Foreign Currency & International Fees for Credit Cards

Rates and Fees verified correct on March 4th, 2015
foreign currency Think twice before using your credit card abroad. The foreign currency conversion fee and overseas transaction charge might shock you when you receive your monthly statement.

One of the most common questions sent to us is ‘Where can I find the international and foreign currency conversion fees for each provider?’

The credit card is a great travelling companion. It’s welcome when paying for flights and hotels, can offer perks both in the air and on the ground, and it’s a secure way to take your money overseas. But what’s not so welcome are the fees and charges that come when you transact in a currency other than Australian dollars.

There’s a number of these fees: currency conversion fees, foreign transaction fees, international ATM charges and cash advance fees, and we’re accustomed to paying them. Forking out to cover currency conversion fees, for instance, is pretty much ingrained in the in the experience of using your credit card in a foreign country.

It’s your hard earned money you’re giving to your card provider, so it’s important to know how much you’re getting charged and why.

To help in your education, we’ve stockpiled all the major bank’s currency conversion fees and international ATM charges.

Pretty much every financial provider will change you when you use your card overseas, but there are a few products out there that do not charge currency conversion and international ATM fees. Following our comparison of these fees and charges, we’ll have a quick look at the cards that are suited to overseas travel.

Comparison of No Foreign Currency Exchange Fee Credit Cards

Rates last updated March 4th, 2015
Interest rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate (p.a.) Annual fee Cash advance rate (p.a.)
Bankwest Zero Platinum MasterCard
Bankwest Zero Platinum MasterCard
Complimentary travel insurance & 24/7 Concierge service and Zero Foreign Transaction fees. 17.99% p.a. 2.99% p.a. for 9 months $0 p.a. 21.99% p.a. Go to site More info
28 Degrees Platinum MasterCard
28 Degrees Platinum MasterCard
No foreign transaction fees on international purchases including international purchases online, together with a no annual fee. 20.99% p.a. $0 p.a. 20.99% p.a. Go to site More info
Bankwest Qantas Platinum MasterCard
Bankwest Qantas Platinum MasterCard
Earn 50,000 bonus Qantas Points. Plus free travel and accident insurance and payment protection. 20.49% p.a. $160 p.a. 21.99% p.a. Go to site More info
Bankwest Breeze Platinum MasterCard - Exclusive Offer
Bankwest Breeze Platinum MasterCard - Exclusive Offer
Exclusive Offer to finder.com.au
A low interest rate offer of 0% p.a. for 13 months on purchases.
0% p.a. for 13 months (reverts to 12.24% p.a.) $99 p.a. 21.99% p.a. Go to site More info
Bankwest Breeze Platinum MasterCard
Bankwest Breeze Platinum MasterCard
Complimentary international travel insurance, Australian warranty 12 months extension, purchase security and price guarantee. Also enjoy a low rate on purchases. 12.24% p.a. 0% p.a. for 4 months $99 p.a. 21.99% p.a. Go to site More info
Bankwest More Platinum Mastercard
Bankwest More Platinum Mastercard
Earn 50000 bonus More rewards points. Earn 2.000 More rewards points for every $1 spend. 19.99% p.a. 0% p.a. for 18 months $130 p.a. 21.99% p.a. Go to site More info

Overseas transaction fees & charges comparison

Credit
Card
Overseas Transaction Charges & Foreign Currency Conversion Overseas ATM Withdrawal Fee Overseas ATM Balance Check Overseas Cash Advance Fee
Bankwest
Compare Bankwest Credit Cards
(0% Foreign Transaction Fees for Bankwest Platinum Cards, including the Bankwest Zero Platinum) $4 $0 Greater of 2% or $4.00 (whichever is greater) Bankwest

Review of 28 Degrees MasterCard
0% $0 $0 3% of the cash advance or $4 (whichever is greater) Bankwest
ANZ
Compare ANZ Credit Cards
3% for Visa and MasterCard3% for American Express $4 $0 The greater of 2% of the cash advance amount or minimum $0 ANZ
Commonwealth Bank
Compare Commonwealth Bank Credit Cards
3% for MasterCard and Visa2% for American Express2.00% for transaction overseas in Australian dollars $4 $1.25 $2.50 or 2% of the transaction amount (whichever is gre (whichever is greater) Commonwealth Bank
NAB
Compare NAB Credit Cards
3% multi currency for Visa3% multi currency for MasterCard3% multi currency for American Express $4 $0 1.75% of the cash advance amount or minimum fee of $1.75 (whichever is greater) NAB
St.George
Compare St.George Credit Cards
3% for Visa or MasterCard $5 $0 2% of the cash advance amount or $2.50 (whichever is greater) St.George
Suncorp
Compare Suncorp Credit Cards
3.4%1.0% is paid to Visa; and2.4% is paid to Citigroup $5 $0 1.50% of Transaction amount Suncorp
Bendigo Bank
Compare Bendigo Bank Credit Cards
2% $5 $1.50 $3.25 or 0.5% of the transaction amount (whichever is greater) Bendigo Bank
Westpac
Compare Westpac Credit Cards
3% Visa & Mastercard3.5% AMEX Credit Cards $5 $0 2.00% of the cash advance amount or $2.50 (whichever is greater, capped at $150) Westpac
HSBC Australia
Compare HSBC Credit Cards
3% $4.50 $0 (whichever is greater) HSBC
GE Money
Compare GE Money Credit Cards
3% $4 $0 3.00% of the cash advance amount or greater of $1.95 (whichever is greater), plus international cash advance fees of $4.00 ATM / $5.00 over the counter GE Money
Bank of Queensland
Compare Bank of Queensland Credit Cards
3.4% $5 $2 2% of the cash advance amount or minimum of $4 (whichever is greater) Bank of Queensland
American Express
Compare American Express Credit Cards
3% $1.50 $1.50 Cash advances currently not available on American Express credit cards American Express
Citibank
Compare Citibank Credit Cards
3.4% for MasterCard
3.3% for Visa
$5 $0 $5 Citibank
ME Bank
Compare ME Bank Credit Cards
1.5% $4 $0 $4 ME Bank

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A better understanding of foreign currency & international fees

  • What is a foreign currency conversion fee?

    This is the largest charge you’re going to incur when you use your card overseas. A cross currency conversion fee is a charge for converting Australian dollars into a foreign currency when you make a purchase — usually somewhere between 2 and 3% of the value of the transaction depending on your card provider.

    Why is it charged?

    Since you own an Australian credit card, your balance and credit is automatically in Australian dollars. When you transact in a foreign currency, the money must be charged from one currency to the other. Your financial institution and the card scheme (Visa, MasterCard and American Express) will handle this conversion for you, but they’ll charge you a fee for doing so.

    Visa and MasterCard automatically charge a 1-2% fee on foreign currency exchange, so this minimum can at least be expected. Anything in excess is generally a small margin of profit for the bank.

  • What is an overseas transaction charge?

    Regardless of the currency and whether it’s a purchase or cash advance, a couple of providers impose an overseas transaction charge, which takes a clean 1-3% figure off the total transaction amount. This is generally listed separately from the currency conversion fee.

  • ATM fees

    Even if you are using your own money when you withdraw cash from your credit card, there will still be a charge for using an ATM. The use of overseas and/or local ATM’s would normally come at a cost, and can be up to $5 for each transaction and have the potential to blow the budget, these international ATM fees can be avoided with a little planning. Some major Australian banks have a range of ‘global alliance partners’ that allow Australians to withdraw money from international ATMs without incurring a fee. Westpac, for instance, are partnered with Barclays Bank, which has a robust international ATM network. All you have to do is take some time to plan where you’re going to be and look out for your bank or lender’s global ATM partner.

  • What is a cash advance fee? (international)

    It’s general credit card knowledge that cash advances are expensive, even domestically. Once you begin using your credit card overseas, withdrawing cash will only increase the amount you get charged. On top of the normal interest rate and lack of interest free days, you can be imposed a $1-$10 / 1%-4% fee (whichever is higher) every time you carry out an overseas cash advance. You will also be charged the standard cash advance rate for your credit card (as well as the international cash advance fee).

    Before you go overseas make sure you check what rate your credit card issuer will charge you for foreign transactions and currency conversion. Make sure you do a thorough comparison before you jet off to ensure you get the best bang for your buck.

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What fees will I pay when I…

To help our users understand exactly what they’ll be up for when they use their card overseas, we thought we’d break down the fees and charges when you use your card in a couple of different situations. The actual fees and charges will vary depending on the card you use, but you can refer to the comparison table above to calculate your expenses.

Withdraw cash from an ATM?

If you use your credit card to withdraw from an overseas ATM, the following fees and charges will apply:

  • International ATM fee (see above);
  • Cash advance fee (Some lenders will waive this fee if you’ve preloaded your own funds onto the card); and
  • Currency conversion fee (this amount is calculated based on the total of the international ATM fee and the amount being withdrawn).
  • Local ATM operator fee (this can be avoided by using an ATM with your bank’s overseas ATM Alliance [if they have one]);
  • The cash advance rate of interest will apply from the day the transaction takes place.

Make a purchase?

Purchases are a little more forgiving on the hip pocket than an overseas cash advance.

This applies to everything from booking a hotel or a flight while abroad through to buying goods from overseas from the comfort of your living room back home.

  • Currency conversion fee;
  • Purchase rate of interest (excluding interest free days).


Are you looking to travel prepaid?

If you’re interested in keeping your travelling budget within your current or future savings, you might be interested in considering the prepaid option.

ANZ Travel Card

ANZ Travel Money Card

The ANZ Travel Card is a prepaid card that can be loaded with up to 10 foreign currencies to make purchases overseas at over 36 million locations.

  • Lock in your exchange rates and know how much money you have to spend
  • No transaction fees for electronic purchases in Australia and overseas
  • Multiple reload options - online, over the phone or in person
  • Manage your money online or over phone 24/7
  • Spare card if in case one is lost or stolen

    A comparison of travel money cards

    Rates last updated March 4th, 2015

    Available Currencies ATM Withdrawal Fee Reload Fee Initial Load Fee
    Qantas Card with Qantas Cash
    Qantas Card with Qantas Cash
    AUD, USD, GBP, EUR, THB, NZD, SGD, HKD, CAD, JPY, AED AUD 1.95, CAD 2.00, EUR 1.50, GBP 1.25, HKD 15.00, JPY 160, NZD 2.50, SGD 2.50, USD 1.95, THB 70.00, AED 6.50 $0 $0 Go to site More
    ANZ Travel Card
    ANZ Travel Card
    AUD, CAD, EUR, GBP, HKD, JPY, NZD, SGD, THB, USD, AUD 3.50, CAD 3.00, EUR 2.20, GBP 2.00, HKD 20.00, JPY 260, NZD 4.50, SGD 4.00, THB 95, USD 2.50, 1.1% of the value purchased $0 Go to site More
    OzForex Travel Card
    OzForex Travel Card
    AUD, USD, EUR, GBP, NZD, HKD, SGD, CAD, JPY AUD 2.95, CAD 2.95, EUR 2.00, GBP 2.00, HKD 15.00, JPY 210, NZD 4.25, SGD 3.50, USD 2.25 $0 $15 Go to site More
    Multi Currency - Cash Passport
    Multi Currency - Cash Passport
    AUD, USD, EUR, GBP, NZD, THB, CAD, HKD, JPY, SGD $0 for International ATM withdrawal and 2.95% of the amount withdrawn in Australia $0 $0 Go to site More
    Travelex Travel Card
    Travelex Travel Card
    AUD, CAD, EUR, GBP, HKD, JPY, NZD, SGD, USD Travelex does not charge an ATM withdrawal fee when you use your Travelex Multi-currency Cash Passport to withdraw currencies that are loaded on the card at overseas ATMs where MasterCard is accepted. The greater of 1.1% of the initial load / reload amount or AU$15.00 $0 Go to site More

    You can learn more about prepaid travel money here

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    This page was last modified on 18 February 2015 at 11:22.

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    85 Responses to Foreign Currency & International Fees for Credit Cards

    1. Default Gravatar
      Manuela | February 25, 2015

      Traveling to Portugal and France, with a stop over in Bangkok. Am completely overwhelmed by all the options available for cards. We will not be traveling ‘on credit’ so am looking for 1-2 cards that have the most minimal fees whilst giving the option of both taking out cash, paying over the counter or online. Your wisdom would be much appreciated.

      • Staff
        Jonathan | February 26, 2015

        Hi Manuela, thanks for your inquiry!

        For a list of travel credit cards please see this page, a key characteristic of these cards is $0 Foreign Currency Conversion/foreign transaction fees.

        Cheers,

        Jonathan

    2. Default Gravatar
      Dr | January 27, 2015

      Good afternoon, using Bankwest Mastercard Zero when purchasing items overseas transactions are
      converted from foreign currency into United States dollars and then
      converted into Australian dollars by MasterCard International. Would you be kind enough to let me know if 28 degrees mastercard is the same, ie. double exchange?
      Yours sincerely.

      • Staff
        Jonathan | January 28, 2015

        Hi Michael,

        Since you own an Australian credit card, your balance and credit is automatically in Australian dollars. When you transact in a foreign currency, the money must be charged from one currency to the other. Your financial institution and the card scheme (Visa, MasterCard and American Express) will handle this conversion for you, but they’ll charge you a fee for doing so.

        Visa and MasterCard automatically charge a 1-2% fee on foreign currency exchange, so this minimum can at least be expected. Anything in excess is generally a small margin of profit for the bank.

        In regards to the 28 Degrees Platinum Mastercard there is a currency conversion fee of 0%. There are no additional fees and charges when this card is used to make a purchase from an overseas merchant.

        I hope this helps!

        Cheers,

        Jonathan

    3. Default Gravatar
      kapil | January 27, 2015

      I am an Indian national, having HDFC ( master Titanium debit card). I will be visiting Indonesia, which option will be more cheaper for me, a travel card, credit card or should i carry their currency prior going there,the last one i could feel a expensive option here in India.
      or which bank’s card i must carry so as to avoid the cross country transaction charges.
      Could you please recommend me the solution.
      thanks
      kapil

      • Staff
        Jonathan | January 27, 2015

        Hi Kapil,

        Thanks for your inquiry,

        For our guide on travel money please see this page. Depending on your currency/ spending needs and preferences for the method of carrying the currency the type of travel money will differ.

        I hope this helps!

        Cheers,

        Jonathan

    4. Default Gravatar
      Felino | January 25, 2015

      We have property in the Philippines which we are selling. What is the best and cheapest way to repatriate the money back to Australia.

      • Staff
        Jonathan | January 27, 2015

        Hi Felino,

        Thanks for your inquiry,

        Please note that finder.com.au is an online comparison service, we are not a lender. It would be recommended that you seek professional advice from an accredited service for this.

        I hope this helps.

        Cheers,

        Jonathan

    5. Default Gravatar
      tom | January 23, 2015

      going to Dubai,Barcelona, Mediterranean Cruise, Italy Greek Islands ,Amsterdam. what is best prepaid travel card.or credit/debit card and some cash , many different currencies?

      • Staff
        Jonathan | January 27, 2015

        Hi Tom,

        For travel money depending on the users currency/ spending needs the product will vary as well. For access to a range of different currencies and convenience a travel credit card can be useful. Please see this page for a full guide on travel money options.

        I hope this helps!

        Cheers,

        Jonathan

    6. Default Gravatar
      Fran | January 17, 2015

      When I used my Anz Visa card in USA , the question was asked do I want to pay in US dollars or Australian dollars what’s best ??

      • Staff
        Jonathan | January 19, 2015

        Hi Fran,

        Thanks for your question,

        A foreign exchange rate which is 3% of the transaction value will apply to any transaction which is not in Australian dollars. So, to avoid this fee you can make the purchase in Australian dollars rather than US dollars.

        I hope this helps!

        Cheers,

        Jonathan

    7. Default Gravatar
      Derrick | December 31, 2014

      How do I pay money onto my NAB Visa whilst in New Zealand?

      • Staff
        Elizabeth | December 31, 2014

        Hi Derrick,

        Thanks for your question.

        In order to make payments to your NAB Visa card while you’re overseas, you can arrange payments in Australian dollars via Internet or telephone banking.

        I hope this has helped.

        Thanks,

        Elizabeth

    8. Default Gravatar
      Francia | December 28, 2014

      I live in Australia must I’m in New Zealand on holiday. I just purchased something on my ANZ visa and was asked did I want to pay in NZ or Aus dollars. Which is cheaper?

      • Staff
        Elizabeth | December 29, 2014

        Hi Francia,

        Thanks for your question.

        A foreign exchange rate which is 3% of the transaction value will apply to any transaction which is not in Australian dollars. So, to avoid this fee you can make the purchase in Australian dollars rather than New Zealand.

        I hope this has helped.

        Thanks,

        Elizabeth

    9. Default Gravatar
      dl | December 12, 2014

      How can I find out what the daily exchange rate would be for Indonesian Rupiah?

      • Staff
        Elizabeth | December 15, 2014

        Hi dl,

        Thanks for your question.

        The exchange rates are set by the bank or card provider, so to check this you will need to have a look on their website. You can do this by using the search function on the card provider’s website or by googling ‘foreign exchange rates for (card provider’s name)’.

        I hope this has helped.

        Thanks,

        Elizabeth

    10. Default Gravatar
      DAVID | December 5, 2014

      Hi purchased a mobile phone on web site , this order was later Cancelled by the Supplier , against my Request not to Cancel My Order and to Supply my Phone as Agreed. Please advise why I am Being charged Overseas Transaction fees on BOTH the Visa Credit Card Purchase and also the Refund Amount . On This transaction resulting in ME being charged a Transaction Fee and Refund Fees

      • Staff
        Elizabeth | December 5, 2014

        Hi David,

        Thanks for your question.

        The rules around foreign transactions fees and refunds change depending on the card you hold, so it will really depend on what credit card you made the purchase with. You would be best getting in contact with your card provider directly in order to discuss the charges on your account.

        I hope this has helped.

        Thanks,

        Elizabeth

    Credit Cards Comparison

    Rates last updated March 4th, 2015
    Interest rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate (p.a.) Annual fee Cash advance rate (p.a.)
    St.George Vertigo Visa
    St.George Vertigo Visa
    A low annual fee and low interest rate offer on balance transfers. 0% p.a. for 3 months (reverts to 13.24% p.a.) 0% p.a. for 18 months $55 p.a. 21.49% p.a. Go to site More info
    Virgin No Annual Fee Credit Card
    Virgin No Annual Fee Credit Card
    Take advantage of the 0% p.a. for 14 months balance transfer offer 18.99% p.a. 0% p.a. for 14 months $0 p.a. 20.99% p.a. Go to site More info
    Westpac Low Rate Card
    Westpac Low Rate Card
    A low interest rate credit card with a low annual fee and balance transfer offer. 0% p.a. for 3 months (reverts to 13.49% p.a.) 0% p.a. for 16 months $59 p.a. 21.49% p.a. Go to site More info
    HSBC Platinum Credit Card
    HSBC Platinum Credit Card
    Earn rewards points plus a balance transfer offer. Access to prestige services including a personal concierge service and VISA Platinum reward program. 19.99% p.a. 0% p.a. for 8 months $0 p.a. 21.99% p.a. Go to site More info
    American Express Qantas Discovery Card
    American Express Qantas Discovery Card
    Receive 7500 Qantas Points and pay no annual fee ever. Plus earn 1 Qantas Point per $1 spent on all your everyday purchases. 20.74% p.a. 0.99% p.a. for 6 months with 1% balance transfer fee $0 p.a. Go to site More info

    * The credit card offers compared on this page are chosen from a range of credit cards CreditCardFinder.com.au has access to track details from and is not representative of all the products available in the market. Products are displayed in no particular order or ranking. The use of terms 'Best' and 'Top' are not product ratings and are subject to our disclaimer. You should consider seeking independent financial advice and consider your own personal financial circumstances when comparing cards.

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