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Old 01-12-2013, 02:16 AM   #1
Kristin5
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Spending money

Last time we went to the USA, we took traveller's cheques (big mistake, hardly anyone uses them anymore, so we quickly exchanged them for cash in Las Vegas) and a Cash Passport Visa card, preloaded with US$.

Trouble was that we experienced fraud with our Cash Passport (we ended up getting the money back, but it has certainly put us off using the cash passport card again).

This time around we were intending to take mainly cash (I have already started collecting some US$). I have also got a Visa Debit card (linked to our savings account) through our bank and was going to use this if we ran out of our cash.

But I was wondering if perhaps I could just use this debit card like I would've used the Cash Passport on the previous trip? I looked up the fees and I will be charged a currency conversion fee of 3%, but this might not be too bad, considering even when the exchange rate is $1.05, we are only getting $1.01 when we exchange for cash anyway (and the same when we used to load US$ onto the cash passport) so maybe the currency conversion charges will work out similar? I just want to know if it's going to cost a lot more to use the debitcard regularly - so should i keep it more for emergency at the end - or it would all even out and wouldn't really cost that much???


Am I making any sense?!
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Old 01-12-2013, 04:05 AM   #2
Marlea98
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I'm sorry that you had a bad experience with your cash passport. We had no issues whatsoever with ours, barring a minor heart attack when our statement eventually came in and I noticed some small transactions made in Hawaii when we were in Vegas. I later realised that we had used the Avis or Hertz internet at their office at the airport so their charges must have been processed in Hawaii. The amounts and dates corresponded exactly with what we paid and when.

With the cash passport you can use it to withdraw cash you know. Just take out the maximum every couple of days and use cash to pay for things. Travelex no longer issues them as they have a new type that you have to pay for, it's a multi currency one, but you can still use it until it expires. They are longer issuing new or replacement ones, so if you lose it or whatever, you have to pay for the new card and then organise with them to transfer any balances over to the new one.
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Old 01-12-2013, 04:14 AM   #3
5ofus
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We still use Travelers Cheques when we go to Disney. They still accept them and you get change in cash. Usually w break one or two big notes a day, using the cash we get as change for the rest of the day.
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Old 01-12-2013, 04:21 AM   #4
aussie shaz
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Not sure if you like using a credit card, but we use a 28 degrees MasterCard. It has no international conversion fees. We use it overseas, but also when purchasing stuff online in another currency.

You can pay extra money on top of the credit so you are only using your own money. We always pay ours off anyway, but I'm sure the interest would be high, like any other credit card.

We took about $1000 cash last time, but we had heaps left at the end.

I think this time we'll just take a couple of hundred, and use the card everywhere else. I think you can take money out at an ATM. If you add your own money, I don't think you pay cash advance fees.

You might want to have a look at their website for more specifics if you're interested, but we've been really happy with it so far.
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Old 01-12-2013, 04:27 AM   #5
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I'm not completely sure what you are asking - and so I'm gonna try to rephrase your question and see if I have understood you correctly.

Firstly, check with your bank re: fees and charges on that debit card. The NAB visa debit card charges a foreign exchange conversion fee (e.g. your 3% quoted) AND an foreign ATM fee ($4 per use I think), and the exchange rate is the prevailing rate on the day - compared to the cash passport which only charges 1% conversion fee and no ATM fee. Plus you can buy your USD when the rate is high - in case there is a collapse whilst you are away.

It's a shame you've had problems with the cash passport - I've had mine for 4 years without problems - and I suspect fraud could happen on any credit card. So i wouldn't blame the product for someone else committing fraud but if you found Travellex difficult to deal with - that's not good.

the 28 degrees card may be another option for you. this is also designed for international travel with low fees and no ongoing fees in use. I've not used it but I think you can load it with cash in advance and use as a debit card. I think though again - you are at the mercy of the prevailing rate at the time of purchase.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kristin5 View Post
I looked up the fees and I will be charged a currency conversion fee of 3%, but this might not be too bad, considering even when the exchange rate is $1.05, we are only getting $1.01 when we exchange for cash anyway (and the same when we used to load US$ onto the cash passport) so maybe the currency conversion charges will work out similar? I just want to know if it's going to cost a lot more to use the debitcard regularly - so should i keep it more for emergency at the end - or it would all even out and wouldn't really cost that much???


Am I making any sense?!
Now this bit - I am confused by - you seem to be asking if the exchange rate would be better on the debit card than it was on the cash passport. You have compared the 3% conversion fee to the $0.04 gap on the exchange sales rate. These are two separate things and never the twain shall meet!
That $0.04 or more gap will apply no matter what product you use and then you start adding your fees on top of that (i.e.. the 3% conversion and ATM use fees) The $1.05 price shown on TV is the gross exchange rate. The $1.01 selling rate is the net rate after the bank has covered it's costs. There will always be that gap (or higher e.g. at the booths at the airport are atrociously high) and then you add whatever conversion and ATM use fees are quoted.

So basically I am saying - I think a product like a cash passport will always be cheaper on fees and potentially offer the best exchange rate over a bank debit card.

geez - did i make sense??
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Old 01-12-2013, 05:18 AM   #6
Kristin5
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Thanks for explaining it, Sugarglider! You have made perfect sense! And have clarified/explained my question far better than me!

I should've known the answer anyway - my dad used to work as a foreign exchange trader!, so it was probably a stupid question (or just really wishful thinking!!!). Put it down to another (strawberry) blonde moment!

I have heard of the 28 degrees card, but don't want yet another credit card. I like to keep my banking simple (but already have 2 credit cards, which i pay off every month because i hate being in debt, plus this new debit card).

I could go down the route of getting a new cash passport, or another new card that the PO offers (can't remember the name of it now), but this would also be another card to add to my collection.

Think I'll just go with what I had originally decided, which was to take cash over with me. I'll just make good use of the safes over there!
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Old 01-12-2013, 07:48 AM   #7
Sugarglider
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just to add another consideration to your deliberations .....

cash conversions are going to cost you the same as the cash passport / Aust Post / CBA - ANZ etc travel cards - BUT - it is not going to offer you the safety.

remember your fraud? you said you got your money back. That won't happen if you have cash. You'll need to take care not to get noticed and be pickpocketted - robbed / drop or lose it accidentally. Your insurance will cover some - perhaps choose a policy with a higher cash replacement payout?

Still - I have travelled a lot and never had any of those dilemmas either with cash or cards - never lost money/card fraud or failure, been robbed. So it is possible for your travel to go safely!
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Old 01-12-2013, 06:27 PM   #8
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We mainly just used our credit card (just our normal one we already have) for bigger purchases like paying for hotels, sit-down meals, tours, hire cars, spending up big at Disney shops etc. We used cash for smaller purchases like counter service meals, drinks, small Disney purchases etc.

We only took a few hundred $$ cash with us as we didn't want to lose everything if something bad happened. It lasted us about a week, then we got about the same amount out again just with our everyday bank card.

In the end it may have cost us a few more $$ in charges, but for the covenience of just being able to use what we already had, we thought it was worth it (it wouldn't have been much at all). We were only away for 2 weeks though - it would make more of a difference if you were away for 4 or 6 weeks at a time.
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Old 01-12-2013, 07:00 PM   #9
Lewdannie
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I can recommend the Citibank Plus account.
http://www.citibank.com.au/aus/banki...ibank_plus.htm

We have a 28 Degrees Mastercard as well (which we used for overseas purchases) , but the Citibank card is not a credit card, but a debit card and also has no currency exchange fees. Having both cards provided redundancy in case one of them was compromised.

We used the Citibank card in the USA earlier this year, got near market value exchange rates and by using Citibank ATMs paid no ATM fees, no currency exchange fees, in fact no fees at all.

There is a long discussion about this on Whirlpool if you are game:
http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/forum....cfm?t=1809874

Last edited by Lewdannie; 01-12-2013 at 07:16 PM.
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