Travel

The Best Travel Debit Cards for Australians In 2023

No matter where you’re going or for how long, using a good travel debit card is one of the easiest ways to save money when traveling overseas. While airport currency exchange booths and your day-to-day bank may be convenient, they often charge exorbitant currency exchange fees. However, with a little research and planning, you can save a considerable sum just by using the right card!

Not All Travel Cards Are Created Equal

Generally speaking, there are three main fees associated with using your day-to-day debit or credit card overseas. These include foreign transaction fees, overseas ATM withdrawal fees, and foreign exchange markups. To avoid these fees, it’s important to choose the right travel card.

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Foreign Exchange Rates: Visa vs Mastercard

Visa and Mastercard have a say in determining the foreign exchange rate you’ll get. While most big banks set their own rates, some use the exchange rate of the payment network instead. That’s relevant here as many of our top picks use either Visa or Mastercard’s exchange rates, without applying any markup.

Visa and Mastercard exchange rates

How Much Can I Save By Using A Good Card?

How much you can save will depend on the fees associated with your day-to-day card, how much you spend, and where you spend it. Let’s compare a €200 transaction using a typical Commbank Debit Mastercard and the superior Up Bank Debit Card.

Withdrawing £200 From An ATM

Commbank Debit Card Up Bank Debit Card
Mastercard Exchange Rate A$326.89 A$312.51
ATM Fee (your bank) A$5.00 A$0.00
Conversion Fee A$9.38 A$0.00
TOTAL A$326.89 A$312.51

Spending £200 On Card

Commbank Debit Card Up Bank Debit Card
Mastercard Exchange Rate A$326.89 A$312.51
Conversion Fee A$9.38 A$0.00
TOTAL A$321.89 A$312.51

What About Prepaid Travel-Branded Cards?

Travel money cards work by allowing you to preload the foreign currency you wish to spend. While it might sound nice to know exactly how much foreign currency you have, if the exchange rate changes in your favor, you could lose out big time. At Flight Hacks, we recommend using a good debit card with overseas features instead of a travel money card.

What About Earning Points Qantas Travel Money?

Qantas Travel Money is a travel money card with points-earning features. While cardholders can earn points for domestic and international purchases, the poor exchange rate offered can add up fast when spending large amounts. It’s best to consider other options for better savings.

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Our Favorite Travel Debit Cards For Australians

Up Debit Card

Up Bank Debit Card

  • Currency Conversion: Mastercard rate
  • Overseas Transaction Fee: $0
  • Overseas ATM Fee: $0
  • Foreign Exchange Fee: $0
  • Account Keeping Fee: $0
  • Sign Up Bonus: $9

What we like: Speedy setup, zero fees, and fabulous currency availability. Plus, you can use our referral link to score $9 cash in your new Up account!

Ubank Bank Account

Ubank Referral

  • Currency Conversion: Visa rate
  • Overseas Transaction Fee: 0%
  • Overseas ATM Fee: $0
  • Foreign Exchange Fee: $0
  • Account Keeping Fee: $0
  • Sign Up Bonus: $20

What we like: Ubank is a digital bank owned by NAB, offering a completely free account with a $20 welcome bonus when you sign up using our referral link.

Revolut Debit Card

Revolut Debit Card

  • Currency Conversion: Revolut rate (real FX rate)
  • Overseas Transaction Fee: 0% (2.5% for Metal)
  • Overseas ATM Fee: $0 ($350 to $1400 fee-free based on plan)
  • Foreign Exchange Fee: $0
  • Account Keeping Fee: $0 to $24.99 monthly
  • Sign-Up Bonus: Get $15 when you sign up and make 1 transaction

What we like: Revolut offers minimal fees, the ability to preload your card with several currencies, and the option to invest in stocks, crypto, and more. Plus, they offer exclusive benefits for delayed flights.

Wise Multi-Currency Account

Wise Multi-Currency Account

  • Currency Conversion: TransferWise rate
  • Overseas Transaction Fee: 0%
  • Overseas ATM Fee (up to A$350/month): $0
  • Overseas ATM Fee (over A$350/month): 2%
  • Foreign Exchange Fee: $0
  • Account Keeping Fee: $0

What we like: Wise offers a real mid-market exchange rate and simple app for easy currency management.

Citibank Plus Account

  • Currency Conversion: Mastercard rate
  • Overseas Transaction Fee: 0%
  • Overseas ATM Fee: $0
  • Foreign Exchange Fee: $0
  • Account Keeping Fee: $0
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What we like: Citibank offers worldwide accessibility and partner restaurant discounts.

Macquarie Platinum Transaction Account

  • Currency Conversion: Mastercard rate
  • Overseas Transaction Fee: 0%
  • Overseas ATM Fee: $0
  • Foreign Exchange Fee: $0
  • Account Keeping Fee: $0

What we like: Macquarie offers zero fees and discounts on eGift cards.

Which Travel Debit Cards To Avoid?

While many big banks market travel cards, these often come with hidden fees. The Commbank Travel Card, for example, charges a 3% fee on all converted currencies and a $3.50 fee for each ATM withdrawal. It’s better to choose one of the options mentioned above for better savings.

Summing Up: Our Tips

  • Never allow the ATM or EFTPOS machine to charge you in Australian dollars.
  • Watch out for fees applied by ATM providers themselves.
  • Be prepared with multiple card options ready, just in case.
  • Choose a card with zero or low fees and favorable exchange rates.

Q: Can I save money by using a travel debit card?

A: Yes, using a travel debit card can help you save money by avoiding excessive currency exchange fees and ATM withdrawal fees.

Q: Are there any fees associated with travel debit cards?

A: Not all travel debit cards charge fees. The cards mentioned in this article offer zero or low fees for overseas transactions, ATM withdrawals, and foreign exchange.

Q: Can I earn points with a travel debit card?

A: Some travel debit cards offer points-earning features for domestic and international purchases. However, it’s important to consider the exchange rate and other fees associated with these cards.

Q: Are these travel debit cards only for Australians?

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A: While these cards are recommended for Australians, some may be available to customers in other countries as well. It’s best to check the availability and terms and conditions of each card.


Choosing the right travel debit card can make a significant difference in saving money and avoiding unnecessary fees when traveling overseas. The options mentioned in this article, such as the Up Debit Card, Ubank Bank Account, Revolut Debit Card, Wise Multi-Currency Account, Citibank Plus Account, and Macquarie Platinum Transaction Account, offer favorable exchange rates and minimal fees. By selecting one or more of these cards, you can travel with peace of mind and enjoy your trip to the fullest.

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