Member since 15 Sep 2012
Total posts 91
My 17 year old son is travelling to France in March for 3 week school trip
What is the best way for him to take access spending money?
Doesn't have a credit card. Has a Bank of Melbourne Visa debit card
Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer
Member since 06 Sep 2017
Total posts 7
I would recommend getting a Cash Passport MasterCard debit/ATM card that you can load with AUD and convert to Euro. If he doesn't use it all, you can withdraw it once he's back.
He should have some cash on him for small purchases and emergencies. Such a card would let me make electronic purchases but also withdraw cash at ATMs with no fees.
My apologies - the no-fee travel card option is only provided by MasterCard Prepaid on the Qantas Travel Money card. The same does not apply to Cash Passport.
Travelex and the 7 Eleven Prepaid Visa Travel Money cards are no ATM withdrawal fee options.
Member since 19 Apr 2012
Total posts 584
I use the qantas cash card quite a bit and it works well. I also have a Citibank card but that would be a hassle getting just for three weeks.
Member since 02 Sep 2018
Total posts 352
Since your son is going abroad very soon, it would be impractical to recommend either the Citi or the ING Direct debit card because they require spending the month before to waive international access fees. Thus, a travel money card like that of Qantas cash card or a credit card like Latitude 28's no annual fee card are both good options.
Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards
Member since 05 Sep 2013
Total posts 75
You have a few options:
> Change Cash (REMBER DO NOT CHANGE CASH AT THE AIRPORT, CHARGES ARE HIGHER AND YOU WILL BE RIPED OFF, EVEN IF NO COMMISION, LOOK AT THE ACCUAL RATE)
1) Bring AUD cash and change money in France.
Pro: better rate possibly than Australia (normally at leases based on my experience traveling to France 2 time a year for last 8 years).
Con: You have all the Cash on you so if something happens it's all gone & time to change money in France (plus language barrier if your son does not speak French). Plus rates change every day so you might buy at the top of the cycle or the bottom.
2) Buy EUR cash in Australia.
Pro: Lock in your rate and you can shop around (especial if you live in a state capital). Google nearby travel exchanges find the best rate and other can beat it by 0.01 or more.
Con: You have all the Cash on you so if something happens it's all gone & time to change money in Australia. Also do you know how much you will need? Plus rates change every day so you might buy at the top of the cycle or the bottom.
> Get a prepaid travel card with no international fees (withdrawal)
1) Look into what your bank offers they will normally give you the card on the spot.
Pro: You have a looked in rate on your card for a bit. If you lose your card or stolen they can get you a replacement (normally for a fee) within 24 hours.
Con: They are not great value. It's not a good rate (2-7% below market rate). If you don't use all the money in the currency that you load, the fee to change back into AUD are crap and they will charge you to withdraw in Australia. If you only load a bit and then top up it can take a while for the money to be available (Normally if you load before 4PM AEST it will be available the next Australian business day). Top ups can charge a credit card fee or debit card fee to change the money too. You may still need to pay ATM free to the operating bank.
> Get a debit card with no international fees (withdrawal) with no mark-up on Visa/MasterCard International Currency Converter (normally change on a % basses, find one with 0%)
1) Look into: NAB Platinum Visa debit card ($10 month fee), ING ($1000 deposit Min each month), Citibank, HSBC, and others smaller players including credit unions.
Pro: If you get one with no international fees you will most likely get a better rate than cash or prepaid travel cards via VISA or MC daily rate (remember to refuse dynamic card exchange rate on the ATM they will card a fee of 2-9% rather than the card rate that your card could give you). If you don't use all the money you can use in Australia with little hassles.
Con: You may still need to pay ATM free to the operating bank (most large bank ATMs in France do not charge ATM fees for international transition but you will need to pay for using an ATM from a bank that you don't belong too). Also it might take 5 days for the card to get to you (longer if you live in regional area).
Personally I would recommend the Debit card but if you are leaving soon (under 2 weeks) your card might not get to you in time.
If you use your existing Bank of Melbourne card if you withdraw at BNP Paribas ATM's in France you will not be charge a fee (AUD$5 at other banks) plus a 3% foreign fee. Use the Visa online calculator to see what the rate would be (https://www.visa.com.au/travel-with-visa/exchange-rate-calculator.html). If it's better than an other options use it just remember that rates will change every day so it might be a good idea to do a large withdraw and keep the money safe over there if you think the rates will get worse.
Thanks everyone! Any other advice still welcome.
Member since 10 Jan 2012
Total posts 104
In my experience, never use a Cash Passport, travel card or similar, the fees and exchange rates make them absolutely not worth it. Check if he's eligible for a Macquarie Banke MC Debit card, they're fee free, have a great app that notifies you how much the foreign transaction was in AUD and the exchange rate is close to market rates. You could also go for Citi, there isn't a requirement to spend or transfer any money to the account before using it overseas.
If he wants to take some cash, maybe get 100 Euro or so before leaving Australia, but otherwise just use an ATM over there to get cash out when required.
Air New Zealand - Airpoints
Member since 31 Oct 2016
Total posts 204
Originally Posted by aniljak
Member since 31 Jul 2017
Total posts 14
The easiest option is that he just uses his normal ATM card and draws out Euro on it. The disadvantage is that the Australian bank will change a fee every time, but exchange rates are wholesale - He could just get out 100 euro which on a school trip will last a while
I use a HSBC debit card which like the others you can load different currencies onto no fees and can just tap and go in Europe with no fees. Some banks in Spain will charge a foreign ATM fee - its about 2euro. If you do not have a FOREX account look at world first or someone similar to buy your foreign cash through or negotiate through your card provider for a better rate.
Also re Upbank, do your homework as parts of Europe have not really adopted apple pay yet...
Hi Guest, join in the discussion on
School trip - access money
Already have an ET account? Log in below.
Signing up with Executive Traveller only takes a second and lets you
interact with our community. It's completely free and we'll never pass your information on to
Didn’t receive an activation email? Resend one to yourself here.
If you’ve forgotten your password, simply enter your email address
below, then click 'Submit'. We’ll send you an email to re-activate your account and enter a new password.
If you have not received the activation email, simply enter your email address below, then click 'Submit'. We’ll send you an email containing the activation link.
Subscribe to our free newsletter and get the latest news, reviews, tips and more sent straight to your inbox