I love money. I love holding it, saving it, spending it and talking about it. Most importantly, I love knowing exactly where each cent I spend goes. I am in control of my money except when it comes to accessing my money overseas. This sucks.
After all, I worked hard to earn my money. Then I put a big chunk of each pay into a high interest account to make more money from my money. I watched it grow day by day until I finally had enough to travel the world in style.
This is where things get annoying. I am quite brand loyal. I have been with Westpac bank since I was a kiddy wink. My account number at the age of 36 is the same from when I was 6. Thirty years with the same
Don't worry, I am not leaving Westpac... Not yet anyhow.
The problem I have with Westpac is the fees they charge when you take money out of your Australian account via an ATM in another country.
For example, I took 900 Malysian Ringgit out of my bank in November 2011. That is the equivalent of $300 Australian dollars. I then got charged a $5 AUD foreign ATM fee as well as nearly $10 AUD in foreign transaction fees.
$300 + $5 + $10 = $315 in total to get $300 out.
Below are details of exactly how much we withdrew from November 2011 till the end of June 2012. We did withdraw a lot of money as, while in south east Asia at least, we usually pay for everything with cash. Unfortunately we were also charged a lot simply for accessing our own money.
I am fine with the fees when I travel short term, but long term, no way!
What to do? Well, I did a lot of research and it seems that ING Direct is cheap when travelling. Luckily for us, we also have an account with ING and have our card with us.
They charge a flat $2.50 AUD per transaction. No foreign transaction fee. Nothing.
For example, I took out $300 US Dollars in Cambodia. The equivalent of $300 Australian Dollars. ING then charged a $2.50 AUD fee.
$300 + $2.50 = $302.50 to get $300 out.
Westpac cost an extra $15 to take $300 out. ING Direct cost an extra $2.50 to take $300 out. I think you can see which bank is the winner in my eyes.
Please note that most banks overseas will charge you a fee for using their ATM as well. Those fees are on top of the fees charged by your bank. Some banks like Canadia in Cambodia and AEON in Thailand don't charge you a fee. Do your research.
In seven months time, I will let you know how ING Direct fared for fees when accessing money overseas. However, I can already see that I will be saving a lot. More money to spend on important things like cocktails by the pool.