Everything You Need to Know About Currency Cards


Daniel Webber
Daniel Webber
Founder & CEO
Daniel is Founder and CEO and has 20 years of experience in the international finance world focusing on cross-border payments, technology and the property sectors. Daniel is widely quoted as an expert… Read more

Granted, a prepaid currency card is a safe and convenient way to carry your vacation money, but it's important to know all the pros and cons of using a currency card. Let's look into some currency card FAQs.


What is a currency card?


Think of it as similar to a debit or credit card. A currency card is a prepaid travel card that allows you to make payments when you're abroad. You can load up the card with the currency of your choice, at the current exchange rate. You may also hear of a currency card referred to as a travel money card, a worldwide currency card, a prepaid forex card, a travel FX card or a worldwide currency card.


How do currency cards work?


Before heading off on your travels, you load up your card with the currency you'll be spending. You're effectively buying that currency, but instead of walking away with it in cash, you will walk away with a card that has the currency already on it, ready to spend. Usually a prepaid travel card will be underwritten by Visa or MasterCard and can be used anywhere these cards are accepted.


Some cards can only be loaded with one currency, but some can be loaded with several different ones, if you're travelling to more than one country. Always do your research and compare travel money transfer options to assess which best fits your needs.


Prepaid travel card fees and charges


Each card charges different fees and exchange rates, and comes with slightly different conditions, so be sure to check the small print carefully. You will buy the currency at the exchange rate on the day you top the card up. Always check to see if you are getting a good exchange rate.


Are currency cards safe?


A prepaid currency card is generally a safe option. It means you don’t have to carry large amounts of cash on you, and you will get a PIN for your card to keep it secure. You can also quickly block a lost or stolen card, so if you lose a prepaid travel card the risk of someone else using it is no greater than with any PIN-protected credit or debit card. However, in some cases an online money transfer service can be a safer option.


Pros of currency cards


  • Usually offer a good exchange rate
  • No transaction fees on most cards
  • Help you stick to a budget
  • Relatively safe and secure
  • Convenient


Cons of currency cards


  • Do not offer the same purchase protection as credit cards
  • May have ‘hidden’ fees and charges
  • Cannot be used in some circumstance (e.g. to pay a deposit)
  • Usually charge a fee to withdraw cash or spend in a different currency
  • A prepaid travel card can be a great idea for vacation spending, but it is generally safer to use an international money transfer if you need to send large amounts of money abroad. This may be the case if you are working or studying abroad, buying a property or conducting business abroad.


For sending larger amounts of money abroad, consider using a reliable money transfer provider, such as one of our recommended services. And stay up to date with the latest money transfer news with our online magazine.


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