The pros and cons of travel payments

You’re overseas at a decent looking restaurant and you’re starving. You look down at your mouth-watering meal when you realise you’ve forgotten to transfer money to your Orange Everyday account. You’ve got no cash left in your wallet – and there’s zero Wi-Fi in sight for you to quickly transfer cash from your savings account. What do you do? (Aside from offering to do the dishes.)

To help you avoid any awkward moments while you’re away, we’ve pulled together a list of all the things you should know about overseas payment options. Hate carrying cash? Love having an emergency option in case everything goes belly up? Read on for our top tips or read through our five financial must-dos before you travel to help you prepare for your trip.

Is cash still king?

Like chocolate or red wine, travelling with cash is great in small doses. It’s accepted everywhere and it might even help you to negotiate a better price. The biggest challenge you face is security. If you lose cash or have it stolen, you may need to rely on your travel insurance to get it back and even then there can be a minimum for how much you can claim.

Try to figure out when cash might be an essential item. Think airport transfers, accommodation deposits or shopping at the markets. Buy enough local currency before you fly for the first couple of days and be aware of the rates offered at currency exchange offices, especially if there’s a “no fee” policy. And remember: try to avoid buying money at the airport – fees and charges are generally higher!

Love thy card

Most places around the world will accept them and your bank can monitor transactions for unusual activity. What’s not to love about credit and debit cards? Well… sometimes it can be the unexpected fees and charges when you’re travelling. Plus, exchange rates can vary so you won’t always be able to coordinate your spending with a strong Aussie dollar.

Try to get your head around the fees and charges that come with card payments and ATM fees, and integrate them into your budget. Consider mixing card and cash payments, to pack as much value into your spending as possible. And don’t forget to take note of your PINs and keep them safe! You never know when a signature won’t be enough to finalise a payment.

Prepay your way

Planning to hit the shops or make good use of that round-the-world flight? A prepaid travel card might be for you. You’ll be able to lock in exchange rates and load up the card with different currencies, and there’s a good chance the overseas charges will be lower than what comes with your credit or debit card. The downside? There can be fees to set up and reload the card, and it’s harder to take advantage of any exchange rate spikes while you’re away.

Try to stick with a credit or debit card for short-haul travel, as you’re more likely to save money on overall fees and charges. And for longer trips, consider the likelihood of exchange rate fluctuations in the countries you’re visiting and how often you’ll use the card, to get a rough idea of how much extra you’ll need.

Don’t forget about the travellers’ cheque

Is it safe to be carrying cash where you’re headed? Will there be ATMs? If you’re doubtful, travellers’ cheques are worth considering. You can use travellers’ cheques like cash and because each cheque is safeguarded with a unique serial number, you can get them replaced within 24 hours if they’re lost or stolen. Plus, you can lock in exchange rates at time of purchase and take advantage of any spikes in the Aussie dollar!

Because a decreasing number of businesses accept travellers’ cheques, it’s important not to rely on them as your sole method of payment when overseas. Consider keeping a small amount in travellers’ cheques as a backup plan, be sure to write all serial numbers down and make note of the number to call in case the cheques are lost or stolen.

If you’re an ING Direct customer…

And you have an Orange Everyday bank account, you can use your VISA debit card anywhere around the world where VISA is accepted with a fee of only 2.5% of the transaction amount for international purchases and a $2.50 fee for each overseas cash withdrawal. You can also take advantage of the ING DIRECT mobile app, to help you track your spending while you’re away. Try to stick with secure networks, like your hotel WiFi – while the app is encrypted, you don’t want any other information to be compromised!

For more information about Orange Everyday fees and charges when you’re travelling, visit us here or give us a ring with questions while you’re away on (+612) 9028 4077.

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