There are currently 180 different currencies around the world so how on earth are you meant to travel with all those different currencies? The answer to that is travel money cards.
What is a travel money card you ask? A travel money card is a card which you can load foreign currencies on so it can be used overseas to withdraw cash at an ATM, online and over the phone. Travel money cards are MUCH cheaper to use overseas than your everyday cards you use at home.
Just like foreign currencies, there are many different travel money cards you can choose from that offer different things. Some offer reward systems, different usage fees, conversion rates and currencies available. So how do you choose the best card for you?
When I started travelling I decided to go with my banks travel money card, why? Because it allowed me immediate access to the converted money. All I have to do is log into the app from my phone, from there I can load and transfer funds, view my transactions and even cancel cards in the unfortunate event you misplace it or it gets stolen. With my bank, I get two cards with two different card numbers so if one is lost or stolen I can freeze the misplaced card and still have another card to full back on.
If you decide to go with a card that isn’t connected with your bank, beware of bank transfer processing times as they can take between 1-5 days depending on your bank. Keep on eye on your balance so you never run out of money while waiting for new funds to be cleared.
Just like every financial institute, travel money cards offer different fees and reward programs. Look at usage fees, conversion rates, card fees, closure fees and any other costs associated with the different cards. Have a look at travel money card comparison sites and narrow it down to a few cards best suited for you. Keep in mind usage and ATM fees can change from country to country.
If you’re going with one of the big banks you will get your card while setting up the account at the bank with cards available for immediate use. However, if you decide to go with a rewards program card, for example, they will arrive via post so make sure you allow yourself enough time to receive and activate the card and for the funds to be cleared before leaving on your trip.
An important aspect for which travel card you choose is can it be used at your intended destination? Mastercard and Visa are predominantly used worldwide, however, some places do not accept American Express. Check this before you go, the last thing you want is to arrive at your destination unable to use your card.
Different cards offer different currencies and also a different number of currencies you can have loaded at one time. Some only allow a couple whereas others allowed up to 10. Think about how many different currencies you will need and more importantly make sure the card you choose offers the currencies you need. All cards offer the major currencies e.g. English Pound, Euro, US dollar etc. but not all offer less popular currencies.
Good luck and happy travels!