Deciding how best to organise your finances when travelling overseas can be a challenge. There are a plenitude of options out there, from credit cards to prepaid travel money cards and everything in between. Each card comes with its own fee structure and unique advantages and disadvantages so sorting through all the options is a confusing task.

This week our member Whipster, who plans to live in South America for a year, asks for some advice on this topic from the AFF community.

Hi all, hoping to get some guidance on travel money management. Will be spending the next year in South America, so want to avoid as many bank fees and charges as humanly possible.

As most of the prepaid travel money cards in the Australian market do not feature South American currencies, this is quickly ruled out as an option. Instead, it seems that the way to go will be to use credit cards that have low or no foreign transaction fees.

The 28 Degrees MasterCard is a clear favourite among our members. Even though it is no longer possible to use the card to withdraw cash overseas for free, it still represents good value due to a distinct lack of fees.

The 28 Degree MasterCard is good. I wish they hadn’t removed their fee free ATM transactions though.

Another fee-free suggestion is the Bankwest Zero Platinum MasterCard. None of the Bankwest Zero cards charge an annual fee, and the foreign transaction fee (usually 2.95%) is not charged to holders of the Platinum version of the card.

I just returned from South America and used the QF/Bank west debit card …. No issues in getting cash out or paying for hotels etc. The exchange rates were great … and they do not charge a conversion fee

The Bankwest Qantas Platinum MasterCard has no foreign transaction fees either and even earns Qantas frequent flyer points, although the annual fee would set one back $160.

Another consideration is security, especially when planning to take a credit card overseas. Naturally, it is recommended to contact the bank before travelling. But in case something should happen to your card while you are away, it’s good to have a proactive credit card provider. Our members’ experience with the 28 Degrees card has also been positive in this regard.

My credit card was hacked and we were rung in the Qantas Club on our way to Paris. But 28 couriered a new one to me in Paris less than five days later.

How do you sort out your finances when travelling overseas? Do you have a favourite credit card? Have your say HERE.

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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]