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Best of the Prepaid Cards for Travel

To get the best of the prepaid travel cards, you need the right info.  It's apples and oranges out there, so we simplified it all, making your choice easier.











It's getting easier and easier to travel.  Just a short time ago, there weren't enough viable prepaid travel cards to choose from and this article wasn't even necessary.  But now, as competition grows and new features come out, it's getting harder to know which of the prepaid credit cards to choose.  With the way they're described on their websites, it's like comparing apples to oranges. We solved that problem for you by comparing apples to apples and putting it all out in front of you in an easy-to-read format.  You'll find out which cards to avoid- either because of high fees or annoying limits and restrictions.   We'll show you how to get your prepaid travel money easily, quickly, and without paying the highest fees.  Take a look below.

Here's what the good prepaid travel cards should have...

Prepaid credit cards are not all like, especially when you're planning to use them abroad and have loaded foreign currency on them.  The following list shows what we consider to be the most important features in a good prepaid travel card:

  • no fees for balance inquiries
  • no inactivity fees
  • no fees for loading money
  • no charge for the card itself
  • chip and pin protected
  • no transaction fees
  • free top-up
  • no monthly management fee
  • no service fee
  • no annoying minimum loads

Here's what to stay clear of when shopping for prepaid travel cards...

  • credit cards with fancy designs that cost more
  • activation fees
  • monthly fees- these can be as high as £7 per month
  • some cards actually have an extra fee attached to every purchase
  • high reload fees
  • high ATM fees

The Comparison

We couldn't compare all cards on the market right now, so for the most part we chose some of the big names, known by most travelers.   As you begin reading you'll see why it's an "apples to oranges" situation.  This should straighten things out for you!

1.  Travelex.  We loved that Travelex offered the card plus an additional card for free, but found the monthly inactivity fee of £2 per month to be slightly annoying.  The 2% load/reload service fee was definitely not a positive, either.

2.  ACE-FX.  ACE-FX offers their cards for free too, if you load a minimum of £50  to begin with.  Reloading is free when you do it online via debit.  There is no inactivity fee, and no fee for balance inquiries, either.  Best of all: in-currency transaction fees are FREE.  That means: if you buy your card in dollars, purchases made in dollars will not incur a transaction fee. With no monthly management fee either, it's hard to tell where ACE-FX makes its money- perhaps the £8 fee for replacing your card if you lose it (just don't lose your card to avoid this fee). Not only that, but ACE-FX also gives you up to six years after the expiry date of your card to redeem any outstanding balance on your card.  That's unheard of!  Cards expire 24 months after date of issue.

3.  myTravel Cash.  myTravel Cash offers their cards for free if you load a minimum of £25 to begin with.  There is a limit of 10 purchases per day, which seems a bit...limiting.  However, they do not charge a monthly fee and reloading by debit is also free, like with ACE-FX.   Use their app or go online to check your balance and it's free.  Also, in-currency transactions are free- another of the things we liked most about the ACE-FX card.  These two are neck and neck as far as these points go. However, the £12 administration fee plus monthly £1 dormancy fee and £2 inactivity fee (what's the difference?) make this a less and less attractive option.

4.  Caxton FX Currency Card.  Loading and reloading is free, as are balance inquiry and point of sale transactions.  There is no annual fee.  If it weren't for this one last term of service you're about to read in the following paragraph, this would be a contender for top of the prepaid travel cards for Europe.  Even so, Caxton is a good card. The problem?  Unlike the other cards on this list, there's a high minimum load, and for a card that you plan to use for incidental expenses, that seems inconvenient.  The minimum load is 100 GBP, which is far more than myTravel Cash's £25 and especially  ACE-FX's super-low £15 minimum.  Since all cards carry a redemption fee, as well as less-attractive terms when you spend the travel money domestically, this is something to consider.

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