The best banks and cards for Aussie and Kiwi travellers

AccountCountryNetworkTypeOverseas Foreign ATM feesInternational ATM surcharge rebatesForeign currency transaction feesannual/ monthly feesnotes
ING Orange EverydayAustraliaVisaDebit0unlimited00need to deposit $1000 monthly and make 5 card purchases
Citibank Plus AccountAustraliaMastercardDebit0none, but surcharge free withdrawals at Citibank ATMs worldwide (21 countries)00
UBank USaver Ultra Transaction AccountAustraliaVisaDebit0-00
RAMS Action AccountAustraliaMaestroDebit0-00no international wire transfers
XinjaAustraliaVisaDebit0-00
Maquarie Transaction AccountAustraliaMastercardDebit$5 ("we are waiving this fee from 8 December 2017 until further notice")-00
HSBC Everyday Global AccountAustraliaVisaDebit0none, but surcharge free withdrawals at HSBC ATMs worldwide (40 countries)00use their own currency conversion rates instead of Visa's
Bankwest Zero PlatinumAustraliaMastercardCredit2%, min. $4 + 1.67% interest per month-00
28 Degrees PlatinumAustraliaMastercardCredit3%, min. $4 + 1.67% interest per month-00
7 Eleven Just Go (Heritage Bank)AustraliaVisaPrepaid0-00no load fee. Own rates for USD, NZD, GBP, EUR. Visa rates for all others.
RevolutAustraliaMastercardPrepaid$350 per month free, then 2%-$9000 per month free, then 0.5%0own exchange rates. 0.5% markup on weekends.
Transferwise Borderless AccountAustralia & New ZealandMastercardPrepaid350 AUD/350 NZD per month free, then 2%-0.35%-2.85% depending on currency, less than 1.5% for most.0
Air New Zealand OneSmartNew ZealandMastercardPrepaid3 free per month, then $3-2.5%$1 monthlyno load fee
ICBC Transaction AccountNew ZealandChina UnionPayDebit$4-0$12 annually for the debit card
Westpac Electronic AccountNew ZealandMastercardDebit0 for Global ATM Alliance (40+ countries), $3 elsewherenone, but surcharge free withdrawals at Global ATM Alliance2.5%$10 annually for the debit card
ICBC Dual Currency Credit CardNew ZealandChina UnionPayCredit$4 + 1.66% interest per month-0$30 annuallyonly available with an account a ICBC
Kiwibank Mastercard ZeroNew ZealandMastercardCredit$6 + 1.74% interest per month-1.85%0

Recommendations:

For Australians ING offers the best deal because of the surcharge refunds, but only if you can manage to fulfill their conditions. If you can’t or don’t want to Citibank is great as well, with a slight advantage over UBank: guaranteed surcharge free withdrawals in 20 countries. Xinja is new on the scene.

RAMS, Maquarie and HSBC aren’t bad either but each comes with a slight drawback: RAMS is a Maestro card (fine for ATMs, but less acceptance for POS or online), Maquarie makes it sound like it’s a temporary offer and HSBC uses their own currency rates which is usually not a good deal for the customer. Because RAMS belongs to Westpac the card might offer access to the Global ATM Alliance and thus protection from ATM surcharges in some countries, but that is speculation – they certainly don’t advertise it.

If you’re still under 18, go for the Maquarie account which can be opened 14 and over.

The credit cards are nearly identical, either one is good. But, you’re stuck with Mastercard in any case, no good Visa Cards on offer unless you shell out an annual fee.

If you’re from New Zealand, the picture is a bit bleaker. The best deal are the Transferwise card and the ICBC debit card (even if it may not look that way on first glance. No exchange fee easily outweighs the ATM fee if you do the math. And for POS transactions it wins in any case). Because relying on China UnionPay alone is risky (they do have some sort of presence in 170 countries, see here) I’d just get both.

Term explainer:

Overseas ATM fee: The fee your own bank charges you for withdrawals when you use a foreign ATM abroad.

ATM surcharge rebate: How much of the fee the owner of the foreign ATM may charge you directly your bank will pay back to you. Not all ATMs charge a fee, but if they do it will show up on the screen at some point during the withdrawal process.

Foreign currency transaction fee: The fee your bank charges you for a transaction in a foreign currency. Unless otherwise noted this fee applies to both, ATM withdrawals and POS transactions in a store/ or on the internet.

 

Spotted a mistake, or know another card that doesn’t charge? Shoot me an email at webmaster [at] nofeesoverseas.com

Disclaimer

I’m not a financial advisor, everything you read on this website is for informational purposes only. While doing my best, I do not take responsibility for the accuracy of the information. Make sure you read all the fine print before you sign up for any of these products. If you have questions about fees or terms contact the bank/ card issuer.