How to Travel With Your Money
Nomads rejoice! Taking your cash on the road is about to get even easier. In the past, going to international destinations meant exchanging money, getting travelers cheques, dealing with foreign transaction fees, or finding a credit card without those fees... don't even ask about ATMs. These methods are all well and good as long as you plan ahead, but the reality is, you never really have direct access to your bank account. That is where TransferWise comes in!
The popular London based finance company has been shaking up the banking world over the last few years by making international wire transfers much easier and cheaper. Now they're moving on to Borderless bank accounts.
You'll notice that it says "nomads" rejoice at the beginning of this article. That word choice was in fact very deliberate because the new TransferWise accounts are, for the time being, still in their infancy. The company is directly targeting small business owners and freelancers that travel and/or need to deal in multiple currencies or locales.
The account will enable you to use 15+ currencies. If you need to switch between them, you pay the low TransferWise exchange rate and not the outrageous fees imposed by many banks. Most importantly, this innovative disrupt allows you to have "bank accounts" in multiple countries... local account numbers and all. It's currently only available in the EU, UK, and the US but will be rolling out to AUS and CAN late 2017! If you're not a small business owner or freelancer, fret not, TransferWise plans to launch a consumer aimed venture later in the year complete with debit cards.
We're extremely excited about banking without borders and will definitely be keeping an eye on the project for both freelance and personal uses, but in the meantime, here are a few good but less than perfect solutions you can use right now.
- Cash is still king. Convert currency in your home country before you go (not at the airport).
- Ask your bank about travel debit cards. For Aussies specifically, CommBank offers just such a thing where you can load foreign currencies and use the card internationally without transaction fees.
- Virgin's Velocity Rewards card also offers a similar functionality.
- Many credit cards offer decent travel perks. In our opinion, American Express offers some of the best including but not limited to, travel insurance, points, a concierge service, and you guessed it, no foreign transaction fees (depending on the card).
If you have any more tips that help you, sound off in the comments and let us know. We'd love to hear any suggestions to make travel easier.