If you’re a regular traveller, you might have considered getting a credit card which is designed for your specific needs. There are a few choices available, with different features and benefits, including the 28 degrees credit card from Latitude.
To help you decide if the 28 degrees Mastercard will suit your needs, we have set out the features and benefits - and the costs of using it, here. Happy reading.
The 28 degrees credit card from Latitude is designed for travellers, and those who shop online internationally. You must be over 18, and a permanent resident of Australia to be eligible to apply¹. The card comes with the following features and benefits:
- Contactless, pay with your wearable device and mobile payments⁴
- ATM cash advance withdrawals are available (but there are fees to consider)³
- Minimum credit of $6,000³
- Worldwide emergency card replacement³
- Free global wifi at designated hotspots²
- No currency conversion fees when you make a purchase in a foreign currency³
- Concierge services to help arrange your holidays²
- 55 day interest free repayments²
Assuming you’re eligible and apply online for your 28 degrees card, you’ll get approval within 60 seconds of making your online application. Your card is then delivered in 5 - 10 days, but will need to be activated by either logging into the online customer care centre⁵.
Once you have your card, and it’s activated, you can start to use it at home and abroad. You can withdraw cash from an ATM, with a cash advance fee of 3% of the advance total, or $4, whichever is the greater³. You must also remember that any ATM withdrawal is a cash advance and won’t fall under the 55 day interest free repayment plan⁵. You’ll accrue interest fees immediately, and - coming in at 21.99% - they can be costly.
If you’re using your credit card at an ATM abroad, it’s also important to understand dynamic currency conversion - DCC. DCC is where you’re asked if you would like to pay for your international purchase or cash withdrawal in the local currency, or your home currency.
If you choose to pay in AUD, the ATM or card terminal operator will select the exchange rate used. This will not be as good as the Mastercard exchange rate that should be applied to your 28 degrees card purchases, and could well include hidden fees and charges. Always choose to pay in local currency, to access the Mastercard exchange rate, and avoid being ripped off.
The exchange rate normally used for purchases and ATM withdrawals using the 28 degrees card, is set by Mastercard. If you’re making a purchase in a foreign currency it’s converted to US dollars, before being converted again to AUD for listing on your statement. Here’s how it’s explained in the card’s FAQ webpages⁵:
The foreign exchange rate is calculated by Mastercard International on a daily basis according to daily foreign exchange fluctuations. The conversion will consist of two calculations if the transaction is made in foreign currency – it will first be converted to US dollars and then converted to Australian dollars for listing on your transactions.
It’s important to know that the exchange rate used is the one which applied on the day that Mastercard process the transaction - not necessarily the one that was available on the day you make the purchase. This means it’s not always possible to tell in advance what the exchange rate used will be. You can find out the Mastercard exchange rate for historic purchases, using their conversion calculator which is available through the relevant faq article of the 28 degrees card, and in the sources below⁶.
To know whether the exchange rate used by Mastercard is fair, you’ll need to understand the mid-market rate for your currency pairing. This is also known as the spot rate or the interbank rate, and it’s the only real exchange rate - the one that banks use among themselves. Banks and currency exchange services often do not offer the mid-market rate to their customers. Instead, they roll up their fees and charges in the rate used. This isn’t transparent and usually isn’t great value for customers. You can compare the exchange rate used for your currency pairing by visiting the Mastercard calculator and comparing the rate shown, with the mid-market rate available on Google, or an online currency converter.
If you’re not happy with the exchange rate used, it’s worth finding ways to access the mid-market rate, such as using a Wise transfer to pay for goods and services, or sending money in advance to a friend with a local bank account in Australia, to withdraw when you arrive. Wise always use the real exchange rate, with low fees for international payments, making them a great choice for travellers looking to save on international banking fees. More on that later.
Aside from the exchange rate, you’ll need to know the fees for holding and using a 28 degree card. Here they are:
|Service||28 degrees card charge|
|International transaction fees||$0|
|Currency conversion fees||$0|
|Interest rate on purchases||21.99%|
|Interest rate on cash advances||21.99%|
|Cash advance fee||3% of the cash advance amount, minimum of $4|
|Payment handling fee||Free via mail, direct debit or online service centre, $2.50 in person, and $0.95 online on the website|
|Paper statement fee||$2.50|
Checked as of 30 March, 2021
As we mentioned above, it’s important to note that ATM cash advances come with an instant interest charge, as they’re not covered by the 55 day interest free payment plan⁵.
The 28 degrees mastercard is designed specifically for travellers, and the features and benefits it offers have been selected to be useful to people living international lifestyles. However, there are alternatives if you travel often.
You could use your regular bank debit or credit card, for example. It’s worth checking out the costs and fees associated with using your card abroad in advance, though. The charges made by traditional banks for services such as international payments and ATM withdrawals can be fairly steep.
If you’re travelling somewhere to visit a friend or family member, you might also consider making an international transfer in advance, to their local bank account, using Wise. That way, you can withdraw the cash upon arrival from fee free ATMs, and avoid excessive charges for ATM use. Your Wise transfer will be processed with the best available exchange rate - the mid market exchange rate - and only a low, upfront fee, making this a good value option.
Alternatively, if you travel a lot, you might benefit from the multi currency borderless account from Wise. This account is designed to let you hold your money in any of dozens of different currencies, all in the same account. Check your balance at a glance, and switch between currencies easily, for a small fee, and using the real exchange rate. You can make direct payments, and bank transfers using this account, and get a linked Wise debit card.
The 28 degrees Mastercard from Latitude can be a good value choice for travellers, depending on how it’s used. As with any credit card, cash advances from an ATM are fairly expensive, but the 55 day interest free plan for other purchases can mean it’s a good way to fund travel and international shopping as long as you keep on top of paying the bills. As with any financial product, there are pros and cons, and it’s worth researching in advance to be sure you’re making the right choice for you.
This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.
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