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Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific

Discussions regarding holidays in Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific region.

Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific

We will be going out to Australia in October and would like to know the best way of avoiding some of the horrific charges for using ATM abroad.

The money saver websites seem to favour pre-loaded cards, but I would appreciate advice on which is the most cost effective one to use.

We are UK based, but if it involves opening a new bank account, we would need to have access to one open on Saturdays.

I've been in touch with our travel agent, who reckoned a UK debit card was the easiest way to do it, but to check with the bank.

Turns out our premium type bank account allows free ATM withdrawals worldwide, so we are set to do that while in Oz.
Hi Iain,

Glad you found the answer to this :)

Have you been to Australia before? What part(s) are you going to?

Start off in Sydney, then Melbourne, Red Centre, Port Douglas before a couple more days in Sydney then home.

A rather busy three weeks.

Here's hoping Qantas give us a cheeky upgrade for the boss' 40th!!
Sounds amazing Iain, you'll no doubt have an awesome time :)
Re Qantas, you can only ask :D lol good luck with it :)
We have now seen the Thomson pre-loaded money card and will probably go down that route.

Pre load it with the rate at the day of loading with AUD, charge from ATM is AUD3 on a maximum withdrawal of AUD300 per 24 hours.

However the card can be used like a debit card to pay for meals and stuff, will be replaced in the event of loss or theft and the balance is available by SMS to your mobile.

Thomson will even buy back the excess after the holiday at the rate you bought for a flat fee of about £4.

Better deal than the ATM exchange rate of 2.95% per transaction on my bank account.
Shame Nationwide stopped their facility of free withdrawals abroad. When our youngest graduated he went to Australia and New Zealand for 7 months on his own. As he is a cross between Mr Bump and Mr Forgetful I was dreading him losing everything out there. He stayed a few days on arrival at Dural just outside Sydney with ex UK neighbours of ours (we'd been there for 6 weeks to stay with them few years previously) then got a hostel and job in Sydney. Lots of people he met up with were complaining about the charges of their cards as they didn't want to draw out large amounts for fear of having it on their person in hostels. Nationwide came into its own as he could draw out just under a tenner a time if need be with no charge. Downside was I couldn't get third party access on it as I had on his other bank cards (I made him carry them in various different places on him as I KNEW he'd lose his wallet ..which he did :rofl ..and that would be end of all cards!). However as I explained this to lady at Nationwide she gave me a wink and said he COULD do internet banking and maybe leave his password where I might see it ;) :rofl Thats what we did and I could check up when funds were low and move money from his different accounts into the Nationwide.

You'll have a great time out there! :tup
We got back from Oz OK and can share some of our experiences re cash machines.

The Thomson pre loaded card was super.There was a standard transaction fee of AUD3, but no card charges if we used Commercial bank ATM's (yellow and black sign). There were text updates every time we used it at an ATM, but we could also set up an internet account and check balance whilst blagging free wifi from Starbucks (well if they won't pay UK tax...).

BEWARE!! HSBC charge an additional AUD2 per transaction and we got charged for a credit card transaction at Ayers Rock when we hit the wrong button at the ANZ machine.

Once we found Commercial Bank, we didn't experiment with any other machines, and we found that the three dollar charge wasn't part of the overall transaction. So, if you asked for $300, that's what you got, but the text update from Thomson put the total transaction at $303.

The card can also be used like a debit card for paying for meals, etc or buying gifts.

It was so easy to get the money back off Thomson when we returned, so we will probably use the Euro card when we venture abroad this year and hit the hole in the wall instead of taking travellers cheques.

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