If you are planning to take a holiday outside of the UK, what do you take with you to pay your expenses: cash, credit cards, or prepaid currency cards? Cash has pretty much been left by the wayside by all but the most traditional of travellers, while credit cards and currency cards continue to battle for pre-eminence.
Most of us are familiar with credit cards because we use them on a regular basis. So let’s talk prepaid currency cards. What are the advantages and disadvantages? Are there any little secrets you need to know?
The two main advantages of the prepaid currency card are security and financial management. Where security is concerned, the currency card offers you the same protection you get from a credit card. If it’s lost or stolen, you can have it cancelled; the issuer will provide you with a replacement. In most cases, you will also not be liable for any charges made to it. Where financial management is concerned, you can never overdraw a currency card. That makes it easy to control how much money you want to spend on holiday.
Here are a few of the secrets you need to be aware of:
- Exchange Rates – You can get prepaid currency cards from banks or currency exchange experts. Be aware that exchange rates will vary. Banks tend to use the daily VISA exchange rate while the speciality companies do a little bit better.
- Transaction Fees – Almost all currency card issuers charge transaction fees of some sort. You need to be fully aware of any and all possible fees before you purchase. It may turn out that one company offers a better exchange rate but charges considerably higher fees compared to your neighbourhood bank.
- ATM Fees – The most expensive transaction you can undertake with a prepaid currency card is an ATM withdrawal. Avoid them if you can. If you know you are going to need cash for certain transactions, a bank ATM card may be a better way to go.
- Adding Funds – It is a good idea to determine how much you want to spend and put only that amount on the card when you purchase it. However, you can add more funds if necessary by way of telephone or Internet.
Prepaid currency cards are great tools for paying travel expenses. However, do your research to make sure you are getting the best deal.