Heading overseas? Save up to 14x with your TransferWise Platinum debit Mastercard®.

Chee-Xuan Tang
13.07.20
8 minute read

Are you using a travel money card while you’re overseas? If so, you could save up to 14x by using TransferWise Platinum debit Mastercard® on your next trip.

The research was carried out in June 2020 by market research agency, Alderson Consulting (Bristol) Ltd, in conjunction with TransferWise. The data was gathered through publicly available pricing information and mid-market rate comparison data provided by Refinitiv, formerly known as Reuters.

Who we compared

TransferWise selected six of the top travel card providers in Australia to compare pricing.

  • ANZ Travel Card*
  • CommBank Travel Money Card
  • NAB Traveller Card
  • Qantas Travel Money Card
  • Travel Money Currency Pass
  • Travelex Money Card
  • Westpac Global Currency Card

Each of these providers offer similar pre-paid or top-up cards which allow transactions and ATM withdrawals in other currencies.

*ANZ no longer offers new travel cards. Therefore, this research piece for ANZ travel card applies to loading an existing card.

What we researched

The providers in this comparison charge their customers in the same way.

  • A markup added to their exchange rate
  • ATM withdrawal fees

There are three types of fees recorded for this price comparison:

  • Fee 1: The stated upfront top-up fee by each provider
  • Fee 2: The mark-up that travel card providers add to their exchange rate, also known as the hidden conversion cost. This is derived by (Mid-Market Rate - Provider Rate) / Mid-Market Rate, displayed as a %.
  • Fee 3: Fees associated with ATM withdrawals abroad (Note: In the data below you may see the TransferWise ATM fees as $0.00 in some instances. TransferWise allows for the first $350 to be withdrawn for free every 30 days, then applies a 2% fee to the withdrawal amount thereafter. We’re assuming that consumers withdraw from their balance in the local currency, provided by their initial top up. This therefore, does not take Fee 2 into account for calculation of ATM fees.)

To make sure that the comparison was fair, transparent and useful for consumers to understand, TransferWise built out two travel scenarios based on varying top-up amounts and ATM withdrawals.

  1. A $1000 top-up and 3 ATM withdrawals (of $200 in total).
  2. A $5000 top-up and 5 ATM withdrawals (of $500 in total).

Note: TransferWise always uses the real market exchange rate when converting money - this is the market rate with no hidden markup added. There were some instances where the research indicated that TransferWise offers rates better than the market rate. For this comparison we exclude these scenarios and use the quoted market rate.

Each customer scenario was evaluated using the same comparison methodology for spending in USD, GBP, NZD, and EUR.

How we did it

“When comparing TransferWise to the propositions of the specified travel card providers, we apply the assumption that the “Top Up” is for an initial purchase / load of a card and that the ATM withdrawals are made from currency balances*. These assumptions are applied to all providers, including TransferWise.

When comparing the cost to “Top Up” funds, we go to the provider’s website and capture the rate applied to top up the specified currencies of Euro, GBP, NZD and USD and three specified levels AUD 500, AUD 1,000 and AUD 5,000. We obtain the rates using the calculators provided by the providers. Where the rates are set daily and the date and time is specified, if it is the same as the date of the research, we use the time provided when comparing it to the market rate. Where the update is not on the same date, we capture the time of the data collection. Fees associated with the Top Up are captured from the product information and/or fee documents published on the provider’s website. Where there is any question of interpretation, we obtain further clarification via Social Media before applying the fees reported.

When calculating the total cost of topping up funds, the rate shown by the provider is compared to a “to the minute” accurate mid-market rate provided by Refinitiv, formerly Reuters. The difference between the two rates provides the % taken by the bank, also known as the retail margin. The retail margin value is then added to the fees to provide the total cost to the consumer.

When comparing the cost of “Withdrawal”, information is captured from the product information and/or fee documents published on the provider’s website. Where there is any question of interpretation, we obtain further clarification via Social Media before applying the fees reported.

Research is undertaken on a single week-day during standard trading hours and is currently updated every three months. It is acknowledged that providers may change their propositions during that period and therefore, the published results should be considered indicative and individual experiences may differ.

How to read the following research tables

The tables below contain quite a lot of information, so we've summarised each in a short statement. If you do want to dive into the data, here's what you need to know. There are times where TransferWise offers a better exchange rate than the mid-market rate, which results in a negative margin %. In these cases, we have assumed our margin to be zero, removing any advantage gained by TransferWise providing a better rate.

  • Product: the provider and the name of the product reviewed in this research.
  • Top Up / Reload: the amount loaded onto the card for the initial top-up
  • Mid-Market Rate: the market rate used for comparison, provided to the research agency by Refinitiv, formerly known as Reuters.
  • Provider Rate: this is the rate the provider offers their customer when they top up. If it's lower than the Mid-Market Rate, it means they are hiding additional cost to the consumer within the rate.
  • Margin %: the hidden markup the provider includes within their offered rate, displayed as a percentage.
  • Rate Markup (AUD): the “margin %” shown as a value in the source currency
  • Upfront fee (AUD): this is the published charge that is applied by the provider to top-up or open an account.
  • Total cost of top up: this is the total amount the provider charges you - the published “upfront fee” plus the hidden markup. Some providers claim to have no upfront fee but actually hide that cost within the exchange rate markup.
  • ATM Fee ($ or %): this is the per transaction fee for each ATM withdrawal. Most providers have a flat fee, but some use a percentage of the amount withdrawn.
  • Total ATM Fees: this is the total amount in ATM charges that a customer would pay on each trip. So if a provider has an ATM fee of $3.00 per withdrawal and you take cash out twice, this will be $6.00.
  • Total Cost (AUD): this is the sum total of the “Rate Markup” fee, the “Upfront fee” and the “Total ATM Fees”.
  • TW is X times cheaper: this is the number of times TransferWise is cheaper based on TransferWise's total cost versus other providers.

The research

For a $1,000 top-up and 3 ATM withdrawals (of $200 in total) in EUR, TransferWise is on average 12x cheaper.

ProductTop Up / ReloadMid-Market RateProvider RateMargin %Rate markupUpfront FeeTotal Cost of Top UpATM Fee($ or %)Total ATM FeesTotal CostTW is X times cheaper
TransferWise Account$1,0000.61090.61090.00%$0.00$4.68$4.68$0.00$0.00$4.68
ANZ Travel Card$1,0000.61090.58953.50%$35.03$0.00$35.03$3.73$11.20$46.2310
CommBank Travel Money Card$1,0000.61280.58224.99%$49.93$0.00$49.93$3.78$11.34$61.2713
NAB Traveller Card$1,0000.61090.58484.27%$42.72$0.00$42.72$0.00$0.00$42.729
Qantas Travel Money Card$1,0000.61130.57755.53%$55.29$0.00$55.29$2.60$7.79$63.0813
Travel Money Currency Pass$1,0000.61140.57935.25%$52.50$0.00$52.50$4.32$12.95$65.4514
Travelex Money Card$1,0000.61120.58813.78%$37.79$11.00$48.79$0.00$0.00$48.7910
Westpac Global Currency Card$1,0000.61280.58883.92%$39.16$0.00$39.16$3.40$10.19$49.3511

For a $1,000 top-up and 3 ATM withdrawals (of $200 in total) in NZD, TransferWise is on average 10x cheaper.

ProductTop Up / ReloadMid-Market RateProvider RateMargin %Rate markupUpfront FeeTotal Cost of Top UpATM Fee($ or %)Total ATM FeesTotal CostTW is X times cheaper
TransferWise Account$1,0001.06911.06930.00%$0.00$4.98$4.98$0.00$0.00$4.98
ANZ Travel Card$1,0001.06911.03742.97%$29.65$0.00$29.65$4.34$13.01$42.669
CommBank Travel Money Card$1,0001.06921.01854.74%$47.42$0.00$47.42$3.44$10.31$57.7312
NAB Traveller Card$1,0001.06931.02354.28%$42.83$0.00$42.83$0.00$0.00$42.839
Qantas Travel Money Card$1,0001.06951.01165.41%$54.14$0.00$54.14$2.47$7.41$61.5512
Travel Money Currency Pass$1,0001.06971.01445.17%$51.70$0.00$51.70$3.45$10.35$62.0512
Travelex Money Card$1,0001.06971.04662.16%$21.59$11.00$32.59$0.00$0.00$32.597
Westpac Global Currency Card$1,0001.06931.03113.57%$35.72$0.00$35.72$2.91$8.73$44.459

For a $1,000 top-up and 3 ATM withdrawals (of $200 in total) in GBP, TransferWise is on average 11x cheaper.

ProductTop Up / ReloadMid-Market RateProvider RateMargin %Rate markupUpfront FeeTotal Cost of Top UpATM Fee($ or %)Total ATM FeesTotal CostTW is X times cheaper
TransferWise Account$1,0000.55800.55810.00%$0.00$4.68$4.68$0.00$0.00$4.68
ANZ Travel Card$1,0000.55810.54033.19%$31.89$0.00$31.89$3.70$11.10$43.009
CommBank Travel Money Card$1,0000.55760.53184.63%$46.27$0.00$46.27$3.76$11.28$57.5512
NAB Traveller Card$1,0000.55800.53414.28%$42.83$0.00$42.83$0.00$0.00$42.839
Qantas Travel Money Card$1,0000.55830.52775.48%$54.81$0.00$54.81$2.37$7.11$61.9213
Travel Money Currency Pass$1,0000.55840.52915.25%$52.47$0.00$52.47$3.78$11.34$63.8114
Travelex Money Card$1,0000.55830.54063.17%$31.70$11.00$42.70$0.00$0.00$42.709
Westpac Global Currency Card$1,0000.55760.53803.52%$35.15$0.00$35.15$2.79$8.36$43.519

For a $1,000 top-up and 3 ATM withdrawals (of $200 in total) in USD, TransferWise is on average 10x cheaper.

ProductTop Up / ReloadMid-Market RateProvider RateMargin %Rate markupUpfront FeeTotal Cost of Top UpATM Fee($ or %)Total ATM FeesTotal CostTW is X times cheaper
TransferWise Account$1,0000.68700.68710.00%$0.00$4.68$4.68$3.00$0.00$4.68
ANZ Travel Card$1,0000.68700.66493.22%$32.17$0.00$32.17$3.00$11.28$43.459
CommBank Travel Money Card$1,0000.68920.65834.48%$44.83$0.00$44.83$3.00$11.39$56.2312
NAB Traveller Card$1,0000.68690.65774.25%$42.51$0.00$42.51$3.00$0.00$42.519
Qantas Travel Money Card$1,0000.68740.65564.63%$46.26$0.00$46.26$3.00$8.92$55.1812
Travel Money Currency Pass$1,0000.68750.66113.84%$38.40$0.00$38.40$3.78$11.34$49.7411
Travelex Money Card$1,0000.68740.67002.53%$25.31$11.00$36.31$0.00$0.00$36.318
Westpac Global Currency Card$1,0000.68920.66173.99%$39.90$0.00$39.90$3.02$9.07$48.9710

For a $5,000 top-up and 5 ATM withdrawals (of $500 in total) in EUR, TransferWise is on average 9x cheaper.

ProductTop Up / ReloadMid-Market RateProvider RateMargin %Rate markupUpfront FeeTotal Cost of Top UpATM Fee($ or %)Total ATM FeesTotal CostTW is X times cheaper
TransferWise Account$5,0000.61090.61080.01%$0.50$23.40$23.90$3.00$3.00$26.90
ANZ Travel Card$5,0000.61090.58953.50%$175.15$0.00$175.15$3.73$18.66$193.817
CommBank Travel Money Card$5,0000.61310.58225.04%$252.00$0.00$252.00$3.78$18.89$270.8910
NAB Traveller Card$5,0000.61090.58484.27%$213.62$0.00$213.62$0.00$0.00$213.628
Qantas Travel Money Card$5,0000.61130.57755.53%$276.46$0.00$276.46$2.60$12.99$289.4511
Travel Money Currency Pass$5,0000.61140.57935.25%$262.51$0.00$262.51$4.32$21.58$284.0911
Travelex Money Card$5,0000.61120.58933.58%$179.16$55.00$234.16$0.00$0.00$234.169
Westpac Global Currency Card$5,0000.61310.58883.96%$198.17$0.00$198.17$3.40$16.98$215.168

For a $5,000 top-up and 5 ATM withdrawals (of $500 in total) in NZD, TransferWise is on average 8x cheaper.

ProductTop Up / ReloadMid-Market RateProvider RateMargin %Rate markupUpfront FeeTotal Cost of Top UpATM Fee($ or %)Total ATM FeesTotal CostTW is X times cheaper
TransferWise Account$5,0001.06911.06900.01%$0.37$24.90$25.27$3.00$3.00$28.27
ANZ Travel Card$5,0001.06941.03742.99%$149.62$0.00$149.62$4.34$21.69$171.316
CommBank Travel Money Card$5,0001.06931.01854.75%$237.54$0.00$237.54$3.44$17.18$254.729
NAB Traveller Card$5,0001.06931.02354.28%$214.16$0.00$214.16$0.00$0.00$214.168
Qantas Travel Money Card$5,0001.06951.01165.41%$270.69$0.00$270.69$2.47$12.36$283.0410
Travel Money Currency Pass$5,0001.06971.01445.17%$258.48$0.00$258.48$3.45$17.25$275.7410
Travelex Money Card$5,0001.06971.04662.16%$107.97$55.00$162.97$0.00$0.00$162.976
Westpac Global Currency Card$5,0001.06931.03113.57%$178.62$0.00$178.62$2.91$14.55$193.177

For a $5,000 top-up and 5 ATM withdrawals (of $500 in total) in GBP, TransferWise is on average 9x cheaper.

ProductTop Up / ReloadMid-Market RateProvider RateMargin %Rate markupUpfront FeeTotal Cost of Top UpATM Fee($ or %)Total ATM FeesTotal CostTW is X times cheaper
TransferWise Account$5,0000.55800.55800.00%$0.03$23.40$23.43$3.00$3.00$26.43
ANZ Travel Card$5,0000.55810.54033.19%$159.47$0.00$159.47$3.70$18.51$177.987
CommBank Travel Money Card$5,0000.55750.53184.61%$230.49$0.00$230.49$3.76$18.80$249.309
NAB Traveller Card$5,0000.55800.53414.28%$214.16$0.00$214.16$0.00$0.00$214.168
Qantas Travel Money Card$5,0000.55840.52775.50%$274.89$0.00$274.89$2.37$11.84$286.7411
Travel Money Currency Pass$5,0000.55840.52915.25%$262.36$0.00$262.36$3.78$18.90$281.2611
Travelex Money Card$5,0000.55830.54172.97%$148.67$55.00$203.67$0.00$0.00$203.678
Westpac Global Currency Card$5,0000.55760.53803.52%$175.75$0.00$175.75$2.79$13.94$189.697

For a $5,000 top-up and 5 ATM withdrawals (of $500 in total) in USD, TransferWise is on average 9x cheaper.

ProductTop Up / ReloadMid-Market RateProvider RateMargin %Rate markupUpfront FeeTotal Cost of Top UpATM Fee($ or %)Total ATM FeesTotal CostTW is X times cheaper
TransferWise Account$5,0000.68710.68700.02%$1.09$23.40$24.49$3.00$3.00$27.49
ANZ Travel Card$5,0000.68710.66493.23%$161.55$0.00$161.55$3.76$18.80$180.357
CommBank Travel Money Card$5,0000.68920.65834.48%$224.17$0.00$224.17$3.80$18.99$243.169
NAB Traveller Card$5,0000.68690.65774.25%$212.55$0.00$212.55$0.00$0.00$212.558
Qantas Travel Money Card$5,0000.68740.65564.63%$231.31$0.00$231.31$2.97$14.87$246.189
Travel Money Currency Pass$5,0000.68750.66113.84%$192.00$0.00$192.00$3.78$18.91$210.918
Travelex Money Card$5,0000.68730.67072.42%$120.76$55.00$175.76$0.00$0.00$175.766
Westpac Global Currency Card$5,0000.68920.66173.99%$199.51$0.00$199.51$3.02$15.11$214.628

Thinking of using TransferWise? Check out our product disclosure statement first. This advice has been prepared without taking account of your individual objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on the advice, you should consider the appropriateness of the advice, having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. TransferWise Australia Pty Ltd is registered at Level 40, Gateway, 1 Macquarie Place, Sydney NSW 2000. TransferWise Limited is registered at 6th Floor, TEA Building, 56 Shoreditch High Street, London, E1 6JJ, United Kingdom and is the parent company of TransferWise Australia Pty Ltd. In Australia, TransferWise Ltd holds an Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL 456295) issued by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). TransferWise Australia Pty Ltd is an authorised representative of TransferWise Ltd AFSL (authorised representative number: 001269088).

The TransferWise Platinum debit Mastercard® is issued by TransferWise Australia Pty Ltd. under license by Mastercard Asia/Pacific Pte. Ltd. For full conditions of use refer to transferwise.com/legalstuff. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design on the card is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.

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