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At last, a credit card that understands the way we live now, as global citizens on the move around the world, either in person or online. The 28 Degrees Mastercard is set to become the card of choice for travellers, online shoppers, and anyone with an international outlook. It has the big five this kind of card user is looking for:
And if you’re looking for an important extra ‘no’, it’s there: no annual fee.
Let’s take a detailed look at what some of this really means.
Some cards charge foreign currency transaction/conversion fees of 3.5%
When you make a purchase in a foreign currency, whether while travelling or online, you are already at the mercy of a fluctuating exchange rate. It might seem that you are getting a bargain, but often you won’t really know how much it’s going to cost you in Australian dollars until the transaction hits your account.
Then, with most credit cards, there are the added fees that the bank charges for foreign currency transactions and conversion into Australian dollars, a combination of the bank’s own processing fee and a charge payable to Visa, AmEx or Mastercard. This combined charge is typically 3%, or more, of the purchase amount, and it can be as high as 3.5%.
So your bargain New York hotel room at USD125 per night may already be costing you AUD180, depending on what the exchange rate is doing. Add 3.5% to that amount, and you’re looking at USD186.30 before you’ve even had breakfast. Nasty.
If you make regular online purchases from overseas suppliers – and let’s face it, we do seem to pay very high prices for some consumer goods in Australia – then this card will be a godsend. EBay traders who source their stock internationally will be particularly happy with the ability to reduce their costs.
Use a 28 Degrees Mastercard and avoid that 3.5% fee altogether.
Some cards charge a fee for cash withdrawals from an overseas ATMs
When you’re on home soil you probably make a habit of using your own bank or card issuer’s ATM, in order to avoid the transaction fees that come with using another bank’s machine. Trouble is, once you’re overseas you won’t find any of your own bank’s ATMs. So, if you need to withdraw cash from your credit card account you may be stung for an overseas ATM withdrawal fee, normally at least $4. This is in addition to any cash advance fee payable (which for the 28 Degrees Mastercard is 3%, rather higher than the 2% fee many banks charge).
But if you use a 28 Degrees Mastercard, there will be no overseas ATM withdrawal fee.
But beware—an overseas ATM withdrawal is a cash advance
There’s no getting away from the fact that an overseas ATM withdrawal from your credit card is a cash advance, just like it is in Australia. It may be fast, convenient, open all hours and free of any requirement to speak a foreign language, but it’s still a cash advance. You’ll start paying interest on it immediately at the cash advance rate (21.99% p.a. for this card), and if you don’t do anything about it until your return to Australia, you’ll have racked up some hefty interest costs to take the shine off your trip. It’s best to find another way to access cash overseas, like a prepaid travel money card.
Tip: You can use your 28 Degrees Mastercard to withdraw cash overseas and pay little or no interest. After you make the withdrawal, use your mobile phone or other internet-connected device to access your credit card account online. Once you see the cash advance amount in AUD in your account (this may take a day or two), simply transfer into your credit card account the equivalent amount from your Australian bank savings or transaction account. Provided you have no overdue balance on your credit card account, the cash transfer will be applied to your cash advance immediately and the interest charge will be a few cents at most.
Some cards charge an exorbitant fee for overseas emergency card replacement
Losing your credit card overseas, or having it stolen, is bad enough. Is someone using your card fraudulently? How will you check out of your hotel, with no means of payment? But if you have to add to that the pain of the $100 charged by some card issuers for an overseas emergency replacement card, you may begin to feel that you’ve been done over twice.
28 Degree Mastercard users can avoid that extra sting and get on with enjoying their trip, because overseas emergency card replacement is free.
Notify your card issuer if you are going overseas
While on the subject of emergency card replacement, it’s reassuring to know that this card is protected by a Falcon Fraud Management System and a skilled Fraud Solutions Team who contact cardholders by phone or SMS immediately they notice any suspect transactions.
This is a comforting level of security, but some users of the card have reported problems with using the card overseas, finding their card unexpectedly blocked. So the card issuer’s recommendation that users advise them before embarking on an overseas trip is probably better interpreted as a mandatory requirement.
Mastercard SecureCode, a system of security questions or a one-time password delivered by SMS, also helps to protect you from fraudulent online shopping transactions.
$0 p.a. annual fee
Since you won’t be charged any annual fee for this card, it’s possible to keep it on standby for overseas trips or online shopping, even if you have another card that you prefer to use when dealing with Australian retailers. You can also have up to nine supplementary cards on the account, which makes it perfect for a small business with trusted employees who need to travel or purchase internationally.
More benefits for the traveller
To underline the fact that this is a card designed for international travellers, there are more built-in advantages for people on the move:
(There’s also a range of ‘Shopper’s Protection’ insurance available, providing purchase protection, merchandise protection, stolen card protection, and account repayments in case of unemployment, illness, disability or death, for a charge of 0.5% of each month’s closing balance, up to a maximum payment of $50 per month).
No rewards points, no introductory offers, no low interest rates
While there are none of the usual overseas transaction fees, and no annual fee, some of the perks commonly associated with credit cards are also missing.
Although you’ll get Up to 55 days on purchases each month (provided you have no overdue balance on your account), there are no introductory zero interest periods on either purchases or balance transfers.
There are no rewards points or free insurance policies. The ongoing purchase and cash advance interest rates (both 21.99% p.a.) are at the high end of the market. If you are looking for low interest rates, this is not the card for you.
User profile for the 28 Degrees Mastercard
It’s pretty clear, then, that this card is ideal for someone who either travels overseas regularly or shops online frequently with suppliers whose charges are made in a foreign currency. This same hypothetical user is not concerned about the high purchase and cash advance interest rates, planning to always pay the account balance in full by the due date in order to benefit from Up to 55 days on purchases and never pay interest charges. Since there is no annual fee, it’s a no-brainer for this person to keep it in their wallet for when they are in overseas mode.
The foreign transaction fee is a fee that some banks apply to each individual purchase made where the purchase is made overseas, i.e. outside Australia. The fee itself is typically worked out as a percentage of the purchase. It is usually around 2-3%. The 28 Degrees Platinum Mastercard does not charge international transaction fees or currency conversion fees on purchases.
Almost all credit cards in Australia charge a foreign exchange fee of 2-3% plus a currency conversion fee. On a $100 purchases that’s a $3 saving. So, a credit card like the 28 Degrees Platinum Mastercard really comes into it own if you’re travelling overseas or doing a lot shopping from overseas online stores and want to put your spending on a credit card.
No, travel insurance is an optional extra and is not complimentary for cardholders.
No, this card does not allow new cardholders to transfer their balance from another card(s).
Yes, for example, if you are shopping at a US online store from Australia, you will not be charged a foreign exchange fee or currency conversion fee.
No. These are two separate fees. Not all banks charge both.
Check what you would be charged for either because it is possible that a no foreign transaction fee card may still charge a foreign currency exchange fee.
Even if a no foreign transaction fee card did charge a foreign exchange fee, it would still be cheaper than a card that levied fees on both.
The main benefits of the 28 Degrees card are that there are no yearly fees and no international transaction fees. It is great for travelling abroad and buying online from overseas.
Their customer service is good — very friendly and helpful.
It’s payWave enabled for ease of paying more quickly than before, especially compared to cash.
Rates and charges are the killer, but the card is not so bad because the charges are everyday and keeps on adding interest. Rewards are not too bad. Customer service is not great, but fairly good. It’s there when you need it.
This card is a must for travellers as well as for everyday purchases. There are no account-keeping fees, transaction fees or conversion fees on overseas purchasing. The only charge is a small fee to withdraw cash from an ATM, and the benefits far outweigh this small cost. I would not travel without it.
I have had the 28 Degrees Platinum MasterCard for about eight or nine years now. The charges are very fair and there is no annual fee. Not long ago I received an offer from them to upgrade to Platinum at no cost to me and gratefully accepted their offer.
I have used the card overseas in the UK and Africa and there are no foreign exchange rate charges at all. I don’t know of any other card that offers this advantage.
There is no rewards feature but who cares? I will never consider changing from the card that is simply the best!
This is a great card with no annual fee and no international transaction fees. It’s great to travel with or use when you shop online in other currencies. It also has the security of MasterCard. I highly recommend this card. The only drawback is that there are no reward points, but I still use it all the time.
I never usually use a credit card and signed up for this to use for overseas travel. If you 'pre-pay’ it with your own cash, you can effectively withdraw money and spend it without fees and currency conversion costs at overseas ATMs and stores/train stations/whatever. You’ll pay $1 to pay money onto it, and the interest rates are not flash if you actually use it for credit, but overall it’s a handy way to avoid the overseas transaction fees you’d pay on a normal bank card.
As someone who has never been completely on top of my game in the credit card department, I take responsibility over being stung by the high rates post-introductory phase. However, this doesn’t excuse how incredibly high the subsequent interest rates were compared to other credit cards.
I initially chose this credit card before I moved overseas, as it didn’t have the high fees (such as international exchange fees) that many other cards do when using them overseas. I also chose this card because at the time, I could take money out as a cash advance from ATMs for very minimal fees—super helpful when living or travelling abroad. Whilst I benefitted from this for a few months, this changed whilst I was away and new fees were introduced, making it just a marginally better international card than other standard credit cards.
Now that I am home and the fees have added up over the past six months as I’ve been in a position where I haven’t been able to make regular repayments, I’ve recently made a balance transfer to a 0% interest card for 21 months whilst I try and catch up on my debt.
If you’re just hoping to use this card for it’s international benefits, then so be it, but, if not, there are plenty of other day-to-day cards with better rates and additional benefits.
It was an okay card with no international transaction fees, but now they have chosen to force their customers to use their slow 'Pay my account’ feature via their website (taking a minimum of three business days to process, which makes it very inconvenient to wait so long). If you try to pay it normally (like via BPAY) they now charge you every time you pay from your own normal bank’s BPAY.
Excellent to use for international travel as the currency conversion is fair. However, there are no rewards points. Would be good if reward points could be earned overseas. You can also top up your card with your own money to avoid fees. Application for the card is easy, and can be done online. However, it does take time for the card to arrive so plan early before your travel if you want to use it.
Have been using this card for quite a number of years and have always found it to be very easy to use and never had any problems. Being able to pay for international purchases without a fee being charged for conversion from Australian currency to a foreign currency makes this card very worthwhile.
|Cash advances||1.83%||21.99% p.a.|