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Best debit cards to use overseas

We find the best debit cards to use when travelling and for overseas online purchases.

Last updated: 17 March 2020

Need to know

  • Some fee-free debit cards are a good choice for overseas purchases and travel
  • Watch out for overseas ATM fees and currency conversion fees before using your debit card
  • Westpac, ANZ, Commbank and NAB also have debit cards you can use overseas or online, but they charge high fees

What could be easier than using your bank card when travelling overseas? Many everyday debit cards are now on the Visa or Mastercard network, which means they're accepted at many retailers and ATMs in most countries. 

But use your existing debit card, especially if it's from the Commonwealth Bank, ANZ, Westpac or NAB, and you could be in for some high fees.

Instead, consider one of the handful of fee-free debit card accounts now available. Because they don't have account-keeping fees you could open one just for travel and online shopping purposes, so you don't have to switch your everyday transaction account if you don't want to. 

Best travel debit cards

Fee-free accounts

Citibank Plus 

No account keeping, currency conversion or overseas ATM fees.

HSBC Everyday Global

No account keeping, currency conversion or overseas ATM fees.

Macquarie Transaction account

No account keeping, currency conversion or overseas ATM fees.

Accounts with conditions

UBank USaver Ultra transaction account

No account keeping, currency conversion or overseas ATM fees.

Condition: To be eligible for this account you must have an active USaver account, plus $1 deposited in a UBank account.

ING Orange Everyday

No account keeping, currency conversion or overseas ATM fees.

Condition: You need to deposit $1,000 or more per month and make 5+ card purchases that are settled (not pending) each month. Otherwise a fee of $2.50 for using international ATMs applies, as well as a 2.5% currency conversion fee.

Macquarie Platinum account

No account keeping, currency conversion or overseas ATM fees.

Condition: $4000 minimum monthly deposit. Extra benefit: 24/7 emergency medical and travel assistance (does not cover costs, but helps with advice in an emergency), $500 stolen wallet and handbag protection.

Global currency accounts

These accounts are a hybrid between a travel money card and a debit card. They allow you to hold, spend and receive money in ten currencies.

HSBC global currency account

No account keeping, currency conversion or overseas ATM fees.

Citibank Global currency account

No account keeping, currency conversion or overseas ATM fees.

Condition: To avoid a 2.5% international ATM fee you need to withdraw money in the local currency. You can change the currencies that you can access via the bank's app.

Should you use your regular debit card overseas?

While it may be convenient to just use your normal debit card from one of the major banks for online shopping and travel, you can be up for some high fees, including:

  • fees from your bank for using overseas ATMs
  • ATM fees from the international bank
  • currency conversion fees.

CBA, ANZ and NAB all charge a 3% foreign currency conversion fee and a $5 overseas ATM fee. Westpac charges a 1.4% foreign currency conversion fee and a $2 overseas ATM fee.

CHOICE Tip: When withdrawing cash from an overseas ATM using your debit card, always check the screen before making the transaction to see what fees you're in for.

If you have an account with a major bank and you don't want to open a new bank account just for travel, it's a good idea to at least choose a good travel credit card that you can use for overseas travel and online shopping to avoid currency conversion fees.

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