If you’re one of the more than 400,000 Australians travelling to China each year, you’ll know that getting access to your money can be difficult at times unless you want to carry around large sums.
Australia Post has joined forces with UnionPay and the Bank of China to develop a dual-currency travel card called the Load&Go China travel card that can be used by travellers to withdraw money from ATMs and pay for things at EFTPOS terminals around China.
The UnionPay terminal network stretches to more than 26 million merchants, and 1.8 million ATMs around the world.
Travellers can lock in currency exchange rates before they travel and the card can be further secured with a PIN number for added peace of mind.
To put it through its paces, Australia Post sent us a Load&Go China travel card with $150AUD pre-loaded. We handed the card to one of our journalists, who was travelling through China for a story to see how easy the card is to use and whether there are any pitfalls.
Our journalist, Ivan, said that the card was easy to setup through the Load&Go website:
“Before I left for China, I went to the Load&Go China website and registered my details to activate the card. On that site you can manage your preferences, change your PIN number and also transfer money between currencies.”
Once the $150AUD was transferred to Chinese Yuan (CNY), Ivan was able to visit an ATM and withdraw the cash. He said that it was as simple as entering the card like you would a normal ATM card, enter your PIN and then take the money out:
“The rest of the process was rather simple. I found an ATM, selected English, entered the PIN I had preset earlier and then withdrew funds from the account. It was entirely seamless and much like any other ATM card you would use back home.”
So, it all sounds easy and great, but, what are the downsides?
Well, there are a number of fees associated with using the card. The list below details the most obvious fees, although we do recommend checking these for yourself in more detail if considering this product:
|Transaction fee||A$0.09 per transaction for purchases in AUD currency3 – capped at A$0.99 per 30 day period (with the first period commencing on the date of activation).|
|Foreign currency conversion fee||3% of the AUD value of the transaction|
Does not apply to conversions between AUD and CNY.
|ATM fee||A$2 equivalent5|
Fees charged by the ATM operator may also apply in addition to the ATM fee.
|Customer service consultant fee||A$4 per call|
|Balance enquiry via interactive voice recognition (IVR)||A$0.50 per enquiry|
|SMS notification fee||A$0.25 per SMS|
|Replacement card fee||A$9.95|
|Card closure fee||A$9.95|
|Card balance redemption fee||A$15|
|Unauthorised transaction enquiry fee||A$20 (if transaction is found to be authorised)|
|Emergency cash transfer fee||A$35|
|Minimum single load||A$100|
|Maximum single load||A$10,000|
|Maximum available card balance (at any time)||A$10,000 or foreign currency equivalent|
|Maximum aggregate load (amount that can be loaded to the card per 12 month period, which commences from the date of activation)||A$50,000|
|Maximum value of ATM cash withdrawals per day||Up to A$2,500 equivalent|
If you are travelling to China in the near future, it’s worth considering a Load&Go China travel card as an alternative to carrying around lots of cash and a heap of credit cards.
You can purchase your Load&Go China travel card from Australia Post or at the Load&Go China website by clicking here. If you hurry, there’s also a chance to win a $10,000 trip to China thanks to Australia Post. Entries close 30 October.
Foreign currency made easy
As far as carrying money overseas goes, it can be cumbersome and in some countries unsafe. The easiest and safest option is to opt for a rechargeable travel money card.
We get hold of the Australia Post Load&Go China travel card to test out its features and put it through its paces. While we love it, it's worth checking all the fees and making sure you don't end up spending more than you need to.
- Ease of use
- Destination acceptance
- Up front cost