28 Degrees Mastercard. For travel? Pro's and Con's?

Hey guys, i stumbled on this '28 degrees' Mastecard from an advertisement on zuji.com.au


I've never needed a Credit card before and i still don't however the thing that seems to have won me over is no international transaction fees.

I'll be overseas for 2 months later in the year (thanks to the malaysia airlines deal) and this could be very useful. I was just wondering on a few things regarding the card.

Would this mean if i was to take cash out from a debit transaction i would not be charged a currency conversion fee? Of course ATM's i would be charged by the owner?

Also i was wondering if there was any other options or anything i should really look out for other than the obvious high interest rate? I can't seem to find a catch if i was to order the card and cancel after i return, it was also form good security in case i became a bit short of money abroad.

Thanks guys

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28 Degrees Card
28 Degrees Card


  • +4

    You do not get charged a transaction fee. The cost to you is factored into the exchange rate, which is actually quite competitive.

    However, your balance must be positive, or the ATM withdrawal is a cash advance and accumulates interest right away. So move money into the CC account before you set out. Oh, and ring them up to tell them your destination countries so that they don't get alarm bells ringing when they see foreign transactions and cancel your card and leave you high and dry.

    No need to cancel it when you get back, unless you don't trust yourself. It's very useful for buying from overseas sites without a transaction fee.

  • +1

    Thanks for your help, there doesn't seem to be any catches but i just read up on product review (
    http://www.productreview.com.au/p/wizard-clear-advantage-mas... )

    It seems GE money is only accepting customers who they believe will pose a risk, which i know they are a business and there's not much money to be made off a customer who pays their debts in time but pretty bad on their behalf if it is true.

    I'll apply now, fingers crossed i'll get approved

    • -1

      I doubt that, or it may be some old practice, or they are just really bad at it.

      I know many people with great incomes and no debts who use this card only for travel. Plus many people on whirlpool complain about only being approved for low limits. The best way to trap people into debt is to pre-approve high limits.

    • They keep sending me inducements to increase my limit. No thanks.

    • Thats quite interesting if true.

      They must hate me because I haven't paid 1 cent extra to them for anything :)

    • Don't worry sam, there are more then enough people over spending and not paying their balance in full to counter all of us that never pay any interest :)

    • This is very true and aligns completely with my experience applying for a Wizard card last year. I am single with no debt, high income and a good credit rating. I was preliminarily accepted, completed their shitty paperwork and submitted at the Post Office. I received a rejection letter a few weeks later. Talk about a waste of time, rejection without being informed of the reason is utter crap. Indian call centre worker told me to re-apply in 12 months. Their business strategy is obvious - there is a high chance they would not make money out of me, as I would indeed only use this solely as a travel card and would never incur interest. It is frustrating that they are not open and honest about this policy, had this been transparent I would not have bothered to apply in the first place.

      It is kind of sad how they prey on the lower socio-economic debt riddled classes but I suppose they are no different to the dozens of other lenders out there.

    • -1

      i don't think this is true. i did apply this wizzard cc and i always pay my other cc balance in full. no issue what so ever. i guess if this is the first time u apply cc, u might get rejected. or if they do credit check and find out you got higher mortgage or other loan, they might reject your application either.

      • Except I have had a CBA credit card for 10 years! Also I have no mortgage or other debts - I guess they took one look at my massive income and decided I did not fit their target demographic.

      • but, i got rejected twice when i try to apply jetstar master card, even i told them that i would like to do balance transfer (that time they got 6 months 0% interest)

  • +5

    Great card, this is linked to my paypal account and I use it for OS transactions rather than paypal's crap rate.

    • How do you get around Paypal converting everything into AUD first?

      • +1

        When your at the checkout, choose more funding options, select your credit card and select 'use my credit card conversion rate'.

        You will get something saying PayPal can't tell you what the total will be in your local currency, which is fine.

        Every time you make an OS purchase you MUST change it to credit card as it will default to your bank account, however you only need to set the conversion option once (although it's a good idea to check on your 2nd transaction to make sure).

        Hope that helps

        • Thanks! I always select credit card but for some reason I had never noticed that option before. Would have saved me a bit, haha.

  • I've just applied, and been accepted!

    This will be good for keeping the credit rating nice and high, OS transactions and travelling. Hoping i can trust myself with the card however!

    From what you were saying 'Greenpossum' the card doesn't seem to have any fees on a cash advance and i can't seem to see the rate. I am presuming there would be 55 days free for a cash advance anyway?

    If this is so, it means i can bypass getting a travelex travel card and rely on this little beauty. It seems a little too good to be true, with the high coversion rates + no annual fee. :)

    • +1

      Be very careful Phil - you need to deposit your own funds onto the card to avoid charges for cash withdrawals. e.g. your credit limit is say $5000. Load $3000 of your own money on the card and you can withdraw up to $3000 as a cash advance without incurring fees. Once you start using their money you will get hit. Having said that I have been using this card for years for international transactions and it is brilliant.

      • if you have to put your own money in then aren't you losing interest on it just sitting in the card?

        • Short answer = yes.
          Using my example of $3000 invested in UBank at 6.51% = $3.76 a week.
          Do your own sums from there.

        • +3

          Yes. but think of the savings you're getting from not paying international transaction fees & the superior exchange rate you're getting.

          Works out better for you. When you get back to Australia, just withdraw any positive balance you have from the ATM and move it back over.

        • +1

          Also if you are going to be overseas for a long period, you don't have to put in all the money in advance. If you have access to the Internet and a safe computer, i.e. your own netbook and not an Internet cafe machine, you can pay money from your savings account into 28degrees while overseas.

          You'll have to estimate the balance in your account though so that it doesn't go into debit. You can login to the 28degrees site and see your recent transactions.

    • +2

      And the Travelex card is a total rip-off - no self-respecting ozbargainer would go anywhere near it :-)

      • Besides the obviously exorbitant rates, you also lose another way, not so obvious. You won't be able to get the last few dollars out of it due to ATMs giving out a minimum of $20 notes. That's an extra overhead. Want to withdraw the balance when you get back home? There's a charge for that. Think you can leave the money in there and use it next year? Hah! they thought of that too. They charge a "account keeping fee" and drain away the balance of your card.

    • No! There is no interest free period for cash advances.

    • And if you think a bit about it, why would they give you interest-free money for nothing? If hypothetically they did you could withdraw up to your limit and earn interest on that money, then pay it off before due date. No way. Cash advances attract interest from the moment of withdrawal, unless they are your own money that you put in earlier.

    • +2

      Cash advances are a totally different thing. It is essentially a loan which gets charged interest IMMEDIATELY at a very high rate (usually 19%+ p.a)

      EG: You have a credit limit of $5000. You withdraw money from the ATM of $X. You will be charged interest on the $X.

      What Greenpossum is saying is the way to get the most out of the card. EG: Get the card with a credit limit of $5,000. "Pay" the card first with your own money, say $1,000. When you go to the ATM (here or overseas) and withdraw, it will take out your own money first, without any transaction fees or foreign exchange fees. So you can get up to A$1,000 without being charged a thing, except for a very reasonable foreign exchange rate fee.

      Once you withdraw over this $1,000 you revert back to a 'cash advance' - bad news.

      If you don't want to bother with all of this, just take your card overseas and use it like a normal credit card. You get UP TO 55 days interest free, no transaction fees and again, a reasonable exchange rate.

  • +2

    I had this card when I travelled overseas for 4 months. Well it was Wizard Clear Advantage back then. Best thing I had with me. I just moved money from savings to the card as I needed it. Maybe $1000 at a time. The exchange rates that would come up on my statements were pretty close to what was listed on xe.com.

    Now the card just sits in my wallet, waiting for me to go on holiday again!

    • or if you buy items from ebay, and using your paypal linked with this cc to pay your purchase.

  • I am about to go OS with my 28 deg card as my main source of funds. I understand cash withdrawals are almost free (provided I load the card with my funds) but what about if I use it as a Mastercard credit card? Does it convert to AUD at the same exchange rate as the cash withdrawal?? (btw - best exchange rate I could find) or is it better to withdraw cash and pay with cash??

    • +1

      When I used it overseas I would sometimes just pay for things with the credit card - and on my statement there would be the figure (in pounds for example) then what was billed to my card in AUD. Because the rate changed everyday I was unsure if it was a different rate. But I don't think it was and if it was it was marginal. So it would be no different withdrawing and paying cash.

      The only thing you will need to worry about it withdrawing cash when you run out of your own money. That will incur 20% charges or whatever it is. And also cash took a couple of days to transfer so be wary of that also.

      Have a great trip!

      • Thanks Ant - I plan too, but sure is stressful organising work and family and home before I go :)

  • Op is off to the UK right?

    If you are really worried think about travellers cheques

    Mark & Spencers let you cash up to 200 pounds daily (or at least they did as of last year)

    use them in combination with your card

  • It beats the CBA travel card in that it has no fees, reasonable exchange rates and no interest (assuming you credit the account prior to travelling). Downside is that it doesnt come with a spare like CBA. Question for you to decide is whether or not you think theres a chance you'll lose it, and if so, whether the saving you make on fees is worth that risk.

    Im travelling in a week, and I chose CBA because im prone to losing things and when you consider it all, the additional $50-100 you'll lose through fees is worth the peace of mind of having a spare card (for me anyway).

    • Take both along. :)

    • reasonable?


                  buy IMTĀ“s&Drafts buy Foreign cheque     buy Cash, sell imt draft sell cash

      US Dollar USD 1.0934 1.0951 1.1118 1.0266 1.0212

      as you can see if you want to buy usd against usd, your 1 aud = usd 1.0212 compare than if you do with 28 degree, with the current rate 1 aud = usd 1.0634

      every aud 1000 conversion to usd, you just loss = usd $42.2, thats not included the cost to convert your money at cba with the fee aud 8 + card issue aud $15 = aud 23 = usd 24.4582

      USD 42.2 + usd 24.4582 =usd 66.6582 that is your total loss

      don't talk about loss of interest, because when you exchange your money with cba, you also lost your interest potential as well.

      and please read other fee associate with your travel money card. http://www.commbank.com.au/personal/international/travel-mon...
      have you ever read this fees?

  • This card saved me a fortune in Europe. Particularly handy to load up with extra cash then withdraw at any ATM around europe (most had an English language option, although the Italian ATM'S were a bit hit and miss on reliability). Also, make sure you let 28Degrees know before you travel, mine got put on hold halfway through the trip due to all the foreign transactions at that was a bit of a pain.

    There is a review of the card at http://www.ozshopbytes.com/2011/10/02/28degrees-card/

  • Anyone know that how does it compare to the Woolworth Master card, which I have? Don't know about the exchange rate, but it does charge 3% oversea transaction fee .

  • I applied for this & I was rejected toooo …
    Never been rejected for a credit card before & have a stable, secure good income job & 2 other credit cards with practically 0 balances..
    I think in my case its because I recently got a mortgage on my own and the repayments are a good chunk of my salary ..
    But I am soo shocked .. I was looking forward to taking this with me later in the year overseas ..
    anyone have ideas of anything i can do? I guess it won't help to call & ask for a reason as they prb won't give me anything right?

    • If you have a relative who can get the card, then that is an option, as you can have a card on that account. (They can get the card after they have been approved and any supplementary card isnt credit checked)

      Given there is no annual fee, it costs them nothing to do this, and they can use it os as well.

      But they do need to trust you…

    • +1

      Most companies calculate your repayment liability by the amount of credit available on your cards, rather than the amount you have outstanding now.

      As they don't know if that is your usual spending habit, or your at the tail end of paying off a large debt.

      In some cases companies will allow you have a card, if you agree to close one of your other cards. Most companies don't ask for proof that you've actually done this, but it could be worth calling them and asking if that would work.

  • I didn't get rejected as I stated I had $5,000 owing on a current credit card and I I ticked some box saying I would 'consider' transferring that amount to 28 Degrees.
    They weren't to know that I would be paying that off in full in the next few days.

    So to travel I:
    put plenty of credit on the 28 Degrees
    bring a Visa card to use as a credit card
    bring the no-fee AMEX to use as a spare credit card
    bring my CBA keycard as a backup to the 28 Degrees

    Has anyone used the 28 Degrees in Cuba (ATM and over the counter) I am reading Mastercard won't work ing the ATM's but over the counter withdrawals is possible.

    • When I went 7 years ago, I took a wad of USD. I suspect the comms infrastructure hasn't improved so much that you can rely on it outside of tourist enclaves. Cuba is pretty 3rd world. But you should really ask on a travelers' forum.

  • Hey guys, so if I had this card and wanted to make a purchase over the counter overseas, if I want to use my own pre-loaded funds would I select the 'Savings' option (if there is one)? And if I wanted to use it as a normal credit card with the 55 days interest free for the purchase, would I select the 'Credit' account?

    • It's always a credit card, not a bank account with multiple sub-accounts. Only diff is when the account is in credit, any cash advances come from that first right away. Normal CC purchases have up to 55 days before it deducts from any credit.

      • Ok so if I don't have any of my own funds on it and go buys some jeans overseas, it will just act as a normal credit card and I have those 55 days interest free?

        If I don't have any of my own funds on it and make a withdrawal from an ATM it will count as a cash advance and I'll get charged interest right away, correct?

        Sorry for the newbie questions, i've only ever owned a debit card before :)

        • +2

          That's right. Exactly the same as in Oz but with some take by them on the international exchange.

  • So let say if I put $2000 in the car, then withdrawn $1500 while I travel overseas. When in come back I withdraw the remaining $500 at ATM in AUSTRALIA, I will be NO FEE at all. Is that right?

    • +1

      Sure. Or you can just spend the $500 by using it as a credit card. Or course, the figures will not be so round since you will get odd amounts deducted due to the rates of exchange, but as long as you don't withdraw more than you are in credit, there is no cash advance interest charge.

    • I'm not sure about 28 Degrees but other credit cards (that you have excess funds on return from holiday) will charge a fee of around $5….best to Bpay to a card you owe money on and to be safe keep it a dollar or two in positive. If the Bpay puts it 1 cent in debit that would be treated as a cash advance.

      • This isn't necessary. I've never been penalised for having my account in credit. I'm not aware of any credit cards, 28degrees or other, that charge you for having the account in credit (unless it's some huge amount then they might wonder if you are laundering money or what). You can always pay more than you owe and any excess goes towards cash advances and the next bill. They already have your float, why would they mind and penalise you? Also bear in mind that 28degrees isn't really aware that you are overseas, unless somebody there compiles a purchase trail. Also 28degrees isn't some kind of different CC, it's just a normal MC, the only difference is there is no transaction charge for cash advances, saving you a few bucks each withdrawal.

        • Cba charges you 2.50 per cash withdrawal when you load cash on your cc. And that was just transferring funds from cc to bank account might be more of you use an atm. So if 28 degrees charges no fees for this that is awesome!

        • I meant when you return from holiday with the credit card in credit and it's a card you don't use much so want the funds back, the charge is on the ATM withdrawal, both Westpac and ANZ have slugged me so now I bpay to a credit card I owe money on.

  • check citibank plus account, they waive foreign atm transaction fee, only pay the owner of the foreign atm fee

    Compare our totally fee free account against our competitors .

    Fees Monthly account fee Dishonour fee Bank cheques Overseas ATM withdrawal fees Overseas Direct Purchase Fee Citibank Dining Program
    Citibank Free Free Free Free Free Free
    Commonwealth Bank $6.00 $5.00 $5.40 $5.00 + 3% of transaction value 3% of transaction value Not offered
    ANZ $5.00 $6.00 $7.50 $5.00 + 3% of transaction value 3% of transaction value Not offered
    Westpac $5.00 $9.00 $5.00 $5.00 + 3% of transaction value 3% of transaction value Not offered
    NAB Free Free $8.00 $4.00 + 2% of transaction value 2% of transaction value Not offered

    Source of comparison chart: Rates are published rates. This table has been provided by Infochoice.com.au from information provided by institutions listed as at 17 October 2011 and may be varied. No monthly account fee applicable in some instances, subject to certain criteria. Bank cheque fees priced based on cheques that are requested online. The products compared in this table are ANZ Access Advantage, Commonwealth Bank Complete Access, NAB Classic Banking and Westpac Choice accounts.

    • Although you also need to check what exchange rate you are given. 28degrees offers a very small spread from the published rates found in the newspapers

  • I use one of these for travelling / paypal / foreign transactions, but haven't checked out the market recently. You need to be pretty diligent with these guys, I've had a lot of hassle. Wasn't able to get a replacement card after it was stolen overseas (but easily managed to get replacement cards for my bankwest account). They also dick you around a fair amount - I've had a lot of grief setting up automatic direct debit payments to pay off the card, and I still haven't been able to get a supplementary card for my wife.

    Wouldn't be shocked if they are trying to get rid of customers who aren't going to rack up heaps of debt.

    • I had no dramas getting a replacement card when a similar thing happened to me whilst OS. All it took was one Skype call. Unfortunately they could only send the card to my registered address in Aus, and not to my overseas address.

      Haven't tried setting up a direct debit yet, but it was fairly annoying trying to set up Bpay before they'd sent the first invoice with the account number on it.

  • Hey guys. I'm going to the US for 2 months and was wondering if I say put $1000 of my own money on the card, then withdraw $500, would any subsequent purchases over the counter come out from the remaining $500 of my own money or out of the available credit limit on the card?

    Sorry for the noobish question. I've never loaded up my CC with my own money before as I usually just make purchases over the counter and pay off the balance at the end of the month.

    • It will be from your own money first.

      • Correct. What happens is that the money available via the card becomes [your limit] + [amount in credit]. Also credit purchases are not applied until the statement date.

    • +1

      When you put extra money onto your card, the card is "in credit". When you spend, it doesn't come out of anything "first". It just comes off the balance, and if the card is in credit it means you won't owe the card company anything until the balance is negative, ie. less than your credit limit.

      Eg. if my credit limit is $2k, and I put an extra $1k on the card, I now have $3k to play with. I'm in credit by the $1k that I put on there. Until I've spent that $1k, I won't have to make any repayments on my card.

      Avoid making cash withdrawals if your card is not in credit, because you will be charged the exorbitant cash advance rate.

      tl;dr The money you put on there will be spent first.

    • Thank you so much to all who replied to my question. Definitely learnt a thing or two tonight.

  • -1

    the best bet is to open bank account in other country and do a transfer, dependant on how long you are going to said country… total cost is $22.00 for transfer

    • There are some things to consider.

      How do you open the account before you go. many countries like Australia require identification and you need to be there personally before you can open the account.

      That small issue aside….

      Cost to transfer money internationally involves two things

      1. Transfer/Access fees
      2. Exchange rates

      So transfering say $2K might only cost $22 as per your example, but if the rate you receive is 1c in the dollar more for this method there is an extra $20 cost. (given that we havent seen anyone give us an example of a better exchange rate than the 28 degrees card offer)

      So far using the 28 degrees card there are NO fees and the exchange rate difference seems to be the best on offer, vs paypal and the banks

      And preloading it with say $2K before you go, means you can also do part of your strategy, use the funds (no fee for OS withdraw) and open an account when you get to the country should you be staying there for some time.

      If you are concerned about safety and you cant open an account in this visited country, you can at least take the cash and buy travellers cheques there which would be at a more favourable exchange rate than buying them here from a bank.

  • citibank plus account holders can now transfer money overseas free but depending on the foreign bank they may charge you an inward fee. This citibank plus account now is a fee free account so you dont get slugged $5 plus 3% for atm withdrawals overseas or purchases like you did in the past. the other option is the Nab gold visa debit. Does anyone know how the citibank plus account visa debit withdrawal exchange rates are compared to the 28 degrees card and the Nab gold visa debit account? all three dont charge foreign exchange fees now. might try out the citibank plus account visa debit card on my next trip O/S.

  • can anyone confirm how easy it is to set up an automatic direct debit payment to pay off 28 degrees credit in full at month end to avoid interest charges?

  • I have this card but only use it for LIVINGSOCIAL deal purchase online.

    it won't cost an oversea transaction fee which livingsocial charge you.

  • With regards to what people have mentioned above about putting their accounts into credit in order to avoid ATM withdrawals being considered cash advances, I'm curious as to whether any part of the Terms & Conditions (or elsewhere) for the card explicitly mention this. I'll be calling them shortly to clarify on this point before I apply for the card. However, since people here are already doing this successfully, thought someone could clarify for me.

    The reason I'm curious is that the information on 'credit balances' in the T&Cs document is limited and separately, I've read this page http://www.28degreescard.com.au/questions/faqs.html and it says:

    Can I put my account into credit by making an overpayment?
    We don't recommend placing the account into credit. The 28 Degrees MasterCard is a credit card and was not designed for this purpose. If your account is in credit, please contact customer solution on 1300 552 079 to organise a refund.


    • Probably because they don't want people loading the card, using it to make purchases (consuming the cash placed on it) and then taking out cash thinking they are still in credit but are actually doing a cash withdraw.

      Example :

      *Load the card with $1k of credit = +$1000 on the card
      *Buy $750 worth of goods = +250 on the card
      *Take out $300 cash = $250 of your own cash + $50 cash advance (boom! + cash advance fees + immediate interest accrual)
      *Make another $250 of purchases = -$300 of debit on the card. $250 is interest free until the end of the statement, the other $50 is accruing interest daily.

      Statement comes and some people would be surprised at the interest and cash advance fees.

      • That's my thinking as well - that's how it tends to read imho. The FAQ only says "recommend" anyway, not "you can't".

  • The other question I had — which I'll also be putting to the 28 Degrees people — is about currency conversion. I notice that in the T&Cs in section 8.4 it states

    A purchase and a cash advance and any other charge incurred in a currency other than United States dollars will be converted into a United States dollar equivalent as at the date it is processed by MasterCard International Incorporated. Those United States dollar equivalents and any purchase, cash advance or other charge incurred in United States dollars will be converted to an Australian dollar equivalent at our discretion by:
    (a) MasterCard International Incorporated as at the date of processing in the United States; or
    (b) us as at the date of processing in Australia.

    So, I read this as saying everything - so including AUD transactions - will be converted into USD and then at some point later be converted to AUD.

    Call me paranoid but I read that as saying they could allow me to pay some for something in AUD today (converting it to USD behind the scenes) and potentially process the payment later back into AUD when the AUD-USD exchange rate may have potentially changed.

    What's people's experience with this — is the amount you've paid in AUD what you get charged?

    • +1

      Never had a conversion for local purchases.

      Think about it, it would be a bad strategy for them. Despite the attractions as a travel CC, most purchases are local. If people found that it cost more than a competing card, they would not use it.

      • Just heard back from the 28 Degrees people today — all transactions are converted into USD (except those in USD already), and will eventually be converted back to AUD. The person on the phone was of the opinion that conversion to USD and then to AUD happens at the same time, so something that was purchased in AUD would be converted to USD and then back again at apparently the same rate. Such is the way of MasterCard International, apparently.

        • Yes but so what if it's true that they are doing this double conversion behind the scenes? I've always been charged exactly the Australian dollar amount that the local merchant billed. And as lots of other users testify, their overseas rates are very good. If this reading of their T&C is holding you back, you are overthinking this. If they ever change their current behaviour just drop them.

        • It's smart to know what you're getting into when agreeing to something, especially for a credit contract. My concerns have been resolved — as far as I've been made aware, I won't be seeing anything unexpected on my statements.

  • just got rejected the card! anybody knows why??

    never had a cc before and never applied for one before!

    • Try again next month, I had to try twice too.

    • Many possible reasons:
      - employment
      - financial status
      - credit history

      You should order a free credit report if you haven't done so to see if there is anything wrong.

      Maybe it's also worth giving them a call?

      I'm not sure how quick you can re-apply, but last time when I got rejected for an ANZ card, I was advised to wait for at least 6 months.

  • nvm found it

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