What is a travel money card?

29th November 2018by Chloe Dickenson

Travel money cards are a convenient, easy and useful way to transport your foreign currency overseas.

Whether you’re travelling to Paris for the weekend, or you’re going all the way to Australia for two months, a travel card is the ideal purchase in order to keep your money safe and secure.

Often also referred to as prepaid travel cards and currency cards, they allow you to load them with your desired currency before you go on holiday in order to use them while you’re away. They can be used just like a normal debit card, whereby you can spend the money loaded onto your card at many shops, restaurants and bars around the world.

There’s also millions of ATMs located all around the world, which allow you to withdraw currency from your travel money card as and when you please.

Pros

  • Your money is safe even if the card issuer goes out of business
  • Accepted at many places around the world
  • Protected against fraud as they’re not directly linked to your bank account
  • Easy to obtain a replacement card from many providers (often free of charge)
  • You can load as much money as you want to (within the maximum limits)
  • It’s safer and easier than carrying around lots of cash and loose change
  • You can load multiple currencies
  • You’re more in control of your spending
  • Some providers offer reward points

Cons

  • Some types of travel money cards charge you for not even using them
  • Your card is not protected if your bank goes bust
  • Exchange rates can vary between different providers
  • You can’t use the card for car hire

What you need to know

When it comes to purchasing foreign currency in preparation for your holiday abroad, there are a few things you must consider.

Whether you’re an expert when it comes to obtaining a travel money card, or this is your first time looking into one, we’ve got all the information that you need to know.

Currency conversion fees

While not every travel money card provider will adhere to this, you can often find that you may be charged a fee in order to pre-load your card with money initially.

However, if you pre-load your card before your holiday with the currencies that you want, then you’re not likely to get charged a currency conversion fee.

ATM withdrawal fees

Another fee that you may incur when you use your travel money card is ATM withdrawal fees. This is not the case in every country, or certainly every ATM but you should be prepared to face some fees for using your travel money card at ATMs around the world.

However, it’s also important to note that you’d likely be charged an ATM fee wherever you are in the world even if you used your regular debit card, so these fees aren’t exclusive to the use of travel money cards.

Reload times and fees

Regardless of which provider you get your travel money card from, you’re still likely to experience loading times when it comes to putting money onto your card.

This is why it’s a good idea to pre-load your card in advance of your trip overseas so that it’s definitely securely on your card before you depart.

One of the benefits of pre-loading your travel money card is that you’re able to set a budget of how much you plan to spend while on holiday, but if you do go over your allocated budget, then you’ll need to load your card with more money.

Choose a card that can be used almost everywhere

One thing to look out for when getting a travel money card is that you’ll be able to use it in plenty of locations around the world.

Some cards may not be able to be used in certain countries or at certain restaurants or ATMs so it’s important to do your research and check exactly where you can use your travel money card.

Who are they good for?

Travel money cards are ideal for pretty much everyone to use. They’re ideal if you’re going on a beach holiday and you don’t want to have to carry lots of cash around with you which you could easily lose on the beach, for example.

Travel money cards are also a good idea to give to younger children and teenagers in order to teach them about budgeting their holiday money while they’re away. As they’re also less likely to lose them than cash and change for example, travel money cards are a great option for young children and adolescents.

Conclusion – travel money cards

A travel money card is the perfect holiday companion if you don’t like carrying cash around with you, as they’re generally considered to be much safer than loose cash.

Travel money cards are also more convenient and safer as you’re less likely to lose them or be a victim of theft as opposed to when you carry cash around with you. While there are often fees that you can incur when using your travel money card, they’re still a great way to transport your foreign currency with you on holiday.

We have selected The Post Office Travel Money Card and Travelex Travel Money Card which are extremely popular for loading your currency whilst abroad to save on exchange rates.