My top 7 Australian travel banking recommendations

If you are an Australian travelling abroad, foreign exchange fees, travellers cheques and bank fees can quickly add up. Here are a few ways you can avoid these extra charges!

Note: Your situation may vary, check first that these options are best for you. Information was correct at time of writing, but verify anything directly with the financial provider.

Not Australian? Check out my American and UK recommendations!


Regardless of bank, debit or credit – not all providers are the same. The big three are Visa, Mastercard and American Express. Amex is big in the USA and moderately accepted in Australia, but is almost never possible to use overseas (except in high-end western stores). Mastercard is widely accepted – but Visa… Visa is king.

Visa is the most accepted method in South America and South East Asia. Some ATMs in the Philippines will only work with Visa debit cards, for example. Be aware of this when picking a card. Having multiple cards through different providers is recommended, in case one network is down.

Accessing Cash

Need cash? Go to any ATM with these banks. Never use travel cards (they usually have plenty of extra fees). Be aware that “fees” refers to “fees from the bank”. Some 3rd party ATMs in Australia charge fees, and some foreign ATMs charge fees (common in the USA, Thailand and Philippines).

Four recommendations: Citibank, ING, HSBC and Macquarie.

Citibank Australia

A simple, straight forward account.

Citibank Australia customers do not have to pay ATM fees at any Citibank ATM, worldwide. In the USA, most every 7-11 has a Citibank ATM inside. In the Philippines, there are two or three branches (in the whole country).

Account name: Citibank Plus Everyday Account

Fees: none. Of any kind, anywhere.

Bonuses: Free to send money to anywhere in the world. Sometimes get a free bottle of wine in very limited locations when pay by debit card.

Requirements: none.

Card type: Mastercard

ING Bank

If you can make the requirements, ING is fantastic. Pay a bill or two and such, buy a few things – easy. Can be difficult while overseas. As such, not recommended to long-term travel, but perfect for frequent short-term travel. For those visiting the USA, Thailand or the Philippines, this account is a must.

Account name: Orange Everyday

Fees: none. Of any kind, anywhere.

Bonuses: Rebate of ATM fee (for ATMs which charge a fee, such as 3rd party ATMs, or all ATMs in Thailand and the Philippines). 50c bonus if you withdraw $200AUD or more via EFTPOS in Australia.

This is huge. I have saved hundreds of dollars because of this feature. Withdrawals in the Philippines cost about $7.50 each time you use an ATM, and ING will refund that money back to you.

Requirements: Each month, transfer $1000 into the account and make at least 5 card purchases.

Card type: Visa


A simple account, much like Citibank Australia, with a few extra features – and is Visa-based.

Account name: Everyday Global

Fees: none. Of any kind, anywhere.

Bonuses: $100 for new accounts. 2% of your purchases back (cashback) when you pay by tapping (Visa paywave, or similar). You can load and convert 10 different currencies (like a travel card), for free.

Requirements: None – or $2000/month. For most purposes there are no requirements. However, for new accounts, or to get the 2% cashback feature, you need to deposit $2000 a month to activate.

Card type: Visa


Account name: Platinum transaction

Fees: none. Of any kind, anywhere.

Bonuses: Refunds Australian ATM fees. 90 day bonus insurance on all purchases for damage or theft. Up to $500 insurance on lost or stolen wallets (10% excess). Platinum concierge services. Emergency travel assistance – free 90 days travel insurance, no purchase required. Get a 1%-10% discount (3%-5% usually) on gift cards for most Australian retailers.

Requirements: None.

Card type: Mastercard

Credit Cards

For online shopping, from any seller not in Australia, this credit card is one of the best options. Add insurance for a small fee.

28 Degrees

Account name: 28 Degrees Global Platinum Mastercard

Fees: none. Of any kind, anywhere.

Bonuses: 55 days interest free. Free wifi via Boingo. Card insurance is 1% (max $50/month)

Requirements: Minimum $6000 credit limit.

Card type: Mastercard


Flight delay pass:

Register your flight, and if it’s delayed by two hours or more the drinks, nibbles and Wi-Fi are free. (You get a lounge pass for free). Don’t forget, most travel insurance covers delays of 4 or 6 hours, but none for only 2 hours.

Reasonable travel insurance:

Transfering Money

If you have large money to send, like paying a big hotel or dive trip bill, Transferwise is almost always the best option by far.

For person to person transfers, between mates covering each other bills, Beemit is great, (Aussie to Aussie).


Fees: varies based on country

Send money internationally for a fraction of the bank or Western Union rates. Can send from bank transfers, credit cards, debit cards and POLi.

First time is for free! (first 500GBP/$930AUD for new users)


Fees: none at all.

Requirements: Australian Mastercard or Visa debit card. Can only activate and sign up which geographically, physically in Australia (or using an Australian VPN) – but once active, can use anywhere in the world.

Send money instantly to anyone else with the app. It also helps with bill splitting, can pay friends later or on the spot. App is owned by Commonwealth Bank, NAB and Westpac.

Complete registration and enter my referral code: QRPF5Z, and you’ll get $5.

Bonus: shares


While not directly related to travel, I’ve had good success using Selfwealth. Their website is easy to use, and while I’ve had my ups and downs, at least they’re charging less than half of what the banks do.

Fees: $9.50 per trade, regardless of size.

SIgn up with my referral, and your first 5 trades are free !