7 Things You Need To Know Before Getting One
In 3 minutes, you are going to find out if the Travelex Card is your best option.
(I will also show you when there may be a better option)
The Travelex card a multi-currency prepaid Mastercard you can top up in your local currency and use around the globe in other currencies and save on expensive ATM fees.
Good or Not?
In some situations it may be the best choice, but in others there are likely better options.
- The card holds various currencies; the actual number varies by country
- No fees for ATM withdrawals worldwide
- Available in various countries, including the USA, Australia, UK, and New Zealand
- Physical locations (like airports everywhere)
- Less competitive exchange rates and fees (compared to competition)
- Mandatory initial loading and high inactivity fee
- Limited to holding the following currencies or less – AUD, USD, CAD, EUR, GBP, HKD, JPY, NZD, SGD, THB
- Is a Travelex Card Right for You?
- How Does the Travelex Card Work (or Not)
- Travelex Card vs. Bank Debit Card: Main Differences
- How to Get a Travelex Card
- Travelex Card Countries
- Travelex Card Fees and Limits
- Final Verdict
Compared to using your debit or credit card from home, Travelex card can help you save some money on exchange rates and hold multiple currencies in your account. Also because there are no ATM withdrawal fees, it can be a better option when you’re traveling overseas.
But that does not mean it is right for everyone.
Although not available in the US, the TransferWise Card (review) may be a better option.
Travelex is quite simply not the most competitive card of this kind. While the company was one of the first to offer a travel card – many emerging companies offer a far cheaper service, and some even let you hold many more currencies.
Travelex may be right for you if:
- You live in a country where travel cards like Travelex are limited (like the USA)
- You plan to visit countries where you have to withdraw high sums from ATMs. Most similar cards apply ATM withdrawal fees
Here is a video that shows the positives of the card. Read on to get the full picture.
Travelex is a prepaid card issued by Mastercard. You can top it up via bank transfer from your bank account (using the 16 digits on your card as payment reference), or from the Travelex app. The latter is the fastest method, and you can use either your debit or credit card to add funds to your Travelex Card.
It is possible to add funds either in your local currency or top up in foreign currency directly.
You can then use your card to withdraw cash from ATMs worldwide or make payments in any location that accepts Mastercard.
Because Travelex is a prepaid card, it also has some limits. To begin with, you can only spend funds that have already been added. This could be a positive thing if you want to keep your spending under control, but it’s not possible to arrange overdrafts.
As is the case with some prepaid cards in general, some vendors may also refuse to accept your card; for instance, it is unlikely to be able to use it for hiring a car or to make online bookings at some tourist facilities.
The main difference between Travelex and a bank debit card is the possibility to hold multiple currencies on the same card. While some banks offer multicurrency accounts, their debit cards are issued in local currency only.
Founded in the pre-internet era, Travelex has over 1,000 stores and ATMs in 26 countries. If you have any issues with your card, you can ask for support in any of these locations.
Alternatively, you can benefit from online and in-app support.
Unless there is a Travelex store near you, the easiest way to get a Travelex card is by ordering it online. The card is usually delivered in the next business day, although delivery times could vary from country to country.
You can also order the card online and opt for store collection. In this case, you will usually be able to collect the card after 14 days.
You will have to activate your Travelex Card upon arrival. It is possible to activate it from your desktop or mobile app, or by calling the Card Services.
Travelex is currently present in 26 countries including the UK, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, some countries in the EU, as well as countries in Asia, Middle East, and South America.
The Travelex Card may hold more or fewer currencies depending on the country where you order it. For instance, it holds 10 currencies in the UK and Australia, but US customers can only hold six.
Travelex Card is one of the most expensive prepaid foreign currency cards despite its free ATM withdrawals.
Here are the fees and limits you can expect.
|Card purchase fee||Varies by location|
|Additional card fee||$7.5/£5|
|Loading money||2% for GBP loads; no fee for FX loads|
|Using your card internationally||Free of charge|
|Using your card in the UK (depending on currency being used)||£1.50 / €1.75 / $2.30 / AUD$2.30 /CAD$2.40 / NZD$3 / ZAR20 / TRY5.40 / CHF2.20 / AED8|
|FX fee||5.5% for the USA card|
|Card inactivity fee (charged after 12 months of inactivity)||$3/£2 per month|
For comparison sake, the TransferWise card has an FX fee of 0.35% and 2% compared to 5.5% for Travelex.
In the video above, this traveller suggests the solution is cash, but the problems with this is that you still get charged a conversion fee by you bank which is potentially even less competitive. The solution is a multicurrency card that offers a good exchange rate of which there are many in recent years, such as TransferWise, WeSwap, and Revolut.
Travelex Card could be a great financial product, but many of its competitors offer better deals and more advantageous currency exchange rates which is where the majority for fees often get charged.
Currently, the card is popular mainly in the USA, due to a lack of solid competition in this country.
However, it will likely lose clients as soon as other similar services start to expand their business.
Is Travelex Card worth it? If you live in the US and need a card for traveling, Travelex is undoubtedly a great alternative to a traditional bank debit card. Consumers in the UK, Oceania, and the EU surely have better options to choose from.