Travel Money Finder

Discover how far your travel money can take you.

Traveling overseas involves a lot of planning — and that includes your money.

Which option is right for your next trip?

American Express Cobalt Card

American Express Cobalt Card

19.99 % APR

Purchase interest rate

Eligibility criteria, terms and conditions, fees and charges apply

American Express Cobalt Card

Apply today and earn up to 5 points for every dollar you spend on eligible purchases. Terms apply.

  • Purchase interest rate: 19.99%
  • Cash advance rate: 22.99%
  • Annual fee: $120
  • Credit rating: Fair, Good, Excellent
  • Minimum age: Age of majority in province/territory of residence
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Compare travel credit cards

Name Product Purchase Interest Rate Cash Advance Rate Annual Fee Minimum Income Benefits with this card Description
American Express Cobalt Card
19.99%
22.99%
$120
N/A
Earn 5 Membership Rewards points per $1 spent at eligible grocery stores, restaurants, bars, cafés and food delivery services, and earn 2 Membership Rewards points per $1 spent at eligible gas stations, and on transit and travel purchases, and earn 1 Membership Rewards point per $1 spent elsewhere. Terms apply
Earn up to 40,000 Membership Rewards points. In the first year, earn 2,500 Membership Rewards points for each billing period when you charge at least $500 in eligible purchases to your card (for a total earn of up to 30,000 Membership Rewards). Plus, earn up to 10,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend a total of $3,000 in purchases in your first three months
Scotiabank Gold American Express Card
19.99%
22.99%
$120
$12,000
Earn 5 Scotia Rewards points per $1 spent on eligible grocery, dining and entertainment purchases, 3 points per $1 spent on eligible gas, transportation and select streaming services, and 1 point per $1 spent on eligible purchases elsewhere.
Earn 20,000 bonus Scotia Rewards points when you spend at least $1,000 on eligible purchases in the first 3 months. Apply by July 1, 2020.
The Platinum Card from American Express
N/A
N/A
$699
N/A
Earn 3 Membership Rewards points for every $1 spent on eligible dining in Canada, 2 Membership Rewards points for every $1 spent on eligible travel purchases as well as hotel and car rental bookings made with American Express Travel, and earn 1 Membership Reward point for every $1 spent on all other eligible purchases
As a new Platinum Cardmember, earn up to 60,000 Membership Rewards points in the fist six months. Earn a Welcome Bonus of 50,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend at least $3,000 on eligible purchases within the first three months. Receive an additional 10,000 Membership Rewards points after six months of cardmembership
Scotiabank Passport  Visa Infinite Card
19.99%
22.99%
$139
$60,000
Earn 2 Scotia Rewards points for every $1 spent on eligible grocery store, dining, entertainment and daily transit purchases, and earn 1 Scotia Rewards point for every $1 spent elsewhere.
Earn up to a total bonus of 40,000 Scotia Rewards points (up to a $400 travel value) in your first year. Earn 30,000 Bonus Scotia Rewards points when you spend at least $1,000 on eligible purchases within the first three months. Apply by July 1, 2020. Plus, earn 10,000 Bonus Scotia Rewards points each year when you spend at least $40,000 annually on eligible purchases (and earn 2,000 Bonus Scotia Rewards points for every additional $10,000 in purchases thereafter).
HSBC +Rewards™ Mastercard®
11.9%
11.9%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($25 thereafter)
N/A
Earn 2 Points for every $1 spent on eligible dining or entertainment purchases.
Earn 10,000 Points ($50 travel value). Plus, get a full annual fee rebate for the Primary Cardholder for the first year. Apply by June 29, 2020. This offer is only available to residents of Canada other than the province of Quebec. Conditions apply.
BMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard
19.99%
22.99%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($120 thereafter)
$80,000
Get 1 AIR MILE for every $10 spent on eligible purchases.
Earn a bonus of up to 3,000 AIR MILES. Terms apply. Plus, get the annual fee of $120 waived in the first year.
American Express AIR MILES Platinum Credit Card
20.99%
22.99%
$120
N/A
Earn 1 AIR MILE for every $5 spent on eligible food, drink, gas and transit purchases (up to an annual spend of $30,000), and earn 1 AIR MILE for every $10 spent on all other eligible purchases (and after the $30,000 annual spend)
Earn a Welcome Bonus of 2,000 AIR MILES when you spend at least $1,500 in eligible purchases within the first three months.
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*The products compared on this page are chosen from a range of offers available to us and are not representative of all the products available in the market. There is no perfect order or perfect ranking system for the products we list on our Site, so we provide you with the functionality to self-select, re-order and compare products. The initial display order is influenced by a range of factors including conversion rates, product costs and commercial arrangements, so please don't interpret the listing order as an endorsement or recommendation from us. We're happy to provide you with the tools you need to make better decisions, but we'd like you to make your own decisions and compare and assess products based on your own preferences, circumstances and needs.

What is travel money?

Travel money is essentially the options of credit cards, debit cards, prepaid cards and foreign currency — all designed for travel and foreign transactions. Each form of travel money has different benefits and depending on the destination, one may be suited as better than another.

When considering travel money, be sure to do your research. It’s wise to always take a combination of products to ensure that you’ll have an acceptable option of payment no matter where you are.

A quick comparison of travel money cards

FEES

Travel money feature

Prepaid travel card

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Credit card

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Debit card

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No currency conversion feesYesYesNo
No ATM withdrawal feesYesYesYes
No initial currency load feeNo

CURRENCY

Travel money feature

Prepaid travel card

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Credit card

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Debit card

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Pre-load currenciesYesNoNo
Instant reload (no delay)Yes

CONVENIENCE

Travel money feature

Prepaid travel card

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Credit card

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Debit card

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Worldwide acceptanceYesYesYes
Emergency cash facilityNoYesNo
Purchase over the counterYesYesYes

SECURITY

Travel money feature

Prepaid travel card

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Credit card

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Debit card

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Chip & Pin protectionYesYesYes
Emergency card replacementYesYesNo
Backup cardsYesNoNo

ACCOUNT MANAGEMENT

Travel money feature

Prepaid travel card

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Credit card

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Debit card

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Mobile applicationYesYesYes
Online account loginYesYesYes

REWARDS

Travel money feature

Prepaid travel card

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Credit card

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Debit card

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Reward points for spendingYesYesYes
Frequent flyer benefitsNoYesNo
Promotional interest rates
(0% purchases, 0% balance transfers)
NoYesNo

This table is a general summary of the travel money products in the market. Features and benefits can vary between cards.

How to decide which type of travel money is best for you?

The best travel money option for you will depend on your destination, how you plan to spend and what you can afford. Prepaid travel cards, credit cards and debit cards all have their uses, but the differences lie in their features and fees. To be safe, many travelers bring more than one type for convenience and security.

Here you can compare the different travel money options available to discover which one offers you the best value for your next trip.

Prepaid travel money cards

To determine whether a travel card is the right choice for you, weigh up some of the pros and cons below.

Benefits of using a prepaid travel card

  • Multiple currencies. When you load dollars onto a prepaid travel card, you can transfer them into a supported foreign currency so that you can spend or withdraw your own funds without the cost of currency conversion fees.
  • Locked-in exchange rates. When you convert your dollars into a supported foreign currency, the funds will be locked in at the current exchange rate. Depending on which way the currency goes, this can be a good way to avoid negative exchange rate fluctuations while traveling.

Things to consider using prepaid travel cards

  • Availability. Most prepaid travel cards are either Visa or Mastercard, meaning you can use them worldwide.
  • Fees. The fees you’ll have to pay will depend on the card, but some include a purchase fee, loading or reloading fee, currency conversion fee, inactivity fee and account inactivity fee.
  • ATM withdrawal limits. If your prepaid travel card charges a fee per transaction and you need a large amount of money, it could get expensive quickly if the ATMs you withdraw from only allow a small amount per transaction .
  • Currencies. Your prepaid travel card will support a number of foreign currencies, though the exact ones will depend on the individual card.
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Travel credit cards

Enjoy financial security, flexibility and extra features with a credit card. Look for a credit card that is designed for overseas use, preferably one that doesn’t charge currency conversion fees, foreign transaction fees or overseas ATM withdrawal fees.

Plus, credit cards come with features like travel insurance, a concierge service and rewards programs.

Benefits of using a credit card overseas

  • Access to credit. A line of credit is often larger than your savings, which can come in handy for large or emergency purchases. Remember that you have to repay everything (plus interest) to the card.
  • Rewards. These cards are typically more expensive, so make sure that the value of the rewards you redeem will outweigh the costs.
  • Extras. Complimentary travel insurance, purchase protection and concierge services will surely benefit any traveler.

Considerations when using credit cards for travel

  • Availability. Visa, Mastercard and American Express should be accepted widely around the world. Some cards can’t be used in some locations (such as Cuba, Iran, Myanmar, North Korea, Sudan and Syria) due to economic sanctions. Check with the provider to confirm whether your card can be used in your destination before you leave.
  • Fees. If you use your regular credit card overseas, it’s likely you’ll be charged currency conversion or foreign transaction fees. You’ll also be charged cash advance fees — which tend to be pricey — if you use your card for ATM withdrawals
  • Currencies. Look for a card that will waive currency conversion or foreign transaction fees, otherwise you’ll rack up fees every time you use your card for purchases in the local currency.

Compare the full range of travel credit cards with our complete guide

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Travel debit cards

The advantages of using a debit card can include international ATM alliances , no withdrawal fees, no currency conversion fees, no foreign transaction fee and access to your personal money. And since it is your personal money, it allows you to budget effectively.

How debit cards can benefit you overseas

  • Access and manage your own cash. Unlike a credit card with a line of credit or a prepaid card with a loaded amount of funds, a debit card gives you direct access to your savings. This saves you the inconvenience of loading a prepaid card, but might deter the overspending that comes with credit.
  • Fewer fees than credit cards and prepaid travel cards. If you get a debit card designed for overseas use, you might not have to pay ATM withdrawal, currency conversion or foreign transaction fees.
  • ATM availability worldwide. If your debit card is a Visa or Mastercard, you should be able to withdraw from ATMs around the world. To avoid ATM withdrawal fees, look for a card that belongs to the Global ATM Alliance like a Barclaycard or Bank of America card.
  • Fraud protection. Your provider is likely to offer protection against fraudulent transactions made on your account so long as you follow the necessary steps to report unusual activity.

Considerations to keep in mind

  • No backup or additional card. Debit card accounts don’t provide a backup. This means that you may have to wait up to two weeks for a replacement to arrive to your overseas destination.
  • Daily currency exchange rate. You’ll receive the daily exchange rate for your withdrawal from Mastercard or Visa. Due to the uncertainty of exchange rates, it is wise to do market research to find which option may be better for you.

Comprehensive guide to using debit cards overseas

Foreign cash

Holding a certain amount of foreign cash provides you with convenience and payment flexibility. Some stops on your destination may be cash-only and having extra on you can provide a smooth transition to wherever your destination may be.

Exchanging money is as easy as ordering online and picking up in store.

Knowing how the dollar has performed against foreign currency in the past few years and months will enable you to get the best exchange rate for your foreign exchange transaction.

Traveler’s cheques

Traveler’s cheques were once a widely used form of travel money, but they’re going the way of the dinosaur. You can weigh up whether they’re worth your time below — but we’d advise looking elsewhere.

How a traveler’s cheques could still work for you

  • Secure. Traveler’s cheques are an extremely secure method to spend money overseas.
  • Safe. They can be easily replaced if lost or stolen.

Considerations to keep in mind

  • Cost. You might be charged a purchase fee when you first pick up your traveler’s cheque.
  • Acceptance. Traveler’s cheques are generally accepted less than Visa or Mastercards.
  • Difficult to use. Can be bulky and awkward to carry. Plus, you’ll have to go to the effort of getting them cashed rather than having immediate access to your cash like you would with a card.

The most commonly asked travel money questions on the internet

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