28 Degrees Travel Card: Foreign Currency Rates & Fees explained

TransferWise
14.04.19
9 minute read

The 28 Degrees Platinum Mastercard is designed for travellers, with features like no upfront fee for international purchases, global concierge services, and free WiFi all over the world. If you’re thinking about how best to manage your money while travelling, you’ll want to check out the benefits and costs of the 28 Degrees card, against alternatives such as a pre-paid travel card or a TransferWise borderless account. Having a couple of methods of payment when travelling is always smart, so by understanding the options you can pick the best for your needs.

Read on for all you need to know about the 28 Degrees travel card, including:

  • The fees and exchange rates used for international purchases
  • How to order, activate and use your card
  • Troubleshooting for common card issues
  • A comparison of a few alternative options, including the TransferWise borderless account, so you can choose the right card for you

Exchange rates

Whenever you use your 28 Degrees Platinum card overseas, or spend online with a merchant based abroad, you’ll want to know the exchange rate which is used when your purchase is converted back into Australian dollars. This exchange rate can make a big different to the costs of your overseas spending. Getting a good rate will mean that your online shopping and travel money can be much cheaper - leaving you with more to spend on yourself.

International spending using the 28 Degrees travel card will be converted to Australian dollars using the Mastercard International daily exchange rate. All purchases made in a different currency will be converted into US dollars first and then Australian dollars. This means it’s especially helpful to understand the exchange rates used, as any overseas spending will actually be converted twice.

You can get the Mastercard International daily exchange rate easily online, and then compare it to the mid-market rate which you’ll find on Google. The mid-market rate is a good benchmark because it’s the exchange rate used when banks sell currency to each other on global markets. However, this rate is often not passed on to customers - instead, a margin or markup is added, which the bank or exchange service can keep as profit.

Not all currency exchange services add a markup to the mid-market rate. TransferWise for example always use the mid-market rate, and charge a low transparent fee for currency conversion. This makes it easy to see the real cost of your overseas spending, and can work out cheaper, too. You can get yourself a TransferWise borderless account to help manage your money as you travel in over 40 different currencies. Simply top up in dollars and switch easily between currencies using the mid-market rate, and for a low upfront fee, whenever you need to. You’ll also get a linked Mastercard debit card for easy spending and ATM withdrawals.

Fees & charges

If you’re considering getting the 28 Degrees Platinum Mastercard for your overseas spending, it’s a good idea to check out the fees and charges you might expect to pay to use it.

There’s a rundown of the most common costs, below, as well as a word of warning about dynamic currency conversion (DCC), which is a tricky fee that can catch travellers out.

ServiceFee
Annual feeFree
Interest rate on purchases and cash advance payments21.99%
Cash advance feeThe greater of 3% of the amount paid, or $4
Payment handling costsPayment in person $2.50 Payment online $0.95 Payment by mail, direct debit or through online service centre are free
Late payment charge$30
Paper statements$2.50

Above we mentioned DCC as a hidden cost which travellers should be aware of. You see DCC in action when you’re asked by a merchant or an ATM overseas if you’d rather pay for your transaction in your home currency instead of the local one. Seeing your spending in dollars right away might seem like a simple way to keep track of your money - but it can actually mean your travel costs more than it should. That’s because, under DCC, it’s the merchant or ATM operator which chooses the exchange rate used. Often this will be a less favourable rate than the one given by Mastercard, which means you pay more than you need to. Always choose to pay in the local currency to get the best deal on your international spending.

Limits

When you apply for a 28 Degrees Platinum Mastercard, you may get an interest free period for purchases of up to 55 days. You’ll also get a minimum credit limit of $6,000.

The exact cash and credit limits applied will depend on your personal circumstances, but you can find your credit limit by logging into the online service centre or looking on a recent bill. There are also daily withdrawal limits in place for cash advance payments - you’ll be notified of all the limits applied to your card when your application is accepted.

Online banking

You can register with the 28 Degrees online service centre to manage your money conveniently on the go. You’ll be able to review transactions and statements, manage payment alerts and update your account online. When you register, you’ll need to have your mobile phone, or your card and a recent statement handy, so you can log in securely for security reasons.

So, is it good?

The 28 Degree Platinum Mastercard has some benefits which are attractive to International travellers, including free global WiFi and no upfront fees for international purchases. However, using credit to pay for your spending doesn’t suit everyone. Instead, some travellers prefer to use prepaid travel cards or carry cash, to manage their budget as they go.

Pre-paid travel cards have become increasingly popular, especially with younger travellers. They allow you to add money to your card before you leave Australia, in whatever the local currency is where you’re headed. You can then spend using the card, or make ATM withdrawals in the local currency when you arrive. This is a relatively convenient and safe way to manage your money while overseas, as your travel card isn’t linked to a main bank account, making it more difficult for fraudsters or thieves to access your money.

Pre-paid cards come with a range of features and fees, so you’ll want to check out the details before you select one. To get the best deal, it’s a good idea to compare the costs of using the 28 Degree card against a range of pre-paid cards, and a modern alternative like the borderless account from TransferWise.

The borderless account is a new solution, designed specifically for people who travel a lot, and need a simple and good value way to manage their money across currencies. You can hold your balance in any of dozens of different currencies, and exchange from one to another whenever you need to, using the mid-market exchange rate. There’s no markup added, and no hidden fees to worry about either.

How to get & use a 28 Degrees travel card

Here’s a simple overview of how to get your own 28 Degrees Platinum Mastercard.

Order

The first thing you’ll need to do to get started is to order your 28 Degrees Platinum Mastercard online. Submit some personal information and your application is assessed right away. In most cases you’ll get a response in just 60 seconds - although sometimes applications need further supporting information before a decision can be reached.

Once your application has been received and approved online, it’ll take 5 to 10 days to receive your new card in the mail.

Activation

As soon as you receive your card in the mail you should sign it and then log into the 28 Degree online service centre to activate the card and choose a PIN number.

Using it

Once your card is activated, you’re ready to go. You can start using your card to spend in stores and online, and to make ATM withdrawals. Make sure you know the limits and fees which are applied to your card, as some transactions such as credit card cash advance payments can be relatively costly.

Contact information

Got questions? It’s easy to get in touch with the service team using any of these routes:

  • Call 1300 552 079 if you’re in Australia, or +61 1300 552 079 if you’re abroad
  • Log into the online service centre for common issues and queries
  • Write to: 28 Degrees Customer Support, GPO Box 1818, Melbourne, VIC 3001
  • You can also get in touch via Facebook or call the service team using Skype - get all the details you need via the 28 Degree website

Troubleshooting

Of course nobody wants to have a problem with their travel card. But knowing in advance what to do to solve some common issues can make life easier, if you ever run into difficulties.

Here’s what you need to know.

Lost or damaged card

If your credit card is ever lost or stolen then you’ll want to get in touch with the issuer right away. In this case, 28 Degrees has a dedicated service line for lost and stolen cards - give them a call 24/7 on 1800 005 809 or +61 287 478 178 if you’re abroad. You can also report the loss to Mastercard Global Service or get in touch with 28 Degrees via Facebook.

Declined card

Your card may be declined for a number of reasons. Entering the wrong PIN or exceeding your credit or cash limits could result in a temporary block to your card, for example.

If you have a transaction declined and don’t understand why, or have any reason to suspect your card has been used fraudulently, you should get in touch with the 28 Degrees team. There’s a specific number to call for immediate help - 1300 552 079 within Australia, and +61 1300 552 079 from abroad.

Forgotten PIN

When you get your card, you’ll need to activate it and select your own unique PIN number. Choose something memorable to make sure you don’t run into trouble later.

If you do forget your PIN and need to reset it, you’ll need to contact the service centre by phone to sort the issue out.

Blocked card

Entering the incorrect PIN when making a purchase using your 28 Degrees travel card can mean that your card is blocked. This can also happen if the 28 Degrees team is concerned that your card might have been compromised.

It’s important to make sure your contact details are up to date, so that you can be reached if there is a problem with your card. The fraud team will get in touch with you if they are able to, to verify unusual activities and make sure nobody is using your card fraudulently. If you find your card is blocked this may mean suspicious transactions have been recorded. Get in touch with the team, on 1300 552 079 within Australia, and +61 1300 552 079 from abroad, to check.

Expired card

Your card will have an expiry date printed on the front of it for reference. A replacement card will be sent to you in good time before the original runs out. If you have not received your new card, and your original is coming close to its expiry date, get in touch with the service centre to request your replacement.

Tips

All ready to go off on your travels? Check out these few final tips to make sure you get the most from your money while you’re abroad.

  • It’s usually a good idea to have several different methods of payment available when you travel - including for example, a credit card, foreign cash, and a pre-paid travel card. This means that you have options if one method isn’t accepted or you lose your credit card
  • Check out the different solutions out there to get the best value for your travel money - including looking at new alternatives such as the borderless account from TransferWise. You can spend in any currency you like, using a linked debit card, and with great value conversion fees
  • Whenever you’re using a credit, debit or pre-paid card abroad, you might see DCC. Don’t forget to always pay in the local currency to avoid high fees and a poor exchange rate
  • Using credit cards when travelling can be convenient - but make sure you’re familiar with the fees. ATM withdrawals for example are often subject to immediate interest and extra fees as they are considered cash advance payments. This can make it quite costly to access holiday cash using a credit card

The 28 Degrees Platinum Mastercard comes with some features which are aimed at travellers, such as free international WiFi and no upfront currency conversion fee. However, using a credit card when travelling isn’t right for everyone, so it’s a smart plan to check out all the features and fees, and think about how you’ll use them while you’re away. Compare the options including the 28 Degrees travel card, pre-paid travel cards, and the TransferWise borderless account, to make sure you’re getting the best deal for your needs.

All sources correct as of 12 March 2019

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