You’re going to need access to cash while you’re overseas. The Commonwealth Bank Travel Money Card could be the ideal solution to your needs.
The CBA Travel Money Card lets you pay for purchases at millions of locations around the world wherever the MasterCard logo is displayed. You can also withdraw cash in the local currency at whatever your destination is using your card at ATMs.
You’re able to choose from 13 different currencies to load onto your account, although your card is only able to store up to six different currencies at any given time. This gives you the freedom to purchase the currencies you know you’ll be using at your intended destinations without having to worry about converting cash when you arrive.
This is a prepaid card, so any money you spend comes out of the amount you deposited into the account. Your Travel Money Card isn’t linked to your transaction accounts, so you’re not drawing from your other cash amounts in any way. Likewise, it’s not a credit card so you’re not accumulating debt when you use your card.
Instead, you simply deposit the amount of money you want to take with you on your overseas trip. This is a great way to stick to your budget without incurring unexpected fees and charges along the way.
Why use a Commonwealth Bank Travel Money Card instead of a credit card?
Lots of people choose to travel internationally and use a credit card to pay for whatever they need while they’re away. However, your Australian-issued credit card is issued to you in Australian dollars. This means any transactions you make overseas may incur foreign exchange fees, along with foreign transaction fees.
What’s more, every time you use your credit card to pay for a purchase or to withdraw cash, you’re charged interest from the date of that transaction. This removes any benefit you thought you were getting from the interest free days you would receive back in Australia.
In comparison, when you use a Commonwealth Bank Travel Money Card you load the amount of money you want to spend into the account. You can convert your Aussie dollars over to whatever currency suits your needs best for your planned journey and you benefit by locking in the exchange rate for those currencies on the date you convert them. Whenever you pay for something in a foreign currency you’ve loaded onto your card you won’t pay any foreign transaction fees either.
This gives you a sense of security that you won’t end up getting less on your exchange if those foreign exchange rates change during your trip. You also don’t have to worry about receiving bad exchange rates at foreign ATMs, exchange booths or at merchants, so you end up with more of your own money to spend.
Aside from these benefits, if you were to use your credit card or debit card to pay for purchases with a foreign merchant, you may incur additional transaction fees on the amounts you spend. When you use a CBA Travel Money card to pay for foreign purchases you won’t be charged a transaction fee if you pay for that amount if you’re using the same currency as you have loaded on the card.
This card limits you to a maximum of only six different currencies on your account at any given time, but you are able to choose between a total of 13 currencies.
These currencies are (listed in default currency order):
AUD, CAD, EUR, GBP, HKD, JPY, NZD, SGD, THB, USD, VND
How does the CBA Travel Money Card Work?
The Travel Money card works in exactly the same way as a regular credit card, with the exception that you’re using your own prepaid cash instead of accumulating credit card debt with each transaction you make.
You’re only ever able to spend the amount of money you’ve loaded into your account at any time, which can be a great way of sticking to your budget while you travel.
Your card can be used to pay for purchases anywhere the MasterCard logo is shown. You can also withdraw cash from any ATM displaying the MasterCard logo.
If you spend the available cash you’ve loaded onto your card, you can easily reload more money onto it if you need access to more cash during your travels.
It also comes with a backup card in the event you lose your primary card. If you lose your primary card you can call CBA to have it blocked and then start using your secondary backup card.
Loading your travel money card
You can deposit cash into your account at any branch of the Commonwealth Bank at the time you purchase your card. Alternatively, you can log into your regular bank transaction account and BPAY funds across to your card electronically.
There is no initial loading fee charged, so you should find you save a bit of money in fees by depositing your intended travel spending money amount into your account as your initial loading amount.
Reloading your travel money card
If you decide you need to add more funds into your account, you can reload more cash at any time. Once again, you can do this at any CBA branch or you can BPAY more funds across from your regular bank account. Keep in mind that a reloading fee will apply.
You are only allowed to load one currency using BPAY at a time. Always check what your default currency listing order is before you load money that you intend to end up in a particular currency. This is important, simply as the card will automatically default to the highest currency listing available that you have chosen to load.
You can log into your Travel Money online account at any time to alter the currency listing order to suit your currency needs.
Managing your account
You can log into your Travel Money online account at any time of the day or night from any computer with internet access. You can view your balances, track your transactions, review your available currencies or otherwise manage your account as required.
You can also link your mobile number to your account. This allows the Commonwealth Bank to issue SMS confirmation of your reloaded amounts. You can also receive SMS notifications of your account balances.
To do so all you need to do is log into your account and set how frequently you want to receive your balance notifications. You can select notifications to be issued daily, weekly or when your account reaches a ‘low balance’ status.
Transferring between currencies
If you find that you’ve loaded more in one currency than you need, you can convert those remaining funds to another currency within your account.
For example, you may have the Aussie dollar equivalent of $200 remaining in your account loaded as Euros that you didn’t spend on that leg of your journey. Before you head over to London for the next leg of your journey, you can convert your remaining Euros over to British Pounds.
This can be done by logging into your account and simply transferring the funds you want over to the currency you prefer. There is no charge for this type of internal account transfer, however the currency exchange rate will be based on whatever the conversion rate is on that day.
Currency listing order
It’s important to take note of the currency listing order that CBA have for your card. If you have more than one currency on your card, any funds you load into your account will automatically be converted into whatever the first currency type is on that list.
For example, if you have Australian dollars, British pounds and US dollars loaded on your card and you want to add more funds, the first currency in the order listing is US dollars. So if you BPAY $2,000 over to your card, that amount will automatically be converted to the US dollar equivalent.
If you don’t want your funds to be converted to US dollars, but want to buy British pounds instead, you can log into your account and change the order of your currency listings before transferring money into the account.
The listing order of your available currencies is also very important when you’re withdrawing cash. For example, if you know you have Singapore dollars, Australian dollars and Euros loaded into your account and you withdraw cash in Thailand, your account will automatically debit the Euro balance first and convert those to Thai Baht (THB), as this is first in the currency listing order.
Insufficient funds of the wrong currency
Let’s assume you have Thai Baht, Singapore Dollars and US Dollars loaded onto your account and you pay for a purchase using your card. The purchase amount you’re paying in Thai Baht is insufficient to cover the amount you want to spend.
In this event, your account will automatically clear the remaining Thai Baht currency amounts you have preloaded and draw the remaining amounts required from the available US dollar balance to complete the transaction.
The same currency listing order will be used if you’re withdrawing cash in a country where you don’t have the currency for that country loaded onto your account at all. For example, if you have Hong Kong Dollars, Singapore Dollars and Thai Baht loaded, but you withdraw cash from an ATM in Vietnam your Hong Kong Dollar balance is the highest default currency of the ones you have loaded. The Hong Kong Dollar balance you have on your card will be converted over to Vietnamese Dong at whatever the foreign exchange rate is on that date and issued to you in the local currency.
Fees and charges
The fees and charges that may apply to your account are as follows:
Card Issue Fee
Initial Loading Fee
1% of reload amount up to a maximum of AUD 15.00 or foreign currency equivalent
Internal Account Transfer Between Currencies
Card Replacement Fee
Card Closure Fee
Keep in mind that you may be charged fees for withdrawing cash from an ATM. These are charged in the currency being used and are as follows:
AUD 3.50, CAD 3.00, EUR 2.20, GBP 2.00, HKD 17, JPY 220, NZD 3.50, SGD 3.50, THB 80.00, USD 2.50, VND 50000
Closing your CBA Travel Money Account
When you return from your travels, you may choose to keep it open and use it to pay for any purchases you make via online shopping merchants. Of course, you can always choose to withdraw any cash remaining in your account.
Simply use your card at any CBA ATM in the country and withdraw the amount of cash available. Your money will be issued to you in Australian dollars, regardless of the currency amounts you had loaded onto your account at the time. Those currency amounts will be converted to AUD at whatever the market rate is on the date of your transaction.
Alternatively, if you have an existing Commonwealth Bank account you can transfer the available funds out of your Travel Money card and over to your nominated CBA account via the NetBank platform.
You won’t be charged any fees for transferring funds electronically to your CBA account. However, keep in mind that you are limited to a daily limit of $1000 in Australian dollar equivalent amounts for electronic transfers.
If you decide that you don’t wish to keep your Travel Money account open after you’ve completed your travels, you can close your account by visiting any CBA branch. The customer service assistant can transfer any funds you have remaining in your card over to whatever account you nominate.
If the account you want your cash transferred over to is another financial institution other than the Commonwealth Bank, you’ll need to provide the BSB and account number you want the funds paid into.
Applying for a CBA Travel Money Card
You can buy your card from any branch of the Commonwealth Bank in Australia. You don’t have to be an existing CBA customer to purchase your card. Simply take some form of photo ID with you to verify your identity and a secondary form of ID to verify your address.
Alternatively, you can also buy your card using the secure online platform available on the website. You will need to have an existing NetBank client number and password to use the online purchase option.
Once you’ve completed your application, you should receive your cards within around five working days in the mail.
You won’t be able to use your new card until after it’s been activated.
How do I check the balances of my Travel Money Card?
You can log into your online account at any time of the day or night to view your balances or manage your account. Alternatively, you can link your mobile number to your account and request to receive balance notifications via SMS.
How do I change my PIN?
If you want to change the PIN on your account, you can call the customer service line and follow the pre-recorded prompts to change your PIN over the phone. Alternatively, you can log into your online account and change your PIN within your account preferences.
Can I only use my Travel Money card at ATMs that dispense the same currencies I have?
You can use your card at any ATM or merchant outlet that displays the MasterCard logo, no matter what currencies you have on your card. The ATM will dispense whatever the local currency is for where you are and your card will automatically debit the first currency in the listed order to be converted for your transaction.
Why can’t I see my Travel Money Card transactions in my CBA NetBank account?
If you’re an existing CBA customer and you have a NetBank account registered, you can apply for your card this way but transactions you make won’t show in your NetBank account. Your Travel Money Card is a completely separate account. In order to view your balances and manage your account, you will need to log into Travel Money Online.
Why can’t I log into Travel Money Online?
If you’re having difficulty logging into your online account, double check that your card has been activated. Your online log-in details won’t work until your card has been activated first. Likewise, you may also want to double check that you’re entering the correct card number and the correct registration code. If all else fails, feel free to call the Customer Service line for more assistance.