If you love the flexibility and safety of cards, then you need to consider prepaid cards. They’re great alternatives to credit cards if you want an option that supplements your money management efforts.
Unlike credit cards, prepaid cards let you load and use your own money to pay for purchases. This means you’re not borrowing money, so there’s no interest charges or debt. Additionally, these cards have no impact on your credit rating.
So, if you want one, it’s essential to know the different card options available and their features. What we’ll share with you below may of course change over time – as banks regularly try to improve their offers to entice customers.
If you’re a frequent traveler, Qantas Travel Money is the ideal prepaid card for you. This Mastercard card allows you to load money in up to ten different currencies, including AED, JPY, USD, EUR, GBP, among others. You can also lock in exchange rates before you travel.
It offers access to emergency funds, and you can lock the card when it’s stolen or lost. There are no monthly fees, and loading money is free, but there is an instant load fee of 0.5 percent. You also earn points for every dollar you spend.
The card has a maximum balance of AUD $100,000.
With Australia Post, you get to pick from three different prepaid cards:
Australia Post Everyday Mastercard
This card has a purchase price of $7.95, and it’s free to load it. It supports up to 11 currencies, and you can lock in your exchange rates.
It will cost you 2.95 percent to withdraw money at local ATMs and AUD 3.50 or equivalent in foreign currency at international ATMs. The Everyday Mastercard has a closure fee of $10, a renewal fee of $7.95 after expiry, and a card management fee of $2 per annum.
The minimum load amount is $50, and the maximum card balance is AUD $25,000.
Australia Post Travel Platinum Mastercard
The Travel Platinum Mastercard allows you to access millions of Wi-Fi hotspots around the world with each $100 reload. You can lock in your exchange rates, and the reload fee is $5 per transaction.
ATM fee is 2.95 percent of value withdrawn for domestic withdrawals, and it’s AUD 3.50 for international ATM withdrawals. It has an administrative fee of 1.1 percent of the load/reload amount, and you pay $10 for card closure. The maximum card balance is $100,000, and the minimum load amount is AUD 100.
For stolen, lost, or damaged cards, you don’t pay a replacement fee.
Australia Post Gift Card by Mastercard
Do you want to give a gift to a loved one? Then, the Australia Post Gift Card by Mastercard is a thoughtful gift idea. You purchase it for $5.95, and you can load any amount from $20 to $500. It has a foreign conversion fee of 3 percent of the AUD amount.
Commonwealth Bank offers one option: Travel Money Card. This Visa card is free if you apply for it online ($15 in-branch), it has no load fees, and you can load up to 13 different currencies. Cash withdrawal fee depends on the currency you’re withdrawing; it’s $3.50 for the AUD amount.
You’ll pay $15.00 to replace your card after expiry, but it’s free for emergency card replacement. Reload fees depend on the CommBank Retail Foreign exchange rate and currency conversation rates depend on Visa exchange rates.
National Australia Bank (NAB)
You also get one option from NAB: Traveller Card. With this Mastercard card, you can load up to 10 currencies, and access your money at any ATM that accepts Mastercard worldwide. While in Australia, the ATM withdrawal fee is $3.75, but there is no point of sale (POS) fee.
You can manage the card through NAB Internet Banking or the NAB app. It has no inactivity, load, unload, or overseas ATM fees, and you can lock in exchange rates for up ten currencies. It has currency conversion fees, which are charged when you make a transaction in a currency that the card doesn’t hold.
Westpac Banking Corporation
If you want a Visa card, you can consider the Global Currency Card offered by Westpac. It allows you to load up to 11 currencies, but the card can hold only five different currencies at any one time.
The maximum load amount is $50,000, and it has a 24-hour ATM withdrawal limit of $2,000. It has no card issue, initial load, card replacement, and purchase transaction fees. But it has a currency conversion fee of 3 percent.
You’ll also pay a balance inquiry fee, which depends on the currency you’re checking. For example, it’s $2 for AUD, $2 for USD, $2.50 for CAD, and $3.00 for NZD.
Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ)
You also have another Visa option with the ANZ Travel Card that supports up to 10 different currencies. The initial minimum load amount is $200, and it has a 4-percent fee for transactions in unsupported currencies.
You also pay AUD 0.35 for SMS activity alerts, and the ATM withdrawal fee depends on the currency: AUD 3.50, USD 2.50, GBP 2.00, EUR 2.20, and NZD 4.50. This Visa card has no card issuance and reload fees.
It comes with a free back-up card to allow you to continue accessing your money when your card is stolen or lost.
Prepaid cards are great if you don’t want to avoid the hustle of carrying lots of cash when on-the-go.
In Australia, you have several Visa and Mastercard options when shopping around for a card. Be sure to look at the features, such as reload options, minimum and maximum load amounts, minimum and maximum card balances, account management, and security features.
You also need to look at the fees that a card has. Some standard fees include issuance, additional card, loading, foreign exchange, ATM, inactivity, and card cancellation fees. Ideally, you want a card that has the least fees possible.
Most importantly, take the time to compare the cards side-by-side to ensure you pick the best option for you.