So the flights are booked and you’ve just received your prepaid currency card in the post… what next? To make your journey completely hassle-free, we’ve amassed some top tips to getting the most out of your prepaid currency card overseas.
Choose Local Currency
When using your currency card abroad, you will often be given the option of paying in either your currency or the local one. Always choose the local currency. If not, you will be charged the retailers exchange rate, not the competitive one acquired by using a travel card. Top tip: double check which currency they have used before completing the card payment!
Check ATM Charges
Different banks have wildly different rates and charges in foreign countries, and if you’re not careful you can end up incurring hefty sums in ATM withdrawal fees. Don’t go to the first machine you see - compare the different charges first. With certain prepaid cards, withdrawals are free at specific ATMs (such as state banks). Do your homework!
Don’t Load it All at Once
One of the central benefits to using a currency card, is that all your money does not have to sit in one, theft-friendly place. Use it! Upload money as and when you need it, so that on the off chance something untoward does happen with your card, there isn’t a huge amount that can be taken anyway. Additionally, be aware that there are daily withdrawal limits on travel cards - plan your spending within and around these.
Bring Back Up
Travel rule number 1: bring a payment method backup. Whatever safety precautions you take, one can never be 100% sure that nothing will happen to a wallet or card whilst overseas. Don’t be sorry when you could be safe: bring a secondary card.
Check Expiry Dates
Check the cards expiry date (preferably before you go). If it expires whilst you’re away, make sure you organise a secure place that it can be sent to and plan it in time for your requirements.
APP? Download it
We love our phones, don’t we? They make life so much easier, even on holiday. Check if your card distributor has a relevant APP and if so, download it - this way you can check rates, balance and more with just a tap - strictly no computers or internet cafes!
Don’t Use it For Security Deposits
Do not use your currency card for any deposits - be that hotel, car rental etc. The excess amounts may lead to your card being blocked and they take a long time to unblock again and many expensive calls home to your provider.