Australians the highest users of overseas ATMs

Sydney, 10 April 2012

Australians are embracing electronic payments citing convenience and safety as drivers of overseas ATM usage

Australians are the highest users of overseas ATMs in the Asia-Pacific region and they like the convenience and safety of accessing their funds from abroad rather than loading up on cash prior to departure, according to Visa’s second annual Cash Access Survey.
Key findings from the survey show Australians prefer to avoid carrying cash when travelling, with over half (56 percent) of travelers using overseas ATMs to access cash as opposed to bringing money from home. Thirty-six percent of Australians cited they prefer using overseas ATMs for the convenience of being able to access their cash from anywhere, while 23 percent like the safety of not having to carry large sums of cash when abroad.
Click to tweet: 56% of Australians choose to use ATMs to access cash when travelling.
“With the continued strength of our Australian dollar and the cost of travel becoming more affordable, overseas travel has become more appealing and accessible to Australians,” said Vipin Kalra, Visa Country Manager, Australia.
“People are enjoying the convenience and safety of not having to carry around large amounts of money when travelling and are choosing to use payment cards to access their own money while overseas.”
Following Australians, New Zealanders (49 percent) show the strongest preference for using overseas ATMs to access cash while abroad.  Those countries with the lowest use of ATMs to access cash abroad were Korea (23 percent), Singapore and Thailand (20 percent), Malaysia (18 percent), and Taiwan (17 percent).
“Today we are seeing a growing trend of consumers using payment cards to access their own funds while travelling. Visa debit cards allow consumers to spend abroad much like they do at home accessing their own funds safely and conveniently with competitive exchange rates,” added Mr Kalra.
The survey fieldwork was conducted from 18 July - 24 August, 2011 by Nielsen Online Panels with 3,073 online interviews. Target respondents included overseas travelers during the past 12 months departing from 10 APAC countries: Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Taiwan, South Korea and India.
Visa’s tips for safe and convenient holiday cash access

  • Withdrawing cash in another country is the same as at home – you use the same card and PIN and the machine will dispense local currency. Currency conversions are done automatically – the conversion rate and any fees will be shown on your regular statement, in your usual currency.
  • Exchange a small amount of cash in advance if you wish and take along just enough local currency for immediate small expenses such as taxi fares or a quick meal en route. Any other local currency that travellers need can be accessed at overseas ATMs. Log onto to check where you can find cash at your destination.
  • ATM cash withdrawals can be a cost effective solution to your foreign currency needs. Be aware that all money changers will charge you a nominal rate for changing your cash to local currency. Sometimes these charges are built into the exchange rate, so be on the lookout for unfavorable rates. Also consider that sometimes you may end up having to convert cash more than once, if the currency of your destination isn’t freely tradable with your home currency, adding to your costs.
  • It is prudent to consider ATMs, which are available at all major tourist areas and which offer competitive exchange rates with clearly listed ATM access charges, if applicable. There is no need to worry about complicated currency conversions. You will typically get a competitive rate, which is calculated automatically. The conversion rate and any fees should be clearly shown on your regular bank statement or passbook, in your home currency.
  • Visa cards can be used to withdraw cash at more than 1.9 million ATM locations, providing around the clock access in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide. Many machines also allow you to check your balance so you can keep track of your funds.
  • Unlike banks and money exchange bureaus, most ATMs operate 24 hours a day so travellers will not be stranded without access to their funds while overseas.
  • Details on ATM locations and other tips are available at

Media Contact
Andrew Craig


About Visa

Visa is a global payments technology company that connects consumers, businesses, financial institutions and governments in more than 200 countries and territories to fast, secure and reliable digital currency. Underpinning digital currency is one of the world’s most advanced processing networks—VisaNet—that is capable of handling more than 20,000 transaction messages a second, with fraud protection for consumers and guaranteed payment for merchants. Visa is not a bank and does not issue cards, extend credit or set rates and fees for consumers. Visa’s innovations, however, enable its financial institution customers to offer consumers more choices: pay now with debit, ahead of time with prepaid or later with credit products. For more information, visit