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5 Best Prepaid Travel Cards in 2024

Prepaid Travel Card

Prepaid travel cards are a popular and convenient option to include in your wallet.

Travel money cards allow you to buy currency at a set exchange rate before you leave so you can withdraw money or make purchases overseas. They offer a convenient and secure way to handle your money abroad, helping you avoid the pitfalls of carrying large amounts of cash or dealing with hefty foreign transaction fees on credit cards. 

So how do you find out quickly where to get one of these prepaid cards?

To save you time, we have compared 5 prepaid cards for overseas travellers to help you make the best decision.


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Wise Travel Card - Best Exchange Rates

  • 40+ currencies available
  • Best exchange rates globally
  • One of the lowest conversion fee on the market
  • No international transaction fees
  • No annual or monthly fees
  • Extremely low costs to send money overseas

Revolut - Low Fees

  • 30+ currencies available
  • One of the best exchange rates globally
  • No international transaction fees
  • No annual or monthly fees for standard membership
  • No initial card fee
  • Instant access to a range of cryptocurrencies

Travelex Money Card - Best All Rounder

Best Features

  • Unlimited free ATM withdrawals
  • 24/7 Emergency Assistance
  • Initial and replacement card are free
  • No international transaction fees
  • Lock in up to 10 currencies

Citibank Plus Everyday Prepaid Card

Best Features

  • 10 currencies available to hold or spend at competitive rates
  • No monthly fees
  • No initial card fee
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No ATM fees in Australia at major banks
  • No ATM fees overseas at major banks
  • Free bottle of wine at restaurants through Dining program

HSBC Everyday Global Prepaid Card

Best Features

  • No initial card or closure fees
  • No monthly or account fees
  • No international transaction fees
  • No international ATM fees
  • No cross currency conversion fees
  • Lock in very competitive exchange rates before travel
  • No maximum balance
  • Earn 2% cashback

Why Use a Prepaid Travel Card?

Prepaid travel cards provide several advantages over traditional payment methods such as credit cards and cash:

  • Security: These cards offer enhanced security features, including chip-and-PIN technology and the ability to lock and unlock the card via a mobile app.
  • Budget Control: Since you can only spend the amount loaded onto the card, it helps you stick to a budget and avoid overspending.
  • Fixed Exchange Rates: Many prepaid travel cards allow you to lock in exchange rates when you load the card, protecting you from currency fluctuations.
  • Convenience: They are widely accepted at ATMs and merchants around the world, making them a versatile choice for travelers.

Key Features of Prepaid Travel Cards

When evaluating prepaid travel cards, consider the following features:

  1. Foreign Transaction Fees: Some cards charge fees for purchases made in a foreign currency. Look for cards with low or no foreign transaction fees to save money on every purchase.
  2. Reload Options: Check how you can reload the card. Options typically include online transfers, mobile app reloads, or bank transfers. Some cards also offer automatic reloads when the balance drops below a certain amount.
  3. Exchange Rates: The exchange rates offered by prepaid travel cards can vary. Look for cards that provide competitive rates or allow you to lock in rates when you load the card.
  4. Card Fees: Be aware of any fees associated with the card, including issuance fees, reload fees, ATM withdrawal fees, and inactivity fees. Comparing these fees can help you choose the most cost-effective option.
  5. Security Features: Features such as chip-and-PIN technology, two-factor authentication, and the ability to lock and unlock the card via a mobile app are crucial for protecting your funds.
  6. Accepted Currencies: Ensure the card supports the currencies of the countries you plan to visit. Some cards support multiple currencies, allowing you to load and spend in various currencies without incurring conversion fees.

How to Choose the Right Prepaid Travel Card

Choosing the right prepaid travel card involves assessing your travel habits and financial needs. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Travel Frequency: Frequent travelers may benefit from a card with no reload fees and competitive exchange rates. Occasional travelers might prioritize low issuance fees and ease of use.
  • Destination: Consider where you'll be traveling. Ensure the card supports the local currency and is widely accepted in the region.
  • Spending Habits: Analyze your spending patterns to determine the features most important to you. For example, a card with low or no ATM withdrawal fees is essential if you withdraw cash frequently.
  • Reload Convenience: Evaluate how easy it is to reload the card, especially if you need to add funds while traveling. Online and mobile app reload options can offer added convenience.
  • Existing Bank Relationship: If you already have a positive relationship with your bank, see if they offer a prepaid travel card that meets your needs. This can simplify account management and fund transfers.

Additional Tips for Using Prepaid Travel Cards

  1. Notify the Card Provider: Inform your card provider about your travel plans to prevent the card from being blocked for suspicious activity. Many providers allow you to set travel alerts online or through their mobile apps.
  2. Carry a Backup Card: Always have a backup card if your primary card is lost or stolen. This could be another prepaid card, a debit card, or a credit card.
  3. Keep Emergency Contacts Handy: If you need to report a lost or stolen card, have your card provider's contact details readily available. Store these details in a secure location, separate from your wallet.
  4. Monitor Your Balance: Regularly check your card balance and transactions for any unauthorized activity. Most prepaid travel cards offer mobile apps that provide real-time balance updates and transaction alerts.
  5. Use ATMs Wisely: Use ATMs located inside banks or in well-lit, secure areas. Avoid using ATMs in isolated or unsafe locations to minimize the risk of theft or fraud.

Understanding Prepaid Travel Card Fees

Prepaid travel card fees can vary, so it's important to understand what fees might apply. Common fees include:

  • Issuance Fees: A one-time fee is charged to obtain the card. Some companies waive this fee during promotions.
  • Reload Fees: Fees for adding funds to the card. Look for cards with low or no reload fees, especially if you plan to reload frequently.
  • ATM Withdrawal Fees: Fees for withdrawing cash from ATMs. Some cards offer fee-free withdrawals within certain networks or up to a specific limit.
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: A percentage fee charged on purchases made in a foreign currency. Many travel cards offer zero foreign transaction fees.
  • Currency Conversion Fees: Fees for converting your home currency to the local currency when loading the card. Some cards allow you to lock in exchange rates to avoid these fees.
  • Inactivity Fees: Fees are charged if the card isn't used for a certain period. Check the card’s terms to avoid unexpected charges.
  • Replacement Fees: Fees for replacing a lost or stolen card. Some providers offer free replacement cards as part of their service.

Managing Your Prepaid Travel Card

To get the most out of your prepaid travel card, consider these management tips:

  1. Track Your Spending: Use the card provider’s mobile app to monitor your spending and keep track of your budget. Many apps offer spending categorization and analytics to help you manage your finances effectively.
  2. Set Spending Limits: Some prepaid cards allow you to set daily or weekly spending limits. This feature can help you stick to your budget and avoid overspending.
  3. Reload Before You Run Out: Avoid running out of funds by setting up automatic reloads or monitoring your balance closely. Reloading your card before you deplete your funds can save you from being caught without money in an emergency.
  4. Understand the Fine Print: Familiarize yourself with the card’s terms and conditions, including fees, limits, and any restrictions on usage. Understanding the fine print can help you avoid unexpected charges and ensure you’re using the card correctly.

Comparing Prepaid Travel Cards to Other Payment Methods

Prepaid travel cards are just one option for managing your finances while traveling. Here’s how they compare to other popular payment methods:

1. Credit Cards:

Pros: Credit cards often come with travel rewards, purchase protection, and additional security features. They can be helpful for large purchases and emergencies.

Cons: Credit cards typically have higher foreign transaction fees and interest rates. They can also lead to overspending if not managed carefully.

2. Debit Cards

Pros: Debit cards allow you to spend money directly from your bank account, providing a convenient and familiar payment method.

Cons: Debit cards may have high foreign transaction fees and less favorable exchange rates. They also lack the budget control features of prepaid cards.

3. Cash

Pros: Cash is widely accepted and useful in places where card payments are unavailable. It also helps you stick to a budget.

Cons: Carrying large amounts of cash can be risky. Exchange rates at currency exchange booths may not be as favorable as those offered by prepaid travel cards.

4. Traveler’s Checks

Pros: Traveler’s checks are secure and can be replaced if lost or stolen. They are accepted at many banks and currency exchange locations.

Cons: Traveler’s checks are becoming less common and may not be accepted everywhere. They can also be cumbersome to use compared to modern payment methods.

Editorial note: We may not cover every product in this category. For more information, see our Editorial guidelines.

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