Westpac travel card review 2023
If you’ve planned a trip overseas, a dedicated travel money card can be a good way to make overseas spending easy and secure. Get the right card, and it could also mean you pay less overall, too.
Westpac offers its Global Currency Card which you can top up in NZD, and then convert to any of the 9 supported currencies for easy spending and withdrawals as you travel.
This guide covers the key benefits and fees of the Westpac card. Plus, we’ll also touch on a couple of popular alternatives for travellers from New Zealand, the ANZ debit card and the Wise travel money card, so you can compare them and see which works best for you.
Westpac travel card: key features
Westpac’s Global Currency Card is available to anyone aged over 18, resident in New Zealand, and with the right paperwork to get verified. There’s no fee to get a card – you just order online, top up to the minimum opening balance, and your card is sent to your home directly. The money you’ve put on your card is yours to spend – just add whatever you need for your trip, and you can then view and manage your balance via the Westpac app.
Before we look at how the Westpac travel money card works in detail, let’s get an overview of some of the Westpac travel card pros and cons:
|✅9 supported currencies, covering many popular travel destinations
✅Free to spend a currency you hold in your account
✅No fee to top up by bank transfer
✅No international ATM fee
✅Issued on the Mastercard network for global acceptance
|❌2.95% fee to spend currencies you don’t hold in your account
❌1.5% fee to load funds with a debit card
❌Exchange rate markups may apply when you convert from NZD to the currency you need for spending
Who is the Westpac travel card for?
The Westpac travel money card can be helpful in a broad range of situations:
- For anyone travelling to a country which uses one of the supported currencies
- For people who shop online in the supported currencies
- For travellers who want to load funds in advance and convert to the destination currency so they know their budget ahead of time
- For anyone looking to lock in exchange rates when they’re good – just add NZD and switch when you spot a good rate
What is the Westpac travel card?
The Westpac travel card is a multi-currency Mastercard which you can use to hold 9 different currencies, and for spending anywhere you see the Mastercard logo. You’ll be able to order your card online for home delivery, and can top up in NZD and convert in advance to the supported currency you need in your destination. It’s worth knowing that you’ll need to convert your funds in advance to avoid paying the 2.95% fee for spending a currency you don’t hold in your account.
There’s no fee to make an international ATM withdrawal with your card, and you can view and manage your card account online and in the Westpac app, making budgeting a breeze.
Is the Westpac Travel Money a multi-currency card?
Yes. The Westpac card supports the following currencies for holding and exchange:
- New Zealand dollars
- Australian dollars
- US dollars
- Pounds sterling
- Japanese yen
- Canadian dollars
- Hong Kong dollars
- Singapore dollars
You can also spend in other currencies, but you’ll pay a 2.95% fee when you do.
Alternatives to Westpac travel card
Westpac’s travel money card is a good option, but it doesn’t support all the currencies you might need if you’re headed off the beaten track. Plus, there are some fees to consider such as the 2.95% charge if you spend in a currency you don’t hold in your account already.
To check if the Westpac Global Currency Card is right for you it’s worth comparing it to a few other options available locally, such as Wise and ANZ.
Here’s a quick overview of how these providers line up on some key features:
|Westpac travel card||Wise travel card||ANZ debit card|
|Availability||Order online||Order online or in-app||Order online or in a branch|
|Card order fee||No fee||14 NZD||No fee|
|Monthly fees||No fee||No fee||No card specific fee – but fees may apply on your underlying ANZ account|
|International Money Transfers||Not available with the card – you’ll need a full Westpac account to access this service||Fees from 0.43%, 140+ countries covered||9 NZD online, 28 NZD in branch or by phone|
|ATM withdrawals||No fee for international withdrawals
4 NZD local withdrawal charge
|2 withdrawals to 350 NZD/month fee free, then 1.5 NZD + 1.75% after that||No fee for international withdrawals|
|Currency Exchange||Westpac rate which may include a markup||Mid-market rate||Rates include a 1.3% foreign transaction fee|
|Fee to spend a currency you don’t hold in your account||2.95% on top of the Mastercard rate||From 0.43%||Rates include a 1.3% foreign transaction fee|
|Supported Currencies for holding and exchange||9 currencies supported||40+ currencies supported||NZD only|
|Inactivity fee||No fee||No fee||No fee|
|Closure fee||No fee||No fee||No fee|
|Business Accounts||Alternative Westpac business services offered||Available||Alternative ANZ business services offered|
The Westpac travel money card can be convenient if you’re happy to convert over funds in advance of travel, and if you’re going to a country which uses one of the 9 supported currencies for holding and exchange. However, it’s worth comparing it to other cards to see if it’s the best for your particular needs, before you sign up.
The Wise card, for example, has a couple of advantages – you can hold a broader range of currencies, and there’s no need to convert your funds in advance. You can just leave your money in NZD and let the card automatically convert to the currency you need based on where you are, with the mid-market rate and low fees from 0.43%.
Alternatively if you bank with ANZ already you can just use your normal ANZ debit card when you’re spending foreign currencies with a relatively low 1.3% foreign transaction fee.
Wise digital multi-currency accounts can hold and exchange over 40 currencies, and the Wise card can be used for spending and withdrawals in 150+ countries. Open your account online or in the Wise app, and top up in NZD or any of the other 20 or so supported top up currencies. There’s no need to convert to your destination currency in advance if you don’t want to, as the card can do this for you with the lowest available fees every time. That said, if you want to set your budget in advance, or if you spot a really good exchange rate, you can also convert and hold in any of the 40+ supported currencies, making this a good card to pick even if you’re headed to a more unusual destination.
ANZ recommends customers just use their normal debit card when spending on foreign currencies. This has the advantage that there’s no extra hassle or fee to get a new card – but the drawback that you’ll be charged a foreign transaction fee every time you spend. Your spending will be converted using the network exchange rate, and the foreign transaction fee is set at 1.3% of the transaction value.
Read more about 4 best travel debit card for overseas travel
Westpac travel card fees & spending limits
As with all financial products, there are some important fees to know about when you’re thinking of ordering a Westpac travel card. Here are the key limits to bear in mind as a starting point:
|Limit Type||Westpac travel card Limit|
|Maximum amount per load/reload||25,000 NZD or currency equivalent|
|Debit Mastercard Load limit||15,000 NZD in any 24 hour period
30,000 NZD in any 7 day period
60,000 NZD in any 30 day period
|Bank Transfer Load limit||25,000 NZD per day|
|ATM withdrawal limit||3,000 NZD or currency equivalent in any 24-hour period|
|Point of sale (POS) limit||15,000 NZD or currency equivalent in any 24-hour period|
|Maximum balance allowed at any one time across all currencies||75,000 NZD|
|Maximum amount you can load across all currencies during a 12-month period||75,000 NZD|
|Minimum amount per load/reload||10 NZD or currency equivalent|
*Information correct at time of writing – 27th July 2023
And here are the key Westpac fees you’ll want to consider when you’re deciding if this is the card for you.
|Fee type||Westpac Fee|
|Card Issue fee||Free|
|Bank Transfer Load fee||Free|
|Debit Mastercard Load fee||1.5% of load amount|
|International ATM withdrawal fee
|Free (some ATM operators may independently charge fees)|
|Domestic ATM withdrawal fee||4 NZD|
|Cash Out fee||Free|
|24/7 Global Emergency Assistance||Free|
|Fee to spend a currency you don’t hold in your account||Mastercard rate + 2.95% of the transaction value|
*Information correct at time of writing – 27th July 2023
Westpac exchange rates may include a markup, margin or fee. Exactly how this works depending on the type of conversion you need to carry out.
If you’re topping up your account in a currency other than NZD, the rate used will be the Mastercard rate + a margin which you’ll be notified of at the time of top up. This is likely to apply if you need currency conversion within your account, or when you cash out too. You’ll see the full terms and conditions when you start the transaction, so you can double check the costs.
Once you have currencies in your account it’s free to spend them. However, if you’re spending in a currency other than one of the 9 supported currencies – or if you don’t have enough balance in your account in a specific currency to cover a purchase or withdrawal, a 2.95% conversion fee will apply on top of the Mastercard rate.
How to get Westpac travel card
You can apply for your Westpac travel card online. Here’s how to get a Westpac travel card, step by step:
- Open the Westpac Global Currency Card website and click Apply Now
- Follow the prompts to enter your personal and contact information
- Complete the verification step with your New Zealand passport or driving licence
- Top up at least the minimum opening balance amount
- Your card will be dispatched in 5 to 10 days, and will arrive by mail
What documents you’ll need
There’s a verification step needed when you order a Westpac travel money card. This is to keep accounts safe and comply with local and international law. Generally getting verified is very easy. In the first instance you’ll be prompted to enter information from either:
- Your New Zealand passport
- Your driving licence
Mastercard will then look to match your information with ID records. If this can’t be done – because you’ve changed your name or recently moved home for example – you can use your AA membership. If you’re still struggling with the verification process, you can email a copy of your relevant ID to Mastercard for manual verification. This should take just a couple of days.
What happens when the card expires?
Your Westpac card has 5 years validity. Once your card expires you’ll need to order a new one online, and can apply to have any residual balance moved from the old card to the new one for spending. If you don’t want to get a new card, you can also cash out the amount, minus any applicable fees.
How to use the Westpac travel card?
You can use your Westpac card anywhere you see the Mastercard logo. You’ll be able to tap to pay wherever contactless payments are supported, or use your physical card and PIN. Your card will check if you have a balance in the required currency. If you do not, your account will be debited according to a preset order of currencies, and the conversion fees will apply.
How to withdraw cash with the Westpac travel card?
Make cash withdrawals at ATMs globally that support Mastercard. You’ll need to enter your PIN to get cash, for security reasons. It’s also good to know that while there’s no Westpac fee for international ATM withdrawals, an ATM operator might charge a fee which Westpac doesn’t control. Local NZD withdrawals cost 4 NZD each.
Is the card safe?
Yes. The Westpac card is issued through Westpac and Mastercard – both large, well reputed and trustworthy providers. In fact, using a travel card can be a safe way to manage our travel money because it’s not linked to your everyday account, and you won’t need to carry lots of cash when you’re overseas, either.
How to use the Westpac travel card overseas?
Use your Westpac travel card overseas in the same way as you would any other payment card. Contactless is supported where the technology is available, or you’ll have a Westpac PIN to make POS payments and withdrawals as needed.
It’s important to remember that a fairly high fee of 2.95% applies to spend currencies you don’t hold – or if your balance in a particular currency isn’t enough to cover a transaction. Top up enough in advance and switch to your destination currency to avoid this fee.
Conclusion: Is the Westpac travel card worth it?
The Westpac Global Currency Card is a convenient option if you want a travel money card that’s distinct from your normal everyday account, and which lets you hold foreign currencies. You’ll need to order your card online, and top up in NZD before converting to the currency you need for your trip, to avoid the 2.95% conversion fee.
Compare the Westpac travel money card against alternative options like the Wise travel card and the ANZ debit card, to decide which is best for you. Wise has a broader range of currencies and offers automatic conversion at the point of payment, with low fees and the mid-market rate, while ANZ customers can spend globally with a fairly low 1.3% foreign transaction fee.
Westpac travel card review FAQ
How does the Westpac travel card work?
You can order your Westpac card online and add money in NZD before converting to the currency you need from the 9 supported currency options. You’ll then be able to spend and withdraw wherever you are. It’s free to spend in currencies you hold in your account, with a 2.95% fee to spend a currency you don’t have.
Is the Westpac travel card an international card?
Yes. The Westpac travel card can hold 9 currencies and can be used globally wherever Mastercard is accepted.
Are there any alternatives to a Westpac travel card?
Check out a few different options before you decide which travel money card suits you. The Wise card can be a good bet for frequent travellers, with 40+ supported currencies and low fees from 0.43% when you convert from one currency to another.