Prepaid travel cards

Find out if a prepaid travel card is right for you before booking your trip abroad.

When you’re going abroad, a travel card can be less stressful than a regular bank card. Plus, if you play your (literal) cards right, there are some serious savings to be made along the way. This guide will take you through the benefits of prepaid travel cards and help you compare some of the best options currently available for travellers.

Compare the best banking apps for going abroad

Name Product Foreign ATM withdrawals Foreign transactions fee Card cost Delivery speed
Starling Bank
Free
No fees
Free
Between 3-5 working days
Everything you get from a current account, but with new features for mobile living. (E.g. Goals for saving, spending catgorisation, interest on your balances)
WeSwap
Withdrawals of £200/$200/€200 or more – free
smaller withdrawals – a charge of £1.50 per withdrawal

No transaction fees (if you spend in one of the 18 wallet currencies)
Free
Between 3-5 working days in the UK, or within 10 days if you live outside the UK
Cashplus Account
£3 with current accounts. No ATM fees with traveller card.
No fees
Free
Between 3-5 working days
Current account and Mastercard - all managed from your phone. Also comes with a creditbuilder option.
bunq
Free (up to 10 withdrawals monthly)
No fees
Within 10 workings days
loading

Compare up to 4 providers

What are the benefits of using a travel card?

  • Safer than carrying cash. This is the main advantage of a travel card. You don’t have to worry about losing loads of money, or getting pick pocketed on the beach.
  • Works like a debit card. Unlike a credit card, you won’t be able to run up debts on a prepaid travel card.
  • Choice of currencies. Most travel card providers offer a range of currencies for you travel card.
  • Good for budgeting. One of the best things about a travel card is that once it’s loaded it is loaded. You can’t run up debts, and it helps you to keep on top of how much you’re spending.
  • Good to give to youngsters going on their first holiday. For the same reason, travel cards are good to give to first time holidayers. It’s a good way to teach kids how to spend responsibly, but without much risk.
  • Better rates than banks. Most prepaid card companies offer a more competitive rate than banks, and certainly better than a Bureau de Change in airports or in foreign countries.

What should I look out for when comparing travel cards?

  • Topping up Most prepaid card companies allow you to do this while you’re abroad, but make sure you check out how to do it. There’s nothing worse than being out of money while on holiday, and being forced to withdraw money at a terrible rate. A lot of companies have apps, or will let you top up over text. Also, be sure to check how much this might cost you.
  • Fees. This is where travel card companies make a lot of their money. Check the fees before you sign up, and check with finder.com/uk to see if you can find a better deal.
  • Rates. Similar to fees, you should also keep on eye on exchange rates and make sure you’re getting a fair deal. Many travel card companies will match a better exchange rate from a rival company so this is something to be aware of.
  • Protection. This might go without saying, but it’s important for you to be aware of where you stand if things go wrong. Check the company’s policies regarding lost, stolen, or undelivered cards.

What’s the alternative to using a travel card?

There’s a range of alternatives to using travel cards, but possibly the best of the lot is digital banking apps. The reason why being that most, if not all, of the major names in this field charge zero transaction and withdrawal fees. You can also manage the whole process on your phone, saving on the stress of having to make an appointment at your local bank branch or post office. Apps like Starling and Revolut have favourable fees when spending abroad.

We show offers we can track - that's not every product on the market...yet. Unless we've said otherwise, products are in no particular order. The terms "best", "top", "cheap" (and variations of these) aren't ratings, though we always explain what's great about a product when we highlight it. This is subject to our terms of use. When you make major financial decisions, consider getting independent financial advice. Always consider your own circumstances when you compare products so you get what's right for you.

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28 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    NhadSeptember 3, 2019

    Hi,

    I’m traveling to Zambia in October which prepaid travel card would be the best to be able to withdraw local currency at an ATM, or to be able to pay for things at shops or restaurants etc. I’m guessing I would load the card in GBP as I can’t load local Zambia currency.

    Thanks in advance.

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JeniSeptember 4, 2019Staff

      Hi Nhad,

      Thank you for getting in touch with Finder.

      You may apply for prepaid travel cards with either MasterCard or Visa logo since they are accepted in most places and ATMs in the said country. There are few places in Zambia accept Amex and Diners.

      I hope this helps.

      Thank you and have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Jeni

    Default Gravatar
    KathieAugust 1, 2019

    Hi, going to Sweden soon for holiday.
    Are prepaid money travel cards accepted in most major department stores, restaurants and hotels in Sweden?
    Are these cards accepted in ATM machines in Sweden?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      BellaAugust 3, 2019Staff

      Hi Kathie,

      Thanks for contacting Finder.

      As I checked, yes! Mastercard and Visa prepaid travel cards are widely accepted in Sweden.

      I hope this helps.

      Kind regards,
      Bella

    Default Gravatar
    CharlotteJuly 25, 2019

    I am going to Paris in November. Can i take out a card now, and then every month add more money to it to use, rather than have to load all the money in one go?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      fayemanuelJuly 25, 2019Staff

      Hi Charlotte,

      Thank you for your inquiry.

      Yes. You may purchase the card now and put more cash on the card than you think you’ll need until your trip.

      I hope this information has helped.

      Kind Regards,

      Faye

    Default Gravatar
    LouiseMay 5, 2019

    Can I use a pre loaded card when travelling through lots of countries with different currency?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JhezMay 6, 2019Staff

      Hello Louise,

      Thank you for your comment.

      Yes, you can use the pre-loaded prepaid cards which offer the same convenience as a debit or credit card. These cards are specifically designed for overseas use. Please ensure you have enough currencies loaded on the card when traveling overseas.

      Regards,
      Jhezelyn

    Default Gravatar
    JanetApril 13, 2019

    Hi! if I use my card for a one-off holiday, not knowing when my next one will be will I be charged not using my card? If so, can I cancel card on my return with no penalties?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoshuaApril 14, 2019Staff

      Hi Janet,

      Thanks for getting in touch with Finder. I hope all is well with you. 😃

      If you still have money on your travel card, it would be a good idea to withdraw and close the account if you’re not traveling anytime soon. Most travel cards come with inactivity fees. If you wish to cancel your card on your return, you can do so. Fees would depend on your provider. So, best is to directly get in touch with your provider or read the terms and condition of your car.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

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