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Our Money Tip of the Day expert Michelle Kuskie says it’s really important to do destination-specific research before you head overseas to find out how you can access money and pay for things while you’re away. Michelle suggests travellers to consider taking a mix of foreign cash, a travel money card and a debit or credit card to help prepare for any situation.
Here’s some general information for you to consider on the different ways you can access money and pay for things while overseas.
Travel money cards are safer than cash and an easy payment alternative while travelling overseas. Advantages of travel cards include being able to load multiple different currencies onto the card, ability to lock in an exchange rate before heading off, and the ability to access cash via a number of ATMs globally. You'll have to consider fees and charges associated with the card and accessing money, so make sure you do your research before signing up for a travel card as different providers offer different benefits and available currencies.
Check out more benefits and things to consider before signing up for a travel money card in our post on Why use a travel money card.
Credit cards are widely accepted around the world. However, it's important to understand the conversion fees you will be charged for each purchase and any fees or charges your credit provider may charge you. Get in contact with your card provider and ask before heading overseas as these fees and charges can quickly add up if you're not careful.
It's important to note not all merchants will accept credit cards so do your research and carry some foreign currency cash with you when travelling.
Cash is particularly helpful in the first 24 hours of your trip. You'll need enough to get you by until you are able to use an ATM. This might be harder in some countries than others. Do your research and find out how easy it is to access cash or how easy it is to exchange cash if you choose to take Aussie dollars with you.
Accessing money via a debit card is convenient. However, you'll need to understand the fees and charges applicable to both your bank and the bank whose ATM you are using. Unlike a travel money card, debit cards are linked to your transaction account - which is something to consider should you become the victim of a skimming scam.
Before you head overseas make sure you contact your bank and let them know your general itinerary. This will help your bank identify suspicious activity on your accounts. For example, if you're travelling in the United States of America and a transaction takes place in Greece, your bank can identify this as suspicious.
It's also a good idea to jot down any important phone numbers should you need to check anything with your bank or report a stolen or missing card. Our Going Overseas Brochure has a list of important phone numbers and a personal details page that you can print and take with you when you travel.