Bank cards (not CC) - cost to use overseas

An elderly neighbour is going abroad. She has her trusty credit card with her and knows the high fees and charges associated with the card.

She just realised that she also has an ANZ Access debit card, which she hasn’t used, but is activated.
She asked me what would be the typical charges imposed on using such a card, for example, she finds herself in the US and withdraws USD 500 from an ATM. The card can be used in the CIRRUS i.e. M/C network not the PLUS (Visa system).

(1) I established the account relating to the card is old. It does not have a Visa or M/C Debit facility on it. It’s what used to be called an EFTPOS card or ATM card;

(2) In the ANZ T&Cs for this card I found:

Transaction fees
overseas transaction fees
overseas ATM transaction fees and
non-ANZ ATM operator fees apply for the use of Cirrus ATMs and Maestro EFTPOS overseas.

You may have to pay a surcharge for making a withdrawal from some ATMs overseas. Surcharges will not appear as a separate item on your account statement. They will be included in the total amount of the withdrawal.

All charges, purchases and cash advances will be processed through MasterCard International Incorporated using the conversion rate set in accordance with its rules as at the date those transactions are processed by MasterCard International Incorporated.
This means that:
• Transactions in United States dollars will be converted into Australian dollars
• Transactions in other currencies will first be converted into United States dollars and then converted into Australian dollars.

Can anyone suggest from experience or knowledge, assuming she withdraws USD 500 from an ATM what she’ll be up for by way of:

Transaction fees - I assume this would be the commission (or margin) built into the exchange rate offered. Is it 2%? 3%? Please advise.

Overseas transaction fees, - this is a standard 3% I believe. Correct me if I am wrong;

Overseas ATM transaction fee - anyone know what this would be?

ATM operator fees apply for the use of Cirrus ATMs (i.e. overseas). Any idea how big this fee is?

BTW, it’s too late for her to trade in this card for say a Visa debit card, given she departs very soon.

I ask because I want to compare the fees and charges on the Access Card to the fees and charges on a Credit Card.


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from the above, it is 3%

Won’t be built in, but fee on top of any exchange rates. They will be charged by ANZ from the account the money is withdrawn and won’t impact on what comes out of the ATM - it is a separate charge at the ANZ end. Our bank (not ANZ) has it as a separate line item on a statement.

Also check exchange rates for the card, as they impact on what is left over and issued by an ATM. This could impact on the ‘value’ of using the card overseas.

How long is a piece of string? It will be set by the ATM owner where used and from our experience could be a small % to a few dollars or more. The ATM owner fees can also change based on location (e.g. airport/ transport hubs/hotels higher than outside a bank).

Some ATMs advise of charges before a transaction is committed to. Others may be silent. It depends on the countries local laws if disclosure is required. ATM fees are in the local currency where the transaction occurs and the actual fee is subject to the exchange rate and removed from that the ATM dispenses.

If you know what country(s) the travel is to, often expat websites provide an indication of likely fees. They also usually provide information on how to minimise any fees (such as what ATM owner to use or best locations to withdraw which could be within a bank or by ATM).

Also check the availability of CIRRUS ATMs as well as some countries there are next to none (e.g. China) to widely available.


Good points thanks.
In addition to the 24 page booklet you posted, I also found a 100 page booklet (or is it book) from the ANZ (savings transaction products) which lists the category of fee, but not the quantum.

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Fees are not the main issue. Conversion rates are much more significant. Comparing rates offered by major banks is pointless - they will be similar and poor value. I use a Wise card - which is a Visa debit card and can be used anywhere that accepts Visa. You can buy other currencies before travelling to lock in the rate or else just load $A and leave to convert for each transaction. As a general rule, the conversion rates will be 3% better than the banks. And the fees are lower too. For some unknown reason Choice never includes Wise in the comparisons - which then look only at fees which become the reason for choosing one over another because Choice is comparing bank issued cards which all have poor conversion rates.

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Mastercard, Visa, Amex, and other cards use exchange rates posted by those issuers, not by ‘the banks’. Those issuers generally add a margin of 2 to 4%. Cards from many banks add-on their own 3% offshore/foreign currency fees atop that. Some cards do not add that 3% or rebate it fully or partially.

Wise is mentioned in this recent article.


Thanks for the reference to Wise in Choice - but again the focus is on fees, not conversion rates. I realise that these change daily but if you do a comparison at any time, you will find savings on Wise.

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True. You will find many references to Wise on the Community, but Wise is a different ‘service’ than credit cards. Hence a distinction.

Different because it’s a debit, not credit card? Think you will find it also offers the same margin over bank debit cards because the conversion rates are better.

Because it appears to be a preloaded card of selected currencies rather than a debit card that is processed using the ‘[Visa / Mastercard] exchange rate of the day’ although one can view them similarly in that you can only spend what is in the ‘account’ or ‘loaded’.

There is no question Australian banks offer some of the poorest exchange rates no matter what the product or comparison. As I noted you can find a number of recommendations about Wise on the Community.

Nope,they dont have to be preloaded in foreign currencies - tho you can choose to do that if you want to lock in an exchange rate. You can just load with $A and that will be converted with each overseas transaction.

Although might be getting pedantic, the Wise card is an international card and the $AUD is one of the many currencies that can be preloaded. For those interested Wise (targeting Australian customers) can be found here. Note for example the comparisons are costs to ‘spend’ in $USD. There would be no advantage for a card loaded with $AUD when all spending is in $AUD. The advantage is when spending is in other currencies whether preloaded or real time.

The topic is cost to use cards overseas - so of course we are talking about the advantages of Wise when spending overseas. Not recommending for use in Aust - tho you can do so.

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