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Bank fees may be costing Aussies return flights abroad

What are the highest international fees hitting travellers?

If you think your options on travel money are more or less the same, this will have you thinking again. 


According to new research by financial comparison site the wrong travel money option might be costing overseas-bound Australian travellers up to $385 in unnecessary bank fees. That could be the equivalent of flying to Bali, Phuket or Singapore and back on a low-cost carrier. 



To come to this amount, Mozo considered a travel budget of $10,000 abroad, with 4 ATM withdrawals and 20 purchases. 


It also revealed that the highest fees hitting travellers were international ATM charges and foreign exchange fees. 


In its database, Mozo found the top ATM fee to be AU$5.50 and a highest exchange fee of 3.65%. 


To put that into context, a traveller who withdraws US$200 on their debit card at an ATM, could be charged up to AU$15.40 in fees. Or for a £200 credit card purchase, a tourist could be slugged up to AU$13.61 in fees.


"When you consider some travel credit cards can hit you with fees that are the equivalent to landing return flights for your next getaway, it pays to compare travel money options before you take off," Mozo director Kirsty Lamont said.         


"If given the option most people would prefer to be back sunning themselves in Bali or Phuket next winter, than coughing up bank fees."         


Among the 314 travel money products studied, there existed five debit cards that don't charge foreign exchange fees or overseas ATM fees and 13 credit cards that don't charge foreign exchange fees.


To help travellers, Mozo has these tips:


  • Credit cards can be good for large purchases, and offer rewards or even insurance, but can be subject to ATM fees, cash advance fees, annual fees and negative changes in exchange rates.


  • Prepaid travel cards can allow you to fix an exchange rate, help you stick to your budget and are safer than carrying cash, but can attract reload fees, ATM withdrawal fees and cross currency conversion fees.


  • Debit cards might have small or no ATM fees, but can be affected by negative changes in exchange rates


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Written by: Mark Harada
Published: 28 June 2019

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