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Citibank Plus VISA Debit

Page history last edited by wilbo666 5 years, 4 months ago


 

Introduction

This page provides some information on the Citibank Plus, VISA Debit card.

 

As of January 2015, the Citibank Plus, VISA Debit Card is (in the author's opinion), an excellent way of accessing Australian funds whilst traveling overseas.

Money can be withdrawn from ATMs in various countries without a fee, as well as used as a Debit card for transactions. The exchange rate when withdrawing money is among the best travelers can get.

 

Please note that I am not a financial advisor. I am not telling you to do anything. I am simply presenting some information that I have collated to enable you to (hopefully) make a slightly more informed decision. I take no responsibility for your actions or decisions. :)

 

Why Should I Get a Citibank Plus VISA Debit Card?

Good question!

 

Some reasons,

  1. It's free to get, so if you decided you don't want to use it, then it will have cost you nothing (other than the time spent to set up the account). There is no monthly fee or conditions.
  2. Fee Free cash withdrawals from overseas ATMs
  3. Fee Free VISA Debit transactions overseas, processed in the local currency at the VISA exchange rate (avoid letting the seller convert the cost into your local currency (i.e. AUD) as this will work out more expensive! Pay in the local currency!).
  4. The exchange rate is excellent! It is the VISA Exchange rate, with no additional fees!
  5. Has Pay Pass.

 

How Does it Work?

  1. Setup a Citibank Plus account (See link at end of this page!)
  2. When your VISA Debit card, pin, etc arrive, activate it
  3. Transfer or deposit money from another account into your Citibank VISA Debit account (The Account Number and BSB for your account are on a statement or your welcome letter)
  4. You can then use your Citibank Plus VISA Debit card;
    1. to withdraw money from ATMs (Note: In Australia you can also use Westpac Network ATMs (Westpac, St George, BankSA, Bank of Melbourne etc.) without fees)
    2. as you would a credit card (Note: Select "Credit" and not "Debit" for the account) 

 

A Cost Saving Example

Most major Australian banks (I.e. ANZ, CBA, Westpac, etc) have a similar fee structure involving a transaction fee (usually ~$5AUD) PLUS a percentage of the transaction (usually ~3%).

On top of the fees, the exchange rate that is provided by the major banks isn't the best so they really slug you twice!

 

With all that said, by all means you are encouraged to research your own bank before jumping on board!

 

An example, using data that was valid on the 15/11/2014, is shown in the table below.

The below table shows that the cost (in AUD) of getting 100Euro in cash from an ATM to be up to 14% higher than using a Citibank Plus VISA Debit card!

The below table obviously isn't exhaustive but hopefully should get the idea across that the major banks are making a significant profit from your overseas trip if you choose to use them as your source of funds!

 

Bank Fees

Fees

Link

Exchange Rate

(1AUD = EUR)

Cost (AUD) to get 100EUR

(Inc Fees)

% Extra Cost
Date

Exchange Rate

Link

Citibank Plus None   0.694623  $                         143.96 0% 15/11/2014 Exchange Rate
Qantas Cash

AUD 1.95; USD 1.95; GBP 1.25;

EUR 1.50; NZD 2.50; SGD 2.50; HKD 15.00;
CAD 2.00; JPY 160+, + 3.00$% of transaction value.

Fees 0.6622  $                         156.54 9% 15/11/2014 Exchange Rate
Heritage - Simply Access $5.00 plus overseas currency conversion fee Fees 0.6618  $                         160.64 12% 15/11/2014 Exchange Rate
ANZ  $5.00 + 3.00% of transaction value Fees 0.6563  $                         161.94 12% 15/11/2014 Exchange Rate
CBA - Everyday Account $5.00 + 3.00% of transaction value Fees 0.6492  $                         163.66 14% 15/11/2014 Exchange Rate

 

 

 

Setup Tips

  1. Setup your account with plenty of time before you go traveling to ensure your card arrives, etc
  2. Make sure you are able to transfer money into your Citibank Plus account, and will be able to do so if you need to add more money while you are overseas
    1. i.e. if the bank you are using to transfer money into your Citibank Plus account needs a  One Time Pin (OTP) that is sent to you via SMS, etc. then make sure that you take the SIM card that the OTP with be SMS'd to overseas with you and that the SIM card is activated for global roaming, etc. FYI most SIM cards will receive SMSs without cost while overseas (Check this!). Alternatively most major banks allow you to install an app on your phone that also allows you to generate OTPs etc if required, after an initial setup (which is best carried out at home).
  3. Make sure you are able to transfer money out of your Citibank Plus account (new payees need to be authorized, etc).
  4. Use your card at both an ATM and an over the counter transaction to check that it works!

 

 

 

Overseas Usage Tips

  1. Citibank cards require the PIN to be checked online, which most EU POS terminals don’t support. As a result the Citibank card will default to requiring a signature. This can be annoying at self serve checkouts, etc for example.
  2. If you transfer money from an AU account to say a UK account, one method that should involve no fees (and hence save you money!) is as follows,
    1. Transfer AUD to your Citibank account
    2. Withdraw GBP from UK ATM using Citibank Plus VISA Debit card (suggest at the ATM of the branch used in the following step!)
    3. Deposit money, over the counter at your UK branch
    4. Repeat the above steps as desired each day (or at what ever interval you wish) if wanting to deposit more money than the Citibank daily withdrawal limit (default of $1000AUD)

 

 

Cons Associated with Citibank

Like anything there can be some negatives,

  1. There will be a small amount of extra time and effort required to transfer money from your other Australian bank account/s into your Citibank Plus account (I think you will find the amount of money you will save will make this worthwhile! :)
  2. Citibank online banking is not as polished and user friendly as most of the Australian big banks
    1. In particular setting up a new Payee and their use of OTP can be time consuming and somewhat long winded.
  3. Their mobile banking app isn't as polished and user friendly as most of the Australian big banks 
  4. There is not a large number of "Brick and Mortar" Citibank branches

 

 

 

Summary

Would I recommend a Citibank Plus account as your only Australian account? Probably not.


Would I recommend a Citibank Plus account for accessing AUD funds in other countries? VERY MUCH YES! I suspect you will save a fortune!

 

 

 

References

http://www.citibank.com.au/aus/banking/everyday_banking/citibank_plus.htm - Link to Citibank Plus account.

http://whirlpool.net.au/wiki/citibank_plus_transaction_account     -     This is a great guide and summary, well worth a read.

http://www.nandp.co.uk/current-account/gold-classic-current-account/      -     Appears to be a UK equivalent to Citibank Plus

 

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