Money Overseas - ATM, Trav Cheques or VISA | Page 2 | Australian Frequent Flyer
Australian Frequent Flyer

Welcome to Australia's leading independent Frequent Flyer and Travel Resource since 1998!
Our site contains tons of information that will improve your travel experience.

Joining AFF is fast, simple & absolutely free - register now and take immediate advantage of these great BENEFITS.

Once registered, this box will disappear. And you will see fewer advertisements :)

Money Overseas - ATM, Trav Cheques or VISA

Status
Not open for further replies.

mick

Member
Joined
Apr 12, 2005
Messages
365
ero said:
Also, in case this is of any interest....using the Wizard card you can use ANY ATM in the world, including Australia, that has the Mastercard logo (I think he also said "or Cirrus logo", but I could be wrong about that one) and there would be no transaction fees.....Geez, for me personally, everytime I use my CBA ATM card in any ATM (other than a CBA) in Australia I get charged $1.50...
I don't have any experience with the Wizard MasterCard but it certainly does sound like a good deal. Do be careful that you complete the 100-point ID check properly before you go, as others on here have been caught out by having their Wizard MC account suspended whilst travelling overseas after large sums of money were transferred into the account. Not really what you want when you're far away from home (I should know, Citibank screwed me over last year for exactly the same reason).
 

Admin

Administrator
Joined
Jun 18, 2002
Messages
1,045
Flights
My Map
Another option which I don't think has been mentioned is to get a US Debit Card. Prior to your trip, you can make a single deposit into the account and then have unlimited (I think) free withdrawls from any ATM in the US without any forex transaction fees.

I recently opened a US banking account, for different reasons. Many of the expenses I have in running this website are in US dollars and I got sick of paying the forex exchange charge every time I made a payment on my Aussie credit card. I couldn't believe how was it was: within days the account was opened, and I received all the doco a few weeks later.

The account is with E*TRADE Securities and its technically a share trading account, but does come with a cheque book and free debit card. You can get details from their website.

I purchased an e-book for $20 which explained the whole process, its a bit tricky if you are not a US-resident, and it gave examples of what to put in your application form to expediate the whole process.
 

straitman

Moderator
Joined
Apr 27, 2003
Messages
16,806
Flights
My Map
Thanks admin.

A great idea for those who spend any reasonable amount of time in the LOFATP.
 

Febs

Established Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2006
Messages
1,659
Banks.... :D:D:D


I use my Credit Union (Teachers', but there are plenty of good ones) ATM card in overseas ATM's and to my knowledge have never been charged a transaction fee, or if I have, it's been very minimal.

On my recent HK and USA trips, using my AMEX and ATM cards were both equal in terms of exchange rates (~5.7HKD), whereas changing cash worked out to be the worst option (~5.43HKD).

I also never get charged for ATM withdrawals in Australia (unless I do 15+ per month, I think), and Internet Banking charges..? Haha, you've gotta be kidding me.

(I won't even go into the free beer they used to offer at the branch. :))

Cheers,
- Febs.
 

Commuter

Active Member
Joined
Jun 14, 2006
Messages
793
cssaus said:
Some friends of mine were recently in a 12 hr stopover in Tokyo and all they had was a VISA card. When they tried a cash advance from an ATM it just wouldn't work. As there were no banks open during the time they were there they had to survive on about $A10 which they managed to pick up a couple of pieces of Sushi with.
Only a selected number of VISA machines accept overseas-issued VISA cards in Japan. I think there are some websites that list them, but there are definitely a number of them at international airports. They are hard to find though.

I believe that ATM VISA cash advances in Europe may be equally difficult but I have no experience on this.
I haven't had any problem in Europe, but maybe I was lucky.
 

trippin_the_rift

AFF Supporter
Joined
Apr 2, 2006
Messages
3,527
Get a westpac account and theres no ATM fees worldwide at any of these banks ATMS:

- Bank of America
- Deutsche Bank
- Barclays Bank
- Scotia Bank
- BNP Paribas

Its like an ATM alliance! :)
 

simongr

Enthusiast
Joined
Jul 10, 2006
Messages
14,229
Febs said:
I use my Credit Union (Teachers', but there are plenty of good ones)
Cheers,
- Febs.
You do have to married to a teacher to get one though - and that has its own pitfalls ;)

Totally agree that the TCU card is excellent. Just wish the fee free Credit Card had a AAdvantage rewards program ;)
 

Febs

Established Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2006
Messages
1,659
simongr said:
You do have to married to a teacher to get one though - and that has its own pitfalls ;)
Hah, yeah, or be in a family of teachers. :)

I'll never forget one day years ago (before Internet Banking was common), my mate had to take some money out of his account and then I had to deposit it into mine.

We walked into his branch (CBA, Earlwood) and were greeted by a hot, smelly room, big crowds, and rude staff.

We then walked into TCU Homebush - a doorman opened the door for us, we grabbed a free cold drink from the fridge, walked straight up to the counter and spoke to a staff member who was friendly and had a good grasp of the English language. :D

It was about then he asked the lady at the desk how closely you had to be related to a teacher, because his 2nd or 3rd cousin used to be a teacher, and he wanted to join! :D :D :D

Cheers,
- Febs.
 

beardoc

AFF Supporter
Joined
Jul 13, 2005
Messages
1,632
Flights
My Map
HardieBoys said:
I also suggest that you consider opening a Westpac account if you have time, due to the fee-free withdrawals. The participating banks, such as Bank of America in the US, and Barclays in the UK, are quite widespread. Sometimes it´s been easier to access money fee-free overseas than in Australia.
Even if you have a Westpac account and use it to withdraw money from a Bank of America ATM, the Bank of America ATM will charge you a "non-bank-of-America" surcharge, won't it? Last I remember, this was an additional US$1.50 or US$2.00 that they added to the value of the withdrawal.

Or is this not charged under the fee-free alliance?
 

oz_mark

AFF Supporter
Joined
Jun 30, 2002
Messages
17,647
Flights
My Map
beardoc said:
Even if you have a Westpac account and use it to withdraw money from a Bank of America ATM, the Bank of America ATM will charge you a "non-bank-of-America" surcharge, won't it? Last I remember, this was an additional US$1.50 or US$2.00 that they added to the value of the withdrawal.

Or is this not charged under the fee-free alliance?
The members of the Global Alliance certainly sold it as free of transaction fees if you used your card with an ATM belonging to the Global Allicance, so I would be surprised if there was such a charge. But I do note Westpac seems to be very careful about saying it is Westpac fees that you are freem from!
 

Altair

Active Member
Joined
Aug 22, 2006
Messages
823
beardoc said:
Even if you have a Westpac account and use it to withdraw money from a Bank of America ATM, the Bank of America ATM will charge you a "non-bank-of-America" surcharge, won't it? Last I remember, this was an additional US$1.50 or US$2.00 that they added to the value of the withdrawal.

Or is this not charged under the fee-free alliance?
I used my Westpac ATM card in the US, UK, France and Germany this year and I did not receive any fees. I also checked the receipts for stated fees etc but they only showed the transaction amount.
I still think Westpac is the best Australian bank for using ATM overseas but I just noticed that credit card foreign currency transaction fees have gone up from 2% to 2.5%.
 

ero

Junior Member
Joined
Jun 19, 2006
Messages
29
Altair said:
I still think Westpac is the best Australian bank for using ATM overseas
I'm curious as to what you base this on?

The Wizard Clear Advantage that I used overseas didn't charge me any fees from ANY bank that I used overseas in Japan, Spain, and US. They also gave me an extraordinary exchange rate that was very surpising.

I had to use my Commonwealth card on the first day I arrived in Japan and apart from the $5 fee Commonwealth charged me the exchange rate was lower than that I recieved from the Clear Advantage card.

Banks screw us like you wouldn't believe....I'm sure there are some fees included somewhere in there even when using their partner banks.
 

serfty

Moderator
Joined
Nov 16, 2004
Messages
40,255
Flights
My Map
ero said:
I'm curious as to what you base this on? ...
I suppose that one can use a Westpac Debit card fee free whereas the Wizard is in reality a Credit card (even if you do use it with a +ve balance).

FWIW, If had to contact Westpac the last two times I have used my card in NZ Westpac ATM's to get the $5 charge reversed. The CSOs seemed as :confused: as me about it.
 

Altair

Active Member
Joined
Aug 22, 2006
Messages
823
ero said:
I'm curious as to what you base this on?

Banks screw us like you wouldn't believe....I'm sure there are some fees included somewhere in there even when using their partner banks.
I used to work at a certain bank and did monitor competitors. Please notice I said Australian Bank as well as ATM which is my mistake as I should have specified debit card.;)

From what I can remember there are large international banks that can provide similiar fee free services if you use their ATM networks around the world, HSBC, a vague memory, and possibly Citibank which was not yet open for Australian retail customrs when I did this.

Regarding hidden fees, well that is becoming very much a no no as several banks have found to their detriment and required a costly refund to their customers.
 

Mal

AFF Supporter
Joined
Dec 25, 2004
Messages
12,253
Flights
My Map
For most international destinations, I take the following:

Mastercard, Visa and Amex.

Traveller's Cheques (Normally in US$, but flexible)

Some starting currency for that country.

I find these keep me out of trouble and get me the most flexibility. TC's are starting to get outmoded though - I wouldn't be too suprised if they were dropped in a year or so for an Amex Cash card or similar.
 

waltervp

Intern
Joined
Nov 8, 2002
Messages
91
In Holland I had most trouble using my cards! Amex and Mastercard and Visa all proved difficult! I solved it by paying communal bills at the few restaurants/cafes that accepted it and collecting cash from friends/family...

In the USA I have a USA debit and a USA credit card. You do have to remember the PIN... Something that I have been known to forget on Landing in LAX with a jetlagged brain.

My usual dilemma is how to get funds from my USA to my AUS accounts. Cheques seem to be the quickest. When I had to get $50K transferred once I asked the ANZ about their exchange rates. They could not give me any answers. Not even when I specifically asked what the exchange rate would be today if I gave a cheque for $50K. Would it be +2 or 3%. They could not tell me despite lengthy phonecalls with HQ. And how much would it be if hypothetically if it got processed just this minute. Was there a difference between a telegraphic transfer or a visa/amex card deposit or cheque... They were blank and unwilling. I tried on the phone as well as in person in Hobart. Maybe it is just me..., but to me this was just a cover up for bad rates!

Who has experience with transferring funds between countries?
 

serfty

Moderator
Joined
Nov 16, 2004
Messages
40,255
Flights
My Map
waltervp said:
... lWhen I had to get $50K transferred once I asked the ANZ about their exchange rates. They could not give me any answers. Not even when I specifically asked what the exchange rate would be today if I gave a cheque for $50K. Would it be +2 or 3%. They could not tell me despite lengthy phonecalls with HQ. And how much would it be if hypothetically if it got processed just this minute. Was there a difference between a telegraphic transfer or a visa/amex card deposit or cheque... They were blank and unwilling. I tried on the phone as well as in person in Hobart. Maybe it is just me..., but to me this was just a cover up for bad rates!

Who has experience with transferring funds between countries?
Last year I transfrred AUD8000 from an ANZ account to a bank account of a business in Columbo, Sri Lanka. I did this in two stages using internet bank telegraphic transfer. After initiating the first transfer, an agent of the ANZ bank contacted me to ask if this indeed was what I wanted which I affirmed. It went through within 2 days; so did the subsequent transfer.

FWIW, ANZ have an online foreign Exchange calculator which gives costs etc of doing these transfers based on "today's rates", the account type and the method used. Here's a direct link to it: Foreign Exchange Calculator
 

JohnK

AFF Supporter
Joined
Mar 22, 2005
Messages
41,090
In the past CBA have charged $25 to transfer funds to an overseas bank account using their own exchange rate for that day.

I have also transferred money back to an Australian CBA account in AUD and their charge is around $7.50 to process the transaction.
 

Altair

Active Member
Joined
Aug 22, 2006
Messages
823
Well I use travellers cheques to transfer money from my accounts in NZ to my accounts in Australia. As an ANZ shareholder I am not charged a commission to buy travellers cheques and there is no commission to cash them or bank them into my Westpac Australia account. The limitations, I must physically do these transfers and Amex will only allow $2K a day for cashing in.
 

pacblue

Intern
Joined
Dec 2, 2005
Messages
61
I use a combo.

Westpac Visa card, American Express Travellers Cheques and 500 US dollars.

The Visa I use for accom & meals, bar tabs. Travellers cheques for Europe and purchases over $50 and cash for cabs, tips & smaller purchases. And if you have any left over after leaving the States, you can convert US dollars easily - but I find you most Europeans are happy to take greenbacks.

I also carry an AMEX and Mastercard, but find Visa is accepted almost everywhere.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Community Statistics

Threads
81,205
Messages
1,871,868
Members
49,037
Latest member
Avi8tor
Top