How do people do overseas cash these days?


I’m heading to Canada for six weeks and wondering how the cool kids are doing travel money these days.

I’ve got a couple of credit cards and I can get some actual cash before I go, but I’m also vaguely aware of other options around these days. My credit union offered me a cash card, which I load up here with whatever currency I require. They made it sound like a good idea, but I’m wondering if there are others.

What say the intrepid travellers of AppleTalk?


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Cool, thanks. :slight_smile:

They’re mainly credit cards if I’m reading that right? The Macquarie Transaction Account with a debit card attached looks interesting though. I could transfer into it while overseas as required.


My Bendigo Bank debit card works in most overseas ATMs but most of the time when I want cash overseas I do a Western Union or WorldRemit money transfer from my Australian bank account to myself then pick up the cash (in local currency) at the local Western Union or WorldRemit agent. If you use POLI to pay for the transfer then it comes out of your savings or cheque account.


Normally these types of products are the type you should stay away from and are not normally recommended.

Citibank, Macquarie and ING are not.

This is what I plan to use when we go to Canada later in the year. My plan is to use Apple Pay as much as I can. But Macquarie is also my daily account.

If you’re looking for bank accounts the two commonly get referred to on Whirlpool are Macquarie and ING.

Macquarie is considered the winner in this situation if you don’t want to do anything on a daily basis.

The downside is you’ll have to pay any fees the local ATM operator chooses to charge when withdrawing cash.

You can avoid this if you’re willing to do the extra steps required at ING, by making the $1000 deposit and by making the required purchases with the card.

This needs to be done the month before to qualify for the following month. If you do this the additional feature your will receive is the fact that they will rebate you any fees charged by a foreign ATM operator.

Apparently the way people doing the five transactions is to buy one item at Coles or Woolworths and use the split payment option. 4 one cent transactions followed by the final transaction for the outstanding amount.

These two accounts are the most heavily pushed and recommended on Whirlpool these days. Specially for international travel in recent times. Citibank seems to be losing favour from what I’ve read in the thread.

When it comes to credit cards the three I would see often recommended. 28 Degrees, Bankwest Zero Platinum and Coles.

But these are getting less and less recommended since Macquarie and ING have stepped up their international offerings.

Coles don’t seem to be mentioned as much any more but Bankwest and 28 Degrees still get the occasional mention when people are looking for a credit card offering.

Credit cards have the added benefits that it’s not your money you’re spending and you’re not tying up your actual funds like what would happen on a debit card for example when you have to leave a deposit for a hotel room.

If you do that on a debit card that will tie up those funds and make them on usable. Same thing happens on a credit card but it’s not actually your money.

If you can get one of each would be the recommendation. From my understanding. As each have their advantages/disadvantages.

The disadvantage with credit cards can be cash advance fees and the fact that you will pay interest immediately on some products.


Thanks heaps for that Kyle. You deserve a gold star and an elephant stamp for that comprehensive and authoritative response!


I had been wondering about this too. You’re confident that ApplePay with an AU credit card will work in Canada then?


I just use my normal Credit Cards (having told bank I’m going to be safe) and then for cash I take a CBA travel money card that lets me keep different currencies on it, and it just withdraws in local currency if it’s on the card. Can also instantly top up from Netbank app. Only thing I’d say is be aware of ATM fees. ie last time I travelled I had 100 pounds but couldn’t withdraw because of 2 pound fee. Had to transfer 2 point extra onto card. :joy::man_shrugging:


You’re more than welcome. I know a lot more about this than I want to omit but since been all in on Apple Pay I’ve been getting more of an interest in the payments Industry.

However I forgot to mention the usual disclaimer.

Apple Pay works anywhere that Contactless Payments are excepted as long as they support your card scheme Visa or MasterCard etc. etc. there should be no problem.

On the side of merchant support Apple Pay is nothing special and is supported worldwide if the merchant supports Contactless Payments and the card scheme that you’re using.

Merchant support of Contactless Payments in Canada is pretty high from my understanding however not as high is here.

I believe merchant support is about 73% in Canada last time I looked Australia’s in the high 95-99%.

A problem you may have is when spending more than $100 CAD.

Like here in Australia, Canada also has a limit on Contactless Payments however most merchants do not allow it to go over $100 CAD in Canada and would require that you insert the card and enter a PIN, Unlike here where if the transaction goes over $100 and there is no support for CDCVM you’ll get asked to enter your PIN.

Also support for Consumer Device Cardholder Verification Method (CDCVM) can allow for higher transactions. However support in Canada for CDCVM from my understanding is very low.

With the majority of banks in Canada that support Apple Pay do not allow CDCVM on there cards yet.

This doesn’t affect us however because it relies on our banks because we will be using an Australian issued card ANZ, Macquarie and ING and others have support for CDCVM on their card products.

The big problem will be merchant support of CDCVM in Canada because the banks don’t have it turned on not many merchants have it turned on as well. Seems to be limited to very large retailers and fast food/chain restaurants.

However I believe I’ve heard Rene Ritchie say several times the sorts of places that you would spend more than $100 CAD in a single transaction are used to this and will often split the transaction up so to accommodate the use of contactless payments.

As most of you probably are aware I don’t have any physical cards anymore, normally when I’m going overseas I do re-order a physical card as a back up and when I go to Canada this will be no different.

However to circle back to this question.

I don’t envision much of an issue for most day-to-day transactions while I’m in Canada $1 AUD is currently exchanging at $0.99 CAD I wouldn’t think you would hit the $100 CAD limit to often with normal transactions and when I do in counter and issue I’ll have my physical card.


Wow, this is a great discussion. Some excellent info Kyle

The problem in evaluating the different ways of managing money when travelling is the different fees and charges that may be levied, together with the exchange rates used. These can include:

  • Foreign ATM fees
  • Annual fees for the card
  • Card issuer fees for FX transactions
  • Conversion exchange rates. (In one notable instance, a price was converted from Euro to $US and then to $AUD creating a very poor overall exchange rate)
  • A fee for having a second card (for my partner)

They make it quite difficult to deterine the relative cost of each solution. For example, the low fee solution may have the worst exchange rate.

A particular problem with Travel Cards is managing the residue of amounts in various foreign currencies when you return from the trip. You can convert them back to $AUD, but each conversion costs in the form of a less than ideal exchange rate.

We have separate credit cards that we only use when we travel. If they are compromised, it does not impact our normal cards and banking in Australia. We pay them off in full each month to avoid any interest.

Apple Pay is great for security when it is available travelling. No personal details or card numbers are transferred or are even visible for each transaction. Only a single use transaction code is transferred.


Ultimately I use my own ANZ debit card and withdraw money at Cirrus-labelled ATMs. I know I may pay a little extra in fees, but I don’t mind for the convenience of not having to worry about other accounts or transferring money.