debit card services set their own fees, which can include transaction fees, and monthly costs, depending on the card you pick. Generally, though, because travel debit cards are flexible and allow you to hold a foreign currency balance, you can avoid foreign transaction fees which keeps the overall costs of spending internationally down.
The good news is that you can select the provider and card that works best for you easily. Wise has a one time fee to get your card, but then no monthly charges or minimum balance requirements. Revolut customers in the UK can choose from different account plans, including one with no ongoing charges, or several different account options with a monthly fee in exchange for extra perks and benefits.
How to choose the best travel debit card for Australia?
There’s no single best travel debit card for Australia. Ultimately the decision will come down to personal preferences and spending habits, so you’ll need to compare a few to see which suits your spending and withdrawal needs best.
If you’re only in Australia for a short time and you’re unsure about travel debit cards you could always order a card with no ongoing costs like the Wise card or the Standard Revolut card, to try out whether or not a travel debit card suits you.
Is there a spending limit with a travel debit card in Australia?
You’ll probably find there’s a spending limit for your travel debit card. However, this limit can vary quite significantly, depending on the provider you pick. You can also usually adjust your spending limits for security in the provider’s app which means you can set the limit you’re comfortable with.
For the providers mentioned above, Revolut UK travel debit card holders have some spending caps based on merchant and transaction type. This applies to things like sending money to others, buying travellers cheques or money orders, and betting. Wise caps monthly card spending at 30,000 GBP but you can also move your limit lower if you’d like to, for security reasons.
ATM withdrawals with a travel debit card are also likely to be subject to limits. Revolut applies a 3,000 GBP limit based on any given 24 hour period. Wise ATM withdrawal limits are 4,000 GBP per month. Both providers allow you to make some no fee ATM withdrawals monthly, but the exact amount you can withdraw will depend on your account type.
Prepaid Travel Cards for Australia
Prepaid travel cards are somewhat similar to travel debit cards but may not have quite the same functionality. You’ll usually still get your prepaid travel card from a non-bank provider like the Post Office or Monese and you can still usually manage your application and account remotely with just your phone if you want to. Prepaid cards can also offer multi-currency balance options, but one key difference is that the range of currencies covered may not be as broad as the range offered by travel debit cards. Let’s look at these options in more detail.
Prepaid travel card option 1: Post Office Travel Money Card
You can order a Post Office Travel Money Card online or pick one up in person at a branch as long as you have a valid ID on you. You’ll be able to top up and hold in 22 currencies, although bear in mind a fee applies if you add money in GBP. There’s no fee to add foreign currencies. The exchange rate used when you top up or convert may include a markup, but once you hold a currency balance in your account you can spend it with no further charges.
AUD and 21 other currencies are supported for holding and exchange
No fee to spend a currency you hold on your card
3% cross border fee if you spend in an unsupported currency
80 THB ATM withdrawal fee
Manage your account and card from the Post Office travel money app
Prepaid travel card option 2: Monese Travel Money Card
Monese offers several different account plans which come with linked cards you can use while overseas. Depending on the plan you pick you’ll get some free international spending and some free ATM withdrawals. Simple account plans have no monthly fees, but are more limited in terms of no-fee transactions compared to the other account tiers. While Monese does offer foreign currency account plans, these are not available in AUD.
- Pick the account plan that suits your needs, including a Simple plan with no monthly costs and some plans which do have a fee to pay every month
- Accounts offered in GBP, EUR and RON
- Simple account plan holders can spend up to 2,000 GBP a month in foreign currencies with no fees - other account plans have unlimited overseas spending with no extra fees
- All accounts have some fee free ATM withdrawals every month, with variable limits based on account plan
- Virtual cards available
Pros and cons of using prepaid travel cards in Australia
|Pros of using prepaid travel cards in Australia
|Cons of using prepaid travel cards in Australia
✅ Secure way to hold a balance and make overseas payments
✅ Cards available with no monthly fees
✅ Usually free to spend a currency you hold
✅ Issued on globally supported networks for easy spending and withdrawals
✅ Some cards can be picked up instantly if you’re in a hurry
❌ Ongoing charges may apply to your account
❌ Not all providers offer multi-currency holding options
❌ Transaction fees apply to most accounts
How much does a prepaid card cost?
Prepaid travel cards can have some fees, even if it’s free to get your card in the first place - which makes it essential to read the account terms and conditions carefully before you sign up. Among other things, look out for monthly maintenance fees, currency conversion charges, top up costs, and any account dormant fees that may apply. Weighing up a few different prepaid travel cards is the only way to decide which is the best value for your particular needs.
How to choose the best travel prepaid card for Australia?
The best prepaid travel card for Australia depends on your spending patterns. The Post Office Travel Money Card has the advantage that you can convert your money to AUD and see your budget instantly. However if you don’t do this, you might end up paying a 3% fee. Monese has different plan types, so has the flexibility to allow you to pick the one you want - but you can’t hold an AUD balance.
Prepaid travel card spending limit
The Post Office travel card lets you top up to 5,000 GBP at a time, with the maximum balance at any given time set at 10,000 GBP, or 30,000 GBP annually. Monese accounts may have different limits based on the tier you pick - usually set at a maximum holding balance at any time of 40,000 GBP. You may be limited to spending up to 7,000 GBP a day, depending on your account type.
With the Post Office card, you can make up to 17,000 THB maximum daily withdrawals and each withdrawal costs 80 THB. Monese accounts may have a maximum ATM withdrawal of 300 GBP a day, depending on the specific account you pick, so it’s worth reading the fee schedule carefully to understand the details.
Travel credit cards for Australia
If you’re going to be spending with a credit card in Australia anyway it could be worthwhile applying for a specific travel credit card before you go. These cards have been optimised for travel and can offer perks like no foreign transaction fee or more rewards and cash back for overseas spending.
If you pick a card with no annual fee, that can mean that using a travel credit card instead of your regular credit card when you’re away costs you less as you’ll dodge foreign transaction fees while still benefiting from network exchange rates. Bear in mind though that while credit cards can be safe and convenient, interest and penalty costs mean that they’re often more expensive than a debit or prepaid card.
Travel credit card option 1: Barclaycard Rewards Visa
The Barclaycard Rewards Visa credit card is a good, straightforward option for UK customers looking for a credit card which does not have foreign transaction fees, and which doesn’t have an annual fee. As with any credit card, some costs can apply including interest fees if you don’t clear your bill monthly, but you’ll be able to earn 0.25% cash back on all your card spending at home and abroad.
No annual fee, with 0.25% cash back on card spending
Currency exchange uses the network rate and no foreign transaction fee
No ATM withdrawal fee - but interest can still apply
28.9% representative APR, with penalty fees for late payments
Secure spending with extra protection on some purchases
Travel credit card option 2: Halifax Clarity Mastercard
The Halifax Clarity Mastercard has a variable interest rate which is based on your creditworthiness, but doesn’t use different rates for different transaction types as some cards do. There’s no foreign transaction fee when you spend or withdraw in foreign currencies, but bear in mind that an ATM operator might charge a fee, and interest accrues instantly for cash advance transactions.
No foreign transaction fee when spending or making a cash withdrawal overseas
Interest applies instantly when making cash withdrawals
Same interest rate applies on all purchase categories
Variable APR based on your credit score - you’ll need to check your eligibility online to see the APR you’d be offered
Spending is covered by the Consumer Credit act which means extra protections for purchases from 100 GBP to 30,000 GBP in value
Pros and cons of using credit cards for Australia
|Pros of using credit cards in Australia
|Cons of using credit cards in Australia
✅ Spread the cost of your travel over several months
✅ Check eligibility for a card online with no impact on your credit score
✅ You may pay no foreign transaction fee
✅ Can be used where a payment guarantee is required
✅ Network exchange rates usually apply, which are pretty fair
❌ Interest can accrue instantly on ATM withdrawals
❌ Interest charged on POS spending if you don’t repay in full every month
❌ Eligibility rules apply
How much does a travel credit card cost?
As with any credit card, you may find that you run into fees when you use a travel credit card. While the travel credit cards highlighted above have no annual charge, and no foreign transaction fee, interest applies if you don’t pay your bill in full every month. If you’re late making a payment, penalties can also apply. Consider carefully if using a credit card is right for you to avoid running up unexpected or unmanageable bills.
How to choose the best travel credit card for Australia?
The best travel credit card for Australia depends on your preferences and situation. Because there’s an eligibility screening process with credit cards, you may find you can’t get approved for some cards if you don’t have an established and strong credit history. It’s generally worth looking for a card with no annual fee, and the lowest available interest rate, just in case you can’t always repay your bill monthly.
Travel credit card spending limit
Your travel credit card spending limit will be set by the card provider, and will depend on your credit score. You’ll be shown details of your spending limit when you’re approved for a travel credit card.
The cards we’ve looked at earlier don’t charge a cash advance fee, but this is a common cost when using a credit card at an ATM, so worth looking out for when you select any credit card. It’s also worth noting that it’s very common for ATM withdrawals to start accruing interest instantly, so you’ll end up needing to repay some charges whenever you use your credit card in an ATM.
How much money do I need in Australia?
There’s so much to do in Australia it’s pretty much impossible to suggest a one size fits all budget for your trip. How much you need to spend will depend entirely on what you’re planning on doing, how long you’ll stay and your personal preferences. The good news is that there are plenty of options out there so you should be able to find a budget and itinerary that suits you with a bit of research and planning. Here’s a quick look at some common costs in Australia:
|✈️ Flights to Australia
|At the time of writing (November 2023), flights are available for Spring 2024 starting from about 600 GBP return, but cheaper flights tend to involve more stopovers and therefore a longer journey time
|While there’s a good range of hotel and hostel options at all price points, city hotels in a good location are likely to cost at least 100 GBP a night
|🥣 Lunch in a restaurant
|3 course meal for 2 in a mid-range restaurant will cost just over 60 GBP on average
|Local transportation can cost about 2.4 GBP a ticket. Taxis should cost about 1.8 GBP a mile
Conclusion: Which travel money card is best for Australia?
You’re not going to end up short of fun things to do in Australia. But lots of activities means you’ll need to figure out the best way to pay for things while you’re there, to avoid unnecessary costs and make your money go further.
Using one or more travel card options can help you manage your travel budget flexibly, and may also mean lower overall costs. However, the right card and account for you will depend on your preferences and whether you need extras like ways to get paid in AUD by others.
Consider a Wise travel debit card if you need ways to pay and get paid in AUD, with the mid-market rate and low fees. Or as an alternative, check out a Monese travel prepaid card for free currency conversion to your specific plan limit, or a travel credit card like the Barclays Rewards Visa for cash back opportunities and ways to spread your costs over several months if you need to.
No matter what type of travel card suits you best, there’s going to be an option for you - use this guide to research and get ready to enjoy that trip of a lifetime to Australia.
FAQ - Best travel cards for Australia
Can you withdraw cash with a credit card in Australia?
Yes. You can use your credit card to make an ATM withdrawal at any ATM in Australia where your card network is accepted. However, bear in mind you’ll pay interest instantly when you use a credit card in an ATM. Choosing to withdraw with a low cost travel debit card from Wise or Revolut may bring down your overall fees.
Can I use a debit card in Australia?
Yes. Debit cards are widely supported in Australia, and can be used in many places, although you may struggle at some small independent merchants or at markets. That said, having multiple ways to pay is reassuring, making carrying both a prepaid or travel debit card and some Australian dollars in cash a smart plan.
Are prepaid cards safe?
Yes. Prepaid cards are not linked to your normal UK bank account which means that they’re safe to use. Even if you were unlucky and someone stole your card while you’re in Australia, they would not be able to access your main account - and you could freeze your prepaid card in the app easily if you needed to.
What is the best way to pay in Australia?
Paying for things with a specialist travel debit, prepaid or credit card in Australia is most convenient. However, having a few options for payment is a good plan, just in case your preferred payment method can’t be used for some reason. Consider getting a travel card from a provider like Wise or Revolut, which has some no fee ATM withdrawals so you can also conveniently get cash as a back up, and for when card payments aren’t offered.