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Stop Using Westpac Cards Overseas - Use Cash Only
I travel to Asia six times a year.
Westpac, I feel, ripped me off 3.50% with a recent hotel bill transaction. Cost me more than $50 per transaction. OUCH!!!!!!.... Thanks Westpac you are a real friend....I think not. Please people....Take cash...Never EVER use your Westpac credit card and you will save money... I now save heaps with the local money exchangers...Never felt better :-) in 40 years of international travel.....What do I think of Westpac?... They would not dare print what I think of this company :-)
We really need a royal comm...ission into banks ASAP. I just wish Product Review had a score as low as MINUS TEN to reveal my true feelings about Westpac. As a footnote... I now use an Australian Company, listed on the ASX, for my private health and travel insurance while in Asia. They cover me and my partner for 365 days rather than the bolt on travel insurance attached to my Westpac cards. Once again using this wonderful well known Australian travel insurance company I have never felt better :-)
If it sounds too good to be true - it is!
Recently used this card on a trip to the USA. Had a problem at every hotel "holding" funds then charging the card upon checkout. This meant card was overcharged. So whilst the money left the card immediately it took much negotiating with the hotels, then they would have to FAX, yes FAX a release to the bank who would then realease it within an undisclosed amount of time (could be up to 40 days was told) This left me without funds to enjoy this trip that I'd been planning for 18 months. When I told a customer service rep that funds needed to be ...released immediately as these errors had left me with $20 she said "that's a back of house issue, I can't help you with that" Not nearly good enough. You are better off taking cash and a credit card for booking hotels. You've also have to take into account the weekend in Aust and the country you are in as its impossible to get anything done then so you have a very small window to attempt to get anyone to fix anything. Finally Westpac have been putting out the WRONG FAX number to add to hold ups in retrieving your own funds.
Overseas use is limited in strong currencies
A big problem with the card is that in a place like Singapore you're restricted to $300 per transaction. The card gets blocked if you make 3-4 in quick succession, then you'll need to call. On top of this you can only make 6 transaction in 24 hours though including their pending period it's more like 36 hours before you can make another transaction. On top of that, do the math $300 X 6 is only SGD1800 less then the claimed AUD2000 per day. So effectively it's SGD1800 over a 36 hour period. May be handy in weaker currencies but somewhere like Singapore it's a painful product and limited.
Balance was never available.
I used the card between Ireland and Spain. Initially, the card seemed like a good idea, a wallet of available selected currency. However, from the very start, it let me down. I had to re activate the card in Ireland by making an expensive call to Australia. For the duration of my trip I was never able to access the balance of the account. Despite the fact the card incorporated Euro currency, the balance was shown as -0$ from day one, with no access or response to balance in Euro. The balance however was actually healthy, as I has put sufficient...money in to cover my trip, but that amount was never displayed on the website balance enquiry. This caused a lot of problems with forward planning and uncertainty about sufficient funds towards end of trip. It meant more expensive calls to Westpac Australia to confirm status. I will never use this card again. Denis Moore.
Think a little about how your planning to use it and for how long. OK as an Option - not class lead
The problem with the card is loading money onto it. Once the money has been Bpayed(to your AUD wallet) wihch takes two business days(NOT GOOD WHEN CAUGHT O/S), then the card itself and the mobile app it is pretty good.
I found that finding ATMs outside a few of the countries mentioned quite difficult.(i think Westpacs Global Alliance might be a little overrated. more like handy for the UK, US and perhaps France/Germany and pretty average elsewhere).
The exchange rates are inferior to what you will get at say most amex counters for cas...h. ATM fees themselves are not much in the scheme of things and not worth the hassle to try and avoid. Instead look for the best exchange rate and conversion fees. There are heaps of travel cards, I will be looking a little harder based on that.
Westpac GCC - don't leave home with it.
We are both in our mid 60's but have a reasonable amount of savvy when it comes to credit / debit cards as well as computer and IPad use but ....... we found the info package vague / confusing and the operating software "clunky", slow and at times totally non functional, thus frustrating.
Prior to leaving for our holiday we spoke with our local Westpac staff who couldn't offer any advice as they seemed to have little to no knowledge of the GCC's operation and/or its limitations as well as saying that BPay would be better placed to assist. On...e even said, "all the info we required was on the Internet, go and look there". Still without any success (and at the airport immediately prior to departing ............ and becoming somewhat frustrated with being repeatedly denied access to load up the card to the Australian wallet) we contacted the number advised on the back of the card. The operator managed to do the transfer but it was like asking for the launch codes for the American missile system!!!!!!! Overseas (Japan, Alaska, Canada & USA) we had difficulty finding ATM's that accepted the card and even then we had a few "knock backs" .....does wonders for your blood pressure ......... not to mention peace of mind. Plus, we were hit with the usual ATM fees which we thought were to be waved when using the GCC but we will need to confirm that with our bank. The exchange rate was a con and has been well covered by other comments on this site.
$100 lost in charges that are not supposed to happen!
My wife and I hired a car in the UK March 2016. The rental agreement said 471 pounds. The tax invoice receipt said 471 pounds. What appeared on our internet card statement was 525 pounds. We checked with the car company (still in UK) and asked them to confirm that their bank only took 471 pounds, which they did. Back in Australia I contacted Westpac and they contacted Cuscal the card issuer, who I spoke to . After they reviewed our statement/account, I was informed they would not reimburse the money as this is the merchants responsibility, ...and the car hire company should have specified the currency when processing the transaction. 1. They just put the card in and the money was taken out. There was no option to specify currency (confirmed with the car hire company). 2. I suspect the car company's bank (who may be the 'merchant' and not the car company) automatically treat it as a credit card so they charge a fee and an exchange rate fee - 54 pounds (about $100)! 3. We only had Pounds and Hong Kong dollars on the card, but they still managed to charge a fee. There were no Australian dollars on the card to convert! 4. Not the Westpac or Cuscal's problem. 5. We understood that the merchant could only take out from the currency on the card - which they did after converting Australian dollars into pounds and charging a fee. Nobody told me that! 6. I've done my dough. Nobody cares but me. Should have used cash. Will cancel the card and learn from the experience. Hope this review helps somebody else from hidden fees and charges.
Will only use as backup for emergencies
What I've noticed with a lot of these travel bank cards are that their currency rates are always at least 3-5% lower than what they should be. If you want more value for your AUD dollar I suggest look up some foreign exchange booths ( I suggest Anying and Supay) and buy US cash with your AUD cash. It will always offer a higher conversion rate compared to these cards by at least 3%.
I have been recommended citibank plus visa debit card. It has the best exchange rates and no atm fees + no transaction fee when purchasing things in a supported currency.
Takes a long time to get to you!
I applied for my Westpac Global Currency card on 6 December. It is 21 December today and I still don't have it - we leave to go on holiday in 3 days......ridiculous! I have phoned twice about it and they say it has been posted and are 'sorry' it is taking so long. I can't use another card because this is the only one that uses the currency I need.
Transactions are limited to under A$200!! Exceed it and it and your card stops working without you b
The daily limits are reasonable but the pathetically low limit of A$200 for each transaction makes the card almost useless unless you are near a Global Alliance ATM every day while travelling.
Note that there are very few Global Alliance ATMs in Ireland, if you are travelling there.
Exceed the individual transaction limit and your card no longer works. What is worse is that you are not contacted or made aware when your card has been stopped, even though Westpac have all your contact details. it just doesn't work the next time you try to use it to access your own money. You are supposed to know what is going on and spend the next half an hour on the phone trying to get it re-activated.
Not impressed. Use a Debit card instead.
Nothing but trouble.
Very problematic in so many ways that I gave up using it! Luckily I had another bank Visa card! I wasn 't surprised that, when closing the account, I had to print off a form and return it by snail mail or fax! Really.....?! ( Maybe I am a little surprised at this 20th Century solution.) It will the take fifteen days to transfer my money into another Westpac account!
Ripped off by the exchange rates
Do your homework on what their sell rate is for the currency you are purchasing this GCC as there are other entities offering forms of different currency cards, not just the banks. We just lost 6% (over $400) from the daily market rate as this, I was told by the teller is "their margin". Yep, no hidden fees or charges, just ripped off at the start by Westpac giving a lousy exchange rate well below the daily advertised exchange rate - 6% below. We probably would be better off simply using our credit card whilst OS as I doubt the OS fees for all...transactions made would accumulate to over $400. (No doubt for any credit balance remaining on the card, the rate back to AUD we will be ripped off again due to "their margin".) Well done Westpac for ripping off your customers once again. Not happy with Westpac and this is the final straw for this soon to be ex customer.
Great Travel card
We got Westpac Travel card for the 1st time for our trip to Europe. I have to say this card is very good for travel. Firstly it is a Visa card so that makes it acceptable practically everywhere. Secondly it was very easy to use and reliable with no hidden costs and total transparency via app or online log in.
The only catch is that before you use it in an atm for the 1st time you have to use the card in an eftpos transaction even after activating the card.
We used it in an atm several times and it worked okay. Westpac has alliances wi...th various other banks so if you use that specific banks atm's or their sister company it will work and no fees charged. For example, Westpac has an alliance with BNP Paribas in Italy. We were in Turkey and found out that BNP Paribas owns / has a share in Turkish Economic Bank (TEB). So we used their atm and it worked okay with any fees. So find out from westpac which banks do they have an alliance with overseas and find out if that bank has branches or atms at the destination you are planning to go. If not do they have a sister company at that destination etc. Exchange rates from VISA are very good and you are in control of your card and spending. The best feature for us was where we had Euro's and AUD on the card. So towards the end of the trip we didn't convert all of the AUD. Instead we only converted couple of hundred bucks each time we needed Euro's. So this way when we came home we wouldn't have to convert Euro's back to AUD and lose some monetary value. This feature was excellent. Although this requires internet to access app or internet banking. So we had to do this in the morning before we left the hotel. But worked out very well for us.
Questions & Answers
I transferred $200 onto the global currency card but it has not appeared on the card yet! Is there a delay or has something gone wrong?
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