Citibank’s Plus Mastercard Debit Savings Account card is perfect for Australians who want to buy online or travel overseas while saving money by avoiding paying monthly account keeping fees, foreign transaction fees and ATM withdrawal fees. Citibank changed the card from VISA to Mastercard during March 2017.
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
Citibank Plus Mastercard Debit Card Has Saved Me $100’s
Since I switched over to this card has saved me a lot of money.
While in Australia you can withdraw cash from any Citibank, Westpac or Westpac owned bank ATM (St George, BankSA, Bank of Melbourne) without paying an ATM fee.
Overseas when you use any ATM to withdraw cash Citibank won’t charge a fee itself. Most banks which own the foreign ATM you’re using won’t charge you a fee either, however note that a few might charge (see list on Whirlpool forums), usually there will be a warning about this on-screen asking you whether you want to continue.
Your Citibank Plus Mastercard debit card has a secure chip and Tap and Go functionality in it so you can pay using Mastercard PayPass at shops that support this.
Some countries for example the United States of America still have lots of shops with old credit card machines that require you to swipe your card or plug it into the machine & sign a receipt, your Citibank card also supports this.
At least a few days before you leave Australia let Citibank know which countries and what dates you’re travelling, so their automated security systems don’t lock your transactions overseas because they mistakenly think your card has been stolen.
Note that as of November 2016 all Citibank branches in Australia are cashless. Cheque requests and other non-cash teller services will continue at branches. Customers who want to deposit physical cash into a Citibank account will have to do so at an Australia Post shop that has Bank@Post and PostBillPay capabilities). Citibank Savings Deposit and mortgage account clients can also use National Australia Bank branches for cash services.
Like any other Australian bank savings account, you can use a Citibank Plus Mastercard debit account to pay bills using Bpay,
I don’t drink wine, but if you do you might be able to get a free bottle of wine at some Australian restaurants & cafes if you pay using your Citibank Plus Mastercard debit card. Check the Citibank wine and dine website to find out which restaurants participate in this offer.
While you don’t have to have any money deposited in the account when you open it, don’t leave this account inactive for close to 6 months in a row otherwise Citibank may shut it due to lack of use.
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.
Debit Card Can’t Be Used for Hotel/Car Hire Hold Fees
It’s quite common for car hire companies and hotels to demand to place a hold of several hundred dollars on your card when you pay them, as a security bond in case you damage the car / hotel room.
Many of these car hire/hotel companies won’t even accept a debit card for hold fees, they want a proper credit card for that, even if the bill will be settled with a debit card
I recommend that you use the 28 Degrees MasterCard credit card for that purpose. Like this Citibank card it also doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees.
Change from Visa to Mastercard
Citibank Australia this message to banking customers in December 2016:
Change to your Citibank Debit Card – From March 2017, Citibank Visa Debit cards will be replaced with a Citibank Debit MasterCard upon card expiry.
Summary of changes
- Your card number and card expiry date will change.
- If you have direct debits set up linked to your card number, your direct debits will need to be updated with your merchant once you receive your new card. Any direct debits you have set up on your account number will not be affected.
- Once you receive your new card, you will need to select a new ATM PIN.
When your card is ready to expire we will send you your new card with information on how to activate and use it straight away. In the interim, there is nothing else for you to do; you can continue to use your current Citibank Debit card as you do today.
Visit http://www.citibank.com.au/mcfaqs to view frequently asked questions related to the Citibank Debit Card change.