This article explains why I chose the 28 Degrees Mastercard (previously known as Wizard Clear Advantage Mastercard) for use as travel money while on holidays and to buy things from overseas websites eg: books, dvds etc.
I was making a budget for traveling on holiday to New Zealand when I realised there was a big hidden expense – everything I bought on my credit card while in NZ would get charged an extra 2% foreign exchange fee + foreign ATM fees + cash advance fees. So if I spent say $5000, I’d be charged at least $100 in credit card fees!
EDITOR: On 17 November 2010, Wizard Clear Advantage MasterCard was relaunched with a new look and a new name, 28 Degrees MasterCard because GE Money sold the Wizard Home Loans business in 2009 and that meant the card had to be renamed.
You’ll still enjoy no international transaction fees and no annual fee on your 28 Degrees MasterCard, as you have been on your Wizard Clear Advantage.
Even better there are enhanced security and additional features which make your new 28 Degrees MasterCard even safer and more convenient than the old Wizard Clear Advantage Credit card eg: Contactless transaction technology with MasterCard PayPass™ and an embedded CHIP on the card which makes it more secure.
28 Degrees Mastercard Will Save You Lots of Money When Travelling
After doing some research I chose the 28 Degrees MasterCard because it has these 8 key benefits:
- No ATM fees when used overseas
- No currency conversion fees when used to buy products/services overseas eg: when on holiday
- No fees for cash advances
- Generally the best exchange rate available for purchases & cash advances which is also useful when buying goods and services online.
- Frequently recommended by members of Frequent Flyer forums
- Up to 55 days interest free
- No annual fee
- It’s a MasterCard so it should work in ATM’s and in shops all around the world.
The trick is to load enough money onto your 28 Degrees Creditcard with BPAY before your trip. Then during your trip you can:
- Withdraw money from ATM’s using the “Cash advance” feature with the 28 Degrees Creditcard
- Make 28 Degrees Creditcard transactions as normal in shops and online
Because you’ve already put money onto the 28 Degrees creditcard so it has a +positive balance you’re using your own money for purchases/ATM withdrawals and therefore you won’t get charged any interest by Wizard.
- The daily limit for cash withdrawals is about $1000AUD, or the foreign exchange equivalent.
- The limit for cash withdrawal during a billing cycle is the credit limit. For example, if your credit limit is $3,000, and you put another $5,000 in, you can make purchases for $8,000, however for cash advances you can still only withdraw $3,000 cash from ATM’s during that billing cycle.
- Because of the new ATM fees/rules in Australia from 2009 they have done a deal with Westpac so you can withdraw money in Australia using your 28 Degrees creditcard for no ATM fee if you use a Westpac ATM
Bank Cards and Travellers Cheques are Expensive Overseas
In the past when backpacking in Australia and overseas or travelling for business I’d always used my bank savings/debit card or travellers cheques.
But these have problems:
- Using Bank savings/debit card – Making a small number of large withdrawals saved me bank fees but I didn’t feel safe withdrawing and carrying a lot of cash). Also Bank savings/debit cards tend to charge a flat fee eg: $5 to use ATM’s overseas as well as a currency conversion fees eg: 2%. So withdrawing $100 from an ATM overseas could cost $107 in total.
- Travellers Cheques used to be really popular but people find using cash or plastic (debit/credit cards) is easier. Also using travellers cheques always involved lots of fees and charges,: low commissions, poor exchange rates + they are weren’t accepted in some shops
Beware of Prepaid travel money cards
Examples are Visa TravelMoney, MasterCard Traveller’s Cash cards and and the Travelex Cash Passport card. The idea is you load the card with money before the trip, and then use it for overseas ATM withdrawals and purchases.
These cards are a bit like plastic travellers cheques, with security features such as 24-hour support if they’re lost or stolen. A free second card is often provided.
I would suggest keeping one of these cards for emergencies with perhaps $1000 on it, but not to use them for everyday expenses when travelling overseas because these benefits come with big costs:
- Cost to load money on to the card (appx 1%)
- ATM withdrawal fee (appx $4)
- Currency conversion fee anywhere (around 2% for most banks upto almost 6% for the Travelex Cash Passport!)
Currency Conversion In Shop Can Be Costly
Retailers worldwide are increasingly offering customers the ability to transact in their home currency, using their credit card. For example, you might be in an electronics shop in Signapore and they’ll offer to charge your credit card in Australian dollars. This can be really expensive because:
- The shop keeper’s currency conversion exchange rate is often poor
- You’ll still be charged MasterCard and Visa ‘overseas transaction fees’
- As well as your own banks foreign transaction fee