Carrying cash is passé and so are travelers checks. It’s the plastic age and no longer do you have to be stuck without cash in a strange country. Enter travel money cards. Simply load up this card with foreign currency before you travel and you’re golden. The convenience and security make it a popular choice among travelers.
A travel card is not a credit card, so there are no credit checks or great credit scores required to qualify for one. These cards will work in shops, bars and restaurants that accept international credit and debit cards overseas.
Choosing a prepaid card involves taking into consideration who you want it for or how you want to spend the money. Parents generally get these cards for teenagers on a trip so they don’t overspend, or for themselves to shop in a foreign country. Compare the dozens of cards in the market before choosing one because there are a number of fees that apply. Choose one that will offer cashback, ones that have exclusive offers and ones that have some great offers.
Using this card overseas is like using any debit or credit card. The prepaid card company converts the amount on your purchase, from the local currency into pounds using either MasterCard or Visa.
These cards have a chip and PIN so they can’t be used by anyone else if it’s stolen. Contact the prepaid card provider if it does get stolen – they will block it eliminating the risk of losing money. Some companies will send you a replacement card with your balance in it.
Topping up these cards is no biggie. You can do it over the phone, internet, text or via bank transfer. Don’t use your credit card as this will register as a cash withdrawal and will cost you a fee and interest when the transfer occurs.
Not all providers have these transfer options; so be sure to check with them. A bank transfer via the internet though will be the cheapest way.
While travel cards are convenient, they do come with their own share of drawbacks. Charges like inactivity charge, foreign ATM withdrawal charge, currency conversion fee and a monthly fee are some of the fees that you’ll have to be careful of when choosing a travel card.