M.P Island

08 Mar 2011

by Marc Passion

Travel Money Cards

When you travel a lot, you realise it takes serious organisation; covering everything from your luggage to your finances.  You get pretty good at it after a while.  I’ve become an expert packer, minimising my clothes and video camera needs, because after all I will be lugging that backpack for months at a time! But when I talk about finances, I don’t just mean having enough funds to get you through your trip (although that is pretty essential).  I am talking about the best way to access your funds at the cheapest rate.

CASH! When we travel, what is it we need most? CASH!

We need to work our butts off to save funds and then once travelling, closely monitor our budget to prolong the travel.


The old days of carrying cash are over, and we’ve all had the fear cross us when handing over our credit card in some dodgy shop… watching the owner head out the back, knowing full well that it he is likely to skim your card and rip you off.   Most people who have travelled extensively to 3rd world countries and have used their credit cards, have had the traumatising experience of being on the phone listening to hold music, trying to cancel cards and claim refunds from their provider – believe me it’s not fun! In response, we now see a huge push from the major Banks and from other financial providers, such as Travelex, to buy a Travel Money Card before you fly.

Personally, I have found them to be incredibly useful.   They offer a huge amount of security, as well as some other benefits I’ll outline below.

As an existing ANZ customer, I went with their ANZ Travel Card. It’s basically a Pre-paid Travel Card and I found it relatively simple to set up. All I did was go to the bank, sign a few papers and I received my cards. ANZ charge an AU$11 set up fee for two cards (one backup, both with different pins).  You then just pay cash into the travel account with the nominated funds and chosen currency. At any time, internet banking is available to monitor your account, and you  can top can up via BPAY or in any ANZ Foreign Exchange Centre.


The card has Visa capabilities and allows you to withdraw funds from any ATM. And because you have already bought your currency you aren’t paying a continual exchange rate fee or overseas transaction fees for using your normal home accounts. More information can be found at ANZ.com

I thought I’d share with you one tip I was given by the young lady behind the counter in ANZ – If you’re going to be back home before you need to add more funds to your card, then rather than topping up, you should cancel your card and buy another one. Why?  Because it will cost you $11 instead of a 1.1% reloading fee (total funds deposited). Assuming you are looking to add a significant amount, this will save you some cash which you can better use on your travels.

Most banks offer Travel Money Cards, and for the seasoned as well as the newer traveller, they offer convenience and the reassurance that if you do lose your card or it is stolen, it can easily be cancelled.  All the various cards on the market offer different ways of purchasing them and also different methods of topping them up, so it’s worth shopping around.

Have fun on your travels!




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