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Forums » General & Multi-Country » Travelex

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Travelex

by nanigramp »

Has anybody heard of this debit card called Travelex?  We will be traveling to Budapest and Prague and they both have different kinds of money.  Would it be easier to use a debit card, e.g., Citibank or to try this Travel ex debit card?  Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you

 

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RE: Travelex

by pdhenry »

With the name Travelex there are bound to be some fees involved.  Some U.S. debit cards have better fee structures for international travel than others so whether the Travelex card's fees end up being cheaper is a personal decision.

The Travelex site lists the fees to get your money or exchange.  Since neither the Hungarian Forint nor the Czech Crown are listed currencies on the Travelex card, the amount of your purchase or withdrawal will be converted to one of the listed currencies by Mastercard and then Travelex will charge a 5.5% fee on top of that.  There's also a fee of around US$2.50 for any ATM withdrawal.

You must use US Dollars to load the card but it must be converted into another listed currency and an exchange rate applies (this shows up in the detailed terms).  Then you'd be charged again to convert purchases in the Forint or the Crown.

Travelex lists several currencies for the card.  It's important to note that each individual currency has its own available balance and converting balances among the available currencies incurs a charge of 5.5% of the amount converted.  You'd also pay 5.5% to withdraw leftover cash value in dollars at the end of the trip plus a $20 balance refund fee.

A regular debit card tied to your bank account might charge 1 to 3% for a cash withdrawal plus a few dollars per withdrawal.  For withdrawals I'd stick to my bank ATM/debit card.  For purchases I'd use a Chip&PIN credit card, if you have one.  With relatively fewer US tourists in those countries, merchants may be unfamiliar with US-style magnetic stripe credit cards.

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RE: Travelex

by pdhenry »

If you'll be in an area with significant US tourist presence, the mag stripe card will be less of a problem than if you go where US tourists are rare.  My only very recent experience is a trip to Ireland in May.  US tourists were common everywhere we went and I never had a problem with my old-fashioned US card.  In Gernamy a couple of years ago it was almost as good but some smaller restaurants were only prepared to take a Chipped card.

Many US chipped cards are set up primarily for signature veriication rather than a PIN, and if they have a PIN mode they generally default to having the terminal print out a sgnature slip where a local customer would be expected to enter their PIN.  I've been able to say "No PIN. Sign," while pantomiming signing a receipt and have gotten my point across.

Generally the point of sale terminals still have a swipe slot along the right edge of the face where the keypad is.  Sometimes I have to point it out to the waiter and if they still look lost I show then how they should swipe.

Your bank ATM card will still work as you expect it to at the local ATMs and they should have an english menu mode option when you first insert the card. I'd be prepared by having a couple meals' worth of cash (maybe the equivalent of US$100) from an ATM in my wallet even if it means I'll take a hit to exchange that small amount in the next country.

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RE: Travelex

by billiv »

Use your credit cards and cash from bank ATMs with your ATM (debit) card.  Travelex cards will cost you much more.

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