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The Best Travel Accounts and Credit Cards for Australians

Travel Money Miniseries: Part Two

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In part two of the Travel Money Miniseries, we reveal what we believe is the best travel account for Australians, and explain in detail why it’s so great! We’ll also include some other great travel accounts and credit card, and give you the down-low on prepaid travel cards.

If you haven’t already, check out part one where we explain our general strategy for managing our money while travelling, outline what to look for in great travel accounts, and share some helpful tips for managing money on the road.

If you want to skip the details and just see our recommendations for the best travel accounts and credit cards for your trip, click here.



A lot of the information out there about the best bank account and credit cards to use are targeted towards the Americans and Brits, which can make life a little difficult for us Aussies. Don’t worry, we have done a heap of research into the best bank accounts, credit cards and travel money cards and are going to share it all with you.

Disclaimer: all the information in the guide is from our (mainly Ashlea’s) many hours researching, and while these strategies and systems work for us, 
every situation is different and obviously this guide shouldn’t replace professional financial advice. All dollars ($) quoted in this article refer to AUD unless otherwise stated.

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Have your own European travel adventures with these travel money tips!

The Best Travel Bank Accounts for Australians


ING Orange Everyday:
The best full feature travel bank account

The ING Orange Everyday account is currently the best travel account for Australian’s! The account is packed with unbeatable travel features.

We personally use and highly recommend the ING Orange Everyday account.
(Yes, we read the Barefoot Investor… and loved it!)

Key Features:

There are No account keeping fees

ING will refund all international transaction fees, plus local & overseas ATM fees (*criteria applies)

Yes! ING will actually refund fees charged by other banks, including overseas banks! All you need to do is meet some simple criteria every month, and all international fees will be refunded (see below).

You will notice the refunds in your account within a couple of days (usually at the same time as the transaction), no further work required.

You can update ING of your travel plans online via their website

Just fill in a simple online form, which can be updated at any time.

If you’re travelling many places, or for a long period, you can only enter details for approx. 15 countries at a time, and for a maximum timeframe of 1 year beyond the current date. 

However, via the website you can continue to update your destinations or timeframe while travelling.

Useful additional Info

There is a useful info bar near the top of your account on the website that shows whether you have met the conditions to get your rebates next month.

It also shows how much money you have saved on international transaction fees and ATM rebates this financial year.

dashing around the world - ING account screenshot
Handy little tool on your account transaction list… haven’t met our monthly deposit yet!

The App and Website are simple and user-friendly

You can choose which accounts appear on your app home screen for quick balance checks, and use face-ID or a passcode to enter the full app. The website also allows you to nickname your accounts to help keep track of them.

Linked savings: ING Savings Maximiser

We have an ING Savings Maximiser linked to our everyday account (all ING accounts in your name will be linked for online banking, even joint accounts).

It has decent interest rates, but most importantly it will instantaneously transfer to our Everyday account. You can open as many linked savings accounts as you like (well, I think the max is 20).

The ING Orange Everyday is truly unbeatable value for
longterm travellers!
It has already saved us over $220 this financial year!

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Enjoy sunset views and wine from your private balcony with all the savings… 😉

Criteria to be eligible for international currency conversion and ATM fee refunds (*)

1. Deposit $1000 per month from an external bank account

This could be from your core savings account, your regular bank account, or your paycheck.

We deposit from our core savings account at least once a month.

2. Make five transactions per month

The only rule is it must be an EFTOPS, VISA, or MASTERCARD (etc) transaction, not a cash withdrawal. 

We have set up our direct deposits to be withdrawn from this account to ensure we meet this minimum number, even when we’re travelling in cash-centric countries.

Important to Note: 

The benefits will apply the following month when criteria is met.
(ie. if you are travelling in May, you need to meet the criteria in April to be eligible for the benefits in May)

If you don’t meet the monthly criteria, you will be charged $2.50 per international ATM withdrawal, and a 2.5% international transaction fee, for the month/s not qualified.

Hot Tip:
If you have a joint everyday account, make sure you meet the minimum criteria on the joint account.
This way the international transaction fee rebates will apply on all accounts in both names.


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Citibank Plus:
A simple travel account

This is a great option for the occasional traveller. 

It doesn’t have all the features of the ING Everyday, but still includes some great features for general travellers, without the caveats.

I used this Citibank account for many years before switching to ING. It’s a great account because there’s no criteria to meet to get the benefits. Additionally, in my experience, you can leave the account open for months or years between uses without issue (as long as there is still a balance- even a few cents will work).

The Good Things:

No Account Keeping Fees

No international transaction fees

No ATM fees (from Citibank)

Citibank doesn’t charge any ATM fees, in Australia or overseas. However, this doesn’t include ATM fee’s charged by overseas banks, these will still be charged to your account.

Citibank Dining Program

Receive a free bottle of wine when dining at Citibank partner restaurants (when you pay with a Citibank card).

Linked Savings Account: Citibank Online saver

You can open multiple free savings accounts linked to your Citibank Plus to manage your travel funds while on the road.

The Not-so-good Things:

You only get one debit card

Citibank will only issue one debit card per customer.

This becomes frustrating when you have multiple accounts, for example a joint account and a personal account, as only one account is accessible while travelling (and you won’t have a backup card). To switch what account is linked to the card you need to phone Citibank.

Doesn’t Refund ATM Fees

While Citibank doesn’t charge fee’s itself, any ATM fees charged by another bank or ATM operator won’t be refunded and you will have to wear the costs.

The App and Website are Clunky to use

The Citibank app and online banking are not very user friendly. The design is outdated and user experience is poor.


dashing around the world - Ash Barrel room with view eco lodge Tatev Armenia
Use these cards to help you stay in incredible accommodation for less

HSBC Everyday Global
A Multiple Currency Travel Account

The HSCB Everyday Global account is a multi-currency bank account.

This is an option for people who will be spending a lot of time in a country using one of the supported currencies (or for people who do a lot of online shopping).

The Good Things:

No Account Keeping Fees

No International Transaction Fees

No ATM Fees (from HSBC)

HSBC doesn’t charge any ATM fees, in Australia or overseas. Unfortunately, this doesn’t include ATM fee’s charged by other banks, which will still be charged to your account.

Buy, Save and Spend in 9 Foreign Currencies

The HSBC Everyday Global account allows you to transfer and save money in 10 currencies, Australian dollars (the ‘default currency’) and 9 foreign currencies (USD$, GBP£, EUR€, HKD$, CAD$, JPY, NZD$, SGD$ and RMB¥).

This might be useful if you regularly transact in certain currencies. Benefits also depend on how the exchange rates are when you are transferring between currencies.

It works similarly to a pre-paid travel card, however is an actual bank account, allowing you to deposit, transfer and withdraw money as normal and without fees.

You can still transact in any currency, the account will use AUD for transactions in other currencies.

The Not-so-good Things:

No Interest Earned

The account doesn’t earn interest on any balances (in any currency).

Doesn’t Refund ATM Fees

While Citibank doesn’t charge fee’s itself, any ATM fees charged by another bank or ATM operator won’t be refunded and you will have to wear the costs.


A note on High Interest Savings Accounts:
Your core savings

As we explained in part one, your core savings should be in a high interest account.

Personally we choose to use RAMS for our high interest savings account, as they had the best rate at the time that we opened our account. In saying that, don’t automatically go open a RAMS savings account! Interest rates change all the time, so jump on google and check out the current deals. 

The only advice we can offer is to not rule out smaller banks or credit unions (as they often have the best rates), but do your research to ensure they are legit and reliable.

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The Best Travel Credit Cards for Australians


Bankwest More World:
The best full feature travel credit card

The Bankwest More World credit card was our first choice of travel credit card before we left on our longterm trip. It is jam packed with travel-friendly features, including unlimited LoungeKey membership for a year.

The annual fee of $270 is very reasonable considering the card features. It has a high minimum credit limit of $12,000.

Key Features:

Waived International Transaction Fees

Bankwest waives all international transaction fees on all World and Platinum credit cards (doesn’t apply to any ATM or cash advance fees).

Unlimited Airport Lounge Access with LoungeKey

LoungeKey membership provides unlimited airport lounge access for you and a guest to more than 850 lounges world-wide.

International Travel Insurance and Car Rental Excess Coverage

Up to 12 months international travel insurance for primary cardholder, spouse and children. There is a very reasonable minimum spend conditions apply to be eligible for coverage.

This is the longest travel insurance coverage period I’ve ever seen on a credit card (most Platinum and Black cards offer 6 months maximum).

Verdict:
The Bankwest More World credit card offers incredible value for the longterm or regular overseas traveller. The airport lounge access and extremely generous travel insurance coverage period more than offset the annual fee for frequent travellers.
For the casual holidaymaker, the moderate annual fee makes this card less attractive, though the airport lounge access remains enticing for airport layovers.


28 Degrees Platinum:
The original travel credit card

The 28 Degrees Platinum credit card was one of the first credit cards to offer no international transaction fees, and has been a traveller favourite for many years.

There is no annual fee, and the minimum credit limit is $6000.

Key Features:

No International Transaction Fees

There are no international transaction fees, ever. No criteria to meet.

Flight Delay Pass

This program offers complimentary airport lounge access (via LoungeKey partners) in the event of a flight delay. If no lounge is available, cash credits can be used at participating restaurants and bars.

To be eligible you must register you flight in advance, and the flight delay longer than 2 hours. Cancelled or rescheduled flights greater than 24 hours later are ineligible for the flight delay pass.

Verdict:
The 28 Degrees Platinum credit card still offers great value as a basic fee-free travel credit card. With no annual fee and no international transaction fees this credit card is a great option for holidaymakers and frequent travellers alike.


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ANZ Rewards Travel Adventures:
A great flight rewards travel credit card

The ANZ Rewards Travel Adventures credit card is the only one around offering frequent flyer points and no international transaction fees!

If you read our guide to free flights and point hacking, or simply collect frequent flyer points, this credit card might be for you.

It has a $225 annual fee, which is reasonable considering the travel perks on offer. The minimum credit limit is $6000.

Key Features:

No International Transaction Fees

There are no international transaction fees, ever. No criteria to meet.

International Travel Insurance and Car Rental Excess Coverage

Up to 6 months international travel insurance for primary cardholder, spouse and children. There is a very reasonable minimum spend conditions apply to be eligible for coverage.

Complementary Return Domestic Flight

You get one complementary Virgin Australia return domestic flight per year when you spend $500 in 3 months on eligible purchases.

Complementary Virgin Australia Lounge Passes

Receive two single entry Virgin Australia lounge passes each year, when you spend $500 on eligible purchases in the first three months.

Earn ANZ Reward Points

Earn 1.5 points per $ spent for the first $2000 per statement period, the earn rate then reverts to 0.5 points per $ spent for the rest of the period.

These can be exchanged for Velocity Frequent Flyer points (2 ANZ Reward points to 1 Velocity point), as well as Air New Zealand Airpoints, Singapore Airlines Krisflyer Miles, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles (at varying transfer rates).


ING Orange One:
A great basic travel credit card

The ING Orange One is a great credit card choice to complement the ING Orange Everyday and Savings Maximiser accounts.

We use ING for our credit card. We were upgraded to the Orange One Platinum for free ($149 annual fee), but the Orange One credit card has no annual fee and a lower minimum credit limit of $1000.

Key Features:

Waived International Transaction Fees

As with other ING products, if you meet the monthly criteria all international transaction fees will be rebated. This will apply for all accounts in your name (including a joint account).

International Travel Insurance and Car Rental Excess Coverage*

International travel insurance for primary cardholder, spouse and children for up to 40 consecutive days per trip. There are very reasonable minimum spend conditions to be eligible for coverage.
*Only available with Orange One Platinum credit card

Full disclosure: this wasn’t originally our first choice of travel credit card. We applied for the Bankwest More World credit card (see above), but unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be.

Verdict:
We are still incredibly happy with the ING Orange One credit card, and believe this it is one of the best basic, fee-free travel credit cards. It is also useful having all of our account balances in one app (and no more missed payments!).

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Prepaid Travel Cards


Prepaid travel money cards can be great if you are going on a short trip and the destination currency is offered on the prepaid travel card. 

I’m not going to go through all of the options, there are too many available these days. Check out Mozo for a review of all travel money cards and daily exchange rates for each card.

Keep in mind most travel money cards charge an ATM withdrawal fee (on top of what the overseas ATM might charge), and some charge reload fees. If you’re spending on a currency not available on the card you may be charged up to 6% extra as a ‘cross currency conversion’ fee.

Here is our favourite, and the only prepaid travel card we would (and do) use!

Qantas Travel Money

With the Qantas Travel Money card you can earn Qantas Frequent Flyer points on money spent in foreign currency. This is great for increasing you frequent flyer points to get great flight rewards (check out our guide to flying Business Class for free)

Additionally, wait for a bonus points email deal (sent every month or so) and get extra points for loading foreign currency onto the card.

Features:

Earn Qantas Frequent Flyer Points

Earn 1.5 Qantas Frequent Flyer point per $1 (AUD equivalent) spent in a foreign currency loaded on the card. You only earn 1 point per $4 spend in AUD, so its best to only spend in your loaded foreign currency.

Bonus Points when pre-loading (email offers)

Qantas sends regular emails (every couple of months) offering bonus points when loading foreign currency onto the card. If you can wait for one there are some great offers available!

We got 1.5 points per $1 to load foreign currency as a bonus point offer credited after loading, plus the 1.5 points per $1 earned when spending your foreign currency.

By loading $7,500 in Euro’s for our trip, we will earn approx. 15,000 Qantas Frequent Flyer Points!
That’s a free flight from Melbourne to Brisbane!

No Fees!

The Qantas Travel Money card charges NO FEES, with the exception of ATM withdrawals. However ATM withdrawals aren’t the best way to use the card, as you don’t earn points for cash withdrawal.

  • No purchase fee for the card (you already have it! All you need to do is activate your Qantas Frequent Flyer card on their website)
  • No Reload fee for Bpay/online reloads (0.5% is using a debit card)
  • No ‘cross currency conversion’ fee (for spending in a currency not on the card)
  • No card closure fee
  • An ATM withdrawal fee is chargedwhen withdrawing cash (approx. $2- depends on the currency)

Supports 11 different currencies

AUD, USD, NZD, EUR, GBP, SGD, HKD, JPY, CAD, THB, AED.

Lock in your exchange rates

As with all travel money cards, you lock in your exchange rate when you load the card. This can be good or bad depending on the exchange rate at the time you load.


Our Recommendations

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Here are our top picks for travel accounts and credit cards depending on what features you want and the type of trip.

If you made it through the whole article; congratulations! If not, simply click on the title of the accounts or cards below and you will be taken to that section of the article for all the details.

Best Travel Accounts for Australians

For the ultimate full feature travel account: ING Orange Everyday

It has no fees, and refunds all ATM charges. This has already saved us over $220 this financial year. There are a couple of simple conditions to meet each month to get the benefits.

This account perfect for long term or frequent travellers who will greatly benefit from its features, which will offset the small effort it takes to meet the monthly conditions.

For the best basic travel account: Citibank Plus

This account has NO fees, including no international transaction charges or ATM fees. And there are absolutely no conditions to meet to get these benefits. It doesn’t refund ATM fees, so you may still be charged by the overseas ATM.

This is the perfect ‘set and forget’ account for travel. Simply leave it open with a small balance and transfer your money into it each time you are going on a trip. This is exactly what I did for years (and actually think my account is still open…).

This account is perfect for anyone planning to go overseas. Especially if you are travelling to places where the currency isn’t offered on travel money cards (ie. Bali).

Best Credit Cards for Australians

The best full feature travel credit card: Bankwest More World

This credit card offers incredible value for the longterm and regular overseas travellers. The airport lounge access and generous travel insurance coverage period more than offset the annual fee for frequent travellers.

For the casual holidaymaker, the moderate annual fee makes this card less attractive, though the airport lounge access remains enticing for airport layovers.

This travel credit card is great for frequent travellers, as well as anyone who appreciates airport lounge access while travelling.

The best basic travel credit card: 28 Degrees Platinum

This credit card offers great value as a basic fee-free travel credit card for anyone travelling overseas (or partaking in regular online shopping). With no annual fee and no international transaction fees this credit card is a great option for holidaymakers and frequent travellers alike.

It also has some interesting extra travel perks such as the flight delay pass program.

This travel credit card is a great option for casual holidaymakers and frequent travellers alike.

Our Favourite Travel Money Card

The Qantas Travel Money Card

We believe this is the best travel money card around. With almost no fees and the ability to earn Qantas Frequent Flyer Points on your holiday spending there is so much to like about this card.

We’ve earned enough points to fly from Melbourne to Brisbane for free just by spending on this card!


We really hope you found part two of the Travel Money Miniseries useful in planning your next trip!

If there is a travel accounts or cards that you love that’s not mentioned here please leave a comment below (or just to say hi!)

If you’ve enjoyed this article, please share or pin it to spread the word.

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This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Juergen Klein

    We now travel for over 5 years with a combination of the Citibank account and a 28 Degrees credit card.
    Our only (small) complain is that 28 Degrees switched to MasterCard a couple of years ago – like most other Australian banks as it seems.
    Worldwide acceptance of MasterCard is well below Visa. Right now we don’t know any sensible solution to get a Visa card. The change happened right at the time when we were in Peru. There it’s extreme: for every place who accepted MasterCard there were up to ten more shops or restaurants who only took Visa. Usually we prefer to carry as little cash as possible.

    1. Ash

      Wow I didn’t realise MasterCard acceptance was that low in some places.
      Luckily we travel with ING Visa cards, so hopefully we won’t run into the same problem. We also try to avoid using cash when possible.

      Both the ING Orange cards (debit and credit cards) and the ANZ Adventure Rewards credit cards are Visa, so perhaps if travelling in South America they would be a better option.

      Thanks for the feedback!

      1. Juergen Klein

        Unfortunately I haven’t been “home” since March 2013. To apply for a new card or account you still have to be in the country! So, for the time being we’re stuck with what we have.
        On our previous trip (2006-09) we used accounts and cards issued by Bendigo Bank. The main reason back then was that our regular bank, CWB, didn’t offer any decent online security. Back then only Bendigo had low fees AND an electronic token to secure the online banking. But upon return to Australia we found their branch network lacking; our closest branch was across the state border, in Queensland, roughly 80 kilometres away!

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