View Full Version : Younger cousin visiting Australia from US - credit card question

06-03-2011, 04:49 AM
My 13-year old cousin who just graduated from 8th grade is going to Australia for 16 days. His mom wonders if he'll have any trouble using a debit or credit card that doesn't have the smart chip technology.

I have found a few articles that seem to indicate that Australia is further along in adopting the smart card technology than the US, but nothing that clearly says that he won't be able to use a magnetic stripe card.

Would Visa or Mastercard be better?

He's traveling with about 40 of his schoolmates and it sounds like they're going to have a great time.

06-03-2011, 06:10 AM
travelled to UK (royal wedding!!) and france recently and i was shocked at how ALL credit purchaes were on chip you dont even sign anymore! I dont think any of our CC machines here have it liek that yet- so good for asking! aussie willy can prob answer fro you!

UMBS Go Blue
06-03-2011, 06:13 AM
Traveled in Australia and NZ for several weeks recently and paid everywhere - gas stations, hotels, restaurants, stores, tourist sites - with swiped US credit cards. Just say that it's a credit card, not a debit card, and that it's a card you sign for, not one with a PIN or smart chip.

Also, if your cousin has a Bank of America ATM card, then ATM cash withdrawals at Westpac ATMs are fee-free and near the prevailing market rate.

06-03-2011, 09:55 AM
It won't be a problem, almost all places - if not all, still offer both options.

Aussie Willy
06-03-2011, 10:36 AM
Shouldn't be a problem if he has a Mastercard or Visa. Mine is a debit card but has the Mastercard function. I use it as that because if I use Eftpost they charge fees.

I also I just use my PIN these days rather than sign. My signature is just so inconsistent.

06-03-2011, 10:41 AM
As AW said, either will be fine. I even use my Diners Club at some places, but Visa and Mastercard are as common as our kangaroos hopping down the main streets en masse. UMBS Blue got swept up in one mob of them when he was here and ended up in Ulladulla.

UMBS Go Blue
06-03-2011, 10:55 AM
I only saw kangaroos once, out in the wild, hopping in and out of a stream for some sips of water in the hills above Cairns. :P

As for mass gatherings that are a sight to behold, then check out Perth airport at the beginning of a work week. :bribe:

06-03-2011, 06:51 PM
Australia is a LONG way behind the UK and Europe in terms of chip and pin, so I doubt they're far ahead of the US. A normal card is fine, and either visa or mastercard as both are widely accepted. The only one that might be problematic is American Express, but as it's
not an option, it's fine :)

By the way, it's Ulladulla (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ulladulla,_New_South_Wales) (one word), not Ulla Dulla!

06-03-2011, 09:20 PM
As long as the card has a stripe as well as a chip he'll be fine. There are lots of places that don't have the chip technology yet and they will just swipe the strip.

06-03-2011, 11:46 PM
My son went to Australia for 6 months to study abroad (we live in the US), and credit cards and his debit cards worked at most, but not all places. He carried a modest amount of cash for those times. The only larger issues we had were that some transactions weren't authorized due to the credit card issuer thinking some transactions were fraud--- so I would definitely call any banks that issue cards he is carrying with him and have a note put on the account that he is traveling.

UMBS Go Blue
06-04-2011, 02:32 AM
Good point! Have more than 1 credit card handy in case one gets (falsely) refused because of fraud alerts. This happened to me a few times, even though I'd already called the credit card customer service hotline ahead of time to notify them that I'd be using the card overseas. If you call the travel notification hotline, they'll simply ask for specific dates and countries of travel.

06-04-2011, 05:13 AM
You all rock!

When cousin's mom (also my cousin :), silly me) asked me, my first thought was Figure Skating Universe, and sure enough! FSU FTW!

06-04-2011, 05:13 AM