Money in a Foreign Country

Australian Notes are Pretty

So before I came to Australia, I always used traveler’s checks when I traveled. Made sense, travel was right in the name! That’s not the best way any more…

Best way to get cash:

Find a debit card that can be linked to your account in the USA and has minimal or no fees for withdrawing money abroad.

For instance, I have a checking account at Bank of America. BAC has a relationship with Wespac Bank in Australia and New Zealand. I can take money out of my Bank of America checking/debit account from any Wespac ATM in Australia or New Zealand and I have absolutely NO fees for the withdraw.

The best part is, when I look at my account, it shows how much money I have in Australian Dollars (AUD) and I can take money out in the foreign currency of wherever I am located. In New Zealand I withdrew New Zealand Dollars. This will save you a lot of time, effort, and money on trying to deal with exchanging money as you travel.

Another option is to bring cash with you and open a bank account when you arrive. Usually you an use that bank’s ATMs to get cash out of your account for a small fee.

Best way to use credit:

Get a Capital One credit card! To my knowledge, Capital One is the only credit card that does not charge a foreign transaction fee (2-3%) or currency exchange fee (2-3%).

Keep in mind a lot of foreign places have minimum purchase amount ($), so you may need more cash on you than usual for the US.

In the US I rarely carry cash on me, maybe $10 USD or some change for vending machines. I went to a restaurant and bought a special priced pizza for $4, too bad the minimum amount that could be charged on a credit card was $15. I was embarrassed to not have enough money and had to borrow from my friends.

The only places I know of that tend not to have minimum credit charge amounts are grocery stores, but it really varies.


1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    Samantha said,

    When my husband and I traveled to Japan a few years ago we took pre-loaded Visa cards. We learned that the ATMs were located inside the post offices there, and that it was super easy to withdraw cash when we needed it. When we went to Ireland last year it was quite the opposite–the Visa cards either didn’t work or we were charged two to three separate fees for each transaction. It definitely helps to know what you’re getting into!

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