Prepaid Travel Cards – Good Idea or Not?
Zloty, Peso, Rial, Ruble, Rupee, Lira, Dong, Franc, Dollar, Euro, even the good old pound… whatever wedge you’re travelling with don’t risk carrying wads of it around.
Stashing your cash in a back pocket is never a good idea. Even leaving it in your hotel room can be risky. Buying a prepaid travel card can take the hassle out of how to handle your holiday spends. Here’s why.
- Prepaid travel cards are plastic payment cards. You simply buy a card and load it with money before you set off.
- They enable you to spend as if you’re using a debit or credit card, but you can’t run up debts on them.
- They’re a cheaper way to spend overseas than using a typical debit or credit card.
- They’re safe. It’s like having cash on you but with less risk of losing it or falling victim to pickpockets.
- Even if your card is lost or stolen, your money is safe. All you do is contact the card company and have it blocked so no-one else can use it.
- Some prepaid travel card companies will even give you cash in an emergency to tide you over until you get home.
- Prepaid cards can help you stick to a budget. Unlike with a credit card, you’re less tempted to get carried away and splurge on a life-size straw donkey.
- You have a choice of currencies you can put on the card depending on your destination. Whenever you use it, the amount will be converted into the local currency at the current exchange rate and taken off the card.
- If the foreign currency rate falls in the weeks leading up to your hols, you can take advantage and load a prepaid card.
- Prepaid cards carry the Mastercard and Visa logos, which means you can use them at cash machines and retailers signed up to these card scheme networks.
- You don’t need a bank account or credit checks to buy one, so teenagers can apply for one.
- They’re a great way for parents to give children responsibility for their own spending money on holiday or to give as a gift.
- Most prepaid cards come with an app or online account where you can check your balance or exchange currencies and upload money while on the move.
- There are some restrictions. You can’t use prepaid cards for hiring a car or at certain petrol stations for example.
- Prepaid travel cards vary so check them out closely before you buy. Some charge fees, others don’t. Make sure you read the small print.
Finally, there’s no hard and fast best prepaid travel card so shop around and find one that best suits your needs.