I am a European Citizen from the Maltese island. I am going to Australia with a working holiday visa and then backpacking for a few months around SE Asia and a few other countries such as New Zealand.

I have been looking all over to search any possible travel cards that I can carry around with me that offer one of the following perks:

  • No ATM transaction fees (most important)
  • Points or reward system for spending money abroad or on flights

Are there any possible solution for me or do these exist only in USA?

  • 4
    In the UK you can get cards with no FX fees and no ATM fees, or cards with no FX fees and points, but no cards with both. However, I doubt you'd be able to get those cards as a non-UK resident. Sadly financial stuff remains pretty much member-state-specific, and not EU-wide – Gagravarr Apr 29 '15 at 14:40
  • @Gagravarr The Halifax Clarity Card claims to have no foreign exchange fee and no cash withdrawal fee, and standard MasterCard exchange rates. Is there some catch you're aware of? I've heard it touted as the best on the market for travel, with independent 3rd party sites saying the only downside is high APR which is fine so long as you pay it off quickly (can't remember which site, might have been MoneySavingExpert). – user56reinstatemonica8 Apr 29 '15 at 15:41
  • @user568458 You don't earn any points with the Halifax Clarity, and you need to remember to pay off any cash withdrawls shortly after making them to avoid owing too much interest. For no-FX and points on purchases (but no good for cash), the Lloyds Avios Rewards card is normally top rated. HeadForPoints has an overview of the best miles/points earning UK cards, see there for more – Gagravarr Apr 29 '15 at 15:45
  • @user568458 The 'standard MasterCard exchange rates' deviate slightly from the real exchange rate and may very well incorporate a hidden fee, even if they don't call it a 'currency exchange fee'. – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo Apr 29 '15 at 16:22

Unfortunately, this question cannot be answered in its full generality. The majority of payment cards in the EU are offered only by banks and only to citizens of certain countries. Also, except for prepaid credit cards, a bank has to trust you to some extend in order to issue you a payment card. So without some credit history in a bank's country, this is rather difficult. There are some additional obstacles:

  • With a customer abroad, a bank may need to take care of additional legal questions (such as issuing an interest report for your tax office).
  • Mailing cards and letters abroad costs additional postage

So most banks from abroad will deny your application. Some state that they require citizenship or residence in a certain country upfront (e.g., the Aegean Airlines credit card allows you to collect miles, but you need a Greek tax ID), others are not so open about it (see here for reports in German on changes in the way in which the DKB bank handles foreign customers. They offers fee-free cash withdrawal worldwide with a Visa card ... but apparently nowadays only to people living in Germany, with some exceptions such as Germans living in the USA). British banks are known for requiring some kind of "recommendation letter" (such as a letter from a university for students or an proof of employment in the UK) for foreigners in order to allow opening a bank account with them, which in turn is needed to get a payment card.

Your best bet is probably to find a bank in Malta that gives you excellent conditions on some widely used payment card.


If by 'travel cards' you mean anonymous prepaid cards (i.e. cards that do not bear your name and are not connected to your bank account), then the European Union's recently-implemented 5th Anti-Money Laundering Directive severely limits the possibilities. The maximum monthly amount that can be added to such cards is EUR 150.

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