How to save on credit card fees while you travel

Planning to use a credit card on your overseas holiday? If you play your cards right, you could save on fees, charges and travel insurance so you have more to spend on the fun stuff.

Foreign transaction fees

Foreign transactions are payments made outside of Australia in foreign currency or Australian dollars. This includes if you’re in Australia but make an online payment to a person or company processing it overseas.

It’s common to be charged a fee for foreign transactions. For example, if the fee is 3% on every overseas transaction you make, that’s $3 out of every $100 lost to fees. Over time, that figure builds up. That’s why it’s worth checking the foreign transaction fee on the credit card you’re planning to use while you’re away.

No foreign transaction fees apply for our Platinum or World customers. Other fees and charges might apply (like overseas ATM fees).

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Annual fees

Some credit cards come with an annual fee, while others – like our Bankwest Zero Mastercard® – don’t. Not having to pay an annual fee will leave you with more money for your trip. For example, even saving a $100 annual fee could mean a night with your own bathroom or skipping the line at the Rockefeller Centre.

Cash advance fees

Using a credit card to take cash out at an ATM – known as a ‘cash advance’ – not only attracts a fee. It also means you’ll pay more interest on that cash than if you were to use your card to make a purchase.

Of course, it’s always a good idea to have a bit of cash on you in case of emergencies when you’re away. To avoid cash advance fees and charges, you might want to consider other ways to take money overseas, like a debit card or cash. Remember, there might still be ATM or foreign currency conversion fees on some accounts when you withdraw cash.

Travel insurance

Travel insurance is a necessary expense when you head overseas, but you could save by simply purchasing your flights and accommodation above a certain value on your credit card. You won’t just save yourself the money either – your spouse and children could also be covered.

Not every credit card offers this, so if you’re looking to save on travel insurance, track down a credit card that does. In fact, some of our credit cards offer complimentary Overseas Travel Insurance for eligible customers.

Things to consider

When choosing the right credit card to use overseas, it’s important to consider how you plan to pay off the balance. For instance, if you don’t think you’ll pay off the balance in full each month, you might want to go with a low rate credit card over one that comes with no annual fee or foreign transaction fees.

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Things you should know

The information contained in this publication is of a general nature and is not intended to be nor should it be considered as professional advice. You should not act on the basis of anything contained in this publication without first obtaining specific professional advice. To the extent permitted by law, Bankwest, a division of Commonwealth Bank of Australia ABN 48 123 123 124 AFSL/Australian credit licence 234945, its related bodies corporate, employees and contractors accepts no liability or responsibility to any persons for any loss which may be incurred or suffered as a result of acting on or refraining from acting as a result of anything contained in this publication.