Review: 28 Degrees Mastercard No ATM Fees Foreign Currency On Holiday or Online Shopping

This article explains why I chose the Latitude Finance 28 Degrees Mastercard for use as travel money while on holidays and to buy things from overseas websites eg: books, dvds etc. The card has ben previously known as the Wizard Clear Advantage Mastercard and the GE 28 Degrees card.

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!

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 key benefits:

  • No ATM fees when used overseas
  • No currency conversion fees when used to buy products/services overseas eg: when on holiday
  • A good exchange rate very close to the official Mastercard interbank rate for purchases which is also useful when buying goods and services online.
  • Frequently recommended by members of Frequent Flyer forums, OzBargain and Whirlpool 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.

Optional Fees You Can Avoid

  • BPAY payment fee of 95c per transfer (free if Direct Debit or Direct Debit via. Online Service Centre)
  • Paper statement postage fee $2/month (free PDF statements available online).

Bank Cards and Travellers Cheques are Expensive Overseas

When I was a young 21 year old backpacker travelling overseas in Europe I used my Commonwealth Bank savings/debit card, a specialist travel money card and travellers cheques.

But these all had problems:

Using Bank savings/debit card – Making a small number of large withdrawals saved me some 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.

Travel money cards – Are marketed as being easy to use, however the problem is they have lots of fees e.g the Travelex Cash passport: load money on card (1.1% or $15), massive currency conversion fees of 5.95%, reload fee $5 and account shutdown fee $10.

Travellers Cheques – Used to be really popular but you rarely hear about them these days as people find using cash or plastic (debit/credit cards) is easier. Back in the day travellers cheques always involved lots of fees and charges, high 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.

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!)

Dynamic Currency Conversion In Shop Can Be Costly

Retailers online and in-store overseas are increasingly offering customers the ability to transact in their home currency, using their MasterCard or Visa 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.

Apply for a 28 Degrees Creditcard and save lots of money when travelling overseas

Card History

28 Degrees and Wizard Clear Advantage Mastercard

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.

Customers still enjoyed no international transaction fees and no annual fee on their 28 Degrees MasterCard, as they had on their Wizard Clear Advantage card.

Even better there were enhanced security and additional features which made the 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 made it more secure.

In November 2015 GE’s Consumer Finance business became Latitude Financial Services when Värde Partners, Deutsche Bank and KKR completed the acquisition of GE Capital’s Australian and New Zealand consumer finance business, now called Latitude Financial Services.

363 thoughts on “Review: 28 Degrees Mastercard No ATM Fees Foreign Currency On Holiday or Online Shopping”

  1. You are 100% correct on this one Neerav, i had a non wizard card when working and travelling in Europe and came home to a bill of $400 in fees.

    I knew Wizard existed but at the time of travel was not able to get accepted for one, now however I have one for my travels. =)

  2. Hey Neerav,

    This is great as I’m looking for something to use when I travel to Africa in a couple of months, just curious do you know if there is a Visa equivalent? I only ask as I’ve heard that in some parts of Africa its more widely accepted than Mastercard.

    Thanks!

    EDITOR: hi Michelle. This MasterCard product is the only one I’m aware of offered by an Australian Bank or Financial institution

  3. I just grab a pre-paid visa from the post office before going overseas. You can use them anywhere and there aren’t any additional fees to worry about.

    EDITOR: Actually those prepaid VISA cards usually have lots of fees eg: per ATM withdrawal, per purchase by EFTPOS etc

  4. Wizard clear advantage does look like a good way to use money overseas. When i buy stuff online from different countries, many places are implementing paypal, which is safe and you don’t have to worry about alot of things.

  5. The only other accounts that I have found that come close to this are NAB’s Gold Visa Debit, allows for any withdrawl at any ATM without a fee, but it comes at a cost of $12 AUD per month unless you deposit $5000 AUD into the account each month. A way around this is to deposit your salary and once a month tfr the balance upto $5k for another account and then the next day tfr it back to its original account. However, NAB have not released their fee details once ATM Direct Charging comes in, effective March 2009.
    Westpac have a Debit Mastercard that allows free ATM withdrawls at “Global Alliance” ATM’s in places like the USA, NZ, Canada, the UK. Eg: In the USA if you us a Bank of America ATM there is no ATM fee. There is an account keeping fee of either $3 or $5 depending on the account type, with the $5 one being waived depending on if you have an older account (if you have a min bal of $3000) or the newer ones if you dep $2000 per month.
    Cheers – Colin

  6. You’ve provided some great information. My wife and I love to travel to England, and we were pleasantly surprised to find there was no ATM fee to withdraw money. I’ve since read that that will change. The Wizard Card sounds worthy of a try.

  7. Are there any cash advance fees even though there isn’t any interest charged when withdrawing from an overseas ATM?

    EDITOR: There are no cash advance fees as long as you’ve “cashed up” the credit card so it has a positive balance

  8. Another advantage of the Wizard M/card is that it is a credit card and not a debit card….a lot of hire car companies will only take a credit card.
    cheers….Valvster

  9. Does anyone know how fees will be for ATM withdrawals in Australia with the new legislation which has come in March 3rd. Can we load up this card and use it as a fee free ATM withdrawal or will we pay direct charge at whatever ATM we use.

    EDITOR: Because of the new ATM fees/rules in Australia they have done a deal with Westpac so you can withdraw money using your Wizard Clear Advantage creditcard for no ATM fee in Australia if you use a Westpac ATM

  10. Good advise. That just mean that you don’t have to carry all your credit cards nor have extra cash on your wallet while traveling. It’s much safer though and still you can purchase all you want.

  11. Thanks for the info, I am off to america for the first time in June for about 6 months and it looks like I will be getting this.
    Now a couple quick questions as I am very wary about getting credit cards,

    Now as I am new to all this how do you go about loading your money onto this card using bpay is it very hard to load money on to the credit card using bpay?

    And does the 55 days interest free come in to effect only if you don’t pre load the card with your own money?

    EDITOR: You just pay money onto the card using their BPAY biller code like any other bill/invoice and it appears as a positive balance on the card 2-3 days later

    The 55 interest free days obviously applies if you use the card as a normal creditcard without preloading it with your own money

  12. Whilst researching best credit card for OS travel I’ve noticed a number of posters wondering if the CC providers use the daily rates published by XE.com,etc. The answer appears to be “no” but not necessarily because they are adding an additional percentage to the transaction but rather because the published rates are “midpoint” figures between buying and selling rates for a particular currency. Wizard Clear Advantage loaded into credit certainly appears to be the card if one wants to avoid transaction fees – most of the others are typical bank ripoffs!

  13. Yes I agree this is the best credit card, as they charge no fees for cash out, in Oz and overseas. We used it on our European trip quite happily. Also its good to know using Westpac ATMs in Oz means there is no withdrawal fee…

  14. ATM Fees apply to this card when used Internationally!!! GE Money does not charge the conversion fee of 2.5% but will still charge an ATM Fee when imposed by the owner of the ATM machine from which funds are withdrawn!!

  15. Sometimes difficult to extract accurate information from card providers. Initially a call centre worker assured me there were NO fees at all on drawing your own cash overseas but eventually I was advised there could be a small fee if the ATM was not branded Mastercard or Cirrus. Searching on-line but haven’t been able to find MC machines in Venice, Bangkok or Hong Kong. Can anyone confirm likelihood of MC ATMs in these places and What fee is applied to the NON-MC ATMs??
    TIA.

    EDITOR: generally speaking independently owned ATM’s (not Mastercard or Visa) whether in Australia or elsewhere in the world can charge anything they want, some will warn you of the charges before you make a withdrawal, others may not.

  16. Hi there – I called the infoline to enquire about the information above that states:

    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.

    As my limit is only $1000 and I intended to put about $6000 onto the car this concerned me – however the guy checked with his supervisor who said this was not correct – he said you can withdraw $1000 AUD a day no matter about the billing cycle provided you had enough credit. – Has anybody run into a problem with doing this in the past or is this in writing on the official website or PDS?

  17. This is great, thanks for the info 🙂 I applied the other day, and despite getting a return email saying they’d need 5 to 10 days to think about it before letting me know if I was approved, I got a card through the post 2 days later 🙂 They gave me a credit limit of $8,000 as well, which I’m certainly not complaining about as it’ll remove a few of the cash advance limit issues people have been having. Going overseas on our honeymoon in 2 weeks, so this is great timing. Thanks again!

  18. OK so Wizard Clear Advantage is the way to go for Aussies. Like many Call Centres, their advice can be a little inconsistent. Several times call centre staff (including supervisors)have assured me that there is no charge for withdrawals of your own funds at any overseas ATMs.

    Their literature advises to withdraw from Mastercard/Global Alliance ATMs and doesn’t mention other ATMs.

    What about non-MC/GA ATMs? Personally, a $1 or $2 fee for withdrawals at other machines doesn’t worry me but I remain interested to hear from Wizard Card users whether they were in fact charged a fee at non-MC/GA ATMs overseas – how much and any dramas? Did anyone have difficulty finding Mastercard/Global Alliance ATMs?

  19. I can assure everybody it’s a really great card, we’ve been using our card widely in Asia and Europe including ATM withdrawals and we weren’t charged any fees once whatsoever!! That was in 2007/08 though, not sure if there have been any new charges introduced since they were acquired by Aussie… Credit limit can be an issue though, they seem a bit reluctant to agree on limit increases despite good income. But then, pre-loading is an option.

  20. im using it at the moment in chile and it´s great. the only problem so far is that some atm´s are charging an additional 2.000 pesos for using them (between 3 and 4 AUD). still researching how to avoid this here and the other south american countrise i´ll be visiting. any clues?

  21. Hmm. I used Bpay to transfer some credit on Saturday, and it’s still not showing up as yet on the card (as of Thursday). How long has it taken for everyone else when Bpaying funds?

  22. I just checked the Aussie Credit card website and it states that overseas ATM withdrawal/ purchases attract a variable fee. Presumably this applies only if there is no money loaded onto the account in advance? i.e., purchases/ withdrawals against credit?

    EDITOR: GE Money has only sold the Wizard brand and a portion of the Wizard mortgage business to Aussie not the Wizard credit card business.

    Wizard Clear Advantage credit cards will continue to be supported as usual by GE Money

  23. Hi there, has anyone tried to apply for credit limit increase lately through the wizard website? I think it worked at least 1-2 months ago, now after i click the button it just says “Unfortunately, your request for a credit limit increase cannot be approved at this time.

    If you would like to decrease your credit limit, please contact our Customer Solutions Team. ”

    I have a $3500 limit, only $1k balance due (today is first day of the billing cycle too), good payment history (usually pay off card before interest could be charged- but I did pay interest a few times). I originally started off with a $2000 limit card, both times they offered me to increase my credit limit and i accepted. So i’m puzzled whether this is just me or it’s just no longer offered through the website.

    Thanks!

  24. I have been using the Wizard Card for a couple of years overseas. It certainly has the advantage of no access fees so long as the local bank does not charge. However I believe that it may not be as good as what it was.
    When I started using it overseas, ther exchange rate on a cash withdrawal was almost identical or quite low when checked against the official interbank rate for that day. Here are a few real examples:

    Oct07 Germany Interbank rate 0.6368 Wizard 0.6366 (Conversion fee 0%)
    Oct07 Denmark Interbank rate 4.7579 Wizard 4.7259 (Conversion fee 0.7%)
    Jun08 Malaysia Interbank rate 3.127 Wizard 3.1091 (Conversion fee 0.7%)

    However when I visited the uS last October the conversion was up to 7%! I ignored this as it was when the global financial crisis hit and the Aussie dollar was varying tremendously (10% in a week).
    Regardless I suspected that the conversion was not as good! Why? – I did attempt to withdraw $150 US dollars at a fee free ATM but it did not have the denominations so I withdrew $140 US. When I arrived home I found a discrepancy of $8 caused by conversion of $150 US to AU and then back again because the transaction could not work- this is a 4% difference. (by the way I had to fight with Wizard to get it back)

    I arrived back from UK yesterday and checked my account:
    Interbank rate 0.4859 Wizard 0.4722 Conversion fee 2.8%

    Perhaps I have been unlucky with processing dates (though I have tried to account for this). I’d be interested to see if others have analysed tranactions lately. Perhaps Aussie (new owners) have changed the hidden conversion fee we all pay.

  25. I am headed for an overseas holiday very soon, and I am looking for the best credit card to take overseas. This information has been very helpful. I will be signing up for this credit card offer.

  26. just applied then, took 5 minutes and i got a 6k limit LOL @ how disgustingly easy it was
    will save me plenty as i racked up $500 in fees in the last 6 months in canada using my normal card
    thanks for the info

  27. thanks for the information regarding this card,im going to nz and want to get a card like this can anyone tell me what the issuance fee is to get started also is there a bpay fee to load your card with your own money and does it mean if i only withdraw cash in nz from mastercard accepted ATMs that i should have no fees at all?

  28. I just applied for this card and got approved immediately. However, when I went on to the website for Wizard and looked at the fees and charges it said the following:

    Overseas Transaction fee: variable
    When you make a purchase or cash advance in a foreign currency you’ll be charged 3% the value of any foreign or Australian currency transaction charged to the Aussie MasterCard account where the ATM, merchant or financial institution accepting the card is located outside of Australia .

    I was looking at the comments by Alex above on the 29 March and he said there were no transaction fees – am I reading the above comments by Wizard correctly??

    This seems to be more expensive

    EDITOR: I think you got confused and applied for an Aussie creditcard. The Wizard card available via http://www.wizardclearadvantage.com.au has no overseas foreign exchange fees

  29. I have been using Wizard for 3+ years and been o/s with it countless times. It would have saved me $1000s by now.

    I am intrigued why I can’t see anything on their home page promoting the fact that it’s fee free overseas. Are things going to change since the rest of Wizard was sold to Aussie/Commbank?

    http://www.wizardclearadvantage.com.au/

  30. I applied for a clear advantage mc and got a $6000 limit, easy.

    does anyone know if this card can be used in Philippines?

    [[I remember during my Japan trip in jan 08 that the atms (including the atm in disneyland!) wouldn’t accept my commonwealth bank MC or ANZ visa card. bah! hopefully i can get access to my mulah in phils. fee free. i’m still a bit suss about this card. im sure wizard will find a way to jip me! haha]]

  31. Filo: Works fine in Philippines. Used it for a week. Did sometimes have to do some ATM-hopping though. ATMs are known to run out of cash over there. ATMs at all the airports, but dont expect them in tiny towns – so be a little bit more prepared than if you were in a western country. Once had to take a 40 min taxi ride to the closest ATM. I wasn’t happy, but the taxi driver was.

  32. Hi,

    I just spoke to a supervisor who (in contrast to the operators) sounded very knowledgeable about restrictions on this card. He said there is no restriction on cash advances within a billing cycle, per se.

    The restriction lies within Mastercard’s authorisation system – which takes a few days for an authorisation of a particular amount to go through. Within this period of 2-4 days – you can not exceed your credit limit. So in your above example of a 3,000 credit limit and 5,000 cash put on top: you can withdraw up to AUD$3,000 every few days or so (until the authorisation process completes).

  33. Never got to find out if this card is any good.
    Made application on line, heard nothing for weeks, rang them and they said card had been sent told me to wait, waited and the PIN turned up, rang them again they said wait, after a month rang them and said dont bother cancel the account … never did see a card.
    Every contact with the support centre was very difficult as they appear to be an Indian call centre with very poor english … dont bother with this card.

  34. THanks for this information. Its a great deal. I too travel a lot and with st george, $5 per atm PLUS %2.5 conversion fee soon adds up!
    I just applied look forward to my next trip 🙂

  35. hi,leaving to go around Asia on the 16 of this month and was wondering with cash advance if i have a limit of $2k and put in $3000 can i spend the 3000 in the month or i can only spend $2000,getting different response to this answers on this topic !cheers

  36. I am new at this, I have to pay for a holiday overseas, that is in South Africa. Previously, I used my credit card and got charged 2.4% with Suncorp visa card. I understand with my wizard clear advantage credit card I will not be charged this fee and hopefully attract a better exchange rate. Is this correct?

    EDITOR: if they let you get a card than Yes your questions are exactly right.

  37. I spoke to their customer service and I was told to be careful not to load too much cash, i.e. no more than $2000, because apparently it will look suspicious and they might think there’s fraud… Is that true? Has anyone loaded more than $2000?

    EDITOR: thats rubbish advice. I pre-loaded 5K-6K cash onto the card for my last holiday and I know other people have done the same with no problems

    EDITOR #2: However it is recommended to call Wizard a few days before you travel overseas and tell them which countries you’re visiting – that way the purchases overseas don’t look like fraud

  38. Hi, I am new in using the wizard MC for cash withdrawal. Not sure which “account” to select once I insert the Wizard MC into an overseas ATM to wishdraw cash from a preloaded Wizard MC card. Would appreciate if some one please confirm that ,

    1) is there any choices for account selection ?
    2) If so, is “credit” the right account for cash withdrawal ? or should it be something else as displayed on the ATM terminal ?

  39. I am very interested in the nil currency conversion fee feature. Is it still nil if I use it as a credit card, i.e. do not pre-load my own money into it first?

    I usually pay off the full balance of my credit card on the due date each month. If I do this, and there’s no annual fee and no currency conversion fee, how does Wizard make any revenue from me? It sounds too good to be true. Are you sure there’s no catch?

    EDITOR: All credit card providers make a % off the merchant for every transaction

  40. I just got approved for $1000 despite good credit history, decent income and another CC with a high limit (which I always pay off in full). Anyone else have this problem? Going overseas in 6mths and only applied for this card for the reason of saving on transaction fees in foreign currencies. Person I spoke to at call centre suggested that if everything went well i would only be able to increase to $3,000-$3500 then. Not to keen on hanging onto the card now, as it’s basically unusable for me with a $1000 limit. However this loading beyond the limit sounds like an option. Also like another reader, wonder why the fee free feature is gone from their advertising and website?

  41. I would like to pay for an overseas holiday using my wizard card. The holiday is in travel agent is in Africa so it will be converted to foreign currency.They send me a secure account link and I enter my credit card details. I believe if I load my card with the amount using bpay and then transfer money by credit card details I will avoid foireign currency charges. Correct?

  42. We have just returned from 3 months overseas and did not receive ANY fees or charges. We did access cash in Venice (for the person who was unsure of availability). I did a comparison using 2 different cards and this is definitely the way to go. We would have saved a considerable amount of money during this time.

  43. I’m heading overses in a couple of days. I’ve got this credit card and will use it for ATM withdrawals and for creditcard transations. I just loaded the card with only the money I plan on needing for cash purchases.

    Now what i don’t understand is if I initially make credit card transactions (when the card is in credit) then are the funds for these purchases taken from the money I loaded onto the card or will these be normal credit purcashes and have a 55 day interest free period? So will I need to load the card with enough available funds for both credit card purchases and ATM cash withdrawals?

    EDITOR: YES – if you initially make credit card transactions (when the card is in credit) then the funds for these purchases are taken from the money you loaded onto the card

    YES – load the card with enough available funds for both credit card purchases and ATM cash withdrawals

    bon voyage

  44. I just got this card and heading overseas soon. Just one question, how to you preload the card?
    I don’t see any information given with the card about how to pay any bill on the card (or put any money onto the card). I even signed up to their online account information, but there does not appear to be option to pay anything. I could be missing something obvious, or do you get this information when you get your first statement?

    EDITOR: Just BPAY money to your credit card from your bank savings account

  45. good morning people.

    i applied for the card yesterday and got a 6000 limit which im happy with. so i applied thurs 10 sept and am leaving the country on mon the 28th! will i have enough time to receive the card? they say 5-10 busness days. anyone comment on the real life speed they send it out? also once i get the card and ring up and activiate it, can i use it straigt away? do i receive the pin for it later? if so this might be a problem! also i see mention of an ID check you have to fill out and send in. does this mean i cant use it OS until then? id plan to put at least 2000au on it as soon as i get it. PLEASE HELP!!!!!

    also as someone mentioned above, when you put it in a ATM OS does it give you a choice of what “account” you can choose to access your money? ie do you press “savings” or “credit” or what??

  46. Answer to matt’s comment:

    I applied on a Saturday night and got the standard automated reply that I’ll hear from them in 5-10 days. I phoned them on the Monday, was told that my application had been approved and that I should receive the card by the following Monday. It arrived in the mail two days later. The PIN didn’t arrive until a week after that, despite the PIN letter being dated the same day as the card letter.

    The card can be used as soon as you activate it.

    Dpn’t know anything about an ID check. Whatever I filled in on the online application was good enough for them to approve immediately.

    RE ATM usage – it’s a credit card, not a debit card, there’s no “savings” or “cheque” account linked to it. Withdrawing cash at an ATM is a cash advance on the credit card account.

  47. Re Anonymous comment August 14 and editors reply.
    First: Yes, this card is wonderful for overseas travel.
    BUT, Second: It is your editors reply that is rubbish in this case.
    If you pre load the card prior to leaving overseas you MUST inform Wizard that you are doing it for overseas travel.
    My husband and I forgot to do so and whilst in Holland and just about to depart for a cruise in Svalbard where we would be out of contact with the world unless we used satellite phone, and luckily found the card had been stopped. When we got through to Wizard in Australia in the middle of the Norwegian night we were told that it had been stopped because it looked suspicious.
    After explaining the situation the card was immediately re instituted.
    I cannot be more complimentary of Wizard cards, but you MUST tell them you are loading the card for overseas travel.

    EDITOR: point taken and suggestion added accordingly to the comment on August 14.

  48. Hi, going to USA in Nov for 3 weeks.

    Been researching on whats the best way to take money over there, and deciding over anz travel, my suncorp visa debit or wizard clear. This one sounds interesting, as i do want to save as much money.

    Im abit confused on some parts.

    They state there is no ATM withdrawal fees with this card, but in the USA they have local atm fees dont they? how much they charge? is the Mastercard name known in most places?

    And in my understanding, if your credit limit is 5000, and cash advanced another 3000 ontop of it, you can only withdraw 5000 max every cycle?

  49. hi peeps, minor updat with me. applied for the card on a thursm, it was at my house on the following wed. rung up got it activated, changed the pin (before it had even arrived in the mail) and put 1200 on it. the 1200 showed up in 3 days (did it via bpay with commonwelth bank) and used a westpac in aus to “test” it by taking out 50 bucks. all worked and 10 minutes after the withdrawl i got a phone call from wizard to check it was me making the withdrawl. so far so good. MY RECOMENDATIONS: make sure you test the card BEFORE you leave so you can get the call and sort it out or they might suspend your card. Also TELL THEM WHERE YOU ARE GOING and when etc. otherwise i will report back on how it works in south korea and europe in a few months 😉

  50. I now have a card – and am looking forward to trying it out!

    one thing though – the prepaid cards do have an advantage in that you can lock in your exchange rate – so if its really good (as it is atm) it may be worth getting one – even factorinf in the fees

  51. I have used this card for a couple of years and apart from two or three occasions in France and UK when it was not accepted because it does not have a chip, it was great. I think the problems were with lazy or uniformed staff at shops.
    One thing I am not sure off though. When the card is loaded with cash who is responsible if it gets stolen? I have been told that for the cash added the bank is not held accountable.

  52. Your Quote:Because you’ve already put money onto the Wizard Clear Advantage 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.

    Hi,
    Just wondering are you 100% sure about your advice above? i’m thinking about applying for the card but i just rang up Wizard and ask about the fine print on their website ‘Cash advances are charged interest from the date of withdrawal’ and was told that’s correct even if your card/ account is in credit or positive balance, you’ll get charged interest when you redraw cash but no cash advance fee charged. So, i’m not sure who to believe now…

  53. i don’t want to sound stupid and repetitive… but i might. I read all these comments at 11:00pm. Just clarifying, if i withdraw money overseas with this wizard ‘wondercard’, or i use it to pay for a purchase over the counter does it only ever spend the money i’ve loaded up on to it as i long as i don’t spend over that pre-loaded amount?

    EDITOR: yes

  54. So does anyone whether or not you would be covered for any loss of pre paid cash if this card was stolen and used.

    Re-the ‘cash advance interest charge’. I understand this to be if you had drawn out a bit more than you had left, which is what I did this year. I had transferred money onto the card but with the weekend it had not gone through so I was charged interest.

  55. Hi,

    I’m heading to the US in 3 months and was wondering:

    1. if the ATM fees the american banks charge will be applied to the card (i.e. passed on by wizard?).
    2. Also, are withdrawals from mastercard atms free?
    3. When you preload money on the card, is the exchange rate of the day you transfer the funds locked in?

  56. marieclaire i rang customer support the other night and they said any money that was loaded onto the card is not covered if say the card is stolen. you are only covered for the credit amount. i hope that makes sense!

  57. Hi Pete, thanks for that and yes that is exactly what I expected but not what I had hoped for but so long as we know!

    Keep the card safe is the motto!!

  58. Good write up. I can vouch for this card- used it for 6 months travelling europe using the positive balance method and didnt pay a cent in fees!!

  59. i tried to get this card but was denied! i think its because ive only been at my place of employment for 6 months… but im going overseas for 2 years so i see this as being the only card i can really use without being r*ped by fees! so il be getting my father to vget one for me (im 27 and have to get my dad to get a credit card for me! how ridiculous!)

    has anyone had any experience using it around south america ??

  60. Yeah I’m interested too, the website lacks any information about international fees ever since Wizard was bought by Aussie …

    Any ideas Mr Neerav? P.S lol @ adsense on this page. Good blending 😛

  61. Hi,

    8 of us are heading over to Japan in February and this sounds ideal. I hear that you are restricted in where you can withdraw money from ATMs in japan (seven eleven and citibank)…

    Has anyone had experience of traveling to Japan and getting cash / paying with plastic?

    Wish there was a way to use XE.com to transfer AUD to YEN and then withdraw it at that locked down rate.

  62. I applied for the card Tueday and received the card Friday morning with a $3000 limit.

    Very happy with the level of service, cant wait to go spend the card fee free overseas

    😀

    EDITOR: Happy to help, 1 more person not getting ripped off by foreign exchange fees 🙂

  63. We recently used the Wizard card in Vietnam. Two things we found:

    1. The exchange rates offered by Wizrad were a bit lower (1AUD = 16,600dong) whereas when we exchanged cash in Vietnam we got 1AUD=17,500 dong. That’s about 5% lower.

    2. We wanted to make a purchase that was over $1000 AUD, and initially the card kept on being declined. Half an hour later, after calls to Wizard (who couldn’t find out what was wrong with the card), we asked the staff to divide the amount up and try the card twice -and It worked. The trick was that the purchase needs to be under $1000AUD – a bit odd but it worked out nonetheless.

    It is convenient to have the Wizard card, but you do have to pay a bit of a premium.

  64. Hi Alison,

    I think you’ll find that you’ll always get a better exchange rate anywhere when changing cash. You’re exchanging one commodity for another. The money changer can immediately onsell the cash they took from you without any third-party involvement or overheads, whereas Wizard have processing charges for your transaction as it goes through a few hands before it hits your account with them.

    That’s a good trick about dividing a large purchase into smaller chunks if having a problem getting a transaction authorised.

  65. I used this card when traveling. Very convenient for me because it does not have the currency conversion and international transaction fees – my platinum card cannot even match this one. I use this card a lot for buy small things and eating. When buying expensive stuff such as SLR then I pull out my platinum card simply for the insurance and extended warranty stuff.
    Regarding lower exchange rate – I don’t bother too much…. they need to make some margin so I dont have any problem. Live is about take and give.

  66. i have used this card for the past year – travelled to new zealand and canada – no probs. Have used the Bpay feature topping up the card while in canada for 3 months – using private (not public) computers to access my bank account in australia. Also to check balances. Did not advise Wizard I was going overseas (see fraud prev. above). I have also used this card when purchasing products from overseas companies over the internet. My hubby has finally decided he should have this card too for travels.

  67. im heading to japan in march and wondering if this card is easy to use over there and if you can top the card up while there and this might sound dumb but if i withdraw money there it comes out already converted thanks for help

  68. The card works fine in Japan, once you find and ATM! They are usually in post offices, if you have any bother ask for help and the staff will oblige.
    You can top up online, bpay from your account to the Wizard account. Make sure you put enough on to cover any purchases you have made because the money you load on will pay these off first and you will be left short and yes it comes out of the hole as local currency.

  69. I recently returned from China, Hong Kong and KL and used the Wizard card with no problems or transaction fees. I have a $2000 limit and put $3000 on the card before I left. I withdrew $2400 in my billing period with no fees. It sure is a wizard of a card!

  70. I also meant to add that the exchange rate using the card was excellent. The money changers offered 6.00 to 6.05 in China and the Wizard card was 6.15

  71. I used one of these when i went traveling for 6 months [Late 2008] had no trouble all through europe, Thailand, Cambodia or the US. I think their exchange rates where a bit higher than ANZ if i remember right.

    One problem i had with the card is that it appeared to only let you take at $500 at a time, Possibly because that was my credit limit on the card. Even if i had pre loaded $1000.

    And wizard used to be slow in updating their online statements. Anyway it was a great card to have especially for foreign ATM’s

  72. Ive just applied for the cred card, leave for Europe in April.

    Where are the fees and charges and also the foreign interest rates? Cant find them on the website??

  73. hi –
    i have finally got my wizard card sent over to me by family – would strongly recommend applying significantly before your departure date, i had a lot of problems with wizard´s customer service.

    Luckily got the letter asking me to confirm my identity before i left the country, but that was about all that went smoothly. They said the card would arrive in 14 days, but 3 weeks later (on the day i was leaving aus – i applied 6 weeks before leaving, not a good idea!) I got a letter asking me why i hadn´t activated my card.

    When i called to ask what was up i was told everything was fine and my card had only been posted 2 weeks before so wasn´t expected to arrive for another week or so. No clear answer about why i had received the other letter. A few weeks later called again and they said they had run out of cards to print on (!) so i had never been issued with one, so they would cancel it and send me a new card.

    The next day, literally, the first card showed up in the post at my mother´s house (some 8 weeks after it was due). No idea why they had no record of issuing it. That card couldn´t be used cause it´d been canceled, so then began the waiting for the second card (and then the postal service to get it over to south america).

    So yeah, i am a little surprised to see comments on here about how helpful the customer service staff are – whatever the other benefits of the card may be, the staff don´t seem to have a clue what is going on when you make an inquiry about your account. Hope after all this stuffing around this card turns out to be as much of cost saver as people have been saying!!!!!!

  74. A glitch in the Wizard credit card, I have a $8000 limit I am going overseas for 7 weeks, if I top up my credit account with a further $5000, the problem that I have discovered is, if I spent $6000 on general expences, Restaurants, Tours, Gifts, etc, then I wanted $500 cash out of the ATM, I would incur interest from day one.

    Normally when one is away overseas, you would charge everyday expenditure onto your credit card, then pay when you arrive home, as long as it was whithin the 55day grace period, with no interest charges With this card you start paying interest on the $500 from day one. There dose not seem any way you can seperate your cash requirements from your every day expenditure.

  75. Answer to my own question, to overcome seperating your credit card limit $8000 from your top up funds $5000, is to have a seperate debit card eg: Com. bank travel money card, Aust. Post card or similar, load it with your cash $5000, this way you eliminate most of the fees, then use your credit limit, for general expences, which has no fees.

    EDITOR: or you could take cash out when you arrive if you want to use the interest free period for credit purchases as well. Bit of a nuisance but at least if you get organised it works out cheap.

  76. Neerav, thanks for this article. Spoke to you about this before my year-long round the world trip.

    I went to Asia, Europe, and America from March 2009 through till January 2010 and this card made the trip so much easier! I would simply log-on every few weeks, top it up, and never got charged a cent.

    There were a few times for whatever reason I had to use another card and the overseas transaction fees were an absolute killer.

    Other than the wizard.com.au site going down a few times, for up to 3-4 days at a time towards the end of my trip, it worked an absolute charm. There were some ATMs, particularly in parts of Europe, where they didn’t work. But we quickly learnt which ones accepted it and whcih didn’t. Thanks for the advice Neerav, it made my trip around the world that bit cheaper and helped me get further for my cash :).

  77. i was rejected for this card despite having a stellar credit history and more than an adequate financial circumstance. is it possible that people with such a history are being rejected on account of an unlikelyness to generate income for the issuer? has the ‘travel debit card’ style usage of the card been so unprofitable that they are limiting its accessability?

  78. I am told by the Wizard call centre that if money is loaded into the card there are no fees, but your money is NOT INSURED. Therefore if skimmed and you lose money, Wizard won’t cover it. They will if used as a conventional credit card. Given the skimming problems at present (see Indonesia’s problems with it in January) this makes me nervous. Any comment Mr editor?

    EDITOR: Using another bank’s creditcard = guaranteed “scam” of 1-3% in forex fees + ATM fees which can add up to be a lot of money over a long trip.

    The odds of getting a card skimmed are very low indeed.

    In the end the choice is yours

  79. Been using the Wizard card from when it 1st released and I use it on ebay, buying things in foreign dollars etc, and travelling. It provides Interbank rates! (however, not at the rate of the day, but rate 1 day prior to processing date (which could be a few days later).)

    There are 3 things to watch out for.

    1. Make sure you go to a bank atm (normally they don’t charge an owner ATM fee). ie. In Australia, the only place you should go to make a cash advance is Westpac ATMS as other ATMs in Australia can charge $2-$10 bucks for cash advances. (Wizard does not charge this).

    2. Make sure you have another card that has a “Chip” on it. In London and many european countries, the Wizard card can’t be used on their new readers that are “chip” only. Ie. at Paddington station, London, when trying to buy regional tickets from the office, they only accepted chip cards. In this case, the best card to get is the BankWest Zero (as they charge the lowest foreign exchange fees (on a widely available card) -after the Wizard card)

    3. Don’t use it as the ‘holding card’ for your accomdation, because then basically the amount they hold is “locked in” as used and you may not have enough to spend on it.

  80. Forgot to mention 1 thing…

    In developing nations, just use the Wizard card on things that you prefer to use credit cards on. (as it will still give you the best rate without conversion fees out of all cards from Australia).

    However restrict your usage in these countries, (such as Vietnam and Thailand), because you can usually get MUCH better rates from money changers. This is because these guys prefer to hold ‘foreign money’ and are willing to pay a bit more than ‘interbank’ rate to gain access to this cash. For example in Vietnam, you may an extra 1000 dong on top of the Interbank rate on that day and besides, physical cash in usually king in those countries.

  81. Hey guys,

    Got the card, and have used it in Malaysia, works great!

    I’m currently in Hong Kong right now and just recently, I found out I need to make a large transfer of cash to my bank account over here. Since I can’t do an international telegraphic transfer from my local bank, I am relying on the cash advance to withdraw cash from HK’s atms, and then deposit the HK dollar cash into my account.

    I have a $6,000 limit and I have already preloaded $7,000 into it. Is the withdrawal limit only AUD $1,000 per day? (If so, it could be a problem since that means I may have to practically do the withdraw almost every day until I can accumulate the necessary amount) Is there any way that allow me to bypass this daily limit and let me withdraw one big batch? (like calling up wizard clear advantage and i have not done so yet)

    Of course, my other alternative is to get a family member to telegraphic the cash over here, but the exchange rate would probably be crap.

    Thanks!

    Temjin

  82. To the editor: As mentioned by Michael 8th March 2010 some European countries do not accept cards without a chip,I have heard this a lot lately, also Australia will be introducing the same system soon, as I will be traveling in France, Great Britain and France later this year, this would make the use of the Wizard card not of a great benifit, is it likely that Wizard will be issuing a card in the near future with the chip incorporated in it?.

  83. Do you save on fees and charges as well if you pre-pay for things like hotel accomodation and flights online, whilst you are in australia before you head overseas?

  84. I just called the phone number on their website for the Wizard Clear Advantage Mastercard to enquire about this card coz I’m going to America in July. The lady (GE) confirmed there are no overseas ATM withdrawals fees or international transaction/conversion fees, no start up or annual fees and to check http://www.xe.com for the exchange rate. The bit that stumped me was when I asked how much can be preloaded onto it she advised me that it’s a credit card, when I mentioned that I had read that money can be preloaded onto it she advised that the card had been incorrectly advertised in the past and only $1k can be preloaded onto it, it’s main function is a credit card. I’m assuming, looking at number of comments about people preloading their cards with over $1,000, that she has given me the incorrect information about how much can be preloaded onto it?

  85. Temjin – Just go into a bank branch and you can withdraw up to your credit limit. (but depending on the branch, they may charge you a over-the-counter fee.)

    BJ – Yes, if you pay foreign currency, it gets converted back into Australia using interbank rates, so you do save on fees (day before actual processing date, not purchase date). use it on ebay and paypal (pay in foreign and you’ll save on the exchange rate)

    Brian – I asked as well… GE doesn’t make cards with Chips on them, and the reason they don’t advertising this Zero Overseas thing is because they don’t want people to use this card anymore. They rather you apply for any of their other cards.

    Wes – They don’t mention in their T&C about overseas charges – because there are none. Most credit cards only mention it, when there are charges. (makes sense?)

    Ash – I usually load more than 1k each time. No problems, but I don’t recommend it. Just load up to 1K at a time, because you can only withdraw 1K max per day anyway… I usually make sure I have internet access or set up prepayments at home before I leave.

    EDITOR: thanks for answering all those questions Michael 🙂

  86. Just thought I’d put this out there; that the wizard card unfortunately can’t be used in Cuba due to the card’s GEMoney backing as American cards are not accepted.

    Also I’ve found one way of limiting the threat of card skimming is to have automatic transfers set up. In this case your ‘loss’ is limited to your money sitting on the card. The other thing is to check ATMs and cover your pin 🙂

    Oh and yeah I love this card too! Thanks for reconfirming how much it kicks all the other cards.

  87. thanks Michael.
    in regards to your previous comment: 3. Don’t use it as the ‘holding card’ for your accomdation, because then basically the amount they hold is “locked in” as used and you may not have enough to spend on it.
    – why does Wizard ‘lock in’ this amount and not other credit cards?

  88. ash,

    asking that question at the same time as appliying on the the phone meant that my application was rejected. hope they didnt get your name when you made your enquiry.

  89. Quentin, oh fortunately I didn’t give my name when I made enquiries. I have now applied for it (online) and got a response saying they would review it and let me know within 5-10 days, so I’ll see what happens.

  90. The wizard card WAS a good concept for users but not a moneymaker for GE.Recently I got a card and they would only give me credit of$1000.00.Re loading up the card,they wont allow it and told me they will block the card if I try and deposit ANY sum as credit funds.The whole apparatus is very user un-friendly.BTW I have limits of $15000 on my bank credit cards.
    The wizard card will however come in handy for small purchases over the net but not 4 anything else.

  91. Hi, I got this card for my recent overseas trip to Canada and the US. It worked a treat. No fees, really good exchange rates and very few hassles. The only major problem i had was in Vancouver as Visa had blackbanned Mastercard (because Visa sponser the Olympics) so i couldn’t even withdraw cash at an ATM, let alone use it at a shop etc. Just a warning for those people going to an overseas sporting event.

    Otherwise, this card was absolutely fantastic, and with me saving so much on fees and exchange rates, i had money left over!!! Wahooo. Thanks for the blog, great info and advice.

  92. (1) Do you need a chipped credit card to make purchases in the Netherlands/France/UK?
    (2) Do you need a chipped credit card to withdraw cash from the ATMs in the Netherlands/France/UK?
    (3) If you go to a Mastercard ATM, is it true that there is no ATM withdrawal fees in the Netherlands/France/UK?

  93. after hearing all this, very keen to get this card… i am going traveling around europe for quite a while… and after a lot of research, its the only card with $0 fees if i use my own cash!! As I will only be using it to top up my own money, my only problem is that all my money is in an ING account. I wanted to know if i can top up this Wizard Clear Advantage Card with money from ING? Or will i have to move it all to another account first then to Wizard.. which would be a pain. ING told me they cant transfer via BPay.. Is there any easy way around this, as i would like to keep most of my cash in a high interest savings account while away??

  94. Is it an ING internet bank account? I think you can’t BPAY, you have to use your everyday bank account. I know USaver online accounts allow you to transfer money to third parties without going through your everyday banking account but I don’t think they allow you to BPAY directly either.

  95. Ok guys,

    Going overseas in a few days, Europe, UK and Asia … so I’ll let you guys know after if the Wizard card still works as described as I will be instantly withdrawing at the overseas airport. I did a similar trip around 2 years ago, and it worked perfectly.

    Also few months ago, a close friend loaded it up in Taiwan and Thailand and it worked perfectly, so I haven’t received anything to state otherwise. (following my 1kAUD once a week rule)

    However just to make it clear, the Wizard card only allows $1,000AUD to be withdrawn as a Cash Advance at any ATM per day. It is recommended that you give a minimum 3 days before doing another cash withdrawal and make sure you call Wizard and let them know WHICH countries and dates you will be in.

    You obviously can go into any bank branch and make a over the counter withdrawal up to your credit limit (you need to show ID though and not just a pin). and Yes I have done this before. (though the European bank did charge me $10USD to do this as I was not a customer).

    They cannot barr overpayments (as it is through a 3rd party – ie. Bpay and it is your money). They will block the card ONLY if they feel it is suspicious. In this case, they will ring you – (but the catch here, is you might not be contactable). If you have previously told them you are travelling, they won’t block your card (but they will still try to call) – so its a MUST to call them prior and tell them you’re going overseas. You do not need to tell them you are loading up the card, as this money is not protected by them.

    A important recommendation is don’t overload the card, as this will be deemed suspicious, and you’ll then need to call to ‘unblock’ the card – a hassle while overseas.

    In Europe, Chip cards are becoming more popular, though 90% of the places still use the swipes – so there’s really no problem with Wizard. Just carry another chip card in place. As mentioned before, BankWest Zero is probably the best, as it gives the lowest overseas transaction frees, no annual fee, and has travel insurance in place.

  96. Sorry – Just to clarify what i mean by “overloading” a card..

    If you have a credit limit of $1,000aud…don’t load it by $5,000 at one time… spread your prepayments. (ie. 1k per 3 days)… and withdraw every 3/4 days. (so you’re never really over 1k over your limit) It’s safer this way (protect your own money) and you can only withdraw 1k a day anyway.

  97. If you are using the card to top up your own cash, would it be wise to just set up automatic transfers from your everyday account to the Wizard account say every week or so, so that you dont have to be doing it through internet cafes, as ill be moving around quite a bit? I have heard that its not wise to do any banking through those for security reasons?? is this true? Any other options to get your money into the account safely?

  98. Ok. Cash advances (withdrawals) still works at HSBC and standard Chartered ATMS at Hong Kong Airport.

  99. Just to give people who are applying for this card an idea of how long it takes to get it (in case you’re considering applying before going overseas), I applied online on 17 March, received conditional approval in the mail on 25 March (the condition was I had to submit the ID form they sent me to the Post Office – showing my ID and they had to witness my signature) so I did that the next day, and today (6 April) I received my card & found out what my credit limit was. I did call on 25 March to ask what the credit limit was they were going to offer me if approved, but they couldn’t give me that information until the approval process was complete. The timeline may differ, I have read on this website that some people got approval immediately, but for me it was approx 12 working days.

  100. People might like to know about the NAB Visa Gold Debit card. $10 a month, or free of charges if $5000 a month goes through the account which is easy to do on a holiday. NO OS charges made by the bank at all, no 2% foreign transaction fee, no ATM fee. You use it like an ATM card and a CC but the money comes out of the account straight away. Also good for buying stuff OS on-line. I saved over $200 compared with my husband on our last trip. We always take the same amount of cash from the same ATM at the same time to spread the holiday costs evenly so it was easy to keep track of this.
    The only warning, hotels and car hire companies can put a hold over funds in case of damage. On a debit card this can restrict your available funds. Have a CC for this purpose. I have another interest bearing account with NAB and I just transfer funds into this one as needed via the on-line process. This is instantaneous.

  101. Works in UK, France, Italy and Poland and HK… (as a cash withdrawal card). No atm fees (as long as you choose a bank atm that says no cash withdrawal fees).

  102. Got a Wizard myself as it is a CC and can be used for car hire and hotel rooms which the debit card cannot. I lowered the amount of credit they would allow and they advised me that this can only be changed once per year. They also reiterated that if I have money loaded on all ATM withdrawals AND CC spends will come out of that first, like a debit card. I don’t think it will be quite as useful as my NAB Gold Debit card but it has some advantages and as it is fee free, that is worthwhile.

  103. Applied Monday pm for the card it arrived Thursday am with an $8000 credit limit, helpful staff when I called, all sounds good. THANK YOU so much for the helpful blog and info
    SD

  104. Hi everyone,

    I applied for the Wizard Clear Advantage CC yesterday online and it came back saying my application was “referred for review” and I will be contacted in 5-10 working days.

    I work full time on a 60K+ salary and have no bad credit. Does anyone know why I wouldn’t have qualified for instant approval? Also what paperwork would they require me to provide (old pay slips, mortgage repayments?)

    Would someone call me or would i just get conditional offer in the post?

    Thanks all 🙂

  105. Don’t worry, that is what they say to all applicants. They just have to check your basic credentials. They said the same to me and then I got the card in about 10 days, no additional questions asked. I am currently using it in NZ and things seem to be going fine.

  106. Hi all,

    Just a follow up from my earlier post. I received the Wizard Credit Card in the post yesterday (so only a 4 day turn-around). Credit Limit was $6,000 🙂

  107. Some advice and clarity, Thanks……
    Firstly, I’m overseas and I want to contact wizard clear advantage to see if they have set up my direct debit from my everyday account. How do i get in touch with them as they have no email and the Indian call centers take ages using up mobile money, and cuts off?

    Secondly, if I use direct debit which hasn’t been mentioned, is it guaranteed no fees will incur?

    Thirdly, I don’t quite understand if you top up your money on this credit card are you charged interest?

    Fourth, do I have to withdraw cash 3 days or more before charge cycle?

    Fifth question, If I take out money from the card in another country and use cash to exchange another currency, is that the best way? and it will then be payed from my direct debit savings account, again avoiding interest fees?

  108. I just called Wizard to confirm the use of positive balance on Clear Advantage card. They aren’t keen on this obviously, as they provide a credit card not a savings account. They advise against positive balance because you won’t be covered for any fraudulent activity that results in loss of this positive balance on your card. I asked if there was an advisable amount at which the positive balance might get ‘picked up’ (perhaps causing problems for incorrect use) and was advised not to put more than $5000 in positive balance on the card. If I have jotted the info down correctly, there are also limits per day for cash withdraw from atm ($1000) and banks ($3000). Don’t rely on what I’ve written, as I’m relaying what I can remember from a phone call. You should get it first hand from Wizard.

    it’s a great credit card to be used as a credit card overseas. But perhaps consider a travel card from Commonwealth, ANZ, NAB, Travelex etc for your savings. They may have atm fees and loading fees but they purpose built for accessing your cash while travelling.

  109. The Travelcards are not an economic proposition. I used my Wizard in NZ as a credit card and there were no additional charges at all.
    But for accessing your own funds without charge I reiterate, the NAB Gold Debit charges no OS transaction or CC fees, no ATM fees.

  110. I use my WBC card at global alliance banks where possible to save the $5 fee but there’s still the 3.5% (I think ) conversion fee.
    Am I correct in thinking that this Wizzard card can avoid that as well? ie I’m better off with this ALL of the time, not just in countries without global alliance banks?
    I had thought that a component of that fee was from mastercard themselves & thus cannot be avoided?

  111. Just wondering what the currency conversion rate is like on this card, and do they charge a conversion fee every time? Is it possible to lock in a currecy rate at the time or is it always veriable??

    Thanks

  112. You are missing the point of this card. It is a fee free CREDIT card which charges no overseas transaction fees and no fees to have the card. It does charge CC fees if you do not pay off the balance each month.
    It is possible to load money onto the card, that is put in funds so the card has a positive amount on it, and then withdraw this OS without either the OS transaction fee or an ATM fee (in most cases for the ATM fee) This makes it a fee free card.
    The transactions on the card are always done at the rate current for that day which will be close to, but not the same as, the bank rate for the day. You cannot lock in a particular rate.
    Operating on a card like this will always be the cheapest option for getting funds OS and using a CC OS. Just be aware that if, say, you load $5000 onto your account before your holiday, then withdraw $1000, pay a bill with the CC for $3000 accommodation, withdraw another $1000, pay another accommodation bill of $2000 on the CC and then try to withdraw more money you will be taking it as a Cash Advance at a huge rate of interest. ALL debits come out of the overfunded amounts first.

  113. Hi all,

    I too have found everyone’s coments really helpful and yes, I’m definately applying for the Wizard card to accompany me to the UK.
    Along with Dave, (above), the same question before I apply… Is the conversion rate at the current rate of the pre loaded amount (can it be pre locked in when you pre load an amount) or the rate at the time of purchase/withdrawl?

    Cheers,

    EDITOR: no the conversion rate is not locked in. the rate is the rate at the time of purchase/withdrawal

  114. What is the exchange rate at?

    Is it similar to Commonwealth or Cash Passport rates? Or is there a page on the Wizard site to view these rates to compare?

    Apart from being a credit card, what makes this better than the NAB Gold Debit Card?

    Cheers

  115. The rate fluctuates daily, as it would with any bank card. It is the rate set by the bank according to the daily bank rate, but is never actually as good as the bank rate. That happens with all credit cards.
    The advantage for me over the NAB Gold (which I also have) is that it is a Credit Card and therefore can be used in some circumstances where a debit card cannot, such as hiring a car OS. In addition, the NAB Gold requires you to put $5000 through the account a month or face account keeping fees, whereas the Wiz is free of fees.

  116. I now use both the NAB gold debit card and the Wizard card.
    I was using only the Wizard card and I can assure you it was fee free as everyone explained – I decided to go for both cards because of my last experience with Wizard. I had loaded the card for my holidays and called them to advise where I was travelling and they made it quite clear that it’s a credit card and really not designed for this sort of usage. I got the feeling they weren’t keen on me putting the card into credit – also any money you load on the card is at your risk not theirs, so if you lose it there’s no comeback on them.
    I then decided to get a NAB card for ATM withdrawals only and use the Wizard card for purchases only – load the debit card up before travelling and set up a direct debit facility to pay the Wizard card when the bill comes in.
    Re the last comment about putting $5000 a month thru the NAB account – the bank told me all I had to do was transfer $5000 in one day and take it out a couple of days later (within the same month) – the system only sees the deposit and you satisfy the requirements of the agreement.

  117. Baz, that’s what I do too. I have some money in an interest bearing NAB account so I can instantly transfer money over, either to spend when OS or to cover that pesky $5000 which is a bit more than comes in on my super pension each month.

  118. Ok guys, Guess what?!?!?!? Upgrade your Wizard Card now!!! It’s finally coming with a Chip, meaning it can be used in nearly all countries again.

    Just ring up and ask for a Chip Card. Basically they will say no problems. The default for new customers or replacement cards is a Chip card now.

  119. Hey everyone. About to apply for this card, hope there is no catches, you all seem pretty happy and it looks good.

    One Q? – Was just talking to them on the phone asking a few questions and the lady told me that the card may be stopped by the government at any time due to a money laundering legislation and warned me it is not a Debit card but a Credit card and not designed for the use we all want it for (preload and get money overseas fee free). – Any thoughts….has this happened to anyone?

    Cheers
    Mark

  120. It would be unlikely to happen for the small amounts that a traveller would use. It seems a bit rough to advertise it fee free in OS ATMs and then say they don’t want us to load it up and use it that way. I guess they want us to make cash withdrawals from the CC facility, yikes, think of the fees.
    I reiterate, the best card for free OS transactions is the NAB Gold Debit card. NO fees for ATM or use as a CC, but you must have the money in your account and you need to put $5000/month through or get a $12 account keeping fee. But even that would be worth it. You can open an account just for the trip and close it after, no probs. I have done this and vouch for it.
    Have the Wiz as a backup and as a fee free CC for when you want credit or for when a debit card won’t do, such as hiring a car and some hotel rooms.

  121. Hey there. Just got one of these cards. I am a student (aka poor!) so only got a low credit limit of $500. Off to NZ for a few weeks shortly. Just confirming, if I load my card up using Bpay, is my daily cash withdrawal limit AU$500? Cheers.

  122. Hi,

    me and my partner are traveling through thailand/cambodia/vietnam in october and I am wondering if the same fees (or lack there of) still apply?

    Cheers
    Erykah

  123. JUST CHECKED OUT NAB VISA DEBIT GOLD AND READ THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS AND DEFINITELY NOT ON THE SAME OVERSEAS FEE FREE BASIS AS WIZARD.

    Seriously not in the same ‘fee free’ league as Wizard. It’s true that it doesn’t have overseas ATM fees, but it will still charge you a “conversion fee” (ie +2.5/3% on top of your advance or purchase).

    I have copied and pasted the T&C of Nab Visa Gold Debit for your information
    “Foreign currency transaction fee: 2% of Australian dollar transaction amount for cash withdrawals made in currencies other than Australian dollars. Included in the Australian dollar transaction amount shown on your statement.”

    Anyway, apart from that, you will need to deposit $5,000 per month into the account for a NAB Visa debit anyway. So unless you actually bank with Nab and earn above average to get $5,000 net a month, it’s pretty much a useless proposition. However it does come with travel insurance, etc… but so does Bank West Gold (which is free).

    For a minute there, I thought I’ll get the best of both worlds – an Wizard ClearAdvantage like card with Travel Insurance… but nope.. Nab Visa Debit Gold is just another card that charges conversion fees.

  124. UPDATE : I could be wrong about the NAB Visa Debit. The fees might be exempt due to being a ‘Gold’ Account. Will go to a branch to find out.

  125. Re foreign currency conversion fees with NAB, have a look at the last dot point at the bottom of page 3 of the “Your money, your way” brochure – it says – no foreign currency conversion fees.

    After your trip you can keep it going and pay $10/month account keeping fee which is waived if you deposit $5000/month (top of page 3 of the same brochure) or if you haven’t got the $5000 just pay the $10/month & then close it after your trip. Remember the $5000 only needs to go in once a month, it can come back out a couple of days later – the system only sees the deposit.

  126. You are wrong, I’m overseas now with my NAB gold debit, I have been monitoring my account online and there is deffinately no 2% forex fee.

  127. Having used the NAB Visa Gold Debit card for both card purchases and as an ATM card I can assure you there were no fees, not in Italy last year nor in NZ this year. And i can also say that I had no fees whereas my husband, drawing out the same amount at the same time from the same ATM, using an ordinary ATM card, did get fees.

    I am interested in the exchange rate of Wizard vs NAB actually. I had 100usd drawn out twice this year once for each account and the rates varied dramatically. Examples

    100usd cost me about $112.9aud recently, when the quoted rate was $112.1 or 8c per $112 or 0.7% (card used as CC on-line to USA)
    Earlier in the year 100usd cost me 117.35aud when the quoted rate was 114.35 or $3.6 per $114 or 3.16% approx. (card used as ATM withdrawal card)
    (quoted rate for the day was obtained on-line using a currency convertor. You will never get that rate exactly)
    Hate to say it but the first one was NAB Gold debit and the second was Wizard master card.

    So my friends, I am off on the investigation trail. I shall draw out money from the same ATM at the same time in the USA shortly, using both cards and shall report back on what rate I got from each. Wizard might not be as good as it looks. It may have a very poor exchange rate rather than fees or it may be a product of using the two cards for different applications. I will report back on my test.

  128. interesting article and analysis of which I only have one criticism. If you spent $5000, one some cards that is equivalant to 7500 rewards points (assuming 1.5 pts per $1 earnt). Sure I might have to pay $100 in fees, but for 7500 points, I will take that hit – I see the benefit outweighing the cost in this instance. Having said that I am a points chaser so have a different agenda to yourself.

  129. The AUD was .93 USD earlier this year, now hovering around .88 – .91.
    If like me you have been planning a trip to the States for some time buying USD on a travelex card at .93 is smart move, topping it up only when the dollar is .91 or higher is smart too.
    So when I’m in the US this Christmas and the dollar is below .90 or even lower I can sleep easy as i have all my cash at an average of .91.
    Sure i paid 1% of reload amount but so far it’s cost me less than $50 to load it. If the dollar is under .91 and I was using any credit card Fee FREE or not I’d be loosing way more than $50 on a bad forex rate.
    I will get a wizard card because it’s a smart back up but to all of you who say Travelex cads are a bad idea think about this.
    $5000.00 USD I have on my card @ .90 cost $5,555.00 + 1% $55.55
    When your using your fee free card at .88 $5000.00 in purchases it’s going to cost you
    $5681.00 and if the rate dops even more.
    So think about it a little more before you write off Travelex cards, if the rate is good top up today will save you allot more than any fee free card can if the rate drops.

  130. I have just returned from a 7 week trip, around France, Spain, UK and Hong Kong I have 90 credit transactions on my Wizard card and 2 debit transactions 1 in France and 1 in UK, I did take Euro cash with me, not one single cent of fees, I had one instance on a motor way with the payment of a toll, where they could not get my Wizard card to work, I had to use my Visa card, this was the only fee I incurred in the whole 7 weeks.I did load my card to accommodate my cash withdrawals One thing that I experienced with my Wizard card which has a chip in it, I was never asked for my pin number, it always asked for my signature, in the 90 credit transactions, there was only one person that actually checked my signature, a big worry if you happen to loose your card. I have acctualy used it here in Australia, with the same result. Not very good security.

  131. I just had a look at the Travelex card.
    To buy USD at the moment, 1aud = .8786 (the rate Travelex quotes)
    The bank rate is actually .9166 so already there is a 3.8% difference ( really a bit less because you never get that bank rate at an ATM so call it 3%)
    each reload is an additional 1%
    Each ATM withdrawal is $2.25 On say $1000 withdrawal this is an additional .225%

    So I need to save 4.225% on anticipated rises/falls by buying at the top of the rise (wish we could all predict that) and if you want a big withdrawal then you may need to make several transactions one after the other, each at $2.25.
    Think I’ll stick to my preferred cards, NAB Gold Debit and Wizard.

  132. Trying to understand what FX rates are used for transactions on the Wizard card.
    Can some users of this card please post examples of cash withdrawals. Please include (1)date, (2)currency and (3)amount withdrawn and (4)AUD charged to card.
    Most interested in EUR, but also GBP, USD and something South African – say ZAR, NAD or BWP.
    Thanks in advance.

  133. hi. love your site. i have recently found there’s a major gap in objectively analysis – ie what’s the best banking facility to use when travelling o/s. so well done and thanks. i have spent the last 2 days reviewing sites and speaking with banks etc. i think your right about the wizard clear adv – provided that the terms haven’t recently changed to impact those travel benefits.

    but 1 cheaper way i thought was via the travel card. that is – buy multiple ones – say like the ANZ where they don’t have an initial loading % fee but just a flat $11 one off fee. plan ahead and do that for multiple travel cards and don’t reload them (so you don’t incurr the 1% fee). when u use the 1st one up, then go to the 2nd etc. it takes some forward planning but u get the locked in rate and only suffer abit on the exchange conversion. what do you think. have i missed something. thanks g

    EDITOR: the ANZ product isn’t horrible but they make a good profit from you by converting the money back/forth with a fat profit margin.

  134. I think the travel cards through the banks are really quite expensive when you add up all the charges plus the quite poor exchange rate they give when loading. But it might be worth a bet on the money market given the current rate on USD.

  135. My son is studying in the USA and has had NO problems at all with the wizard card, they were brilliant when he damaged his card sent me a new card Express registered post so I had a replacement to send him in 2 days, Not sure how they woek out exchange rates but it seems pretty competitive

  136. Hi there,
    I am wanting to get this credit card but am a bit confused. I am going to Vietnam and Cambodia in Dec/Jan2011 and do not want to pay international fees or bank withdrawals. Does this card mean for my entire trip I will have no transaction fees no matter what ATM I use in these countries?

    Thanks

  137. I’d like to hear from all you Wizard lovers, can you show us some example exchange rates?

    Just the date, foreign currency amount and $AU cost.
    TIA
    Much appreciated, M

  138. Leticia
    Provided you stack the account with money so it is used like a debit card you can withdraw this as cash with no charges from Wiz. If you use it to purchase things this will also come off the pre-loaded amount but again there will be no charges. If you withdraw money as a cash advance against credit then there will be interest charges from that moment plus a 2% (I think) charge for the amount you withdraw as cash.

    Martin
    I am about to go to the USA and will post the rate I get for withdrawing cash using the Wiz vs using my NAB Gold Debit card.

  139. RATES FROM WIZARD

    Remember the rate is from the Date Processed, not the date of transaction. Anyway, I have included both

    1st Date is Date of transaction, 2nd Date is Date Posted,

    28/8/10; 31/8/10; 11.16Pounds = $19.46AUD
    1/9/10; 3/9/10; 20.07USD = $22.21AUD
    7/9/10; 10/9/10; 100USD = $109.29AUD
    9/9/10; 12/9/10; 17.98GBP = $29.94AUD
    12/9/10; 14/9/10; 15.95USD = $17.27AUD

  140. and some for the Euro Lovers…

    14/4/10; 17/4/10; 82Euro = $119.15AUD
    20/4/10; 23/4/10; 42.90Euro = $61.93AUD

    and HKD

    4/5/10; 6/5/10; 500HKD = $70.89
    3/5/10; 5/5/10; 1667HKD = $232.70

    EDITOR: thanks for your info 🙂

  141. Just make sure when you withdraw from an atm that states “No Cash Withdrawal Fee” (UK).

    If you’re in a country that doesn’t state this, just put in the card, and if it pops up with a “you will be charged xxx amount,” it means the ATM will charge you for withdrawing. An example of such a country is Australia. Hence why you should only use Westpac atms here.

    If the atm states “this is an overseas card, and you might be charged a conversion fee or rate from a 3rd party”, this is ok.. as Wizard is the 3rd party – hence no fee will apply.

    Hope this helps.

  142. Thanks for the rates, much appreciated. For the transactions you listed I compared the conversion rate against the daily interbank rate as stated on oanda.com’s historical rates page.

    The Wizard card appears to convert foreign currency transactions at the interbank rate or as near as makes no difference, usually using the transaction date.

    I was quite disappointed in the conversion rate and the fine print of a $AU Travelex Cash Passport on a recent trip, and have got rid of that very quickly.

    But the Wizard card looks great. Thanks again.

  143. Hello

    So when im in the usa i can use ANY atm to withdrawn cash if i load money above my credit limit with a wizard clear card.?
    and ANY hotel or anything i use to pay for there no fees?

    thanks

    Sam

  144. I have always used the Travelex card prior to it now being loaded into the currency of choice.
    I find that now with the USD/AUD strong, it is wise to buy and cash up the card if intending to travel next year like I am. If the rate drops at least I know I have bought at a good rate. Currently for cash passport, the rates differ from different banks. But you can top up and for me it will be a saving. When withdrawing you need to calculate your spending habit and draw enough out for a few days instead of every day. Most places have safes so I have always locked it away, and use it only when I need it. Trouble wiht getting a CC, you can be tempted to “charge” and before you know it it will exhaust your “cash” and you will have nothing left.

  145. The Wizard Clear Advantage Creditcard seems great as a credit card – thanks for the tip…

    Re getting access to cash – when I rang Wizard they said their advise is NOT to put cash onto the card before you go overseas. They said the risk was the card can be blocked by the “fraud” due to the anti-laundering checks/balances. Any comments on this? Has anyone been caught out by this? Perhaps it’s OK if you don’t make it too positive, say A$2000?

    Else, if this was an issue, then for cash out what would people recommend?

  146. Yes. They said same to me. But loaded the card with 5k and then 2.5k recently. Haven’t had any problems. Bpay entry has been faster than I thought. And been traveling in USA for 10 days with no prob. I use it as my main card. Don’t need anything else now. And exch rates have been superior to any other opts.

  147. Hey. Took $200 usd out at a citi ATM on 11 oct and it cost me $206.94 aud. That includes $3 ATM charge by citi. So the rate was above 98 cents. Conversely I had some aud cash which I changed over the counter at citi later on in the day and I got 91 cents exchange. Not quite apples with apples – but an illustration of the benefits. I was also apprehensive about the card as I got it just before I went and untested other than what I had read. But it hasn’t let me down yet. So very happy and glad there are forums like this helping. Best of luck.

  148. I am using the WIZ in USA at the moment. No apparent fees from WIZ but each ATM so far has had a user fee, from $1.50 to $3.50. A lot of ATMs are privately owned and they seem to have the largest fee. Smallest so far was a Bank of America at Portland airport of $1.50 but another BoA charged more. The private ones may have a credit limit too. We struck one with a $200 max per withdrawal (so they get more fees of course) so choose ones at major banks for larger amounts. I have seen up to $600 as an option and there is a key for “other amounts” but I don’t know how high that might go.
    WIZ is slow to display the withdrawals. One made on the 13th was not shown on my statement by the 17th though the credit limit had been reduced.

  149. GE is changing the name of the Wizard Clear Advantage Mastercard to 28 degrees. See Link.
    However, it states it will still have ZERO international fees, so that’s a relief.

    http://wizardclearadvantage.com.au/28-degrees.html

    Same great savings, new-look card.

    Your Wizard Clear Advantage MasterCard® will soon have a new name, 28 Degrees MasterCard®. It will also include enhanced security and additional features to make your new 28 Degrees MasterCard® more convenient.

    But that’s all that will change.

    You’ll still enjoy no international transaction fees and no annual fee.

    The reason for this change is GE Money sold the Wizard Home Loans business and brand name in 2009.
    Our new name 28 Degrees MasterCard® and our new look reflects this change. However, all the great benefits you have enjoyed stay the same.

    So keep a look out for your new 28 Degrees MasterCard® and keep getting all the benefits you know and love.

    EDITOR: 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.

  150. Lyn – Can you try withdrawing the same amount @ exactly the same time with WIZ and your NAB Gold. That’s the only way to confirm the rates… I want to get NAB Gold, but that $5,000 monthly minimum per month is keeping me at bay, but if it gives better rates than WIZ, I guess it might be worth moving money back and forth.

  151. Glen and Lyn – ATM fees seems contrary to the advertising on the Wiz clear Advantage web site. I only applied last week for the card and one of the attractions (albeit a small one) is no ATM fees. Interestingly my wife and I travel regularly to the US and found Bank of America in San Francisco to have one of the largest ATM fees we experienced (US $3). Some small independent ATMs (EG one at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado) have no ATM charges. So fee charges appear to be a bit of hit and miss. I’ve generally used Amex Travellers cheques in the US which are accepted by just about every business as cash payments. They can be converted to cash at both Bank of America and Wells Fargo without any charges whatsoever which is great, but I’m really hoping the Wiz can really put my reliance on Travellers Cheques to bed.

    Please keep us all posted on your experiences with the Wiz and have great times in the States. A great place to visit – especially hiring a car and just driving. Aussie dollar has tumbled a little overnight, but hopefully can pick up and give you the great value it has for the last few months.

  152. Hi, sorry to sound really, really stupid but I’ve never owned a credit card and I just wondered if someone could explain the whole ‘holding charge’ thing that’s been mentioned in a few earlier posts? Also, just to double check, if i make no purchases using the card’s credit, I don’t have to pay ANYTHING? It sounds too good to be true! Thanks!

  153. OK, so far I have twice drawn out $100usd using the NAB Gold and the Wiz. Same ATM, same time. I can report on the first of these only, as Wiz takes about 5 days to process.
    Publicised bank rate of the day was .9897
    Wiz 103usd = 103.92 or a rate of .9911 (I can only think that the $3 usd fee was refunded or something. If that was the case, the actual exchange rate was .9623 )
    NAB 103usd = 104.51 or a rate of .9855
    This particular ATM charged $3.
    No ATM charges usually means charges made by your bank. The Wiz says no ATM charges if you use a Westpac in Australia, but other banks will still charge their own fee and most American ones charge, sometimes quite a lot and sometimes for a limited withdrawal. We got one with a $200 limit and $3.50 fee per withdrawal.
    Because of the weird rate above for Wiz I have repeated the exercise and will report back again.

  154. Yes – can confirm Michael’s advice that the Wiz Clear Advantage is changing its name to 28 Degrees Mastercard in the near future. I applied for my Wiz on Friday 15 Oct and had my card on Wed 20 Oct with $8k limit. Activated and changed pin and used an hour later to confirm card and pin worked okay. Will set up online service shortly to manage card and have statement delivered electronically to avoid 50 cent paper fee. Next I’ll load some cash on the Wiz and do a cash advance from Westpac atm to check no interest or fee charges. Will do some online international purchases shortly to check exchange rate. All looks good and FINALLY a credit card I can use to order from Amazon etc without international transaction fees.

  155. Thanks Lynn. Both Nab and Wizard seems competitive enough already – it can be confirmed they both use interbank rates. The difference in rates was probably when the transaction was processed at their process centres. (and luckily AUD probably went up the day after Lynn withdrew, so got a better rate)

    However, there is one thing people need to be made aware of (though it doesn’t affect people in the US or Hong Kong or any currency pegged to the USD) :
    If you spend on a Mastercard, the rates are converted from whatever currency was withdrawn and converted to USD before converting back to AUD.
    If you spend on a VISA card, the rates are converted directly from that currency straight back to AUD.

    No biggy, but it may account for slight differences between interbank rates and the rate given by Wizard.

  156. Going to Taiwan @ the end of November, so I’ll test out the Wizard Card there. Hopefully I’ll get the new card before then.

  157. Lynn – I concur that in general I found the Wizard rate to be very slightly better than NAB’s. Both obviously very good though. I’ve used both cards in around 35 countries now, rarely had a problem. On the whole I find Visa more likely to be accepted than MC.

    These are NABs rates, BTW:
    http://www.nab.com.au/cgi-bin/calculators/fx_calc/fx_transfer_table.pl
    I use them for a number of commercial currency exchanges, and have found they have been increasing their spreads lately.

    Pleased to see that the new 28 Degrees card will also support PayPass.

  158. I rang Wiz to ask about the fee imposed by the American ATMs and they said I would definitely pay a fee but that it might not show separately until my official statement on Nov 11. I will get back to you then.

  159. Lyn re your post on Oct 27. I am still nonplussed as to why Wizard are saying you will definitely incur an international ATM fee when from the Wizard Clear Advantage FAQ’s on their web site is clearly stated the following:

    What does ‘no international transaction fees’ actually mean?
    On the Wizard Clear Advantage MasterCard, there are no international ATM fees, no international over the counter transaction fees and no international transaction fees for when you make purchases.

    Seems to be very clear-cut to me that you should not incur fees at an international ATM. If there are any exceptions they should be stated clearly.

    Be interested to hear what Wizard’s comments on this would be.

  160. Heard about the wonderful Wizard Advantage Card and have been unable to apply online as the GE MOney website is down today. Finally got some info and as of yesterday the Wizard Clear Advantage Mastercard is now to be called the GE Money 28 degrees Mastercard. Apparently still overseas transaction fee free but as I am unable to access their website I can’t confirm details or apply. Flying out in 26 days so hopefully I can apply soon and get my card before I go.
    All the other options are rubbish as the fees are ridicolous but thanks to “word of mouth” there is a better option out there. Let’s see how much this trip really comes too when I get home.

  161. This wizard card does sound perfect for travel — however the currency loaded onto the card will be Aussie dollars and we’ve all seen how the dollar fluctuates, and lately we have been on a good run, with it now being slightly over an american dollar, but as quickly as it rose, the faster it will drop, and you don’t know when that is.

    So for some peace of mind, the ideal is to be able to lock in the exchange rate as of now – I am going to America for a one month holiday, so I too have considered options, I spoke with an agent from Bank of America, and asked about whether I was able to open an account. And she said that all you need is to show up with your passport and visa, and they will open and give you a keycard over the counter, and you would be able to use it as any other citizen does – no transaction fees, no BOA atm withdrawal fees and obviously because you are depositing in US dollars (which you would have exchanged for over here), you would have your locked in rate, with no chance for the aussie dollar to drop.

    And the only fee I can figure is the monthly fee for an open account – which is no less than what we do here for our accounts. When you’re done, just close of the account and go home! No hassles with waiting for a card to be sent internationally if you had lost yours, just go directly into a branch and get it replaced.

  162. John P:

    “Seems to be very clear-cut to me that you should not incur fees at an international ATM. If there are any exceptions they should be stated clearly.”

    The way I read it is there is no fees from Wizard, the ATM fees in the states (and other countries) is from the bank who owns the ATM not Wizard.

  163. Well, you could, though i thought you had to be a resident to open an account. But presuming what you say is correct, what if the dollar continues to rise? I had someone on a forum recently proud to boast he had locked in .94 on a cash passport. Look what has happened.
    You don’t “Lock In” an amount on the WIZ, you get it more or less at the rate on the day you withdraw it, usually just under the posted bank rate. For instance I got .977 when the bank rate was posted as .98. And the WIZ has no account keeping fees or ATM fees either, though most ATMs in the US that do not belong to your bank impose a fee of their own, just as they do here, and an awful lot of ATMs in the states seem to be privately owned rather than owned by a bank.
    So you can try that and it may work well for you. Or it may not. People who think they can accurately predict the money market are either fabulously wealthy or broke.

  164. I think the comments re: no international ATM fees mean THEY will not charge for the use of an ATM overseas – however, the ‘owner’ of the ATM e.g. Citibank or whatever may still incur a fee. Still, as mentioned, alot better than travel cards. Great you can preload this with currency (so effectively using like a debit card) – the currency fluctuations are not ideal but at least not paying cross-currency conversion fees!

  165. Hi so I have my card, just checking how to pre-load it as I cannot find the information anywhere on the site. thanks

    EDITOR: Just follow the instructions to BPAY money to pay a bill for it, that puts the card into positive balance

  166. How do you make sure you’ve got enough money in the account at any one point of time to be able to do a Cash Withdrawal without it being treated like a cash advance? Noting that you are using the card for various things, and they turn up on the account at various times? Do you really have to keep track then of all purchases & forecast your balance, and then ensure it will always be in the positive (e.g. assuming that any one point of time all your outstanding usages may come through onto the card at once)?

  167. We travel with a laptop so we check balances. Even though a charge may not actually be showing, there is an available balance listed that shows that the amounts spent so far have registered back at WIZ. You may also get some anomalies showing there two. For instance, i was charged twice for some ear rings. The first sale had failed to go through completely at the shop but it showed up on my statement for about a week and then disappeared.
    But yes, I would keep a note of withdrawals and spending each day and top up the account on-line via Bpay if you think you are going to go over limit.

  168. OK, here are the results of my experiment using the NAB Gold and the WIZ. Same ATM, same time, same amount of money withdrawn.
    13/10/2010 Bank rate as on a currency converter 98.97 on 13/10
    NAB 103usd cost 104.57 processed 15/10 rate .9850
    WIZ 103usd cost 103.92 processed 16/10 rate .9912

    22/10/2010 Bank rate 98.00
    NAB 102.75 cost 105.22 processed 25/10 rate .9765
    WIZ 102.75 cost 105.16 processed 26/10 rate .9771
    Now I do not have the rates for the day of processing, which may account for the difference. In each case WIZ processed a day later than NAB.
    I cannot account for a rate seemingly above the bank rate on the first WIZ transaction.
    WIZ quotes rates as USD buying aud so they are reversed, as eg. 1.017171 for the 13/10 so I had to do some maths.
    As the ATM costs are included in the transaction by both banks as if I had withdrawn $103 / $102.75 instead of $100 I think the home banks process these as part of the withdrawal. It is interesting that NAB shows them as separate transactions for about 2 days, then they are combined into one.
    WIZ has some weird accounting too, where each transaction appears twice as a debit and one is then taken off as a credit. eg.
    11 – Oct 13 – Oct 2623 BANK OF AMERICA SAN FRANCISC CA 204.96
    201.50 USD Rate: 1.017171 .
    13 – Oct 16 – Oct 2623 U13 – Oct 13 – Oct 2615 PRINCIPAL DEBIT ADJUSTMENT 204.96
    13 – Oct 13 – Oct 2615 PRINCIPAL CREDIT ADJUSTMENT 204.96

    So, the verdict. Wiz seems marginally cheaper, but that could be because they were processing on a different day when the dollar was quite volatile and generally upwards.
    I think there are benefits in having a debit card (NAB Gold) and a CC in positive balance (WIZ) and will keep both.
    Lynn

  169. This sounds like a reasonable alternative. Obviously traveling with cash is not a good idea. And since visa and mastercard are accepted globally not a bad option

  170. Hi. I am currently traveling OS for 4 months and don’t have access to my home mail. Does anyone know if the new card has been mailed out. If yes, then will the current card (the one I’m using) still work if you don’t activate the new one. And for how long. Any help is appreciated as I naturally don’t want it to stop working (with no way of getting the new card). I am sure there are others in the same circumstances. Thanks

  171. Glen – I’m in the same scenario. The Current Credit Card will still work until the new card is activated. So you don’t have to worry about that.

    However, if you have card without the microchip, you will no longer be able to check your balance and account online until you register you new card.

    For those that upgraded to the Wizard Microchip card, there isn’t an issue.

  172. Just been told that after 31/12 Wizrad card will NOT work, explained my son is travelling overseas and has mo mailing address for new card….. tough ! was the essence of it. Not impressed, going to leave many travellers stranded with no cash or card. Was told none of the conditions will change re fees but not helpful if card you using is suddenly deactivated. has anyone else called them re this problem??
    Susan

  173. Yes. Spoke with them and got same response. So 2 options. 1. Get someone in oz to mail the new card to u while OS and then activate and cut up old one. Or 2. Dial international MasterCard number and get the new card directly mailed u to OS but the existing card will be immediately deactivated and u won’t have a working card until the new one arrives – say about a week. In both options u will need to change your pin (which can be done via the phone while activating the new card) but your account number ( your card number will change) will remain as is (so Bpay funds in should be unchanged). In both options you will naturally need a OS address long enough to receive the mail. Thanks glen.

  174. yes, if you ask for the new 28 degree card now you might get it within 7-14 days, as soon as you activate it your wizard goes RIP. Otherwise it goes RIP on 31/12. Bit crazy as I just got a new wizard card for my wife 5 days ago (and formyself due to damage about 3 weeks ago), and now they tell me it will be replaced within 14 days. She travels in 3 days. Not impressed.

  175. Great blog – Do you know how underlying exchange rates on this card compare to other cards? e.g. Are the fees just hidden?

  176. Have a look at my post comparing rates above, no.180.
    You can see that the rate I got was very close to the actual posted bank rate for the day and for some bizarre reason actually exceeded it one day.
    So I got a rate of .9771 when the posted rate was .98. You won’t do better than that so no, it is not embedded in the exchange rate like it can be with various money exchanges. Nor was I charged a Mastercard 1% that some people say is added to overseas transactions.

  177. Been waiting for almost 10days for new card to appear, again not helpful when I rang to enquire. Contrary to what someone just said I was told NOTHING will change NOT the pin…. very frustrating when get conflicting information

  178. What was the reason that the Wizard card would be better than a CBA travel card? BUT on the assumption that you only put money into the travel card once up front, for which there are no transfer fees? In other words I’m looking at putting a couple of thousand into a CBA Travel Card & locking in, and I can’t see any financial negative to this, as long as once it runs out I move over to use the Wizard card then. Does what I’m saying make sense?

  179. PS. Oh when reviewing the CBA travel card fees again I see there is a €2.20 ATM withdrawal fee for example. So is it true to say Wizard’s card would have zero ATM withdrawal fee, hence be better than the travel money card here then?

  180. Info from Wizard: I rang and asked about how to know how much to transfer to the card to avoid cash advance fees. The basic response was that payments you make to the card go to any cash advances first. So therefore in theory if you made a $1000 credit card purchase, then transferred $25 to the card, then did a $25 cash advance from an ATM, then you should have to pay any cash advance interest (i.e. even though your balance would still be -$9975). Interested if anyone has actually proven to themselves that this is the case?

  181. Because these are the fees
    $15.00 for the card
    ATM fee each use $2.50 usd (for example) (plus whatever the ATM in the USA charges you)
    CBA exchange rate .9399usd per 1aud when the current bank rate is .9748 or about 3.5% charge to you on the current rate when you load. You are better off using an ordinary ATM card.
    Plus if the bank rate rises you are locked in to the rate you got when buying (an advantage if the rate falls of course)

  182. Hi I just preloaded for my trip… Do I pay interest on this, Wizard have been completely unhelpful and useless. I ahve put in an extra $400, so when debiting this from an atm in vietnam there should be no charges. right?

  183. Why would you pay interest on a +ve balance?

    Only charge would be if the Vietnamese bank that owned the ATM charges foreign cards.

  184. Leticia, if the Vietnamese ATM charges you it will also come out of the money in positive balance. The ATM should warn you. It will only be a few dollars per transaction. Just be aware that if you buy something on the WIZ CC that will also come out of your positive balance and once you are into credit any money withdrawn will be a cash advance and charged from the day of withdrawal.

  185. Have been told that for people who are currently overseas the current card can be extended beyond 31/12 if you call on the day , imagine the number of calls they will be getting! has enayone waited longer than 2 weeks to get their 28 degrees card delivered??
    Susan

  186. Hi It’s Skye from 28 Degrees MasterCard, I can see there is some fantastic conversation happening here about our product and I’d like to help in anyway I can.
    If you have any customer service questions you can contact us via our twitter page http://twitter.com/28DegreesMC . Look forward to chatting soon”

  187. Further to the CBA travel card. I investigated this some time ago when looking for alternatives to a standard ATM card to use overseas. In addition to the fees mentioned by Lynne (#196) if you use it in a country where the currency is not one you’ve stored the standard (hefty) foreign conversion fees apply. Doesn’t take too much imagination to see how frequently this would apply if you’re travelling outside the standard UK, US, NZ and Euro zone. Needless to say I applied for a Wizard.

    I was also told that the PIN on the new card is the same as the old. Assume this is correct but yet to verify as I don’t tend to use the card for local transactions.

  188. if I do a cash advance of say $20 whilst my account is positive by $100, does this mean I should NOT have any cash advance interest? I note that online my “Available Cash” did drop below “Cash Limit”, so I’m hoping that doesn’t imply I would get cash advance interest starting to kick in? That is, overall on my online account then I see:
    (a) Available Credit is greater than the Credit Limit (i.e. I’m positive), but
    (b) Credit Limit is lower than Available Cash (do to the cash advance I just did)

    thanks

  189. My account may not show the very latest amount available but it does show Available Credit as an amount above your credit limit. So if your Credit Limit is $5000, it will show a positive balance of $100 as Available Credit as about $5,100. It rounds the amount so it is not exact.
    When you take money out of this, say your $20, there are no fees. Keep an eye on the “Available Credit” line, as that takes into account some transactions that have not yet been fully processed. That can take a week.

  190. To help me understand how to use the +ve balance / cash withdrawl correctly…Some scenarios – very simplistic and within one billing cycle – assume credit limit $5k – (A) I deposit $2k (for a +ve balance). I withdraw $1k cash, then spend $3k. If I now withdraw cash again am I charged interest (as I spent $4k but only put 2k on upfront)? (B) I deposit $6k (+ve bal). I withdraw $6k cash so am now charged cash advance interest as my credit limit is only $5k, correct? So it’s no benefit in loading > credit limit onto the card upfront? (C) I deposit $5k (for +ve bal). I withdraw $2k cash and spend $4k. I can now spend up to $4k again without any interest? Or, I can withdraw cash up to $3k with cash advance interest? Or a combination of both no greater than spend $4k, cash $3k but only up to a combined $4k? Hopefully not too confusing, or please provide your own scenarios (real life would be great!)

  191. I have some questions / scenarios on using cash withdraw and normal purchases. A few scenarios to consider. Assume same billing month and $3k credit limit. (A) Deposit $2k then, withdraw $1k cash, spend $2k on normal purchases, then withdraw another $1k cash. Is that 2nd withdrawal going to incur cash adv interest? (B) Same as (a) but deposit $5k to start. Any difference? That is, any using depositing > credit limit into the account?

  192. I’m going to China soon. Will the Wizard 28 degrees Master card provide cheaper transaction costs compared to my Comm bank debit card??? If I get a 28 degrees card I will be loading it up before leaving Aust. Any comments are appreciated.

  193. Matt, some of these are best directed to Wiz themselves. I have found them quite helpful. But for a simple response, if you load the account up as in 206A above, once you have drawn down all the stuff you have loaded up, whether by ATM or using the CC, it will act like a normal CC and you will incur charges as a cash advance once the money is spent. I specifically asked them this.
    RobK, I can’t answer re a CBA debit card as I don’t know what fees you get on that. A NAB Gold Debit has no fees for use OS but I don’t think the CBA is the same. Provided the Wiz works in China, and no reason why it shouldn’t, it will be cheaper. See my comparisons re the NAB/Wiz at post 180.

  194. OK. To all the newbies out there, the easiest way to use the Wizard/28 Degrees Card is… ‘drum roll’

    USE IT AS A DEBIT CARD!!!

    So load your money in, and don’t use the Credit On it. Once you learn how to use the card properly, then you can start exploring the Credit side of things… but if you want carefree cheap transactions… Load in your money, know the exchange rate (or approx), and use it as a debit card. Simple as that.

    Another safety tip is always load in money at least 5 days in advance. Bpay can take up to 3 days to process your money transfer and wizard another 2 days to reflect it (Processing is done in US by Mastercard you see).

    Follow these two tips and you’re all set.

    If you really want to use it as a credit card as well, another simple way is – if you have a partner.. each get a 28 Degrees Card.. Use one for purchasing items (hence you get your ‘up to 55 days interest free’) and use the other one as a debit card (hence withdrawing your own money).

    Keep it simple… If you’re just starting on the card… Learn to use it simply 1st before you delve into it more.

  195. Have had a Wizard/28 degrees for about 5 years. Have used it on lots of trips in Europe/Middle East/Asia as debit card and, towards end of trip, as credit card. Only fees paid were local withdrawl charges in Thailand in 2010. Great exchange rates, really happy.

    The card I have has a very high credit limit. Is it possible to get an additional card (maybe in family member name) with a different credit limit that I can use for online purchases.
    Just a bit nervous about using a card with a very high limit when making online purcahses.

    EDITOR: I wouldnt worry about it. 28 Degrees has a great anti-fraud team. In fact they just gave me a call to check the $4 mobile phone app I paid for just now wasn’t a fraudulent transaction.

  196. It may be an idea to ask if you can open one for that purpose. After several frauds on my husband’s ANZ card (which were picked up by the bank, closing his card once while we were actually away), he opened a second one so that his loss would be minimised and he wouldn’t have his main card inoperative.
    I actually keep my 28degrees at a lower limit because that is one of the main things I use it for, overseas on-line purchases. I use a different card for everyday and mostly my NAB Gold Debit for getting money from ATMs overseas.

  197. TIPS TO ALL TRAVELING TO THE USA:

    I pre-loaded my 28 Degrees card with money (so as to use the card as a debit card) and would suggest using the BANK OF AMERICA ATM to withdraw money. The fee is USD3 per transaction but you are able to withdraw up to USD800 at a time. Other banks, such as Chase, only allow you to withdraw max. USD300 at once and the fee is USD2 per transaction. Please note that the daily limit for withdrawal is AUD1000.

    Bank of America ATMs are everywhere, so you should not have a problem finding one.

    Hope that helps!

  198. I read only positive reports about the 28 Degrees card. My daughter is going o/seas and has just turned 18. Obviously she has no credit record, and was knocked back – as expected. When I called up I was informed that there was no option for me to guarentee her card, and no option for any kind of review. The door was slammed shut, so for those who can get the card, make the most of it!! I’ve had issues with GE in the past in relation to credit (BTW I have an exemplary credit record – even with GE). I’d love to give them some business, and will even guarentee it – but they are not interested.

    EDITOR: what you could do is a get a card under your own name and a secondary card for your daughter. Surprised they didn’t suggest that option.

  199. So wen people are using this overseas for withdraws do you chose credit on the ATM or choose savings?
    How does the withdrawing work also, If I want to say put 15k onto the card above the limit, can I withdraw that 15k over 3 months or am I not going to be able to because of the billing cycle timing.. I dont really understand that part. I am solely going to use this with my money and not go into the Credit side of things…

  200. Choose credit and sadly no, they’ll keep your money if you don’t spend it that month!

    (Sorry about the sarcasm to the second question but seriously…)

  201. Damo – Yes, just pick Credit as no matter how we use the card, it’s still a credit card. And yes, you can withdraw the 15k over the 3 months… just don’t go to a dodgy atm to withdraw just in case your card gets skimmed. Don’t worry about the billing cycle, if you plan to use your own money (above the credit limit). I haven’t found it to affect anything.

  202. Damo
    use the Credit button if you are offered a choice, many OS ATMs don’t give a choice.
    As to the $15,000, much depends on your own credit limit. If you have a $15,000 credit limit it is my understanding you can load that on and spend it each month. If you have a $5000 limit then I am pretty sure that is all you can load on and spend per month. I manage mine on-line each month if necessary.
    Tp be absolutely sure you could call them. I gather they are not incredibly happy about people loading money in this way and try to dissuade you citing safety etc, so I wouldn’t ask re the $15,000, just ask how much you can load on at one time before you go away given your credit limit.

  203. I got a card under my name and a secondary card for my son when he went to the USA last year worked a treat , no drama at all. I got a 8k limit and I only work Part- time!

  204. I applied and accepted. got a 4k credit limit. Guessing that it will probably allow 4k for me to put on top and use in a months billing cycle as per research. Works out not to bad around 1k a month while im away.

    @Duh!, obviously I am meaning being able to withdraw that money during the billing cycle (maximum amount able to be withdrawn) and not whether they will take it forever…. Duh…..

  205. Yeah, sorry mate, had a $^&$ of a day when I replied and took it out on you with sarcasm. My apologies.

    As for the amount you can load on it, I don’t think there is a limit . . . anyone have any concrete info on that? When it comes down to it, it’s your money and they have no liability if you lose it through fraud. IMHO best bet is to transfer smaller amounts every few days rather than loading it all up before you go, that way if someone does skim it or whatever you don’t lose the lot (as look as you get a chance to check your balance and notice). For me it takes about 3-4 days for it to show up via BPay so you need to figure that in if you go that way.

    Basically most of us on here (if not all) aren’t exactly using it in the manner it’s designed for i.e. ATM as opposed to credit therefore, there’s not a lot of info on their website (not surprising as they want everyone to get into debt so they can make money).

    The other issue, is withdrawing . . . how much can you withdraw in a month? Some on here have suggested just up to your credit limit, I don’t believe that to be the case. It would make no sense from a business perspective if, e.g. in the scenario you gave, they only let you withdraw your own $4k – they make no money. Again, as far as I know, there’s no concrete information on this (unless I missed something?).

    Also worth letting them know your itinerary, as it is with all banks nowadays, wouldn’t want the card frozen due to “possible fraud”.

    All up, a very handy card, wish I knew about it before I did a 3 month trip mid-last year, would’ve saved me close to $1K in fees! It was quite refreshing on my trip over New Year to have fee free transactions 🙂

  206. No Problemo..
    I think that the loading up enough for about a week and then reloading is the wisest choice.
    Im going to then keep a second “Debit Card” which will have the rest of my money. Just do online banking and BPAY the money across to the Mastercard when money is needed.

    From the research I have compiled It seems like you can put ontop of the card into positive whatever your credit limit is… I will see what I can do once I get it.

    Not going away until May, but should receive my card in the next few days.. Pretty happy I stumbled across the card as Last time I was in the USA for 1 months most withdraws would cost me at least $10 making withdraw maximum withdraws at a time and having cash on me a lot.. Which I would much prefer not having heaps of cash when Im road tripping around the US for 3 months!

  207. Damo, those pesky ATMs in the States will charge you a fee from $1.50 to $3.00 and some will restrict the amount you can get at one time to $200 so they may make double or triple that fee. Make sure you use one connected to a bank and not the freestanding private ones, and check the rate being charged(it will show before the transaction is completed). I got the best rate at an airport ATM but I found the rate varied even with the same bank.

  208. Lyn, yeah I figured there would still be them ATM charges… I’m used to them now that we have them in Australia as well!
    Last time I was over I was using my debit card and would receive an ATM charge of sometimes $3 and then charges on my bank card these could amount to a fair bit with withdraw fee and changing of currency.
    Hoping this card does save me a fair bit in fees while I’m away for my journey.

    I worry a tad with the withdrawing of cash because I remember I would use my debit card by pressing savings and entering a pin. I once tried to do it via credit button on the ATM because I forgot my pin(cmon I was drunk in Vegas) and it came up and said it would be a $75 fee for a withdraw.

    When people use the 28 degrees to withdraw from ATM do you choose credit and then need to enter a pin?

    Thanks all!

  209. **NO ATM fees at Westpac’s global alliance partners i.e. Bank of America**

    This card is wonderful!! Ive been living in the USA for 6 months since January as I’m studying here. Very competitive exchange rate and absolutely no fees! I’ve just been loading it up by Bpay every week or two with a few hundred dollars and my balance has been positive and negative.

    *****One thing that everyone should know****** This card has *NO* ATM Access fees at Bank of America ATMs! Due to them being partnered with Westpac and their global alliance! So I’m guessing that would be the same with their other partners in other countries, look on westpac’s website. I just found this out last week by accident, withdrew $200, no atm fee. Checked my transaction record online. It actually cost me $198.70 to withdraw $200usd.

  210. “When people use the 28 degrees to withdraw from ATM do you choose credit and then need to enter a pin?”

    Same as using an ATM here: card in > pin number > withdrawal > enter how much cash you want > select credit card > take money and card > hit the bars and clubs > repeat until cash or stamina runs out 🙂

  211. Hi all,

    I have received my 28 degrees card, I’m off to China on Monday. Can anyone tell me what is the best way to access money using the 28 degrees card in China?? Are there any ATMs that are better than others?? Thanx for the above info., I now know to use the credit button even though I will be withdrawing my own money loaded on the card.

  212. Damo, yes, just enter the PIN after inserting the card and then press credit.
    Mark, I tried a few different ATMs but don’t recall one not charging fees. I just checked and none are BoA so that is another saving. Thanks for the heads up.

  213. Thanks for this info Mark. I was also unaware of the alliance partners.

    Have just looked at the list on the Westpac website and it’s not particularly comprehensive. eg. nothing in Asia and many parts of Europe.

    So, depending on where you are, being charged an ATM fee still looks like being a bit of a lucky dip. Either that or quite a bit of tedious trial and error.

  214. Mark, Just for 100% confirmation when you withdraw from the ATM you use the “CREDIT” option and then use a pin?

    Cheers

    Damo

  215. Any suggestions re how to get about $1000 credit from account (after finishing our holidays) back to my normal bank account? It seems I can’t BPAY into my normal bank account, as my normal bank account does not have a BPAY number I can use for this. Maybe just take the money as a cash advance from the ATM?….

    EDITOR: Just withdraw it from a Westpac ATM Greg which is fee free.

  216. CB, re ATMs in Europe. They do not charge you to use them in Italy, France, Spain (one in Spain tried so we used another bank). Any charges are imposed by your own bank and as 28degrees doesn’t charge, no charges at all. I can’t speak for Asia.

  217. Yes Damo, just pressed credit when using the Bank of America ATM and other ATMs(but wont be using any others now).
    Have opened a Bank of America checking accounting and have withdrawn cash using my 28 degrees card and immediately deposited into my BoA acct at the ATM. While the exchange rate is good this seems to be the cheapest way to exchange currencies!

    Whats the limit on cash withdrawals? Both daily limit and billing cycle?

  218. Dave, it’ll work in basically any ATM.

    The issue is what ATMs will charge you for using it. Note, this isn’t a card charge, it’s a charge by the bank in that country e.g. in Thailand chances are you’ll get hit with a 150BHT charge (not sure if the yellow ones have started charging or not), in Malaysia 3MYR, no idea about Japan I’m afraid.

    Still a better deal than virtually any other current card in Australia e.g. last October with a standard Westpac debit card a withdrawal of 10,000BHT = 150BHT to Thai bank + $10.55 to Westpac for foreign transaction fee + $5 to Westpac for OS ATM fee.

    At New Year with a 28degrees card, for the same withdrawal at the same ATM, still got ripped for the extra 150BHT by the Thai bank but saved $15.55 Westpac would have ripped me off by.

  219. In response to Mark’s comment (no. 223):

    **NO ATM fees at Westpac’s global alliance partners i.e. Bank of America**

    This is not correct. I was in the States for last week and used my 28 degrees card 4 times and was charged USD3 per transaction (see comment 211). Before leaving Oz, I was under the impression that as Bank of America ATMs would be free transactions as it was in the global alliance (as is Westpac here) but found that at the end of the ATM transaction, it informed me that the fee was USD3.

  220. Could you please tell me how do I go about loading more money on my 28%mastercard, before I go overseas in April. I have not used it yet therefore I have no statement to get a reference no . for a B pay transaction as you have to have that.?

  221. Hi Marea

    The biller code is 150615 and the reference number is your account number (check the paperwork that came with your card, it’s not the card number).

  222. I just used the card to make a small purchasr to get a statement sent, if not if you call they will give you a B-Pay reference number

  223. Marea,

    I had the same problem, easy fix………. call the 28degrees help line they will tell you the ref. number so you can make a Bpayment to your card. (apparently the ref. number is on the original paperwork they sent with the card, but the help line will sort you out).

  224. HI Skye,

    It says on the internet no to use your card number as the funds may be lost or take longer to get applied to your account. Can you please confirm:

    “BPAY
    This service is available to you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Check with your bank about the BPAY methods available to you. You’ll need the following information:
    Biller code – 150615
    The customer reference number (CRN) is your 28 Degrees MasterCard account number – this can be found in the top right hand corner of your statement.
    Please note that using your card number instead of your account number will result in delays to your payment or your payment not being received.
    If you’re paying by BPAY on your due date, make sure you complete the transaction before your bank’s cut-off time. Remember that some BPAY payments can take up to 3 business days to appear on your account.”

  225. Thank you all for the info. I now have it sorted out . It’s so helpfull having somewhere to go to ask the simplest of questions,as some staff at mastercard are very hard to understand. Thanks alot

  226. Hi Kate
    The internet message you mention is to cover those cards that are serviced via VISA – at this stage you cannot use your VISA cards # to make payments.
    As 28 Degrees cards are MasterCard it will process just fine.

    Cheers
    Skye

  227. No help from 28 Degrees MC

    I have been ripped off at a Motel in HangZhoa China. I have scanned the 28 degrees website and cannot find any reference anywhere about assistance in the case of unauthorised account access or unauthorised deductions. I have sent an email inquiry through without result. The ‘customer assistance’ link offers no help with such matters either. Does anyone have any ideas about how to proceed from here???

  228. Thank you to all the people who have contributed to this blog including but not limited to Lynn, Michael, Martin and of course Neerav. Your advice and suggestions have been most helpful. I am planning a lot trip to Thailand in late 2011 and will be organising everything well in advance.

    I will be recommending 28degrees (and NAB gold debit card) to my friends as well.

    I notice the 28 degree card offers insurance for purchases and charges a fee (0.5%) based on the end of the cycle outstanding balance. Do you know if it is possible to pay down (via bpay for example) the credit balance early to avoid this insurance premium and yet still take advantage of the insurance?

    Thankyou all very much for your time and efforts.

    cheers

  229. Hi. I have been OS traveling with family last 5 months in USA and Europe and used the card extensively – which has been great. However, recent found it it has been compromised. Not sure how as card has never been out of site. So spend hours on phone with GE phone desk and falcon area trying to get clear responses of what next. Two keys things they said that seem contrary to what’s been mentioned on this site are 1) they will cover u if fraud is show to happen even if funds in surplus and 2) there is no time limit on raising potentially frauduate items which them ( ie some banks have a 3 month limit). Does anyone else have a different experience with them on this type of matter. Also anything else I should be considering. Big thanks for any comment.

  230. Hi Glen & Rob K – this is Skye from 28 Degrees MC. Can both of you please go to http://twitter.com/28DegreesMC and direct message me there (so its a secure conversation) I will need your account #’s & your contact numbers & best time to contact. Ill be able to assist.

    Thanks
    Skye

    EDITOR: Not everyone is on twitter Skye, is it OK for me to publish your email address here for my readers to contact you that way?

  231. Skye,

    thanx for the reply, would love to DM you on twitter. This further highlights the deficiency in 28 degrees MC ‘customer assistance’; Twitter is amongst a list of sites not available on the web in China. Maybe management could include an email address in the customer assistance section (not exactly groundbreaking thinking). Any help is much appreciated.

  232. Sorry Guys – here is an email address: skye@ge.com
    email me and I have already escalated to appropriate department so they are awaiting details to assist.

    Cheers
    Skye

  233. Rob k – I called the number of the 28 degrees site for when u r OS and spoke with them and also members of the falcon team. I called back a number of times to try and confirm things as I had they think about 2k stolen. I found a number of the discussions with them bizarre and difficult to get a clear outline of what I should be doing and the overall process. In the end I spoke with a superior who was very helpful. I did get them to cancel the card though. They also stated a number of times there was no time limit in reporting potentially fraudulant transactions and if I missed anything I should want until I get back to OZ to do a full run thru of my statements. Which I now can’t get because my card was canceled. I asked for an email address but no one had one particularly as I want things in writing. I didn’t know about skye until today. Re skype. So would take her up and just sign up to skype as it’s free assuming she can’t provide a direct email. Please tell me if u hear differently on any of this. Thanks g

  234. Re. Question on insurance – I understand as long as your account has a nil or positive balance at cycle end each month u won’t be charged the monthly insurance fee. So from now on just schedule to pay it off a little earlier each month when need and u should get cover for free. Sorry if someone has already replied on this. G

  235. I have another question regarding the 28% card,. When I make a purchase and do a credit transcation, can I get cash out as well like you do with effpos ?

  236. Glen,

    If you can shoot me an email to let me know whats occurred to date and provide me with your acc number I can finalise what you need and also if you like I can get a new card sent to you so you can access the online service centre to get your statements (we provide up to 7 years of statement history on there for you to access).
    cheers skye
    skye@ge.com

  237. Glen

    Haven’t heard about using Skype for help with credit card problems. Skye, on the other hand, has been brilliant. I sent her an email and she fired back a reply strait away.

    For anyone considering getting a 28Degrees card I can highly recommend it for prolly the most important reason, there is someone there to help AFTER you get the card. BTW for those interested, the card works fine in ATMs all over Shanghai and HangZhou 🙂

  238. Use AEON ATMs in Thailand to avoid 150 baht fee charged on all non thai cards ie foreign cards. Not many around but they are in most major cities and towns. AEON are a Japanese company so not part of the Thai Bankers association.

  239. RE: 254 – J’s question:

    I opened a (previous) Wizard ClearAdvantage card account in 2009 for one main benefit it had over similar cards – no international transaction fees. I use it for buying stuff online from overseas and for travelling overseas. I went on a 3-week business trip to Germany in 2009 and used it for all my personal expenses, no problems at all. In May I’m heading off to France, Spain and Italy and will use it extensively. I also carry a CBA Visa card (the low fee, no 55 days free credit variety) as a backup. But the main difference between me and most of the people who post here is that I use the 28 Degrees card solely as a credit card.

  240. I’m having problems understanding my statements. Say I’ve loaded my card up with money can someone give me a clear idea of what Current Balance and Available Credit means. Is there no easy way to keep track of whether I’ve used up all my credit.
    Also it would be so much easier if this transaction history could be exported to Excel!

  241. If you load the card with money and do not withdraw it out, any purchases you make will be taken out of that money. In effect you do not have any credit free period if you have cash in credit on the card. If you have used the card and not paid it off and then put cash on it, that money will pay off the card. So… pay off the card and then put the cash on and then don’t use it until you have withdrawn the cash or at least don’t forget to allow for any debt which is already on it.

  242. In my experience, current balance is the amount in the account and for some reason they show any loading as a negative balance. Available Credit means how much money you have available to spend on the full credit limit of the card plus any loading.
    So if you have a credit limit of $5000 and you have loaded an additional $1000 on top of that, the $1000 will be shown as a Current Balance -$1000, and the available credit will be $6000.
    There will be occasional discrepancies such as when you have purchased something but the full transaction has not gone through. It may show you as having more in the Current Balance than the Available Credit does. This will sort itself out in a few days.

  243. But look at the interest rate if you don’t pay by due date!

    EDITOR: All credit cards have high long term rates, so consistently not paying a creditcard by the due date will lead to financial ruin regardless of whether the rate is 10% 15% or 20%. The rule has to be don’t buy anything on credit that you can’t afford to pay with in cash when the creditcard bill arrives

  244. BWare, that is how all CCs make their money, from people spending beyond their means. My last statement from another CC had a balance of over $2000 to pay and a minimum payment of $48 required. At that rate and with compound interest I don’t think I would ever pay it off.

  245. This card has no ‘rewards points’ so there is hardly any point in using it for credit anyway. I find it best to keep it purely for travel, keep track of how much you have loaded on it, withdraw from ATM’s and use cash. If you need to use credit to pay hotels bill, make sure you deduct that amount from the cash you had left because as I said before it will come straight off the cash balance you had.

  246. Actually Marie I found a solution that is better than awards points card with high annual fees.
    If you use the 28 degrees card and max it out in a month and put that money in a savings account with 6 % interest and only pay the card off 3 days before the due date you will earn money every month it’s a good plan and better then awards cards. Another words spend with their money ge money…. And earn interest on your own money and only pay the balance in full before the due date so you are not charged interest.
    If you can’t pay a card off by the due date really you shouldn’t have one especially an awards card of all because they have crazy interest rates.
    I love this card and will earn more using it then any awards card. Without the annual fee im already saving….

  247. Hi Eyeryone, I have just returned from my European holiday. The 28% mastercard was just fantastic. No problems at all. Highly recommended.

  248. I’m doing a cruise in next month. At Vanuatu Port Vila there is an anz and a Westpac bank. Last time I went (couple years ago)I didn’t have the 28 degrees card and used my other bank cc at the anz. Well did I get a nasty shock with the fees my bank charged me for drawing only $50 worth of vatu, even the anz bank got a piece of me for using there machine.

    So when I revisit the islands I look forward to drawing from the Westpac pacific branch because a cash advance whilst being in credit on my card and using a Westpac atm will be ZERO fees for me. CASH IS KING but The best part of the whole thing is…. TIP- The exchange rate is better if you draw yourself on the islands from an atm using the card instead of getting the money exchanged from the cruise ship itself at reception, the cruise ship which I won’t name but im certain there all like it around the world… rips you off with the exchange rate for profit as do most money exchanges do usually a 2 or 3% difference. So saving on that little bit will be able to order a few more pina lata ‘grin. Pete

  249. Hi,

    If we pre load our card with BPay, so that we have a +positive balance. Can we still pay using a “credit” to get the 55 days interest free? Or it will deduct the positive balance straight away, i.e. like an EFTPOS transaction?

  250. Hi all,

    I just returned from a holiday to USA / Central America and this card was fantastic (particularly with our favourable exchange rate at the moment). Exchange rates were as per xe.com and there were no fees.

    However, I didn’t use it for any cash withdrawals so am wondering if anyone can tell me which ATM’s in the USA I can use for this. Previous posts have mentioned Mastercard ATM’s but I am not sure if this means an ATM that has the mastercard logo as one of the accepted card types or whether the ATM needs to be a Mastercard branded machine.

    I am moving to NY for 1 year and was planning on using this card as my cash card whilst there as I will still be paid in AUD into and AUD bank account.

    Thanks

  251. WARNING: Now that Wizard has become 28 degrees you get charged interest for ‘advance cash withdrawal’, meaning even if you have your own money in there (your account is in the positive), you will be charged interest on the money you withdraw (from the instant you withdraw it), just like any other credit card. Wizard use to be great, but now that they have sold it on and it’s changed it is no longer worth it.

    Is there a card out there which allows you to withdraw money from an ATM without charging interest (as a credit card does) AND without international fees???

    EDITOR: can anyone who’s traveled overseas in the last few weeks please confirm/deny this?

  252. Sorry, but pretty sure Tatula Rose is incorrect.

    I’ve just been and didn’t incur any fees. However I have only use it as a debit account and so I am NEVER in ‘credit’ on this occassion.

    If you use it as both, (which i found out in Italy), and you get into debit, it processes the ‘normal purchases’ first (within that 3 day batch), and then processes the withdrawal.

    So if you load in $1000 aussie, then take out 750Euros (1 to 0.75), and then a few hours later (or even days later), you use the credit card on 500euros of purchases, it assumes that you did the purchases 1st, and hence you will be charged interest on 500euros.

    Until you actually know all ‘cashouts’ have been processed and registered on your card online transaction, you should not use it as a credit card. (this may take a few days).

    Hope this clarifies things a bit.

  253. Btw, GE Money can’t charge you interest on your own money. (You don’t technically owe anything what-so-ever). Only thing they can charge is an Withdrawal fee – which they have clearly stated that they don’t do.

  254. Reply to Tula Rose
    I have been to Europe via Dubai April ,May , I loaded my 28%mastercard up. I used it in Dubai, Scotland and Europe for cash withdrawals and for purchases. I have had a statement in May,and I have not been charged any ATM withdrawal fees or conversion fees whatsoever. I was expecting some ATM fees as I used any ATM machine ,there was only one machine I could not use in ll the time I was away. I think they all had the Mastercard Logo though ?. I do hope this helps. If I can help further I will. I am more than happy with the 28% mastercard.

  255. From 28 degrees website:
    “Is there interest charged on cash advances?
    Yes. Cash advances are charged interest from the date of withdrawal.”

    “‘Cash advance’ is the term used when withdrawing cash from a credit card, even if your card is in positive balance”.

    Please let me know if anyone has tried withdrawing cash from an ATM on this card recently, I’d love to hear that there is no interest and the website is referring to negative balances and not positive. Thanks 🙂

  256. How recent are you talking? My son was overseas when 28 degrees was taken over and was not charged any fees for accessing his own funds which were in credit. My daughter is currently overseas and has not said she is being charged any fees for withdrawing her own funds.
    Contact Skye on Twitter for 28 degrees she is very good with information

  257. Donna, any ATM that displays the logo of mastercard, which is virtually all ATMs. Just be aware that ATMs in the USA charge to use their machines and the ones that appear “private” ie not attached to a bank, are the worst, often limiting the withdrawal to about $200 and charging $4-$5 per withdrawal.
    Eric, any money you withdraw or any CC spend you make will immediately come off the credit balance.
    Talula, I haven’t used my account for money withdrawal on this particular trip, but it was branded 28degrees when I withdrew money in the states 6 months ago and there were no charges. It is NOT a cash advance but simply drawing your own money out again so there shouldn’t be charges. I will test it in the USA in a few weeks.

  258. I have been to Europe via Dubai April ,May , I loaded my 28%mastercard up. I used it in Dubai, Scotland and Europe for cash withdrawals and for purchases. I have had a statement in May,and I have not been charged any ATM withdrawal fees or conversion fees whatsoever. I was expecting some ATM fees as I used any ATM machine ,there was only one machine I could not use in ll the time I was away. I think they all had the Mastercard Logo though ?. I do hope this helps. If I can help further I will. I am more than happy with the 28% mastercard.

  259. Are you sure about this Talula Rose?
    I agree that all credit cards charge interest immediately on cash advances (unlike purchases when interest is only charged if you dont pay by due date).

    Interest on cash advances is to be paid until you pay off the amount advanced as well as any other amount outstanding.

    However, when I have made no purchases on my account for the last few months and the balance owing is zero, I would have thought that if I had paid say $1000 into my account and withdrew $1000 a week later, I would NOT be charged any interest for this “cash advance”. If this is not the case when were the rules changed and where does it say this on their website?

    I am about to go overseas and would like to use this card just as I have used it on every trip over the last few years.

    If anyone has had the experience described by Talula Rose or knows something I don’t please advise asap.

  260. Hi,
    I am planning a trip to Asia, leaving soon, and am keen to get the 28 degrees card. I am planning on using it as a debit card only, but am concerned that my application will be rejected. Can anybody advise me on the types of things that will make them accept/reject my application? I ask this because I am worried they only make their money if you use it as a credit card, so may not grant it if they suspect my plan.

    Re: the above comment by Talula Rose, I am also interested to know if anybody else can confirm this?

    Also, if my card is lost or stolen, will the money I have preloaded be safe once i report the loss?

    Thanks!

  261. Tutula Rose – “‘Cash advance’ is the term used when withdrawing cash from a credit card, even if your card is in positive balance”.

    TRUE – but think of it this way. It is 2 transaction. You withdraw cash, so its a cash advance and at the end of the day, if the balance is in ‘negative’ or in ‘credit,’ you will be charged interest… However if you load in your own money, basically what you have done is ‘instantly’ repaid this cash advance, so you don’t have any interest incurred.

    Pretty simple I think… so don’t worry, they haven’t changed a thing.. except the name…

  262. “Re: the above comment by Talula Rose, I am also interested to know if anybody else can confirm this?”

    False, based on past use and customer service less than a week ago.

    “Also, if my card is lost or stolen, will the money I have preloaded be safe once i report the loss?”

    Not 100% sure but as I understand it they are not liable for preloaded amounts.

  263. Pheobe, Just apply for the card, let them give you credit with their money. As I did then load your money onto it and use it as a debit card overseas. You still key in Credit when you purchase or make an ATM transaction. I did this as it is only coming off the money you have loaded onto it first.
    Be carefull,they will not take any responsibility if you do have your card stolen etc, only the credit they gave you.
    Good luck, as it is a really good card from experience. I had no charges whatsoever.

  264. Travellled thru Europe 2010 with Wizard clear advantage prior to the 28 degrees changeover – it was brillant no transaction fees whatsoever and excellent exchange rates. However whilst in Thailand Christmas 2010/2011 with the 28 degrees card I was changed a transaction fee of $5.00 at every ATM. Can anyone explain this?

  265. That transaction fee is imposed by the bank which owns the ATM, just as all the ones in the USA charge to use their ATM. It is out of the control of the CC company. In fact, if you use your card at an ATM in Australia that is not a Westpac, you will be charged here too.

  266. This fee is charged by Thai govt for all non Thai cards using ATMs in Thailand. Been happening for the last year or two.

    The only exception is AEON branded ATMs and there are not a lot of them. You can find Aeon locations if you do a google search.

  267. Went to Malaysia end of January 2011, withdrawn money from Maybank and HSBC ATM, no fee charged.

    Went to Japan end of March 2011, withdrawn money from Seven Bank (in 7-Eleven) twice, no fee charged as well.

  268. For those who have not noticed the interest rate has gone up to 20.99%. I didnt get any warning on previous statement or by email, but i frequently check it in the online service centre. Card is working a treat recommend to all.

  269. Back last week from a trip to Bali.
    Used different local ATMs to withdraw money (that I had deposited) on a couple of occasions.

    Used it as a credit card to pay my hotel bill at the end of my trip taking advantage of interest free days. Now have to pay this by due date (more than a month away) so I don’t incur interest.

    No problems at all. No fees. Great exchange rates – equal to or better than I could get for Aus dollar cash at street side money changers.

  270. I got this card just last week. Planned to just transfer money to the card like a lot of people suggested, but when i spoke to customer service they suggested not doing this as your money isn’t protected. If you load it up with your own money and your card gets skimmed they will not cover it. Not very good.

    So i guess when withdrawing money i will do it as a cash advance, which means I will have to cop the interest fees – i assume there’s no interest free period with cash advances?

  271. Yikes, don’t do a cash advance. You would be better to use an ordinary debit or ATM card from your usual bank account in an ATM than pay 20% interest on cash advances.
    How about loading small amounts at a time? If you are travelling with a laptop or netbook this is really easy to do, just Bpay the card say $500 the day before you want to withdraw.
    However, I don’t see why you wouldn’t be covered from theft. It is still an illegal use of your card. There have been previous posts on this thread with “advice” from someone at 28degrees that has not been correct.
    Otherwise apply for an NAB Gold Debit card to use just for the hols. You have to have the money in the account of course but I use one for all ATM withdrawals OS and the 28degrees when I need a CC or don’t want to pay right away for something I am buying.
    The NAB has no fees for OS transactions and a really good exchange rate as well. $10/month fees unless you put $5000 in per calendar month, but you can hand it back after the holiday if you like.

  272. Just came back from HK, Taiwan and Malaysia.

    Cash advances – No cash advance fees in any of those 3 countries.

    FYI.
    Changed money on a particular day …

    Money Changer in Malaysia gave 1aud to 3.18rm (which was pretty damn good) after negotiation.
    28 Degrees Card gave 1aud to 3.20rm. Verdict – 28 Degrees card wins outs.

  273. Lewis. I was OS for the last 7 months and used the card throughout. It was more or less always in credit by up to 8k at times. I had about 2k in frauduant transactions done. And I got 100% back after contacting the GE falcon area, skye and providing all the requested info. At no stage did anyone from Ge say I wasn’t covered. However, I had read to the contrary that I may not be on forums etc beforehand. That’s my experience. I hope it helps.

  274. Hi all, I’ve just returned from a 6-week trip through Dubai, France, Spain, Andorra and Italy. I only use the 28 Degrees card as a credit card. Only problem encountered was one day in France when there seemed to be problems with the MasterCard network as two separate merchants couldn’t connect and the error messages indicated network issues. I carry a no-fee, no-free credit days Visa credit card as backup just for those types of occasions. I’ve had the 28 Degrees card for 2 years and use it for all overseas trips and for online purchasing from overseas.

  275. When overseas with a “loaded” card do you pay the normal selling rate on the day when buying foreign currency

  276. Last year I wanted to avoid charges. Went with NAB GOLD and closed the account upon my return. Bank fees in total = $10. It took me a few months to remember to close the account and whilst I had a 0 balance NAB did not charge the monthly fee. I am opening the account again now for next trip!

  277. Can anyone tell me which is the best bank to use in UK to withdraw cash? I did this at Barclay’s in Aug and appeared to have no fees charged for withdrawal but today I was charged 4.5% handling fee. They are partners with Westpac and so I assumed it would be free.

  278. Yes, I have checked my statement and was not charged any fees for the Aug withdrawal. Barclays are still listed as Global Alliance Partner with Westpac. I have spoke to Skye about this but she says they cannot say which banks will charge for using ATM’s, we just have to find out but I would have thought if the Global Alliance was going to work they would have to all stick to it!
    I will go to Barclay’s on Monday and see if anyone can help. This was not just a flat charge but 4.5%! Meanwhile if anyone knows the best ATM to use in UK I would be grateful.

  279. Ok I can confirm that Nat West did not charge for ATM withdrawals. They also say I can withdraw larger amounts over the counter at no charge, just need to show passport and driver’s license.
    Barclay’s have offered to look into why I was charged this week and not previously, so have to wait until until 28 deg updates my account balance (this is the only drawback with them) it has not changed for about 4 days! They need to see exactly what happened on the statement and then will pursue the issue.

  280. Hi Neerav,

    Thanks for the informative review. I have had this card since the Wizard days, and used it mainly for online shopping (to avoid the shocking PayPal rates). Recently went travelling around Europe and this card saved me a fortune. Particularly handy to load up with extra cash then withdraw at any ATM (most had an English language option, although the Italian ATM’S were a bit hit and miss on reliability).

    Although, everyone should make sure you let 28Degrees know before you travel, mine got put on hold halfway through the trip due to all the foreign transactions at that was a bit of a pain.

    Cheers!

  281. Just returned from 6 weeks in (mainly eastern) Europe. Used my 28 degrees primarily as a debit card in a wide variety of bank ATMs and didn’t pay a single withdrawal fee, even though I was expecting to given some of the comments here and what’s on the Westpac Global Partners list. I did use Deutsche Bank in Berlin (as per the list) but all the other countries where I made withdrawals are not on the list.

    It’s not 100% clear whether this means for no fee to apply: (1) in countries not listed any ATM is OK and (2) in the countries listed only from ATMs of the nominated Bank. My experience would tend to indicate this is the case but I’m still not really certain.

  282. Update…. I can now state that the 4.5% handling charge that Barclay’s ATM showed it was going to take did not appear on my statement! It even showed on the ATM screen that amount out would be $335 and when the statement appeared it was only $318. So no idea what all that was about and the manager at the branch hadn’t either! All other major banks in the UK that I used did not charge and if any charge was due you would be forewarned.

  283. If you log onto 28 deg. it will always show how much you have left in the balance, even though you might not always be able to see the latest transactions. Meaning if you make a purchase or withdraw from ATM, it will immediately update the available balance but will not show up on the statement for 2-3 days.

  284. I read somewhere that if booking hotels overseas by credit card one should use local currency hotel rate rather than the AUD rate. The reason was that the retailer charges more for the conversion to AUD than the credit card company. If this is true then if I load up my 28 Degree card before making the booking there should only be minimal charges if any all. Any comments would be appreciated.

  285. When using the card overseas use AUD to avoid double currency conversion fees. However, this card has no conversion fees. I happily pay for things bought overseas, such as through Amazon, using it as a CC (not pre-loaded) selecting USD as the currency and have no fees imposed. In Europe they have to ask if you want to be billed in AUD. Just say no.

  286. Hi folks,

    I just returned from a trip to the Philippines and wanted to warn you that most ATMs limit the amount of cash you can withdraw to PHP10,000 per transaction as well as charging a fee of PHP200 per transaction. So if you withdraw the maximum amount per transaction, the fee works out to be 2%.

    The ATMs we tried which imposed the above limit and fee were Banco de Oro (BDO), Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), Philippine Savings Bank (PSBank) and I think also Union Bank. Allied Bank charged the PHP200 fee but wouldn’t let us withdraw PHP10,000 (I suspect their withdrawal limit was less, but didn’t proceed with trying lesser amounts so I cannot confirm this). China Bank would not process our transaction I think because the ATM did not accept Mastercard. The only ATM we could find that did not have the PHP200 fee was HSBC. HSBC also had a higher maximum withdrawal limit of PHP20,000 or PHP40,000 per transaction depending on the ATM. Unfortunately, HSBC ATMs are few and far between.

    The fee is imposed by the ATM owner and not 28 Degrees. I’m not sure what kind of spread the money exchange counters charge these days, but I’m guessing it’s not much more than 2%, so there may not be much difference between using your 28 Degrees card to withdraw cash from an ATM and changing money with a money exchange counter.

    The limit and fee appears seems to be on ATM cash withdrawals only, and not on card purchases. However, as not everyone accepts credit cards, you shouldn’t rely on just making card purchases as it is very likely you will need some cash.

    Oh, and there are no Westpac Global Alliance partner banks in the Philippines.

    Safe travels!

  287. I also just got back from the Philippines and can confirm that their are no ATM charges with HSBC. I also found that there were no ATM charges with Citibank ATM’s. So try and stick with those two if you can.

  288. this is great information, just got approved for this card and will try it on my next overseas trip!
    thanks for the tips everyone!

  289. Heading off to Egypt/Europe at the end of the year. Am I right in reading that if we purchase items in these countries that we purchase in their currency?

  290. Yes, purchase in the currency of the country, it avoids a double money exchange conversion fee.
    Martyn, I have not found an ATM in the USA that does not charge fees. Avoid the free standing private ones though. They limit the withdrawal and charge for each one at very high rates. I think my best one was at the airport but still a fee of $2.50 imposed by them. There may be a partner arrangement with whatever partners with Westpac which they list as Bank of America. In Peru it is supposed to be Scotiabank.

  291. Just back from Fiji.

    ANZ ATMs charge FJD 9 dollars per transaction (a warning came on screen).
    Westpac ATM had no fee.

    Exchange rate on card much better than money changer at airport and hugely better than paying hotel bill with AUS dollars (my friend unfortunately did that).

    As others have mentioned, ALWAYS use your card to pay in local currency NOT AUS dollars.

  292. In New York in 2010 we found the ATMs in macdonalds restaurants to be the cheapest, at that time they only charged $1 per transaction.

  293. Sorry, did my last post go properly. It should have included theis

    Travellers often experience problems in accessing funds in Cuba. Australian dollars cannot be exchanged in Cuba and debit cards are not accepted anywhere in the country. Cash advances may be obtained at banks, large hotels or Cadeca exchange houses against a Visa or Mastercard credit card (not debit card). American Express cards are not accepted in Cuba.
    I really suggest contacting 28 degrees re this situation.

  294. As a long term user of both Wizard and 28 degrees Mastercard I am worried to read that Mastercard is vary rarely accepted in Zambia where I am travelling in June.
    Could anyone advise whether there are any ATMs that accept it in Lusaka, and is so, where?

  295. We went to the UK and used our 28 Degrees the whole time. We always notify the company so they won’t stop it when they see it being used overseas.
    I even tried to change some cash (AUD) in London, the rate was lower that getting a cash advance from my 28 Degrees.
    We used the card for everything. It also gives you a record of what you spent.
    We loaded it up as we went along. Just transferred funds over to be in a positive balance.
    No fees whatsoever.
    It’s the only way to go. No yearly fees, no fees, full stop!
    We are about to try it out in Vietnam. I will keep you posted.

  296. When using this card with your own pre-loaded funds to withdraw (your) cash – do you selected the cash advance or the credit option? Obviously if you are paying at a hotel or shop etc you would select credit…?

    Also, it has been reported that the extra cash you load is covered by the card’s insurance. I know I should double check with GE but I also wonder if this might be covered by travel insurance? Just as actual cash would be if it was stolen from you phyisically. Just in case GE decline to cover the skimmed amount. I think it would be safer just to have scheduled, smaller transfers for this purpose anyway.

    Thanks!

  297. Also I will be attending the Olympics in London in July. Is it likely that Mastercard will have problems due to Visa’s sponsorship. I hope not!

    Last question I promise… in your experience, do most foreign atm’s charge a local fee regardless? Do they warn you about it, like in Aus when you withdraw from an ATM other than your own?

  298. Most overseas ATMs do not offer the option of withdrawing as a cash advance or credit option. As this is a CC, it will come off your credit, so make sure the card is in positive balance or you will pay a very high rate.
    There are varying opinions about whether the positive balance is covered by 28 degrees. As I have not been skimmed I don’t know. I keep the credit limit low and monitor the card.
    I can’t speak for ATMs in England re ATM charges. In France, Italy and most banks in Spain, no charges, and if they are charged you are warned before completing the transaction. In the USA there are always ATM charges even on this card but you are warned in advance.
    A warning. Keep a close track on the account but be prepared for some strangeness. I have found that it can take 5 days for the actual CC purchase or ATM withdrawal to show up on the on-line accounts, though the “available funds” amount usually indicates the transaction has happened. There are occasionally some weird double entries too, that disappear in a few days. At first I panicked and rang them, they made soothing noises and by the time the account was due all was sorted on paper.
    I jot the amounts down now, just for my own peace of mind.

  299. If you load money on your card you aren’t covered for any fraud on that component of the money by 28 Degrees. I asked 28 Degrees before I loaded money and they said they would not cover it.
    I would assume that you would be covered by your travel insurance company. You should check and get confirmation in writing, as it may be a grey area. You take the risk, if not. If you load up as you go, make sure you cover any purchases because that will eat into the excess you loaded.
    I wasn’t charged fees at Waterloo Station when I got a cash advance. You select cash advance not credit.
    In Vietnam I was charged $2 but you are advised before the fee is lodged. You will always be asked if you want to pay the fee, if they didn’t ask, you would be able to claim it back as it was taken without your consent.
    I would take a back up, just in case, I took 500 pounds cash. In the four weeks, I used it for purchases that would have lodged a fee or where I couldn’t use a credit card. The 500 pounds will help you if the card doesn’t work, to tide you over. I would try it as soon as you land, to make sure and stop any concerns.
    I find it’s the cheapest way to go, hassle free.

  300. Yes, Mastercard is affected by the Visa sponsorship of the Olympics. I went to Vancouver for the 2010 Winter Games and found I couldn’t use my Mastercard anywhere! Not in stores, I also couldn’t use ATM’s. I had to withdraw cash over the counter at a bank. This was only for Vancouver and Whistler though, once I got to my next destination, my card worked fine.

  301. I have just returned from Vietnam. In Saigon, the Vietnamese Bank will only allow you to withdraw 2 million VND the fee is around $1. For 2 milliion VD, plus the fee, $92.73 was deducted from my credit card.

  302. In Kuala Lumpur, this is the rate charged to my credit card for a 11.80 MYR coffee bill $3.74. This appeared on the statement 11.80 MYR Rate: 0.316949

  303. Examples of ATM withdrawls in Vietnam. Tellers are everywhere, in front of hotels, in tourist booking offices, near markets, in small supermarkets, etc.

    ww.mbbank.com.vn automatic teller – I withdrew 6 million VND and a $1 fee was charged $279.43 was deducted. 6020000.00 VND Rate: 0.000046. The 20000 was the fee.

    TechcomBank auto teller, I withdrew 6 million VND and a $1 fee was charged $279.43 was deducted. 6020000.00 VND Rate: 0.000046. The 20000 was the fee.

    VietinBank, only 2 million could be deducted witha t 25,000 fee. 2025000.00 VND Rate: 0.000045. So give them a miss!

  304. Just got a letter from the NAB, current NAB Gold card holders can retain their cards, but the gold card won’t be available after the 10th August 2012 – the alternative is a travel card similar to the Travelex product with similar fees and charges.
    If you keep your NAB gold card the following fees will apply:
    $4 per overseas ATM cash withdrawal
    2% foreign currency transaction fee (based on the Aus dollar transaction amount for cash withdrawals)
    So you’ll need to compare the fees of each NAB card to see what’s the best bet.

    WIZARD will now be the king for travel in my books – I used to use both NAB & Wizard when travelling, now it will be Wizard only.

  305. Baz, couldn’t agree more. I also wrote to the manager of NAB pointing out things like this site and Tripadvisor and indicating I thought they were shortsighted. The new Travelcard looks like it will cost about 5% given that quite nasty hidden fee of the actual rate of exchange you are given when loading. Even the Choice article didn’t seem to pick that up.
    I am currently investigating Citibank Everyday, as I like to have both a credit and a debit card with me, and on different banks.

  306. I spoke to 28 degrees about loading the card before travelling and they strongly reccommended not doing this. I asked why, and they said that the card could be deemed fraudulent????? Are they just discouraging me from using this option. Has anyone had any problems with this.

  307. Cam, just read your post about deeming 28degrees mastercard Fraudulent,if you load it up.
    I used it overseas last year and loaded it up before I went. I told Mastercard before I went, the only thing they told me was it would not be covered by insurance if It was scammed.
    I hope someone else can offer an opinion on this as well, as I will be using it again , and loading money onto it.

  308. I have loaded mine up on two overseas trips. I top it up from my savings, when I am on my trip, to save on cash advance fees. I had no problems. Just inform 28 Degrees before you go, so that they won’t stop the card. If they see suspicious activity from overseas, they will call your local number, when they get no response, they may stop the card if you’ve not notified them.
    I believe they say it is fraudulent because they know they miss out on stinging you fees. I don’t believe there is a law against it, you just won’t be covered for the loaded up amount, if you lose the card. You can lessen that by loading smaller amounts, say $700. as you go, rather than a large amount. If you set up your savings account so you can transfer online, you can load it up a few days before you need to withdraw it. Even if you transfer from your savings to 28 Degrees on the same day, it will only incur small fees, $3-4.
    I always take up to 1k cash and use my 28 Degrees as soon as I land to make sure it will work when I arrive, in case there are any glitches. It’s the only way to go.

  309. Please don’t worry Cam. Have used this 28degrees card (and former Wizard card) with pre loaded funds for a number of years in several different countries and never had a problem. My friends and relatives also use this card the same way.

    Choice has recommended using the card that way in their own reviews, and they are a well regarded consumer advocacy organisation.
    Also has been reviewed positively in in print and TV by a number of journalists.
    Jay

  310. Oh dear, I have just been asked to complete a survey re the 28 Degrees card, with options for different cards that included charges for OS use of various sorts (ATM withdrawals, % fees), charges for putting the card in credit, charges for contacting customer service, a 1% Mastercard charge for use overseas. Various permutations and combinations were presented, several of which would have me closing the card. They did ask at each stage what I would do if that was the card offered.
    I was also asked to complete a somewhat similar one for ING.
    I fear moves are afoot to make changes to costs for cards across a number of financial institutions.
    You can bet the final product will benefit the bank more than the customers.

  311. Hi Lynn,
    I just got the survey. Agreed to participate. First question: “Are you or members of your family involved in businesses (here were several categories including advertising”?) My answer: “Yes”. Then came “Thank you, that’s the end of the survey”.
    Interesting.

  312. Oh Lynn – how could you be so cynical – I’m sure any fees or charges the banks levy would be for your convenience and to improve service – ha!!

    If the banks all go down this track then hopefully a forum such as this will assist travellers in finding the best deal around.

    Thanks to Neerav for starting this blog – it’s helped many people over the last couple of years.

    EDITOR: Thanks Baz 🙂 I only kicked things off though, 90% of the credit goes to all of you for helping each other with questions.

  313. I got the survey from 28 Degrees too and agreed to take it. It sounds very ominous and fees of one sort or another are probably on the way. Some of the options are shocking. My response was that I would close my card if any of those fees were to be introduced. And that after the demise of the NAB Gold Card! Thanks to the editor and all contributors to keep us informed!

  314. I am going on the Alaska Cruisetour next month. Just wondering if anyone has any experience with the 28 degree card in Canada and Alaska on recent times. There are only a few threads in the beginning of this blog during the Olympics in Vancouver when the Mastercard was banned.

    EDITOR: I’m interested as well. Will be travelling to San Francisco (California), Seattle (Washington) and Alaska (Juneau, Anchorage, Fairbanks) later this year.

  315. I’ve been a happy Wizard/28 Degrees cardholder for 4 years. It’s not my main card, I use it solely for overseas travel and for buying goods internationally so as to avoid the foreign currency conversion fee.

    I’ll be travelling to the west coast USA for 3 weeks in September and plan on using it there. I haven’t used it in the U.S. before but don’t anticipate any problems.

    The recently mentioned survey (which hasn’t come my way yet) sounds ominous. If they do introduce fees, particularly a foreign currency conversion fee, it will lead to me considering the usefulness of the card. Are there any recommended replacements?

    BankWest has a ‘Zero Platinum’ Mastercard which waives all foreign exchange fees, has no annual fee, and up to 55 days interest-free purchases. You can apply online but whether you’re offered the ‘Platinum’ card depends on your approved limit – the two other options, ‘Zero Classic’ or ‘Zero Gold’, have the same no-annual-fee and interest-free days but charge 2.95% foreign exchange fee. Has anybody had experiences (good/bad) with these cards from BankWest/

  316. No experience with the bankWest products. I have just taken possession of a CitiPlus debit card which is supposed to have no fees for use OS and at Westpac ATMs in Australia. There are also ATMs available in America that charge no fees for using the CitiPlus card and you can find them on an interactive map. This is handy because most ATMs in the US charge quite hefty ATM fees.

    I like to travel with a Credit Card and a Debit Card and with the recent demise of the original NAB Gold Debit I have taken up the Citi. I have yet to use it OS.

    One of the questions in the survey was about fees for having the account in more than $100 credit. If they implement that I will bail out as it is one way I can make sure my son has access to cash when he is in America without having to pay enormous money transfer fees.

    EDITOR: interesting find Lynn. I can’t find an obvious catch in the terms and conditions for the CitiPlus debit card, perhaps the conversion rate takes a bigger buy/sell spread. Have you used it to shop for something cheap online in $US to see what the conversion rate is like compared to spot bank rate that day?

  317. I can’t help with USA and Alaska, but last September I paid my hotel bills in Vancouver, Whistler and Victoria with my pre-loaded 28 degrees card and made sundry purchases with it and as expected, no charges. I didn’t get any cash as I had plenty of Canadian dollars from previous trips.

  318. Thanks John. It is good to know the card is ok even in Alaska not that I ‘ll be using it much there I hope. Still want to know any Canadian experience good or bad.

  319. Also got the survey … and also ticked “Will close account” for all of the options they gave. Reality is, the interest rates they have are ridiculous compared to others. The access to various lounges at airports does not interest me although the 6 months interest free has potential.

    A very similar survey was sent out just prior to the name change seemingly according to posters on another site (for those that haven’t stumbled onto Whirpool there’s a couple of relevant threads http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/forum-replies.cfm?t=1829802 and http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/forum-replies.cfm?t=1725541).

  320. Tried the Citi with Amazon buying books from their Kindle store.
    Total was $17.58usd and I have been charged $16.97aud which frankly seems better than or equal to the posted interbank rate for yesterday, depending on which calculator you use. I can’t yet see if there are charges attached but I would think not.

    EDITOR: Thanks for testing the Citi card Lynn 🙂

  321. Haven’t been asked to do a survey but as several have commented I would immediately close my Account if transaction or conversion fees are imposed. 28 Degrees must realise that “no fees” is their point of difference and that the card becomes nearly worthless if it’s just another standard credit card.

  322. I agree with all the posts, on the survey, I also got the survey and like others will close my account with 28% mastercard if they impose fees.
    I have another Credit card I will use when overseas if this does happen.

  323. So far in San Francisco I have been charged $3 at a CHASE Bank ATM and $5 at Wells Fargo ATM to withdraw cash using my 28 Degrees card.

    Will try Bank of America and McDonalds ATM’s next if they are nearby when I need cash

  324. Hi Neerav,
    The fees that you have been charged would possibly be those 2 banks , not 28% mastercard I don’t think every bank you draw from would charge fees.
    Hopefully for your sake you can find one that has no fees !!

    EDITOR: yes sorry I didn’t clarify. those were USA Bank AM fees, not 28 degrees fees

  325. I’ve just returned from 3 weeks on west coast USA and can report that all the bank ATM’s I used to withdraw cash charged US$3 (US Bank, Bank of America). Non-bank ATM’s charged either US$3 or US$2.50, so I went for them whenever I could.

    Note: I use a CBA Travel Money Card for cash and use the 28 Degrees card as a credit card only.

  326. Just got back to Australia after the 4 weeks Alaska Cruise tour. Wells Fargo at Skagway charged $5 transaction fee but HSBC in Canada did not charge. I used my preloaded card for expenses on the cruise thinking that there will be a saving unfortunately the exchange rate used was miserable at < $1 USD 1 for $1 AUD.

    PS. Editor must be doing the same Alaska tour as I had which I fully recommend.

    EDITOR: Hope you had fun, my budget doesn’t extend to 4 weeks cruising Alaska! I’m catching the Alaska Marine Highway ferry for 3 days and staying in a cabin onboard.

  327. Did they give you the option of billing you in the local currency? Try to ensure they do that rather than use some dodgy local convertion.

  328. Hello Duh!

    The only options I had was to convert at the time of purchase or at the time of billing. I chose the latter. Did not mention about the rate.

  329. My friend Rob sent me this note during his current overseas trip:

    It is increasingly common to be offered to pay in your own currency when using a credit card overseas. I knew this was a ripoff but until now didn’t know exactly how much.

    On a recent trip to Thailand I was due to pay BHT 46800. The eft pos terminal offered to charge me AUD 1612.98. I said no, leave it in THB. I just received my 28 Degrees MasterCard bill for the transaction – AUD 1549.42. That’s $63.56 more for that one transaction. (If I had used my CBA Card in THB it would have cost AUD 1549.42 but the CBA would have kindly charged me an overseas transaction fee of $46.48).

    So, always use your fee-free 28 Degrees MasterCard when overseas AND never allow them to charge you in your home currency.

  330. Hi there, not sure if this has been covered off but I’ve just been approved for a 28dgs card. When I go to Hawaii, do I press ‘credit’ at the ATM and withdraw funds that way?

  331. Bad news for all us 28 Degrees card holders using the card overseas to cash advances. They are introducing a 3% cash advance fee from next year! No more loading up the card with cash to get interest free and great conversion rate foreign currency from overseas ATMs. Guess I’ll have to go back to rip-off cash cards again and use the 28 degrees card as purely a credit card. It was always too good to last.

    EDITOR: I suspect the majority of cardholders will continue using the 28 Degrees for foreign exchange credit card transactions and for withdrawing cash from ATM’s will use the free Citibank Plus aransaction account VISA debit card.

  332. It’s happened at last.
    After 1 January 2014 we can no longer load our card with money in advance before taking off overseas and withdrawing it free of charge.
    After that date 3% or $4 (whichever is greater) i.e. $30/$1000.
    Oh well, it was nice while it lasted, I’ll give my card a suitable farewell on New Year’s Eve.

  333. We were always exploiting a loophole in the 28 degrees by loading the card with money and they always told us not to do it. They have just closed the loophole and given you enough time to arrange an alternative card.
    Thing is, while I use my Citi Plus Visa debit card in ATMs overseas, I don’t know of another fee free Credit card. So I shall continue to use my 28D as my OS credit card and for OS on-line purchases.

  334. As usual Lynn your assessment is sensible and I’ll probably go along with the 28 degree for a while for the same reasons you espouse.
    It’s just that I like to protest the gradual eroding of benefits and the way we are treated like idiots, because we all know that the next thing that will happen is that Citi Plus will cut out their free of fees, which will then be followed by 28 degrees cutting out theirs.
    We are all the victims of the greed of big business. The clue is to not stick with the old (as they hope we will) when they up the anti, but to change to the next slightly more advantageous deal.
    The greatest cons today are the so called ‘loyalty’ rewards. The new definition of ‘loyalty’ is ‘economic stupidity’.

  335. I wasn’t notified of the fee change and only became aware of it last week when an an ex-colleague (also a 28D cardholder) emailed asking what I thought. Wonder how many others still aren’t aware?
    Will keep the card but use it only as a CC (still one of the best options for O/S and on-line credit purchases). Applied yesterday for a Citbank Citiplus Debit card and will use this in future for all O/S ATM withdrawals.

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