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ATMs: The Lowdown

19th August 2020

ATMs. They’re accessible. They’re easy to use. They do what they say on the packet… they let you withdraw your cash.

There’s no denying that Aussies like things to be easy. So it wasn’t a huge surprise to hear that 44% of our Currency Pass customers got themselves a Currency Pass card so they could make withdrawals at cash machines, easily.

Top 5 ATM use countries + withdrawals per person


  1. United States of America | 3 x withdrawals on average, per person
  2. United Kingdom | 2.6 x withdrawals on average, per person
  3. Australia | 1.8 x withdrawals on average, per person
  4. Italy | 2.2 withdrawals on average, per person
  5. Thailand | 3.1 withdrawals on average, per person

Indonesia is moving up the ranks quickly… in 2018 it took out 10th place and in 2019, it’s swiftly taken 8th spot… with customers withdrawing on average 4.1 times per trip!!

So, while it’s clear Australia’s love using ATMs, we have to let you know at this point that this article isn’t a ATM Appreciation post.. ATM use can come at a big cost!!

Here’s a breakdown of some of the fees:

  • You'll be charged a standard Mastercard ATM fee. We've outlined this in our PDS so you're aware
  • There will likely be an additional fee from the ATM provider on top, which is outside of our control
  • If you're in the USA, and have USD on your card, make sure you choose to pay in the local currency of the destination you're in, otherwise you'll get charged a fee for DCC.

But, if you're using the ATM in Australia

  • You'll be charged a standard Mastercard Domestic ATM withdrawal fee, which is 2.95% of the amount withdrawn in AUD
  • You'll likely still be charged an additional fee from the ATM provider where you are withdrawing the money. This is from the ATM provider, vs us.
  • If you're withdrawing foreign currency into AUD, you will receive the Mastercard exchange rate of that day, vs the rate you originally loaded at.

The above can seem confusing, and it can add up really quickly. 

Case & Point

  • Withdrawing $1,000 in Australia, can cost north of AUD30
  • Withdrawing $250 in the USA can be upwards of AUD7.

So, what are your options to limit ATM costs?

  1. Be tactical about when you're going to use the ATM

On average, people use ATMs in Bali 4.1 times per person, in one trip. With the average Indonesian holiday last days... it's almost a trip-a-day to the ATM!
Limit your fees by planning the safest and most practical amount of currency to withdrawal at each key point of your trip.

   2. Take foreign cash with you overseas

This doesn't have to be a huge amount. Maybe only enough to get you through the first few days. Not only will you avoid fees, but it is one less thing to do on holiday!

   3. Once back in Australia, don't withdraw your leftover currency from a local ATM

Instead, convert it into AUD via your online account, and use it like a bank card at the supermarket, petrol station, clothing store and any other shop that accepts Mastercard.

Alternatively, you can cash your leftover balance out and have it deposited into your bank account. This comes with a $10 fee and can be done online through your account.

Don't forget - your card lasts for 5 years, and there's no inactivity or annual fee, so hanging onto the leftover spending money might be a great option for you to headstart your future travel fund.

ATM statistics source: Mastercard & Travel Money Oz Currency Pass July 2020 Customer Research. This blog is provided for information only and does not take into consideration your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider whether the information and suggestions contained in any blog entry are appropriate for you, having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs. While we take reasonable care in providing the blog, we give no warranties or representations that it is complete or accurate, or is appropriate for you. We are not liable for any loss caused, whether due to negligence or otherwise, arising from use of, or reliance on, the information and/or suggestions contained in this blog.