Since January 1, more than 250,000 Australian holders of a 28 Degrees Mastercard, previously the only fee-free travel money card, have faced a 3% charge when using overseas ATMs.
If withdrawing out a total of $5000, tourists will be hit with $150 in fees – even more if they withdraw in small amounts because the minimum fee has reached $4.
The company behind the card, GE Money – part of the $278bn behemoth General Electric – is now suffering a backlash from users.A GE spokeswoman said: "We have implemented this completely avoidable fee so we can continue to offer our customers the benefits of no international transaction fees on purchases, no currency conversion fees and no annual fee."
For withdrawing cash, money expert Michelle Hutchison recommended the Citibank Plus Visa debit card, saying it was the "only transaction account that doesn’t charge for using the card overseas". It doesn’t have monthly fees, either. "It’s great for using your own money for making purchases or withdrawing cash," Hutchison said.
Following the 28 Degrees change, the lowest fee credit card is Suncorp’s Clear Options Gold Visa. Its cash advance fee is 1.5% but there is also a charge for currency conversion (3.4%), plus ATM fees and an annual fee that rises to $120 in the second year.