Travel Cards

Travel money cards are like the 21st century's travel cheques, but way more secure and easy to use.

Available through banks, airlines, and post offices or on-line, like a debit card, {Graphic points} you pre-load it in up to 13 currencies. Lock in the exchange rate to transact in the local currency and save money. Once abroad, you can use the card to buy flights, hotels, shopping, meals, drinks, anything. Withdraw money from overseas ATMs and reload when you need.

"They vary a lot and we compared what it cost you and the various features of the products so we could find out what's really good value for the consumer." Steve Mickenbecker of Canstar says his team compared 8 travel money cards, and found fees and features between brands varied enormously. "You'll find that some have more currencies than others, some you can reload in different ways. But one of the main features is that they are very differently priced. You'll have a different ongoing monthly fee structure and the exchange rates vary massively."

Canstar's 5-star top-raters Qantas Cash, Velocity Global Wallet and Multi-currency Cash Passport which also won in 2012 and 13.

"Qantas cash has some great features, it has no load fees, no inactivity fees, it has eleven currencies available and the ability for our members to earn Qantas points both at home and overseas on their spend." Steve Callaghan, National Account Manager, Cash Passport a prepaid MasterCard currency card.

The 3 top cards had the lowest fees and better exchange rates. But a warning - first check the exchange rate for the currencies you want - if they're not competitive, it might be better to choose a different card.

"It's got to have the currencies you want to use. There's no point in buying one of these cards if it doesn't have the currency." And keep track of your money because on some cards reloading money onto them can take time.

"So if you're overseas relying upon this you want to make sure you track it and you reload it before you run out. So there are a few traps but you know don't go in with your eyes closed, do your homework."

For more information

www.canstar.com.au/travel-money-cards/