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Forums » Currency & Credit Cards » Travel Cash Cards, How do you choose?


Travel Cash Cards, How do you choose?

by kringenwally »

I don't know about that - what kind of currency exchange rate can you expect when you use that card, and what kinds of fees does it cost you just to have that card - how does that work? And why would you want it?

In Australia there is an ATM everywhere you look, and by withdrawing Aussie dollars from ATMs you get the best possible exchange rate. If your debit card draws on an account back home with a financial institution that doesn't charge you fees for the use of AtMs, then you're better off than with any other modality of getting cash. Schwab is one of those - if the foreign bank charges a per-transaction-fee, Schwab even refunds that to you!

But even if your bank charges a few bucks each time you use an ATM, as long as you can take out a decent amount now and then (not piddly amounts daily), those fees won't add up to much. Just tell your bank where and when you're going so that they won't block your ATM use as "suspicious foreign transaction", and tell them to increase the daily withdrawal limit in case you need a lot of cash in a hurry for a dire emergency (cash still speaks louder than anything else).

So look into the terms and conditions of that "travel cash card" - what are the fees to establish it, how much do they charge per transaction, how much do they charge for you to top it up, what's the cancellation policy, etc.

If you have a checking account with a debit card, and credit cards for bigger items, I don't see why you'd want to use some other instrument.


RE: Travel Cash Cards, How do you choose?

by yostwl »

In the USA, travel cash cards will almost always give you a terrible exchange rate plus all sorts of fees for using the card (and in some cases fees for NOT using the card).

Just use your credit cards for major purchases and your regular bank ATM card for cash withdrawals.  You cannot get a better bottom line exchange rate by any other method.  Hopefully you even have a bank that charges nothing for using other banks' ATMs, even overseas.  Our bank even refunds any ATM charges should a foreign ATM charge us something for using their ATM.


RE: Travel Cash Cards, How do you choose?

by vickiebertram »

Hi all,

I am off on a 6 month tour around Australia next month and have been told to use a travel cash card to load my funds onto, as it is a safer way to travel with them. Has anyone had any experience with them? I have heard my Travel Cash is a reputable brand, anyone used them before?

Thanks :)



RE: Travel Cash Cards, How do you choose?

by /bio/pheymont »

Seconding the good advice above, and reminding you that in an emergency (including losing a card), it will generally be easier to reach your bank back home (or to have a relative back home contact them) than to locate an actual representative of the companies that deal in "travel cash" cards. Even the ones with counters around the world, such as Travelex, are actually a network of local companies operating under an umbrella and cannot always help holders of cards issued elsewhere.

If you really feel you must have a pre-loaded card not based on your bank account, you should consider not a specifically travel cash card, but a bank-issued card such as Chase's Liquid or the like from another major bank. I don't know their details and fees, but they do have th advantage of a known and reachable sponsor.