A Guide to Using Prepaid Cards Abroad


Traveling can be enlightening, fun, and exciting, but it can also be hectic and stressful if you don’t plan ahead and know what you’re doing. Exchanging currency, withdrawing cash, and using cards is always a part of travel, and there are many ways to go about it. But an increasingly popular option is to use a prepaid card from a company that specializes in cards used abroad. Like most things when taking a vacation, you need to know what you are getting into in order to make the right decision for yourself and the trip you’re planning.

Using Prepaid Travel Cards

Prepaid cards used for travel are also known as currency cards, and they are a growing medium for travel money. It is generally considered safer than carrying around loads of foreign cash, and is much easier and more convenient than getting traveler’s checks. You don’t have to stress about always needing cash, and when you do need it you can easily access it from an ATM. While conversion fees may be low when you load the card with foreign currency, you may get charged for taking out money. It is always prudent to pay attention to the conversion with an app, know what you are paying for to convert currency, and seek out where the lowest fees are. Otherwise you could be finding yourself paying much more than you should.

Benefits to be Aware of

When people enjoy using prepaid cards, it is usually due to their convenient and unique benefits. Not only can you use the prepaid card anywhere it is accepted, you can also load it with only what you want to use on the trip and help yourself budget the holiday.

These prepaid travel cards are usually very secure. Normally they are tied to bank accounts and have a PIN number. That means that no company can put your money in danger if they go under. According to MoneyPug a popular site used to compare prepaid cards, no credit check is needed, and you do not need to have had a credit card before this. Finally, if you find the right company, some travel money card businesses have access to more reasonable currency exchange rates than others.

Negatives of Prepaid Cards

Travel cards won’t help you find out where to get cash on the ground, but you would have to do that anyway. Sometimes they will offer low fees as well as commission on currency exchange but have hidden fees in poor exchange rates. People have been known to pay up to £200 more than they should have in hidden fess.

Some of these include application, renewal, and replacement charges. There can also be high costs when you load money onto the card. Spending money in a currency you haven’t loaded onto the card can have very steep charges. ATM fees are often a pain. Companies will even charge you for dormant use.

Conversion Rates

With currency anywhere around the world, knowing the conversion is imperative. It is definitely recommended to use foreigner currency apps or another currency converter. What happens with some companies is that they may have access to a better conversion rate but turn the savings into their profit. It is good to do you research and avoid that. Instead of settling with a business that is going to pocket your savings, spend a little time and find the best prepaid travel card rates.

Deciding on Travel Cards

With all of your options, choosing to use a travel card should be rooted in your benefits and avoiding the negatives. You can apply for a card fairly easily with a passport or driver license. Some companies have an application fee, and it can be a sign of other fees to come. Still, when you use prepaid travel cards your money will always be safe and you can avoid using too much of your savings. Choosing one of these cards, you should spend time finding the perfect one for your situation and currency needs.

Don’t let logistics get in the way of your perfect holiday. Doing the work beforehand can maximize your leisure. Avoid the trouble of money orders or traveler’s checks can make the difference between paying on every withdrawal or purchase. Take the dream trip abroad, use a prepaid travel card to avoid the stress.

Ryan Beitler is a journalist, writer, and travel blogger. He has been published in Paste Magazine, New Noise Magazine, OC Weekly, The Slovenia Times, and more.