REVIEW

REVIEW: Which pre-paid travel card to take?

One of the most painful pre-travelling things to do I think is finding a cash card to put all of your well earnt money on to, oh and insurance, but I’ll battle that one another day.

 

I have been looking around continuously for weeks scanning websites, blogs, Which? and various other sites looking for a cash card to take to Australia. I don’t know how many times I have asked myself which prepaid travel card to take? The process has been a horrible one to say the least therefore I thought I would write an article to help others that are travelling abroad soon.

Obviously this is only relevant to those travelling soon, and to those travelling to Australia/New Zealand, but hopefully it prevents someone else wasting eight hours looking at travel cash card websites.

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The companies I have focused on are:

  • Caxton
  • ICE
  • STA
  • My Travel Cash
  • Post Office
  • Cash Passport
  • Travelex
  • Tesco (only because they have a deal on atm)
  • Sainsburys (they have a deal on)

There’s lot of advice about how to get the most of your prepaid cash cards and some of the best advice I picked up on is when you shouldn’t use your cards. Pre-paid cards shouldn’t be used for anything where you pay a deposit, such as car hire, bike hire or reserving hotel rooms, because this portion of money is ring-fenced, unavailable to use and can take up to 30 days to be made available again. It’s important to pick the right prepaid card as some charge you each time you top up, make a purchase or withdraw cash.

Other common charges applied by prepaid card providers include; application fees, top-up fees, transaction fees, ATM withdrawal fees and even inactivity fees.

 

Summary

Caxton fx Travel Currency Card:

Caxton FX is one of the best and has no withdrawal fees or any fees of any kind it seems. However, for Australia and New Zealand they are pointless, as they offer only Euro and Dollar cash cards. They do have a global traveller card which you can put money on to, but where you go wrong with this card is that it then charges you every time you take out money due to the fact the money on your card is still Sterling. They then charge you a fee to currency convert wherever you withdraw.

Good, but need to release an Australian Dollars card.

Small print: “The exchange rate applied is fixed at 2.75% below the prevailing interbank rate. The balance remains in sterling at all times. Funds are converted live to the appropriate currency at the point of a sale, including ATMs, giving you the flexibility to use it globally.”

For more information: https://www.caxtonfx.com/currency-cards/currency-cards-for-you

 

ICE Travel Cash Card:

I looked and then left. They don’t do travel pre-paid cards in AUD or NZD.

 

STA Travel ISIC Prepaid MasterCard® Cashcard

STA ISIC Cashcard for students is part of flexible Cashflex range – it lets you enjoy the benefits of a prepaid cash card AND doubles up as a student ID and discount card.

Benefits include: Earn up to 11% Cashback at UK retailers, Earn 3% cashback while travelling when you spend at STA Travel in store or online (T&Cs apply), Book another holiday with us and earn 3% loyalty cashback, Free UK and overseas transactions, No fees when topping up***, Avoid the cost and hassle of exchanging currency, Safe – no need for cash and cards are not linked to a bank account, Stay in control – only spend the amount you’ve loaded, Use in over 35 million locations including 1.5 million ATM’s, No credit checks needed, Parents or friends can top-up your card if you run out of money, Wages or salaries can be received on the card with ease (excluding India) and get loads of student discounts.

However, it has its downfalls, including: £2.25 fee for withdrawing funds abroad, £1.50 UK withdrawals and £150 limit per day on withdrawals.

It’s good and with an ISIC attached it could be useful but having to pay £2.25 each time to withdraw is costly!

 

FairFX Euro/Dollar Mastercards

Fair FX are also a well-respected brand and cash card company. The card is £9.95 if purchased at www.fairfx.com but free if purchased via partner websites e.g. at moneysupermarket.com, free plus £5 cashback when you load £500 or more on to card. The card also has no purchases abroad fee but downfalls are a foreign ATM withdrawals fee of €1.50/$2 (plus foreign ATM operators may charge their own additional fee and they charge for an additional/replacement card fee of £6. Redemption fee £10.

These were good, but again charged £2 approx for foreign cash withdrawals and didn’t offer a free second card. Again they didn’t seem to offer a AUD/NZD card.

 

My Travel Cash Euro/Dollar MasterCards

My Travel Cash seemed pretty good but they didn’t have a lot of benefits. The card is free online at mytravelcash.com and have an optional 1-3 day express delivery €6/$8 or free if loaded over €800/$1000.

They offer cashback of 1% on all purchases abroad and the foreign ATM withdrawals are free (however foreign ATM operators may charge their own additional fee). They also off an additional/replacement card fee of £3 and redemption fee of £5. Inactivity fee £2 after card not used for 12 months.

Against the rest it just didn’t match up. And again they didn’t have AUD/NZD. STRANGE!

 

Post Office

The Post Office’s Travel Money Card Plus prepaid MasterCard is available in 8 currencies.

It can be used in shops, bars and restaurants in the country of the currency on the card without any fees (excluding Sterling card).

There no load fee or many other fees but there is again a charge of $3 AUD for use in an ATM and similar in NZ which again is costly. It is useful but I have found others that are better.

 

Cash passport: Mastercard

The Multi-currency Cash Passport is apparently the best prepaid travel money card around. Access your money at 35.7 million locations worldwide and withdraw local currency at 2.1 million cash machines around the world. The card is available with 7 currencies on 1 card, access overseas, lock in rates, CHIP and PIN protection, a free replacement card, free second card.

 

Travelex

This handy little prepaid travel money card is available in seven different currencies: Euros, US Dollars, Sterling, South African Rand, Australian Dollars, Canadian Dollars, and New Zealand Dollars. Available in store only which is frustrating as there are only a few Travelex shops across the country. NOT COOL.

Free online at www.cashpassport.com and other versions of Cash Passport cards can be bought in Travelex branches, at certain supermarkets and some building societies. Features and fees on these cards may vary. Foreign ATM withdrawals are free (foreign ATM operators may charge their own additional fee) and they also offer an additional/replacement card free. Redemption fee £6. Inactivity fee £2 if unused for 12 months.

On the euro or dollar versions of this card there’s no fee for spending abroad or to top up online, by phone or in stores. The global card charges a 2.49% fee for each cash withdrawal and purchase made regardless of the currency.

 

In association with Tesco:

They have a deal on until September 9 where if you spend £500 at one of their travel money bureaux, you’ll receive £5 off each £500. Unfortunately this offer does not extend to online buys and is only valid for £30 off per transaction.

 

In association with Sainsburys

When you buy your prepaid cash passport with Sainsburys you get nectar points, and they give you a discount for being a nectar card member as well. Withdrawal fees are free and reload is also free. It is part of the Travelex company initiative.

 

My overall choice of prepaid cash card: A Cash Passport from Sainsburys via Travelex

(Yes I realise the one I chose incorporates a selection of three, including Cash Passport, Travelex and Sainsburys, but it is the one I found to be the best, have the best benefits and the bonus with this one is that I will get some money back via Nectar points) BONUS!

 

Other posts that may help you:

The Ultimate Guide to the Christmas Markets in Copenhagen

Best Vegan Restaurants in Malmo

10 of the Best places to eat Brunch in London

The Best Weekend Trips in the UK

Log cabins with hot tubs in the UK

Thank you for reading and as always happy adventuring! 

If you’ve enjoyed this post, please share it for me with all your friends and family!

Sophie X

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