It wasn’t that long ago that you wandered into your high street bank to buy a fistful of travellers cheques before going on holiday. Now prepaid travel cards make taking money abroad much easier, but are they worth having?
The pre holiday checklist used to go something like this: passports? – yes; all the luggage bags? – yes; house keys? – yes; foreign currency? – yes; travellers cheques? – yes. Ok we are now ready to go to the airport.
You carefully split the travellers cheques between you so that you still have half of them if one of you lost theirs or had them stolen.
If you were particularly careful you’d also write down all the cheque numbers on a separate piece of paper before leaving – just in case.
Luckily, those days are rapidly fading away into history. Taking money abroad is becoming as easy as packing a credit card, now that prepaid travel cards are available.
Although they look like credit cards, and are issued via either MasterCard or VISA, prepaid travel cards do not offer any form of credit.
You load a card with foreign currency from your bank account using your bank debit card before you go and then use the travel card in the same way as a credit card when abroad.
Some, like the Caxton FX card, will even give you free cash withdrawals from foreign ATMs without withdrawal fees and with no commission to pay.
Once you are close to spending all the preloaded cash whilst away, you can log onto the card website from anywhere in the world, and load more money from your UK bank account as long as you take your debit card with you.
So using a prepaid travel card is far safer than taking wodges of foreign cash or handfuls of travellers cheques. As there are often no commission or transaction charges, using a travel card abroad can be far cheaper than paying by your conventional credit card.
So are prepaid travel cards worth having? Definitely!