- Prepaid travel card
- Easy to sign up for
- No transaction fees
- Multi-currency wallet
- Group tabs and bill splitting
- 24/7 in-app support
Although travel has been stifled for Aussies for quite some time now, that doesn’t mean it will stay like that. Once we’re ready for travel, we’ll need a reliable card for spending abroad.
In this Pelikin review, we’re covering all the features of the travel card for you to decide if it’s worth it for you. But first, here’s our short verdict:
Pelikin is a surprisingly good alternative to debit and credit cards from high street banks and even other, more popular challenger banks such as Revolut and Wise. Their free multi-currency wallet and no transaction fees are definitely standout features.
Pelikin is a travel app and card designed to be taken all around the world with minimum fuss and hassle. It was founded in 2018 by an avid traveller and adventurer Sam Brown from Perth.
The company was unfortunate to launch in December 2019 when the pandemic was getting started and they had to un-launch in April 2020. Australia is still in the midst of lockdowns which make travel nearly impossible and the travel card should rise to its full potential in 2022 probably.
Why is Pelikin so special?
Pelikin is a travel card for Aussies that offers a free multi-currency wallet where you can hold and swap up to five different currencies. This makes it easy to travel abroad and spend money with no transaction fees and low FX fees.
Besides this main feature, the app also makes it easy to book experiences, travel insurance, and domestic and international flights. It’s a complete package for a young person looking to conquer Australia and the world.
Pros and cons
- No monthly fees
- Multi-currency wallet
- Great for travel
- 24/7 customer support
- Prepaid card, not a bank account
- Can only load AUD
- No monthly fees
- No transaction fees
- Free money transfers
- Free bill splitting
No fees? How will Pelikin make money then? Well, they might not if we’re completely sincere. Most digital banks aren’t profitable. You know the saying – if you aren’t paying for the product, it means you are the product.
Pelikin will probably make money on the interchange fee, which is the small fee that merchants pay when you use a card in their online or offline establishment. This is the main source of income for most challenger banks.
Then there are commissions. Whenever you book a flight, experience, travel insurance, etc., Pelikin will probably get a commission for referring you to the outside company that is providing the actual service.
There’s nothing wrong with either way of making money because it keeps the costs super low for you because there are no fees, and you get the convenience of booking service directly through just one app on your phone.
Who can open a Pelikin account?
Any Australian resident older than 18 can open a Pelikin account and take advantage of its features. The company is looking to expand to other countries in the future a well.
How to open a Pelikin account?
Opening a Pelikin account is a child’s play and takes only a couple of minutes. You’ll first have to download their app from the Apple or Google Play Store. After that, you’ll need to input standard information about yourself and verify your identity.
The good news is that there’s no photo taking or uploading. You’ll just need to provide your name, date of birth, and address. Your card will then be shipped to you with a max date of arrival of two weeks.
How to add funds to the Pelikin travel card?
There’s only one way to add funds to your travel card – transfer from a bank account. It’s easy to do and there is no fee associated with making a deposit.
You can deposit money to your travel card wallet or the Travel Fund. More on that below.
You can only deposit Australian Dollars from Australian bank accounts and if you load cash from a foreign bank account, the transaction will be rejected and the money will be sent back to your account.
Instant and free payments
Long gone are the times of waiting days for your payments to clear, which meant you were stuck in limbo anxiously trying to work out what your actual balance would be once all your transactions were processed.
With instant and free payments, you can be assured that every payment is processed immediately, leading to little questioning about how much you actually have left to spend.
However, there is a downside – Pelikin specialises in providing a travel card, not an everyday-use card. When you’re on holiday, the temptation can be too real to splurge on luxuries and unnecessary commodities.
This temptation could be doubled if it’s easier and quicker to spend, to begin with. As long as you budget properly and stick to it, though, you should be fine.
Hold and swap currencies
You have access to five different currency wallets at any time. This versatility offers ease of purchasing for anyone going abroad and is especially useful for those travelling for a substantial amount of time across many different countries.
You can hold and swap AUD, but also GBP, NZD, USD, and EUR. According to Pelikin, this is the main purpose of the travel card. Avoid transaction and FX fees by doing it from the Pelikin app.
You can lock in a favourable FX rate as Pelikin changes the rate daily in an effort to offer you the most favourable one.
What happens if you don’t spend all the money in a particular currency and you’re headed back home? Simply swap it to AUD and spend it at home.
Over 150 currencies available
One of the main features that sets Pelikin apart from other travel cards is that it enables users to spend in over 150 currencies – wherever Visa is accepted. This enables an essential endless list of where travellers can visit without worrying that they don’t have the right currency.
Pelikin makes it easy to book your next adventure in Australia or New Zealand directly from your phone or desktop. There are more than 8,000 experiences available for booking. For example, you can book camel rides in Alice, beer cruising in Canberra, heaps of Rottnest tours and ferry rides, and so on.
On a similar note, you can also book not just domestic but international flights as well, directly from the Pelikin app.
What kind of travel card and app would Pelikin be if it wouldn’t partner with other travel businesses out there to offer “epic” discounts?
You can find all the discounts and info in the app and here are some of the present and past discounts:
- €850 worth of alcohol on Yacht Week experience in Croatia
- 15% off The Iconic
- 10% off worldwide travel tours with Grayline Tours
- 10% off selected hotels with Expedia
- 10% off bags and cases with Crumpler
Travel Fund is like a savings account where you can stash extra cash for your next adventure. You can move money freely from the main account to the Travel Fund and vice versa.
How to ensure that you stick to your savings goals? Well, Pelikin has partnered with Expedia, Hertz, and others to give you discounts and other rewards once you hit your savings goals.
When you hit a goal, you get a code that gives you freebies and/or discounts. Pelikin will also send you travel and savings tips to help you along the way. If you do take out money from your Travel Fund before you hit goal thresholds, you’ll also be mid=ssing out on those sweet rewards.
Split bills and open tabs
Another feature that Pelikin offers is the ability to split bills and open tabs on behalf of the whole group. The feature can be seen with Revolut and other digital banks and can be used to track the group’s spending, which is useful if you’re on an overall tight budget or have a friend that’s got itchy fingers when it comes to money.
However, there may always be the odd person that views this omniscient tracking to be invasive, and they may kick up a fuss about it – leading to drama during a time where you should be relaxing.
This is easily avoidable, though. Simply gain permission and agreement from everyone beforehand, and the problem is solved.
You can split bills not only in AUD, but also in GBP, NZD, USD, and EUR. All you have to do is go to the app and tap on a transaction you want to split with others. Select the people you want to split the transaction with, confirm the amounts, and voila, it’s done.
You’ll not only get a notification when someone pays up,, but you can also send them reminders as well.
Digital banks are increasingly offering travel insurance for their users, and Pelikin is no different. There are three different travel insurance packages to choose from with the ability to add extras as you see fit.
The insurance packages are:
There are in total ten add-ons that you can choose from:
- Car rental pack
- Device pack
- Action pack
- Bike pack
- Golf pack
- Snow pack
- Business pack
- Watersports pack
- Cruise pack
- Pregnancy pack
As you can see, Pelikin is on its way to being an all-in-one travel app and we hope it’s going to expand to other countries soon. But not at the expense of its current level of service.
Who owns Pelikin?
Pelikin was founded in 2018 by Sam Brown. Its headquarters are in Melbourne, Australia. The company raised nearly $250,000 from 232 investors on the crowdfunding platform Birchal.
Sam Brown decided to make his own travel card company after one too many mishaps happened abroad while travelling.
How is Pelikin Regulated?
Pelikin is regulated by and has all of the necessary trading licenses, including the Authorised Deposit-Taking Institutions (ADI) license. It is also backed by Visa and Heritage Bank, ensuring that the app is safe to use.
The company also partnered with Tuxedo Money which holds an Australian Financial Services Licence and will apply for a banking license of their own in the future.
Is my money safe with Pelikin?
Although Pelikin isn’t a bank, it has partnered with one and therefore all your deposits will be protected up to $250,000 by the Australian Government Guarantee Scheme.
Apart from that, there are security features such as real-time spending notifications, the ability to freeze the card from the app, 24/7 customer support, and many others.
The bottom line
As it stands at the moment, though, one limitation of this is that Pelikin is only currently accepting their travel cards to be loaded with Australian Dollars. This means that you can’t load any other currency onto the card and convert it; it has to be AU Dollars.
Overall, Pelikin looks to be a reliable and flexible travel card and app that effectively empowers people to travel the world without the fear of monetary limitations. Not only this, but Pelikin has also partnered with various companies to provide the option of travel insurance, booking experiences, and even flights.
Adrian Volenik is a fintech enthusiast who loves testing and reviewing digital banking apps and financial products in general. How many digital banking accounts can one man have? Not enough, if you ask Adrian. As his wallet will soon explode if he doesn’t cut back on the number of cards.