What Is Your Go to Overseas Debit Card?

I've always used the Citibank Plus transaction account for fee-free ATM withdrawals using mastercards curency rate (bar the atm owner fee on some of them) but the morons have disabled mobile app OTP. This means the only way to get your OTP is via a text message, hardly conveniant when you overseas and dont want to get hit with roaming charges. Your options are to contact them and changing your number each time you change local sim.

Who else looks just as good? I know ubank and hsbc also provide "fee free" international transactions but havnt looked properly into the other banks.


  • +8


    • +3

      Not really telling the full story here (though I keep my ING card just for this purpose, despite their new condition of "perpetually increasing end-of-month balance of savings for bonus interest").

      ING requires a $1000 deposit and 5 transactions the month before to qualify for fee-free international ATM withdrawals and a rebate of the $2.50 ING International Transaction Fee. At the moment this also qualifies you for a rebate on any separate ATM fees you are charged.

      From 1 December 2021, you can still trigger unlimited rebates on the ING International Transaction Fee (as above), but rebates on ATM fees will be limited to the first 5 fee incurring ATM withdrawals on the account ((Domestic & International).

      • Is that rebate limited to the first 5 ATM withdrawals per month? If so, very easy for most people to limit cash withdrawals to fit in with this. I live overseas and survive on my ING orange and I withdraw cash perhaps once a month. For everything else, I use my Coles fx fee free credit card on wave, except for the 5 transactions I put on my ING to trigger the rebate.

        • +1

          Yes, each month.

          I use ING primarily. I have Citi + but it's a pain to use it at ATM's. ING is my Google Pay card and wherever possible I use that instead of cash, I prefer not to carry much cash. That way I'm always completing more than 5 transactions a month and usually only need to go to the ATM once every week or two.

        • Yeah, it's good enough for the average Australian traveller (who wouldn't really care about the ATM fees anyway). Keep in mind it's the first 5 "fee-incurring" ATM withdrawals, so you might be fine for a trip through Western Europe, for example. Doing the Peru-Chile-Argentina triangle or the Thailand-Cambodia-Vietnam triangle makes it trickier for some.

          For cash-strapped backpackers, that often move quickly back and forth between less-developed countries (that ironically charge the most in ATM fees) and want to minimise the cash they carry, it does present a few challenges. Stopping over in Bangkok each way for 8 hours in 2018, I ended up using 4 ATM withdrawals (2 each way) just because I didn't know how much I would need and didn't want to "use up" money at the end, which kind of defeats the point (it would be too low to convert back to AUD). Since last year this wouldn't have been an issue in my particular case, since 7-Eleven Thailand has apparently removed their 100 baht minimum transaction amounts, due to COVID.

          Note that forgetting to do the prerequisites the month before gets even worse for ING next year. They're doubling the international ATM fee to $5!

    • ING seems like far more effort than it's worth. I don't use my international card for anything but international transactions - don't want to be bothered keeping a balance and performing minimum transactions.
      It clearly works for some, but not me.

  • +2

    It doesn't cost money to receive a text whilst overseas for most telcos I believe.

  • +4

    Wise debit card works for me, some limitations here and there, but generally serves me well especially the exchange rate is better than banks.

    • +2

      I’d never heard of it and if you only need $350 AUD cash it looks OK. After that you’re paying 1.75% of the withdrawal amount and they are also charging up to 2.22% for currency conversion. At these rates it’s not much better than the bank?

  • +4

    I’ve never needed a OTP when making cash withdrawals from ATMs using my Citibank plus debit card.Haven’t travelled since September 2019 . Have things changed?

  • Prepaid debit cards and gift cards.

  • -1

    Have been using 28 degrees for us over a decade

    • +3

      Not good for atm withdrawal

      • Yeah that's true they changed it a while back

    • +2

      28 Degrees has international ATM fees. You cannot load your card up to use as a debit card, because they charge a fee for that too, and charge fees for cash withdrawal. There fees was the reason that I moved to Citibank.

  • +5

    28CC & Citibank Debit Card.

    • +1

      This is the only answer.

      • +2

        Agree as well. Dont forget that if your not using the account, they can close it down. I transfer $5 onto it every 6 months.

  • Used to be ING with Citi as the backup but there's recent changes to ING's offering (read above comments) that limit it's use.

  • +1

    Citibank. Zero fees. Cannot complete.

    • does it reimburse atm fees?

      • +1

        zero fees on citibank atms.

        • +3

          Useful in some countries, not others.

    • +1

      OP literally said he is with Citi and wants to move away from them

      • -3

        yeah, now he's being educated

  • -1


  • Currently UP bank, soon will crypto.com Visa card with 3% cashback

  • +1

    ING was great for 2019 stay in Vietnam as I used an ATM every couple of days as couldn’t get my head around withdrawing millions at a time lol. 1/12 changes suck for OS travel and will be asking this question when the next trip is planned.

  • 28Deg + Ubank

  • Travelers to Europe should be cautious because Mastercard has announced that Maestro debit transactions are to be phased out from 1.7.2023. That means that all cards with the Maestro logo will no longer be useful in Europe.
    Visa is likely to follow suit with their V-Pay cards.

  • +1

    I’ve got Citibank Debit and never needed to have OTP to withdraw from ATMs overseas. Also get a prepaid sim for OS before leaving home (eg Sims Direct UK & Europe 71 countries) so have the number so can change my number in the app for contact should OTP be needed.

  • BEWARE… there is an advert going around for Virgin Money (the old VM was fantastic) so I applied for this New VM in effort to attract Velocity Points. At the very end of the application, the assistant let slip, that they have nothing to do with Velocity… they have their own rewards… FT… so I cancelled my application.

  • +1

    Bankwest Platinum Mastercard is still the best all-rounder for purchases for many reasons!

  • +4

    I think people are confused by this post. I assumed that the OTP issue (specifically) is when you book online and you get the Verified by Visa or MasterCard Securecode screen asking for an OTP that is sent via SMS. Setting up a new payee in a banking app nearly always requires an SMS too. I think ATM withdrawals would fail silently once your card is blocked and that's when it's time to call.

    The truth is that most cards may pose issues without being able to receive an SMS. Based on my 2 year old knowledge (like most people in Australia right now), ING didn't even let you set a foreign mobile number, unlike Citibank.

    Buying a train ticket in Indonesia required me to call Citibank to ask them to turn off SMS verification, despite having an Indonesian SIM setup. It took like 10 minutes for each OTP to be received, well after my verification screen had timed out. Then it still wouldn't work. Turns out Indonesian companies often ban foreign cards due to fraud. So I had to send photos of the card and passport just to have the card whitelisted. After all that I used up a few dollars in phone charges too.

    Even when I've had a roaming Australian number there have been issues. My old low memory phone would refresh a webpage whenever I switched screens to fetch the OTP. Other times I would be in a place that simply didn't have reliable wifi, and using a foreign SIM in a mono-SIM phone prevented me from receiving the OTP.

    The truth is that policies for travellers are setup by people that have never backpacked off the beaten path in their lives. Years ago a phone operator didn't understand why I was chewing through phone cards when a reverse charge number is available (most poor countries block international reverse charges on payphones (if they have working payphones at all), their police can't call internationally, and fancy hotels don't let robbed backpackers walk in off the street to use their phone anyway).

    The solution is typically:
    1. Don't be poor (I failed)
    2. Don't be cheap (failed this too)
    3. Always carry some credit card, since a debit card makes you a second class citizen overseas (failed this)
    4. Always have a SIM that offers international roaming, even if with an optional surcharge (as a pre-paid SIM slut, I fail this frequently, especially the free option - it's much harder since last year).
    5. Always carry some AUD.
    6. Never travel alone (nearly always fail this).

  • Did everybody get a Revolute debit card? I understand it would be a suitable citibank plus replacement??

  • Macquarie bank is exactly like citi. Hsbc too. Btw Citi didn’t cancel otp, just refurbished it, it’s back on, just check you don’t have their number blocked as spam

  • So how does it work with HSBC, do you transfer to the local currency first in your account then withdraw from HSBC account?

    I currently have HSBC, ING, and UP but just want to make sure how to avoid fees for travelling soon. Also do you guys just withdraw on local currency with these banks? Is the rate better than money changers?

  • There are tons of options nowadays, no need to use Citibank:

  • Update

    Token has been restored to Citibank app. No need for OTP via text :)

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