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Travel Money Cards

Tamires Criscio
Tamires Criscio
  | Edited by Tom Church
Updated 6th December 2021

Are you planning to travel? Getting a travel money card can be a great way to save on unwelcome extra charges from your bank when you use your regular debit or credit card abroad, for example. Latest Deals is here to explain everything you need to know about travel money and how to get it.

What’s the best way to take money abroad?

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When travelling abroad is it better to take out cash in the local currency, or use a travel card? There are many options available, alongside using your regular debit or credit card. 

Below, we have created a table comparing the advantages and disadvantages of some options available to you: 

Options available Advantages Disadvantages 
Cash - You will be covered on the occasions where card payment is not accepted. 
- Once you have the cash you don’t have to worry about currency values changing as much
- If you lose or get your money stolen, it’s very unlikely you will get it back.
- Some services might require card payments (such as hotels and car hires).
Debit card/ credit card - More convenient and potentially safer, as you don’t have to carry large amounts of cash with you. 
- Some debit cards and credit cards can offer you benefits when you use them abroad. This will depend on your provider. 
- They usually come with purchase transaction fees and ATM withdrawal fees, making every purchase more expensive.
- They typically use a daily exchange rate, so some days you can pay more for the local currency and other days less.
- Sometimes their exchange rate is not the best available. 
- You may not know exactly how much you will be charged until after the purchase.
Travel money card - Easy to use and apply with no credit checking required. 
- Widely accepted.
- Safe.
- Great way to stick to your budget and avoid overspending. 
- Protection of your identity. 
- You are spending in the local currency, so there are no hidden surprises. 
- Some cards are multi-currency. With this, you can have more than one currency available to you when travelling to more than one country. 
- Some cards are available with Apple Pay and Google Pay, making your life easier if you are used to paying with them.  
- They sometimes come with hidden fees, so it’s important to ask about them before getting one. 
- They sometimes come with a pre-authorisations setting that can lock away your money depending on the purchase you are trying to make.

IMPORTANT NOTE: In addition, you can also use your digital bank card, as they usually offer better deals in currency exchange and don’t charge any fees for using your card abroad. Learn more about digital banks here. 

What is a travel money card?

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A travel money card can also be called a prepaid travel card or currency card. They work like regular debit cards, but they aren't attached to a bank account. With them, you will be able to pay for goods and services abroad, both in-store and online.  

How does a travel money card work?

As the name suggests, a prepaid travel card will allow you to deposit money and spend it as you wish in the country you are visiting in the local currency. 

When you deposit the money onto the card, it’s already loaded in local currency, so you don’t need to worry about the exchange rate with every transaction. 

Depending on the travel money card, they will be able to be reloaded or not, so it's important to check it with your provider. 

Why should I use a travel money card?

Using a travel money card is the safest way to pay for goods and services abroad, as you won’t need to use your debit card or credit card and therefore protect your money back home and your name against any fraud while you are travelling. In addition, a travel money card is safer than taking cash because, in case of loss, you can block it. 

How does buying travel money work?

You can buy your travel money online or in person. Different travel money providers offer different exchange rates, so it’s essential to check with all of them before making a decision. Some providers can also charge you a commission to exchange your money. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: In some cases, it’s better to buy your travel money online because they usually offer better exchange rates and more currencies available. 

Step by step on how to get a travel money card 

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Getting a travel money card is simpler than you think. Latest Deals has created a step by step on how to get a travel money card below: 

1. You can order online or in person 

Nowadays, due to Coronavirus, it’s recommended that you order your travel money card online and have it delivered to your chosen address. 

Some providers also offer a click and collect service. 

To buy, you just need to tell the provider how much you need in the foreign currency; they will calculate how much this is in GBP, and add any charges if applicable, such as commissions. 

Then, they will give you the final price, which you can pay with your debit card or credit card. 

2. You will need to activate it 

You will receive your card at home within two or three days if you haven't requested next day delivery or gone to collect it. 

Then, you will need to follow the instructions to activate your card. You will be given a pin, but you can change with one of your choice. 

3. You can start spending 

To use your activated card, you just need to present your card as you would do with a credit card or debit card. You will need to use your pin to complete the transaction.

4. You can manage your card via an app available for Android and iOS systems

With the application, you can top up and freeze your card. You can also access your pin, in case you forget it. With some providers, you can also make transfers to other currencies in the app. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: Some providers offer a buy-back guarantee. Even if you don't use all the money available on the card, you can sell it back to the provider at the exchange rate you bought it for and without any commission charges. 

Comparison of travel money card providers available 

Provider Tesco Bank

Learn more about Travel Money Card with Tesco Bank here. 
Travelex

Learn more about Travel Money Card with Travelex here.  
Sainsbury’s Bank 

Learn more about Travel Money Card with Sainsbury’s Bank here. 
Asda Money

Learn more about Travel Money Card with Asda Money here.
Post Office

Learn more about Travel Money Card with Post Office here.
Commission Rate0% commissionNot informed.5.75%Not informed.0% commission
Delivery Fee £3.95 (orders under £500)Free collection at Tesco Stores£7.59 (between £100 and £299.99)Not informed.£3.95 delivery (orders under £500)Free to collect at the nearest Post Office Branch or next-day delivery.
Minimum order£50£50£50£100 (for Click and Collect)£350 (for Home Delivery)£400
Maximum order £2,500£5,000£5,000£2,500£2,500
Multi-currencyNo. Yes (up to 10 currencies at one time).Yes (up to 10 currencies at one time.)Yes (up to 16 currencies at one time.)Yes (up to 23 currencies at one time.)
Buy-back guaranteeYes, available in stores.Yes. Not informed.Not informed.Yes.
ATM WithdrawalsFees might be applied.Free.Free. Free. Fees will be applied.
Top-up available Not informed. Yes, but fees might be applied.Yes, but fees might be applied.Yes, but fees might be applied.Yes, but fees might be applied.

IMPORTANT NOTE: These are some travel money card providers available in the UK.

 In the table above, you can see some points of comparison, but it’s essential to keep in mind that there are more points to be compared. 

For example, some of them can offer special deals depending on how much money you plan to buy. 

Others can limit how much you can spend per day and even monthly maintenance fees. 

FAQ 

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