Bank Charges / Prepaid Travel Cards

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Bank Charges / Prepaid Travel Cards

Avatar for slilys
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Hello

I am planning a gap year in south america.

My UK bank Lloyds is charging me a fortune when withdrawling money in foreign countries.
Thus I thought about either changing my bank or getting myself a prepaid currency card.

could you recommend a UK/international bank with good travel deals (e.g. low withdrawal fees)?

Do you have experience with prepaid currency cards, would you recommend them?
I found a good product, the Multi-Currency Card from MyTravelCash, i think it’s quite a good deal.
Does anybody have experience with them?

Would be great if anybody could help me.

Thanks. Lily

     
Avatar for Natalee6594
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Get a pre-paid currency card. I used one across South East Asia, Aus and Nz. Safer than a debit/credit card as if it’s stolen then they cannot access your bank account. I would just load up how much i needed online (I wouldn’t recommend putting all of your money on it.) I had the Caxton FX one and a Travelex one, I would say its best to have two just in case you loose one or it’s stolen.
They also don’t have ATM charges just check the exchange rates and find the one that’s best for you.
I took my debit card with me and kept it hidden just in case both my cards were stolen but thankfully neither were smile Hope this helps xx

     
Avatar for m.garratt
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Norwich & Peterborough Building Society’s Gold Light Current Account and Metro Bank Current Account both offer free withdrawals while abroad.

The next best option is the Halifax Clarity Credit Card that doesn’t charge any foreign fees, just interest (12.9% apr) on cash withdrawals until paid (so significantly less than bank charges if paid in full each month)

Money Saving Expert offer up to date advice on the best cards, including pre-paid cards.

     
Avatar for MarcoPoloNR
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I agree with Natalee - I had a CaxtonFX card also, whilst I traveled this year. I’d say they’re the best for a cost effectiveness and reliability combo. I had no problems with them what-so-ever. Whatever you do, do not use traveler cheques!

     
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Natalee6594 - 10 November 2013 07:01 PM

the Caxton FX one and a Travelex one

Which worked out the cheapest?

Have you an example of what you were charged when using it?

I need to look into taking a pre-paid currency card as well as my Credit Card.

Oh and I don’t understand the currencies as they only seem to be available in euros or dollars. Don’t really understand what I’d need.

     
Avatar for slilys
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I am still not sure about these pre-paid currency cards. I am going to South America, and most prepaid currency cards are run in either US Dollars, Euro or GB Sterling.

the MyTraveller MultiCurrency Carrd would charge me a fee of 2.99% for each withdrawal. Is that a better deal than withdrawal with debit card? Not really, no?

That looks indeed more interesting:

Norwich & Peterborough Building Society’s
offfer accounts (Gold Classic / Light Current Account) with Free Debit Card Usage abroad. “Using your card abroad will be just like using it in the UK, you’ll pay no cash withdrawal charges, retail transaction charges or handling fees.”

     
Avatar for slilys
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sorry ,what I meant was that those prepaid currency cards only help saving you money if you go to a country with the currency of US Dollars, Euros, or GPB Sterling. Am I getting this wrong?

Example: MyTravelCash MultiCurrency Card T&Cs;:

Multi-Currency/GBP card: 2.99% is added to the day’s MasterCard exchange rate when the transaction is processed.

     
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Avatar for Natalee6594
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Personally, I would never use my debit card. You will ALWAYS be charged for withdrawals etc. The currency card was better for me because if it got stolen it didn’t matter as it is not tied to my main bank account.

My mum works for a bank and she worked out that the Caxton one was best for me for where I was going etc. A global traveler card is multi currency, but if you will be going to a country with Euros or Dollars it’s best to get one of those cards smile

     
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Natalee6594 - 02 December 2013 10:55 AM

Personally, I would never use my debit card. You will ALWAYS be charged for withdrawals etc. The currency card was better for me because if it got stolen it didn’t matter as it is not tied to my main bank account.

My mum works for a bank and she worked out that the Caxton one was best for me for where I was going etc. A global traveler card is multi currency, but if you will be going to a country with Euros or Dollars it’s best to get one of those cards smile

This isn’t true! MetroBank do NOT charge at all for ATMs abroad.

To be honest once you get out there, as long as you have a fairly decent card (avoid the terrible ones like santander debit card for example) and don’t withdraw £10 everyday racking up charges, then to be honest it’s hardly noticeable. I would take out £200-300 at a time in some countries, then in other countries I used my credit card where possible for large purchases (as mine is free abroad) to remove the need to withdraw cash.
I went out and got myself a metrobank account too and it was great in Asia and i’ll use it next time for sure.

I can still use my nationwide- I get charged 2% + £1 each time I use an ATM, so in Asia I’d take out £300 and get charged £307. Considering £300 would last me 2 weeks (depending on circumstances of course!) I just paid it and used credit card and my back-up card where possible. If I was backpacking Asia again using my Nationwide (as above) and did that spending pattern for 3 months, it would set me back around £42 in fees (plus local ATM fees that may apply). That gives you an idea and hopefully highlights that it isn’t the end of the world to have THE best card out there.

With caxton:
“FX mark-up where a Transaction is performed in a currency different from the currency of the card 2.75%”

So they may not outright charge you an ATM withdrawl fee, but then you’ll more than likely pay a fee through this way if you’re using the Global card as (from memory?) it uses US$ so you’ll likely be withdrawing another currency most the time…not always the case, but you get my point.

Honestly? I think we all end up paying a fee in some form (and in Thailand you’ll all end up paying £3 a go anyway), so as long as it’s a fairly low one I’d go with whatever you feel comfortable using and just make sure that:

- you’re not withdrawing unnecessarily and be a bit savvy with your spending. Don’t withdraw £20 worth of money as you’ll pay a few quid for the privelage

- you MUST have a back-up card, even if it has a shitty rate it may save your arse when the ATM decides to eat your other card for lunch. In some cases due to Visa/mastercard, we found that certain machines wouldn’t accept one or the other (I can’t remember what country that was in?) so you’d be a fool to go with only one. You’ve been warned smile

- if you take cards that require/use those little card reader machines (looks like a little calculator) then TAKE IT WITH YOU. I forgot mine, and a whole shit-storm of drama followed because I couldn’t complete any online banking transfers without it. particularly important if paying off credit cards, but I also couldn’t get any cash transferred out of my debit card. It was a nightmare.

- I’d personally suggest a credit card for anyone who is willing to have one. They are great to have, especially travelling in western countries if your card has free transactions abroad. It just means that those expensive purchases (like tickets and tours) can be paid in a way that gives you more time to pay it back and arrange the money, doesn’t use up all your cash and gives you some protection against the purchase. definitely think about it. I also used my credit card in Asia to pay for flights and had no troubles.

Sorry for the rant smile