The very best card to take on holiday
If you're going on holiday, this is the best card to use abroad, with no fees for withdrawing cash and no hidden currency charges!
Welcome to our second daily installment of Holiday Week, where we'll show you how can save money on your travels. In this article, I'll be looking at a new way of spending on holiday.
If you're sick of paying sky high charges when you use your debit or credit card abroad, and travellers' cheques are just way too inconvenient, a prepaid currency card could be the answer.
How do prepaid currency cards work?
Once you've chosen a card, your spending money can be pre-loaded before you go away. You can load the card with Euros, US dollars or Sterling. Then you can top it up with extra cash whenever you need to. It's easy as that.
The great thing about prepaid cards is they're a safer way to take money abroad with you because they aren't linked to your current account. If your card is ever lost or stolen, you don't need to panic because you can block it and ask for a replacement.
What's more, your card can be used in lots of restaurants, shops and other outlets as well as for taking out cash at ATMs, so it'll be the only card you need as you head off for sunnier climes.
Which prepaid currency card should you choose?
There are lots of prepaid current cards out there, such as the Travelex Cash Passport, the FairFX Currency Card and the Post Office Travel Card. In fact, I could do a huge comparison table to show you the pros and cons of each. But, I think there's only one real contender: the Caxton FX Currency Card.
Caxton FX offers three cards, two of which can be loaded with Euros or US dollars. There's also a Global Traveller card which can be loaded with sterling and used anywhere in the world if you're going somewhere more exotic on your hols. Then you simply use it like any other card. When you run out of money on the card, you can top it up online, over the phone or even by text message.
What's more, if you're unfortunate enough to lose the card, your money should be secure because it's chip and PIN protected. For a small fee of around £5, Caxton will aim to send you a replacement card within 24 hours.
So, why do I think Caxton FX is a star buy?
Well firstly, the card offers a competitive exchange rate on your currency. Better still, there's a guarantee which means if you can find cheaper travel money anywhere else, they'll refund the difference. You can't say fairer than that!
At the time of writing, another competitive currency card provider - Fair FX - were actually quoting a better exchange rate on Euros and US dollars. So make sure you check them out first, and the other generally competitive choices such as the Post Office, ICE and Travelex. Then if Caxton's own rates aren't quite as good, ask them to match it.
Secondly, you won't be charged a host of extra fees which would otherwise drive up the cost of your holiday money. There are no fees for the card itself, no commission charges and no charges on items you buy abroad either. You'll find some of the other cards tend to slap on additional fees left, right and centre, destroying what looks like a good deal on the surface.
As if all that wasn't enough, Caxton FX has recently abolished all charges on taking money out at ATMs abroad. This is huge step forward because cash point withdrawals on pre-paid card used to be pricey, costing €2 or $3 each time.
In fact, the Caxton card is still the only pre-paid card I can find which doesn't charge an ATM fee.
And finally, the Caxton Currency Card is a Mastercard which means it's accepted at millions of retailers around the world.
What other cards are good to use abroad?
Well, there's the Nationwide debit card - long a favourite of ours here at lovemoney.com - but sadly, Nationwide now charges at 1% transaction fee on all transactions and withdrwals outside Europe.
There's also the Abbey Zero card. With this card, you pay no extra fees for purchases made abroad or online in a different currency. You can also withdraw money from an ATM without paying any fees... but because this card is a credit card, you'll start incurring interest at a whopping 27.9% APR the moment you withdraw your money! So it's definitely not a good idea to use this card to withdraw cash abroad, even if you pay your bill off in full each month.
So, when it comes to fees and charges, the Caxton Currency Card beats both these cards hands down.
Is it perfect?
Not quite! On the downside, the card must be preloaded with a minimum of £100 and every top-up must be at least £100 too. This is quite a lot higher than some of its rivals including the Fair FX Prepaid Mastercard which can be topped up with just £10.
This might be a tad inconvenient if you're getting to the end of your holiday, and you only want to put a little extra cash on the card before returning home.
If you want to get a refund of unused cash after your holiday, it'll cost £10, although this fee isn't unusual. And you must have at least £10 on the card before you can redeem your balance. So it's not as flexible a friend as it could be.
But overall, I would say the Caxton FX Currency Card is very cheap and easy to use. In fact, it's the (almost) perfect holiday companion!
Apply for the Caxton Currency Card in time for your holiday!