A Guide To Prepaid Cards For Travelling Abroad

Jane Wardle

Written by Jane Wardle on February 18, 2019

Updated July 5, 2019


In the recent past, travelling abroad meant carrying money in different ways that exposed you to threats of theft or loss. Not so today with prepaid cards, a new way of enjoying your travel without minding a lot about so many risks. A prepaid card is very easy to find from high street vendors to online retailers, among others. You can then load the cards with the amount of money you want.

Convenience and safety

Also known as currency card, prepaid travel card or travel money card, it’s one of the best ways of travelling around the world conveniently. It’s also popular and safer than carrying lots of foreign money and user-friendly than travelling with cheques.

Before leaving ensure you’ve loaded the prepaid travel card with the foreign currency and access the money in ATMs abroad. You can also use the card in various places from restaurants, bars, hotels to shops just like any debit or credit card.

Range of benefits

Prepaid cards come with diverse advantages for every traveller. They are convenient so much that it’s like spending as you would on credit or debit card. The travel money cards allow you to avoid overspending by using the only amount you’ve preloaded.

Withdrawing from the card also requires a PIN and if the card is stolen only the funds in the card will be accessed and not your bank account; they aren’t linked. Also, no credit history is required to access a card or credit checks needed as you would while applying for a credit card. Some prepaid cards come with some good exchange rate while abroad too.

The popularity of travel money cards has been going up, and they’re virtually usable in many world destinations. You don’t have to risk your debit card in overseas ATMs or suffer the cumbersome nature of traveller’s cheques in destinations that don’t particularly like them and are uncommon in their financial culture.

Topping up

One of the disadvantages raised in regard to prepaid cards is that you can only use the money in the card only. No overdraft or loan facility if you overspend and use all the money. However, the acceptance of travel money cards globally has now made preloading them so easy.

While travelling, you can do so in convenience stores or post offices, carry out a transfer from bank accounts, funding from a web account, app or use a standing order. There’re so many ways of funding prepaid cards.

Before purchasing the travel money card request from the provider the different ways of funding it and further details you may need.

Is a prepaid card the best for you?

How do you know a prepaid card is the best for you? It’s perfect for you for various reasons:

  • You are travelling around the world and don’t want to risk carrying cash. It’s a perfectly secure means of carrying money because the card can be blocked immediately if stolen or lost, unlike cash.
  • Perfect for young people in the travel entourage to learn how to manage funds by only using what they’ve on the card and even monitor their spending through an app or on the internet.
  • Separating your money for different purposes while travelling such as shopping, accommodation, online purchases among others.
  • You’re unable to access debit cards or credit cards for various reasons. The prepaid card is perfect since no credit checks are needed.

It might not be fully risk-free, but prepaid cards are safer, can help you budget funds well, and use of the card won’t attract any interest charge. Even overdrawing on the account isn’t a risk.

New travel money card players come with benefits

Travel credit cards

While looking for a prepaid card for the first time, don’t ignore the benefit of a new player. Most don’t charge in foreign exchanges and other bank related charges if you use the cards in restaurants, hotels, shops or use cash machines to withdraw cash.

Shop for new prepaid card providers and compare their features. For instance, some don’t charge you for ATM withdrawals; some offer cards with cash back rewards with zero fees for abroad use while some offer cards with free bank accounts with their own prepaid cards usable in over 150 destinations around the worlds. Shop around to get the best possible card with the most benefits.

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