There are very few cards on the market that have no overseas transaction fees. Most charge between 2-3% for any overseas transaction, plus an additional $5-$6 per overseas ATM transaction.
See this CHOICE magazine article on the foreign exchange charges on overseas purchases.
The credit card that is consistently mentioned as having zero overseas transaction and ATM fees is the 28 Degrees (formerly Wizard Clear Advantage) MasterCard.
The above resource was last updated in 2009. For a more updated and comprehensive resource see the creditcard.com.au table featuring credit cards with no international transaction fees
The VISA debit linked to the Citibank Plus Account offers no international fees for ATM withdrawals or transactions. The card features:
- No currency conversion fees with market rates ret by VISA
- No Citibank fees for international ATM withdrawals (an ATM owner fee may apply)
- No account keeping/monthly fees
- Extensive ATMs and branches worldwide
- Linked VISA debit not credit - no credit check required
- Free wine at participating restaurants within Australia
Some drawbacks include an average-poor online banking system, slow registration process (often requiring visiting a branch or Australia post to confirm identity), and no security chip in the card. However, for a fee-free debit card that anyone old enough can apply for, it is a real competitor to the other options.
The 28 Degrees MasterCard features:
- No annual fee.
- No fees for cash advances.
- No fees for overseas purchases.
- A 19.49% rate on purchases AND cash (unlike some other low rate credit cards).
- 4.99% p.a. interest for six months from account opening on balances transferred.
- Up to 55 days interest free.
Effective 23 April 2012, this product has been removed for the general public and is now only available for NAB Private Tailored Package customers.
The NAB Gold Banking might not be considered as good as the 28 Degrees Mastercard because it charges AUD$10 per month, unless you deposit at least AUD$5000 per month.
It also offers overseas travel insurance when you use the NAB Gold Visa Debit Card to purchase your travel.
Tip #1 You can convert your classic account over to a Gold account before you travel and back again when you return. To avoid the $10 monthly fee simply transfer funds from you linked isaver account. i.e if you have $1000 in your isaver account just transfer it into your smart gold account and back out 5 times on the same day. If you don't also upgrade your visa debit standard card to a gold one you should still be covered for travel insurance if you make a $500 purchase towards your travels. However i'm not too sure if purchase protection and the extended warranty will be covered on a visa debit standard card. ps remember to cancel your gold visa debit card when you convert your Gold account back to a classic free account otherwise you may get charged a $20 card fee. (note NAB is not offering the Gold Visa Debit Card any longer. Other options would be a citibank plus account or any Bankwest Platinum card including the zero fee one)