Here Are the Four Best Travel Money Cards in 2024

prepaid travel money card under 18

Co-Founder of Monito and money transfer expert, François has been helping Monito’s users navigate the jungle of money transfer fees, bad exchange rates and tricks for the last ten years.

prepaid travel money card under 18

A writer and editor at Monito, Jarrod is passionate about helping people apply today’s powerful finance technologies to their lives. He brings his background in international affairs and his experiences living in Japan to provide readers with comprehensive information that also acknowledges the local context.

Links on this page may earn us an affiliate commission. This does not affect the opinions and recommendations of our editors.

From the multitude of bank fees and ATM charges to hidden currency conversion fees, there's no question that spending your money abroad while travelling can be costly — and that's saying nothing about the cost of the holiday itself!

As you prepare for your trip abroad, the golden rule is that you'll save the most money by using the local currency of your destination. This means withdrawing local cash at foreign ATMs and using a debit card to pay directly in the local currency. For example, if you're from the UK, using your bank's debit card that accesses your British pounds will likely lose you money to hidden fees at ATMs abroad and at local merchants.

In general, we rate Revolut as the best travel card all around. Its versatile account and card can be used to spend like a local pretty much anywhere in the world. ✨ Get 3 months of free Revolut Premium as a Monito reader with our exclusive link .

If you're from the EU, UK, or US, here are a few more specific recommendations to explore:

  • Best for travelling from the UK: Starling Bank
  • Best for travelling from the US: Chime ®
  • Best for travelling from the Eurozone: N26

If it's not possible for you to spend in the local currency when travelling abroad, then spending in your home currency while using a card that doesn't charge any hidden exchange rate markups from your bank (e.g. only the VISA or Mastercard exchange rates to convert currency) is still a good bet for most people.

In this guide, we explore cards that waive or lower ATM fees and that hold multiple currencies. Spend on your holiday like a local and enjoy peace of mind after each tap and swipe!

Best Travel Cards (And More!) at a Glance

Best travel money cards.

  • 01. What is the best best multi currency card? scroll down
  • 02. Are prepaid currency cards really it? scroll down
  • 03. Monito's best travel money card tips scroll down
  • 04. FAQ about the best travel cards scroll down

Revolut: Best All-Rounder

Revolut is one of the most well-known fintechs in the world because it offers services across Europe, the Americas, Asia, and Oceania.

Go to Revolut

  • Trust & Credibility 8.9
  • Service & Quality 7.9
  • Fees & Exchange Rates 8.3
  • Customer Satisfaction 9.4

Revolut is available in many countries. You can double-check if it's available in yours below:

Here's an overview of Revolut's plans:

Revolut Ultra is currently only available in the UK and EU.

Like Wise, Revolut converts your currency to the local currency of your travel destination at an excellent exchange rate (called the 'Revolut Rate', which, on weekdays, is basically on par with the rate you see on Google), making it a good way to buy foreign currency before travelling abroad. As always though, bear in mind that Revolut's exchange rates might be subject to change.

Revolut's Standard Plan only allows currency exchange at the base mid-market exchange rate for transfers worth £1,000 per month. ATM withdrawals are also free for the first €200 (though third-party providers may charge a withdrawal fee, and weekend fees may also apply). These allowances can be waived by upgrading memberships.

N26: Good Bank For EU Travellers

One of the most well-known neobanks in Europe, N26 and its debit card operate in euros only. However, N26 is a partner with Wise and has fully integrated Wise's technology so that you never have to pay foreign transaction fees on your purchases outside of the eurozone. While N26 does not have multi-currency functionality, N26 will apply the real exchange rate on all your foreign purchases and will never charge a commission fee — making N26's card a powerful card for EU/EEA residents who travel across the globe.

Go to N26

  • Trust & Credibility 7.9
  • Service & Quality 8.0
  • Fees & Exchange Rates 9.3
  • Customer Satisfaction 8.1

These are the countries in which you can register for an N26 account:

And here is an overview of the various plans and account:

This low-fee option for banking is also ideal for travellers who do not belong to a European bank but frequent the Eurozone. For example, N26 is available for residents and citizens of Switzerland, Norway, and other European Economic Area countries that do not run on the Euro.

These citizens, who are in close proximity to the Eurozone, will save each time they spend with an N26 card while in Europe. N26 provides three free ATM withdrawals per month in euros but does charge a 1.7% fee per ATM withdrawal outside of Europe.

Take a look at our guide to the best travel cards for Europe to learn more.

Wise: Best For Multi-Currency Balances

Load up to 54 currencies onto this card at the real exchange rate, giving you access to truly global travel.

Visit Wise

  • Trust & Credibility 9.3
  • Service & Quality 8.9
  • Fees & Exchange Rates 7.6
  • Customer Satisfaction 9.6

These are the countries in which you can order a Wise debit card:

Unlike banks, credit unions, airport kiosks, and foreign ATMs, Wise is transparent about never charging a hidden exchange rate margin when you convert your home currency into up to 54 currencies. The live rate you see on Google or XE.com is the one you get with Wise.

An industry-low commission fee per transaction will range from 0.35% to 2.85%, depending on the currency.

Starling Bank: Great UK Bank For Travel

Starling Bank is one of the best neobanks in the United Kingdom. We highly recommend it for UK residents who frequently spend in British pounds and euros because of its multi-currency capabilities.

Go to Starling Bank

  • Service & Quality 8.5
  • Fees & Exchange Rates 10
  • Customer Satisfaction 9.3

Here are the different account that Starling Bank offers:

'Kite' is a children's debit card, and 'Teen' is for teenagers

Starling Bank accounts are free for UK citizens and residents to open. You can spend abroad with the Starling Bank card with zero card transaction fees. This feature alone makes it a cost-effective and convenient option for frequent travellers. It even waives all ATM fees for ATMs in the UK and abroad.

Your other option is to convert your sterling into euros. By opening a euro account with Starling, you can hold, send and receive euros for free . When you spend in the Eurozone with your Starling Bank card, your euro balances (instead of your sterling balance) will then be used

Take a look at our guide to the best prepaid travel cards for the UK to learn more.

Chime: Great Account For US Travelers

Chime  is a good debit card for international travel thanks to its no foreign transaction fees¹. Unlike multi-currency accounts like Revolut (which let you hold local currency), Chime uses the live exchange rate applied by VISA. This rate is close to the mid-market rate, and Chime does not add any extra markup to your purchases, although out-of-network ATM withdrawal and over-the-counter advance fees may still apply.

Go to Chime

  • Trust & Credibility 9.5
  • Service & Quality 8.8
  • Fees & Exchange Rates 9.8

While Chime waives ATM fees at all MoneyPass, AllPoint, and VISA Plus Alliance ATMs within the United States, this fee waiver does not extend to withdrawals made outside the country. For withdrawals abroad, Chime applies a $2.50 fee per transaction, with a daily withdrawal limit of $515 or its equivalent. This is in addition to any fees charged by the ATM owner. Therefore, we recommend Chime primarily for card purchases rather than relying on it for withdrawing cash while traveling internationally.

  • No  foreign transaction fees ¹;
  • Uses VISA's exchange rate ( monitor here ):
  • A $2.50 fee per ATM withdrawal made outside of the United States;
  • More info:  Read our  Chime review  or  visit their website .

Best Travel Money Cards in 2024 Compared by Country

In the table below, see our comparison summary of the four best travel cards for 2024 by country:

Last updated: 8 January 2024

What's The Best Prepaid Card to Use Abroad?

prepaid travel money card under 18

Travel cards come in many varieties, such as standard credit cards or debit cards with no foreign transaction fees or cards that waive all foreign ATM withdrawal fees.

What is a Multi-Currency Card?

Multi-currency cards are a specific type of travel card that allows you to own all kinds of foreign currencies, which you can instantly access when you pay with your card abroad. By spending the local currency in the region of travel , you bypass poor foreign exchange rates. ATMs and cashless payment machines will treat your card like a local card.

We have already mentioned a few multi-currency cards in this review, but we will also introduce Travelex . Travelex's Money Card also allows you to top up several foreign currencies — albeit at exchange rates slightly poorer than the real mid-market rate .

Wise Account

Wise has one of the best multi-currency cards available on the market.

Try Wise

Read our full review for more details.

Revolut is impressive for its vast options in currencies and its additional services.

Our in-depth review explores Revolut's services in detail.

Travelex offers a prepaid travel money card that supports 10 currencies and waives all ATM withdrawal fees abroad.

Try Travelex

  • Trust & Credibility 9.0
  • Service & Quality 5.8
  • Fees & Exchange Rates 7.1

Travelex charges fees, which fluctuate according to the exchange rates of the day, in order to convert your home currency into the currencies that it supports. But once the currency is on the card, you'll be able to spend like a local. Learn more with our full review .

Don’t Let Banks, Bureaux de Change, and ATMs Eat Your Lunch 🍕!

Are you withdrawing cash at an ATM in the streets of Paris? Exchanging currencies at Gatwick airport? Paying for a pizza with your card during a holiday in Milano? Every time you exchange currencies, you could lose between 2% to 20% of your money in  hidden fees . Keep reading below to make sure you recognize and avoid them.

Currency Exchange Fees Eating My Lunch? What’s That?

You’re often charged a hidden fee in the form of an alarming exchange rate.

At any given time, there is a so-called “ mid-market exchange rate ” — this is the real exchange rate you can see on  Google . However, the money transfer provider or bank you use to exchange currencies rarely offers this exchange rate. Instead, you will get a much worse exchange rate. They pocket this margin between the actual rate and the poor exchange rate they apply, allowing the bank or money transfer provider to profit from the currency exchange. 

Bureau de change à Londres

In other words, you or your recipient will receive less foreign currency for each unit of currency you exchange. All the while, the provider will claim that they charge zero commission or zero fees.

So the question now is… how can you avoid them? Thankfully, the best travel money cards will allow you to hold the local currency, which you can access instantly with a tap or swipe. Carrying the local currency avoids  exchange rate margins  on every purchase.

Top Travel Money Tips

  • Avoid bureaux de change. They charge between 2.15% and 16.6% of the money exchanged.
  • Always pay in the local currency and never accept the  dynamic currency conversion .
  • Don't use your ordinary debit or credit card unless it's specifically geared toward international use. Doing this will typically cost you between 1.75% and 4.25% per transaction. Instead, use one of the innovative travel money cards below.

By opting for a travel card without FX fees, you can freely swipe your card abroad without worrying about additional charges. However, saving money doesn't stop there. To make the most out of your travel budget, consider using  Skyscanner , one of the most powerful flight search engines available that allows you to compare prices from various airlines and find the best deals.

With Skyscanner's user-friendly interface and comprehensive search options, you can discover cheap flights and enjoy your holidays with peace of mind and more money in your pocket.

Best Travel Money Card Tips

Eiffel Tower Paris France

When you convert your home currency into a foreign currency, foreign exchange service providers will charge you two kinds of fees :

  • Exchange Rate Margin:  Providers apply an exchange rate that is poorer than the true  "mid-market" exchange rate . They keep the difference, called an  exchange rate margin .
  • Commission Fee:  This  fee  is usually a percentage of the amount converted, which is charged for the service provided.

With these facts in mind, let's see what practices are useful to avoid ATM fees, foreign transaction fees, and other charges you may encounter while on your travels.

Tip 1: While Traveling, Avoid Bureaux de Change At All Costs

Have you ever wondered how bureaux de change and currency exchange desks are able to secure prime real estate in tourist locations like the Champs-Élysées in Paris or Covent Carden in London while claiming to take no commission? It’s easy: they make (plenty of) money through hidden fees on the exchange rates they give you. 

Moneycorp exchange rate at the Gatwick Airport

Our study shows that Bureaux de Change in Paris charges a margin ranging from 2.15% at CEN Change Dollar Boulevard de Strasbourg to 16.6% (!!) at Travelex Champs-Élysées when exchanging 500 US dollars into euros for example. 

If you really want cash and can’t wait to withdraw it with a card at an ATM at your destination, ordering currencies online before your trip is usually cheaper than exchanging currencies at a bureau de change, but it’s still a very expensive way to get foreign currency which we, therefore, would not recommend.

Tip 2: Always Choose To Pay In the Local Currency

Times Square United States

Don’t fall for the dynamic currency conversion trap! When using your card abroad to pay at a terminal or withdraw cash at an ATM, you’ve probably been asked whether you’d prefer to pay in your home currency instead of the local currency of the foreign country. This little trick is called dynamic currency conversion , and the right answer to this sneaky question will help you save big on currency exchange fees.

As a general rule, you always want to pay in the local currency (euros in Europe, sterling in the UK, kroner in Denmark, bahts in Thailand, etc.) when using your card abroad, instead of accepting the currency exchange and paying in your home currency. 

This seems like a trick question - why not opt to pay in your home currency? On the plus side, you would know exactly what amount you would be paying in your home currency instead of accepting the unknown exchange rate determined by your card issuer a few days later.

What is a Dynamic Currency Conversion?

However, when choosing to pay in your home currency instead of the local one, you will carry out what’s called a “dynamic currency conversion”. This is just a complicated way of saying that you’re exchanging between the foreign currency and your home currency at the exact time you use your card to pay or withdraw cash in a foreign currency, and not a few days later. For this privilege, the local payment terminal or ATM will apply an exchange rate that is often significantly worse than even a traditional bank’s exchange rate (we’ve seen margins of up to 8%!), and of course, much worse than the exchange rate you would get by using an innovative multi-currency card (see tip #3). 

In the vast majority of times, knowing with complete certainty what amount you will pay in your home currency is not worth the additional steep cost of the dynamic currency conversion, hence why we recommend always choosing to pay in the local currency.

Tip 3: Don't Use a Traditional Card To Pay in Foreign Currency/Withdraw Cash Abroad

prepaid travel money card under 18

As mentioned before, providers make money on foreign currency conversions by charging poor exchange rates — and pocketing the difference between that and the true mid-market rate. They also make money by charging commission fees, which can either come as flat fees or as a percentage of the transaction.

Have a look at traditional bank cards to see how much you can be charged in fees for spending or withdrawing $500 while on your holiday.

These fees can very quickly add up. For example, take a couple and a child travelling to the US on a two-week mid-range holiday. According to this study , the total cost of their holiday would amount to around $4200. If you withdraw $200 in cash four times and spend the rest with your card, you would pay $123 in hidden currency exchange and ATM withdrawal fees with HSBC or $110 with La Banque Postale. With this money, our travellers could pay for a nice dinner, the entrance fee to Yosemite Park, or many other priceless memories. 

Thankfully, new innovative multi-currency cards will help you save a lot of money while travelling. Opening an N26 Classic account and using the N26 card during the same US holidays would only cost $13.60.

Need Foreign Cash Anyway?

In many countries, carrying a wad of banknotes is not only useful but necessary to pay your way since not every shop, market stall, or street vendor will accept card payments. In these cases you'll have two options to exchange foreign currency cheaply:

1. Withraw at an ATM

As we've explored in great depth in this article, withdrawing money from a foreign ATM will almost always come with fees — at the very least from the ATM itself, and so it's therefore the best strategy to use a travel debit card that doesn't charge in specific ATM withdraw fees on its own to add insult to injury. That said, if you need cash, we recommend making one large withdrawal rather than multiple smaller ones . This way, you'll be able to dodge the fees being incurred multiple times.

2. Buy Banknotes (at a Reasonable Rate!)

As we've also seen, buying foreign currency at the airport, at foreign bank branches, or in bureaux de change in tourist hotspots can be surprisingly expensive. Still, not all exchange offices are equally pricey . If you're looking for a well-priced way to exchange your cash into foreign currency banknotes before you travel, Change Group will let you order foreign currency online and pick them up at the airport, train station, or a Change Group branch just before you leave for your holiday. A few pick-up locations in the UK include:

  • London centre (multiple locations),
  • Glasgow centre,
  • Oxford centre,
  • Luton Airport,
  • Gatwick Airport,
  • St. Pancras Station.

(Note that Change Group also has locations in the USA, Australia, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Austria, and Finland!)

Although its exchange rates aren't quite as good as using a low-fee debit card like Revolut, Change Group's exchange rates between popular currencies tend to be between 2% to 3%, which is still a lot better than you'll get at the bank or at a touristy bureau de change in the middle or Paris or Prague!

FAQ About the Best Travel Money Cards

Having reviewed and compared several of the industry's leading neobanks, experts at Monito have found the Wise Account to offer the best multi-currency card in 2024.

In general, yes! You can get a much better deal with new innovative travel cards than traditional banks' debit/credit cards. However, not all cards are made equal, so make sure to compare the fees to withdraw cash abroad, the exchange rates and monthly fees to make sure you're getting the best deal possible.

  • Sign up for a multi-currency account;
  • Link your bank to the account and add your home currency;
  • Convert amount to the local currency of holiday destination ( Wise and Revolut convert at the actual mid-market rate);
  • Tap and swipe like a local when you pay at vendors.

Yes, the Wise Multi-Currency Card is uniquely worthwhile because it actually converts your home currency into foreign currency at the real mid-market exchange rate . Wise charges a transparent and industry-low commission fee for the service instead.

More traditional currency cards like the Travelex Money Card are good alternatives, but they will apply an exchange rate that is weaker than the mid-market rate.

The Wise Multi-Currency Card is the best money card for euros because unlike banks, credit unions, airport kiosks, and foreign ATMs,  Wise  is transparent about never charging a hidden exchange rate margin when you convert your local currency into euros with them.

The live rate you see on Google or XE.com is the one you get with  Wise . An industry-low commission fee will range from 0.35% to 2.85%. USD to EUR transfers generally incur a 1.6% fee.

Learn more about how to buy euros in the United States before your trip.

There are usually three types of travel cards, prepaid travel cards, debit travel cards and credit travel cards. Each have pros and cons, here's a short summary:

  • Prepaid travel cards: You usually need to load cards with your home currency via a bank wire or credit/debit card top-up. You're then able to manage the balance from an attached mobile app and can use it to pay in foreign currencies or withdraw cash at an ATM abroad tapping into your home currency prepaid balance. With prepaid travel cards, as the name indicates, you can't spend more than what you've loaded before hand. Some prepaid card providers will provide ways to "auto top-up" when your balance reaches a certain level that you can customize. On Revolut for example, you can decide to top-up £100/£200/£500 from your debit card each time your balance reaches below £50.
  • Debit travel cards: Some innovative digital banks, like N26 or Monzo, offer travel debit cards that have the same advantages than a Prepaid Travel Cards, except that they're debit card directly tapping into your current account balance. Like a Prepaid travel card, you can't spend more than the balance you have in your current account with N26 or Monzo, but you can activate an overdraft (between €1,000 or €10,000 for N26 or £1,000 for Monzo) if you need it, for a fee though.

Note that even if they're Prepaid or Debit cards, you can use them for Internet payments like a normal credit card.

  • Credit travel cards: You can find credit cards made for international payments offering good exchange rates and low fees to withdraw money abroad, but you'll need to pay interests in your international payment if you don't pay in FULL at the end of every month and interest on your ATM withdrawals each day until you pay them back.

Why You Can Trust Monito

prepaid travel money card under 18

Our recommendations are built on rock-solid experience.

  • We've reviewed 70+ digital finance apps and online banks
  • We've made 100's of card transactions
  • Our writers have been testing providers since 2013

Other Monito Guides and Reviews on Top Multi Currency Cards

prepaid travel money card under 18

Why Trust Monito?

You’re probably all too familiar with the often outrageous cost of sending money abroad. After facing this frustration themselves back in 2013, co-founders François, Laurent, and Pascal launched a real-time comparison engine to compare the best money transfer services across the globe. Today, Monito’s award-winning comparisons, reviews, and guides are trusted by around 8 million people each year and our recommendations are backed by millions of pricing data points and dozens of expert tests — all allowing you to make the savviest decisions with confidence.

Monito is trusted by 15+ million users across the globe.

Monito's experts spend hours researching and testing services so that you don't have to.

Our recommendations are always unbiased and independent.

prepaid travel money card under 18

Prepaid Travel Cards with HyperJar.

HyperJar is the perfect travel money card if you’re planning a trip overseas. 

What’s a HyperJar Prepaid Travel Card?

Taking HyperJar with you when you travel means you can pay fee-free in 36 million locations in over 200 countries using your HyperJar prepaid Mastercard.  

How does a prepaid travel card work?

The 100% free HyperJar prepaid travel card is a brilliant way to manage your holiday spending. Here’s how to get started.

Download and order your card. It usually arrives in a few days.

Load funds.

Add money from a bank to your new HyperJar account.

Turn on international spending.

From your Profile tab, toggle on the ‘Spend Abroad’ feature.

Instant notifications.

Whenever you pay abroad, you’ll see instant notifications in the app to tell you how much and where you’ve spent.

If you’re planning ahead, create a Barcelona (or Bognor) Jar and set the goal you want to reach. For an instant digital kitty, share the Jar if you’re travelling with others so everyone can pay in and link their cards to the Jar to spend when you arrive. Your prepaid HyperJar travel card is free to use - zero fees when you spend in any currency, and we pass on Mastercard’s best exchange rate to you directly.

prepaid travel money card under 18

A prepaid travel card helps you stay in control

prepaid travel money card under 18

Lost and stolen cards.

There are few more panicky experiences than a lost or stolen card when you’re travelling. With HyperJar, you can freeze your card instantly at the tap of a toggle in the app so it can’t be used. If you find the card, simply unfreeze and you can start using it again as normal. You can also add HyperJar to Apple Pay and Google Pay.

prepaid travel money card under 18

Set your budgets.

Before you travel, use your HyperJar app to get organised. If you’re backpacking for a few months, make sure your budget stretches to the end of the trip by sorting your planned spending in different Jars according to the country.  HyperJar helps you stay in control of your travel spend with instant notifications, a complete breakdown of exactly what you’ve spent and where - and you won’t waste any precious budget paying fees.

prepaid travel money card under 18

Split costs between friends and family.

Budgeting, IOUs and chasing payments from friends you’re travelling with is the last thing you want to spoil your adventure. HyperJar makes it easy to save up together before you travel and split costs when you arrive - with no arguments about who’s paid what and when because it’s all recorded in the app. A brilliantly easy way to plan together and get rid of the stress of joint spending on excursions, hotels and meals.

Frequently asked questions.

How do i freeze a prepaid travel card.

Go to your Profile tab in the app, tap HyperJar Card and then the Freeze Card toggle.

How long will it take to receive my card? 

It usually takes a few days for your HyperJar prepaid travel card to arrive.

What countries can I use the card in?

Your HyperJar prepaid travel card can be used in 36 million locations in more than 200 countries.

How do I enable my card to be used abroad?

Tap your Profile tab, then HyperJar Card and make sure Spend Abroad is toggled on.

Can I use the travel card at an ATM? 

No, you cannot use your HyperJar card to withdraw cash at ATMs in the UK or abroad.

Can I transfer money back to my debit card after my travels?

You can transfer money back from your HyperJar account to your bank. Or start planning for your next trip!

  • United States
  • United Kingdom

In this guide

Your reviews

Ask an expert, travelex money card review.

Avatar

Please note: This product has been discontinued, and it’s not available on our site.

Compare similar products and find the best option for you.

How much does Travelex Money Card cost?

  • Loading money: $0
  • Withdrawing money: $0 from bank or ATM
  • Foreign transaction fee: $0
  • Card purchase fee: $9.95
  • Extra cards: $7.50
  • Inactivity fee: $3, starts after 12 months of disuse. You won’t be charged a fee if you don’t have a balance on your card.

Among the best features with the Travelex Money Card is its minimal fees that won’t threaten to eat away at your travel budget.

The fee you’ll pay to purchase the card varies by your state of residence, and you’ll pay $7.50 for each card you add to your account. But you’ll pay no fees to load or reload your card, withdraw money from domestic or international ATMs, withdraw money at a bank or replace a lost or stolen card.

Unlike your typical credit or debit card, you also won’t pay a foreign transaction or currency conversion fee on your purchases. And once you initially purchase your currency, your exchange rate is locked in for those currencies. However, foreign exchange rates apply when you move your card’s funds among the currencies you’ve loaded.

That’s not to say the card is without fees. A couple to watch out for includes a fee on transfers you make from your card to your bank account and a potential inactivity fee if you stop using your card after 12 months. To avoid both, plan to spend all the money on your card or withdraw any remaining funds from an ATM once you return home.

What is my default currency?

If you have more than one currency on your Travelex Money Card, set your default to whatever currency you wish. Simply update your default through your online account or app.

If you run out of the currency you need, the card automatically selects the next available currency. If you run out of that one, the card cycles from US dollars through any other currencies you have loaded until it satisfies your transaction.

But this convenience comes with a cost — a 5.5% fee on your transaction — which could put a dent in your balance.

What is the Travelex Money Card?

The Travelex Money Card is a contactless prepaid currency card designed for travel overseas. Load up to seven currencies — helpful if you’re traveling to more than one destination:

  • Australian dollar (AUD)
  • Canadian dollar (CAD)
  • Great British pound (GBP)
  • Japanese yen (JPY)
  • Mexican peso (MXN)
  • US dollar (USD)

When you swipe, dip or tap your card, it’s almost like using cash — but without the change. You’ll avoid international ATM fees and can manage your expenses through card services, your local Travelex or a mobile app.

Keep an eye on the market before you buy

Locking in your foreign exchange rate makes it easy to know how much you’re spending. But because forex rates fluctuate constantly, you might want to watch the forex market and time your purchase for when your currencies are strong.

How much can I carry on my Travelex card?

You may be that wide-eyed traveler who fully embraces the world as your oyster. A high $8,500 maximum balance ensures you can meet almost any adventure that comes your way.

You must put at least $50 on your card to start, and all future reloads must also be at least $50. But you can load up to $10,000 weekly and $20,000 monthly, with an overall cap of $30,000 a year — which gives you lots of flexibility for a memory-worthy vacation.

The Travelex Money Card makes it easy to preload multiple currencies for use when you’re traveling across borders abroad. Keep an eye on your budget online or over the app, among other benefits:

  • Load multiple currencies. Includes seven currencies popular with travelers: US dollars, British pounds, Aussie dollars, yen, Mexican pesos, euros and Canadian dollars.
  • Minimal fees. Pay no fees for currency reloads, withdrawals at ATMs or banks, or to replace a lost or stolen card.
  • Lock in forex rates. Purchase your currency, and you’ve effectively locked in your rates, protecting your money from future fluctuations.
  • Safeguard your info. Because the card isn’t connected to your bank account, your personal information is safe if you lose your card.

Drawbacks and limits

  • Daily limits. You won’t be able to withdraw more than $5,000 daily, and your ATM and bank withdrawals are further limited by transaction.
  • Not reliable for reservations. Because it’s essentially a prepaid card, avoid using the Travelex Money Card for reserving hotels, cars or cruises — or anything that requires a deposit.
  • Country restrictions. To avoid any surprises, be sure to check with Travelex to guarantee that you can use your card in the country you’re traveling to.

Tipping with your card? Watch out for holds.

When you use prepaid cards to pay for restaurant and bar tabs — or anywhere a gratuity is expected — budget a “tip tolerance” of 10% to 20% on top of your bill’s base amount.

When swiping your card, many establishments reserve what they expect you’ll add as a tip. If you don’t have enough money on your prepaid card to cover up to 20% on top of the base amount, consider using another card to avoid an uncomfortable card denial.

Where do I get a Travelex Money Card?

To get the Travelex Money Card, buy it on Travelex’s site or pick one up at any Travelex store. You’ll need to be at least 18 years old — or your state’s age of majority — with valid ID.

Once you’ve received your card, load or reload it online, by phone at 877-414-6359 or through the Travelex Money app.

I got the card. Now what?

  • Manage your currencies. Register your card online to keep track of spending and guarantee the money’s there when you need it.
  • Avoid currency conversion fees. If you run out of the currency you need, the card automatically selects the next available currency on your card — for a fee.
  • Get support. Before your travels, call 877-856-2471 with any questions. Outside of the US, find a country-specific number online.
  • Close your card after travels. To avoid inactivity fees, call Travelex to close your card when you’re back at home.

Bottom line

The Travelex Money Card can make it easy for you to preload currencies for easy spending abroad. You won’t need to worry about exchange rates, because yours are locked in at purchase. And you’ll save on the foreign transaction and withdrawal fees that come with most credit cards.

Travelex Money Card is not currently available on Finder

Have you considered Greenlight?

Teach your child to spend, save and invest all in one app. Get 5+ financial literacy tools, including chores and allowances. All with powerful parental controls to decide where your child can spend and how much. Includes up to 5% savings rewards. Free one-month trial.

  • Free 30-day trial, then start at $4.99/month
  • Earn up to 5% on savings and 1% cashback
  • Optional investing tools

Greenlight logo

No thanks, compare other debit card options.

Ask a question using your email below.

Avatar

Kyle Finder

Hi there, looking for more information? Ask us a question.

Error label

You are about to post a question on finder.com :

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our finder.com Terms of Use and Privacy and Cookies Policy .

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Avatar

June 23, 2019

Is my Travelex card usable in Russia and Ukraine?

Avatar

Bella Finder

Thanks for your inquiry.

Unfortunately, you cannot use your Travelex card in Russia and Ukraine since their currency are not supported with Travelex.

I hope this helps.

Kind regards, Bella

March 15, 2018

How long does it take to receive my card?

Avatar

Jhezelyn Finder

March 16, 2018

Hi Michelle,

Thank you for your comment.

From the order date of the card, you can have your card delivered Next Day or up to 21 days.

Regards, Jhezelyn

January 28, 2018

Hi! I would like to travel to South Africa. Can i use Travelex money card in this country?

March 10, 2018

Thank you for visiting finder, we are a financial comparison website and general information service.

Travelex does not support South African currency. If you’re planning a trip to South Africa, decide the best way for you to exchange your USD for South African rand. Kindly check our Travel money guide: South Africa to compare your travel card options.

Hope this helps!

Kind regards,

January 07, 2018

Hi , I need to give travel money card to someone traveling to India . Can you give us some details

Avatar

Joanne Finder

You may find the most valuable and easiest ways to take, use and spend money in India . This guide can help one decide which option, whether travel, debit or credit cards is the best way to access cash when traveling in India.

The page will also discuss the different travel money products you can use in India and will detail how each product works.

Cheers, Joanne

Avatar

Kyle Morgan

Kyle Morgan is SEO manager at Forbes Advisor and a former editor and content strategist at Finder. He has written for the USA Today network and Relix magazine, among other publications. He holds a BA in journalism and media from Rutgers University. See full profile

  • Credit cards
  • Debit cards
  • Foreign currency exchange
  • AAA Visa TravelMoney® Card
  • South Africa
  • South Korea
  • Best credit cards of 2020
  • Best travel cards
  • Best rewards cards
  • Best credit cards
  • Best business loans
  • Best car insurance companies
  • Best investment accounts
  • Best life insurance companies
  • Best mortgage lenders
  • Best personal loans
  • Best savings accounts

How likely would you be to recommend finder to a friend or colleague?

Our goal is to create the best possible product, and your thoughts, ideas and suggestions play a major role in helping us identify opportunities to improve.

Advertiser Disclosure

finder.com is an independent comparison platform and information service that aims to provide you with the tools you need to make better decisions. While we are independent, the offers that appear on this site are from companies from which finder.com receives compensation. We may receive compensation from our partners for placement of their products or services. We may also receive compensation if you click on certain links posted on our site. While compensation arrangements may affect the order, position or placement of product information, it doesn't influence our assessment of those products. Please don't interpret the order in which products appear on our Site as any endorsement or recommendation from us. finder.com compares a wide range of products, providers and services but we don't provide information on all available products, providers or services. Please appreciate that there may be other options available to you than the products, providers or services covered by our service.

  • International edition
  • Australia edition
  • Europe edition

Backpackers checking their travelling plans

Travel money: tips for teenagers planning a trip abroad this year

Now is the time for young people and their parents to explore the range of debit and pre-paid cards on offer

Like hundreds of school leavers, my 17-year-old daughter and a group of friends are planning an Interrail trip visiting various European countries during their post-A-level summer holidays.

They are a pretty sensible bunch, competent enough to make their own travel arrangements, plot their route and book hostels for stops in Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague, Croatia and Budapest. But when it comes to travel money and how they are going to exchange their hard-saved sterling and access the four currencies they will need en route (euro, Czech koruna, Croatian kuna and Hungarian forint), not to mention keeping their cash and plastic cards safe, they are not quite so savvy. The parents’ nightmare vision of their child stranded abroad with no money when their cash and/or cards get lost or stolen looms large.

However, it’s also about making sure they – not to mention mum and dad – don’t get a nasty shock when they return to their statements. There are huge variations between banks when it comes to the fees for using a debit card abroad. So what’s the best advice to give them, and is there anything parents can specifically do to protect their interests?

Travel money wisdom suggests people take a small amount of relevant currency for at least their first stop – enough to see them through their first day or two until they can access a cash machine or bank. British Interrailers who will need several different currencies might take a small amount of each.

Basic safety rules obviously apply. Never carry too much cash, and any that they have should be kept in a money belt under their clothes along with any cards. Whenever possible excess cash and cards should be left in safety boxes or lockers (it’s a good idea to take their own padlocks) provided by hostels. Between stopovers, cash and cards should be spread across different places in backpacks and on their person.

Plastic pitfalls

They will need payment cards – ideally more than one in case it gets lost or stolen – in order to pay for goods and withdraw money from ATMs, though an emergency back-up credit card is obviously not an option for 17-year-olds, because they can’t apply until they are at least 18.

You might assume that your child should rely on the UK debit card connected to their current account to fund their travels, but this could prove pricier than you realise.

First, if using a debit card abroad make sure the bank is told beforehand. If it has no prior warning it may well decline genuine transactions or block the card if it detects “unusual activity”.

Second, it is vital to find out what if any charges will be levied if they withdraw cash at an ATM or pay for goods in shops, hostels and restaurants. Some charge a lot more than others – notably Halifax, Santander, Bank of Scotland, Lloyds and TSB, which the MoneySavingExpert website has dubbed “ the cards from hell ”.

Withdrawing cash from a machine may incur a charge of around 2.75%-3% in hidden commission. Users will also typically be hit with a separate ATM fee that is usually expressed as a percentage of the amount taken out. For example, NatWest’s ATM “foreign cash fee” is 2% of the value of the transaction (minimum £2, maximum £5).

If they have a Lloyds, Santander, Halifax or TSB debit card they should watch out: all these banks impose a fixed fee for overseas purchases in shops, restaurants etc – on top of the 2.75%-2.99% they take off you for currency conversion. This fixed fee is £1.50 at Halifax, £1.25 at Santander and £1 at Lloyds and TSB (there may be some types of account that don’t impose this charge). It is applied on each transaction and makes smaller purchases hellishly expensive. Spend £5 on a pizza, for example, and it will cost you at least £6.

Forewarned is forearmed. If your child is stuck with one of these cards, they will at least know they are better off withdrawing one lot of currency at an ATM every few days rather than paying for small purchases and using cash machines for lots of small amounts.

Prepaid cards

There is a potentially cheaper alternative worth considering: a low-cost prepaid currency card. These are like a modern version of travellers cheques. You child pre-loads them with money – sterling if travelling to several countries with different currencies – and when they use the card their pounds are converted on the spot into each relevant currency using the latest exchange rate.

The fees charged vary a lot, with some working out more expensive than using a debit card. Decent ones include Revolut , which offers exchanges into more than 80 currencies at “perfect interbank rates” – the top rates banks give each other. Revolut says it offers the very best exchange rate available and charges no fees – though that is only guaranteed for the first 12 months of being a customer. Revolut is managed via an app only, so the user will need a smartphone – something that will no doubt appeal to mobile-savvy youngsters.

Transfers between Revolut users in pounds, euros or US dollars are instant and, currently, free anywhere in the world, so parents could open up their own Revolut account so they can top up and transfer funds to their child in case of an emergency.

Also worth considering are FairFX’s currency cards – it offers euro, dollar and “anywhere” versions. The latter card can be used in more than 200 countries, and the holder loads it with sterling which will be converted into the local currency with a pretty low 1.4% charge.

It’s free, so long as you load £50 or more on to it, and can be managed via an app or online, so parents back home could once again top up funds if necessary. It charges £1 to withdraw cash from overseas ATMs and, perhaps strangely, £1.50 to do so from a UK ATM, so it is probably best to use up the balance when overseas.

And finally …

If there is the option to pay in pounds as opposed to the local currency at an overseas hotel, shop or at an ATM, the answer should be “no”. Always choose the local currency – the card will give a better conversion rate than the merchant is able to offer.

Top credit cards for foreign trips

Anyone aged over 18 looking for cheap foreign spending, plus low-cost access to their cash via an ATM, has a host of choices, not least because they can apply for a credit card, writes Miles Brignall .

Two currently stand out. The Halifax Clarity is a Guardian Money top pick because, provided you pay off the balance in full at the end of the month, you will pay no ATM fees worldwide, or fees or interest loading when you pay for goods in shops or restaurants. But you will be charged interest at 18.9% on ATM withdrawals until you pay off the balance. This equates to about £1.50 a month for every £100 withdrawn, assuming you are accepted at the headline interest rate and pay it off ASAP.

Meanwhile, Creation is offering the same deal but with a lower APR of 12.9%. This equates to about £1 a month for each £100 withdrawn (if you get this APR). Creation provides cards for the many of the big retailers such as Asda and Argos.

With both cards you can minimise the those already low interest charged by transferring money to the credit card account via online banking straight after making the withdrawal. This only works if you pay off the balance in full, but will be much cheaper than using a debit card.

  • Foreign currency
  • Debit cards
  • Student finance
  • Budget travel

Comments (…)

Most viewed.

MASTERCARD BENEFIT INQUIRIES

Within the U.S.: 1-800-Mastercard (1-800-627-8372) | Outside the U.S.: Mastercard Global Service Phone Numbers

Availability of insurance benefits on your card may vary by card issuer. Please refer to your issuing financial institution for complete insurance benefit coverage terms, conditions and exclusions.

*Card registration required. Certain exceptions apply. Click here for terms and conditions .

†Requirements may vary. See card packaging for details or contact card issuer.

We couldn’t find any results matching your search.

Please try using other words for your search or explore other sections of the website for relevant information.

We’re sorry, we are currently experiencing some issues, please try again later.

Our team is working diligently to resolve the issue. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

News & Insights

Best card options when sending your child abroad.

prepaid travel money card under 18

February 01, 2018 — 01:00 am EST

Written by CreditCards.com  ->

Sending your kid abroad for the first time to soak in art in Paris, history in Cairo or language in Lima, can be a frightening prospect. That's why many parents should carefully consider including a credit card for spending and emergencies, but which type of plastic would be best?

The correct card can provide an easy way for a student traveler to buy meals, train tickets and other essentials abroad, especially if you're footing all or part of the bill. Even if your child plans to operate mostly in cash, a credit card is a must for emergencies.

"There are so many situations you can get into where you're really in a bind," says Stacie Berdan, a global communications consultant and author of "A Parent Guide to Study Abroad" and "A Student Guide to Study Abroad."

Whether studying abroad for a few weeks or several months, a student traveler can fall ill, lose money to a pickpocket, watch an ATM swallow a debit card or miss a bus, plane, or train and end up stranded, Berdan says. In any of those scenarios, a credit card can come to the rescue, offering a quick way to pay for medical treatment, a hot meal or a night of lodging.

For example, family travel writer Dana Zucker made her 20-year-old son Sam an authorized user on her American Express Platinum card long before he left to spend a semester in Shanghai. She breathes easier in Omaha, Nebraska, knowing he has access to her credit line and benefits in China. In fact, the card's concierge service once rescued Sam and twin sister Sydney when they got stuck with no money in Cassis, a fishing village in France, where banks had closed at noon that day.

"The kids got on the phone with AmEx and got cash right away," she says.

Choosing a card for a student traveler

If you want to make sure your child has the right plastic for student travel, consider these options that can be used in combination with each other for spending and emergencies. Here are the top three ways to get plastic in your child's wallet for a summer, semester or year abroad:

Option No. 1: Let your kid use your card

Making your child an authorized user on your card might be your best option. This strategy has big advantages, including convenience. If you've already given your offspring card privileges, as many parents do when a kid heads to college, you're good to go.

There are so many situations you can get into where you're really in a bind.

If you haven't already made your child an authorized user, you can do so easily by calling or logging into your issuer's online portal. Either automatically or at your request, depending on the card company, the issuer will send your child a card linked to your account in his or her own name.

This gives your child access to your presumably higher credit limit and all the benefits on your card in case of an emergency, and you can make sure the bill never inadvertently goes unpaid and can keep tabs on spending. Another upside is that the credit history of that card will be added to your child's credit report, giving him a credit boost. However, if you have a pattern of late payments with the card, you may want to consider the other options below, as some cards also report negative information associated with that card to an authorized user's credit report, which will hurt the child's credit.

If you choose to go this route, talk to your child about what can and can't be charged, and set spending limits. Some parents make agreements with their kids: "Yes, you can charge that weekend side trip, but you must PayPal or Venmo me the money to put toward the credit card bill." Creating clear lines of communication around finances will serve both you and your child well during what can be a stressful time, says Megan Lee, director of GoAbroad.com, who has studied abroad and led student trips.

If you make your child an authorized user, set up alerts for purchases over a certain amount so you can monitor charges, Zucker recommends. Some cards also allow you to set spending limits for authorized users, which you may want to consider to keep your child's spending in line with any agreed upon budget.

Option No. 2: Your kid gets a card of his own

If your child is over 21 or at least 18 years old and has a steady income source, she can apply for her own card or use one already in her wallet. However, the card should be one that charges no foreign transaction fees , which tack on anywhere from 1 to 3 percent to each overseas purchase. This can provide a little more independence, as well as practice managing an account out in the world. And you won't have to worry about being on the hook for any frivolous purchases, such as a gondola ride in Italy.

However, the downside is that it is impossible for a high school student under 18, and tough for a college student without a job, to get a card. New cardholders also tend to have lower credit limits that might not offer enough spending power in an emergency far from home. For example, one mom on a Fodor's travel forum fretted that her son's $500 credit limit wouldn't cut it when he was studying in London. Also, a student or starter card might not carry as many benefits as, say, your premium rewards card.

If your child wants to carry her own card, consider also making her an authorized user on one of your cards with a higher credit limit as well with the caveat that it only be used as a secondary card in a pinch.

Option No. 3: Your kid uses a prepaid travel or debit card

Your child could get a prepaid travel card or debit card that can be used to make purchases like a credit card, as well as to get cash from ATMs.

The big advantage to prepaid and debit cards is that your child is spending cash from an account, which eliminates issues with bill payments and debt.

However, prepaid travel cards sometimes come with big fees, including foreign transaction fees and foreign ATM fees. There's also the possibility your child could lose the card and temporarily lose access to funds. So, you probably will want your kid to carry a credit card just in case.

For example, Albuquerque, New Mexico, safety consultant Suzanne Sibole's daughter India is spending her junior year of college in St. Petersburg, Russia. For spending, India uses a Charles Schwab debit card popular with travelers because it has no foreign transaction fees and no foreign ATM fees.

However, India also has been an authorized user on her mom's credit card since she was 18. "It's just a backup," Sibole says.

Study up on using plastic abroad

There are steps you can take to make sure cards work smoothly during student travel. Here are some tips for helping your child select the right card and get the most out of it on the trip:

  • Consider the destination. Keep in mind that credit cards are more widely used in some countries and locales than others. "Developing countries don't always have the financial or internet infrastructure to handle credit cards regularly," Lee says. For less-developed destinations, students should take a combination of financial tools including emergency cash and a debit card, but should still carry a credit card, she says. "As a program leader in East Africa, I did take some students to clinics and hospitals where their emergency credit card came in handy," she says.
  • Buy plane tickets on a card with benefits. Book the plane ticket on your best travel card. For example, Zucker used her AmEx Platinum for her son's ticket to China due to perks such as concierge. Check your child's eligibility before you book. For example, Visa Signature cards offer travel benefits to the cardholder's dependent children under age 22. Go over the benefits with your child, and have him program the international number for the benefits administrator into his phone.
  • Check for foreign fees. Some credit cards charge a foreign transaction fee for any purchases made outside the United States. Over a semester or year abroad, those charges can add up to hundreds of dollars, so make sure your child takes a card that doesn't charge these fees. If she plans to get her own card, Bank of America's BankAmericard Travel Rewards Card for Students offers a sign-up bonus worth $200 and no foreign transaction fees. And Capital One's Journey Student Rewards offers 1 percent cash back and no foreign transaction fees. Also, some debit cards allow you to pull cash from an ATM without a fee .
  • Tell the issuer about travel plans. Could it trigger a fraud alert if you're in Albany while your authorized user kid is making purchases from Albania? Possibly, but you can reduce the chances by notifying the issuer of your child's travel plans. Also sign up for text fraud alerts for instant notification of any problem, Sibole says. For example, her daughter recently used her credit card in Russia to buy a ticket to Greece for spring break. The issuer froze Sibole's card despite the travel notification she had filed. However, she got a text alert and called the issuer. "I got it cleared up right away," she says.
  • Keep account info stashed safely. If your child is carrying her own card, a trusted relative at home should keep account information in a safe place in case of a problem, Berdan says. For example, with a credit card, you could pay the bill in a pinch if necessary. And with a debit or prepaid card you could transfer funds. Before heading to Russia, Sibole's daughter gave her parents the login and card information for her debit card. "Now we can replenish the account if we need to," Sibole says.

And Berdan recommends giving your child this credit advice: "If you're going to use a credit card, make sure you use it wisely," she says. "You don't want to come back to very high-interest debt with no money to pay it off."

See related: Most issuers like to know your travel plans , Being added as authorized user can boost credit age, score , 11 credit card travel insurance benefits

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

More Related Articles

This data feed is not available at this time.

Sign up for Smart Investing to get the latest news, strategies and tips to help you invest smarter.

To add symbols:

  • Type a symbol or company name. When the symbol you want to add appears, add it to My Quotes by selecting it and pressing Enter/Return.
  • Copy and paste multiple symbols separated by spaces.

These symbols will be available throughout the site during your session.

Your symbols have been updated

Edit watchlist.

  • Type a symbol or company name. When the symbol you want to add appears, add it to Watchlist by selecting it and pressing Enter/Return.

Opt in to Smart Portfolio

Smart Portfolio is supported by our partner TipRanks. By connecting my portfolio to TipRanks Smart Portfolio I agree to their Terms of Use .

Money Mentor Logo

Helping you make the most out of your money

Searching Money Mentor . . .

Best bank cards for under-18s.

Updated November 28, 2023

In this guide

Best cards for children

Having a bank card or debit card can help children learn how banking works and how to save money. Here are our top picks.

If you are looking for an account for your child, there are lots of different options to choose from. Depending on the age of your child and how they will use the account, you could choose from prepaid cards, debit cards and children’s bank accounts.

In this article, we will cover:

What cards are available for children?

Should i choose a prepaid card or a children’s bank account.

  • What are the best prepaid cards for kids?
  • What are the best bank accounts for under-18s?

Read more: How to teach your kids about money

This article may contain affiliate links that can earn us revenue*

Children’s bank accounts have many of the same features as adult bank accounts. They can be used to withdraw cash from ATMs, set up direct debits and make transfers. Unlike adult bank accounts, however, there is no overdraft facility and no credit check. They are usually free.

Most children’s bank accounts are available to children aged between 11 and 17. They can make the application to open one. 

Prepaid cards, on the other hand, are normally opened by a parent or guardian. They can be used in shops and online, or, usually, to withdraw cash from ATMs. They are available to children from the age of six.

As prepaid cards are not associated with a bank account, you will not be able to set up direct debits or make bank transfers from them.

Some do allow parents to set spending limits and monitor transactions through an app, though. Unlike children’s bank accounts, they normally charge a fee.  

It’s important to note that children’s bank accounts are covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), meaning that your money is protected (up to £85,000) if the bank becomes insolvent.

Prepaid cards do not have this protection.

Read more: Five ways to save and invest for grandchildren

Here’s how they differ:

Best prepaid cards

No two prepaid cards have exactly the same features.

Here are a selection of cards that offer good value, with useful features and a reasonable price.

GoHenry

Best for app functionality and personalisation, plus get a month free

HyperJar

Best for setting spending limits

Starling Bank

Starling Kite*

Best for a shared banking experience, and now fee-free

Nimbl

Best for flexibility

Table of best prepaid cards

Best children’s bank accounts.

These are the children’s bank accounts that offer top value, with high interest rates, FSCS protection, and no fee.

HSBC

HSBC MySavings

Best for interest rates

Santander

Santander 123 Mini Current Account

Best for under-7s

Table of best children’s bank accounts

* All products, brands or properties mentioned in this article are selected by our writers and editors based on first-hand experience or customer feedback, and are of a standard that we believe our readers expect. This article may contain links from which we can earn revenue – those links will have an * next to them. This revenue helps us to support the content of this website and to continue to invest in our award-winning journalism. For more, see  How we make our money  and  Editorial promise .

Important information

Some of the products promoted are from our affiliate partners from whom we receive compensation. While we aim to feature some of the best products available, we cannot review every product on the market.

prepaid travel money card under 18

What is an IBAN?

If you’re sending money abroad then you’ll likely come across an IBAN to facilitate your transfer. We explain what it is and, more importantly, how you can find your number to send your money today. It can be frustrating when you’re a couple of clicks away from sending money abroad before your bank suddenly asks […]

what is austerity

What is austerity and what does it mean for my money?

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has denied claims that his policies will lead the UK back into a period of austerity. The policy was adopted in Britain following the 2008 financial crisis and led to cuts to public services including healthcare, welfare and education. But what does austerity mean for my money? The biggest headline announcement […]

Premier bank accounts

The best Premier bank accounts

Premier bank accounts often come with additional perks and advantages to their basic counterparts – but you’ll need to demonstrate that you’re one of the bank’s wealthier customers to open your account. In order to retain and entice wealthier clientele, many banks offer Premier banking services. These accounts often include personalised services, such as discounts […]

Want to become financially fit?

Join our Couch to £5K challenge this January — six weekly newsletters to help you reach your financial goals.

By entering your details, you agree these will be used according to our privacy policy . When you subscribe, you will also receive our weekly newsletter too. You can unsubscribe, although if you do you will stop receiving both newsletters

You’re now subscribed to our Couch to £5K newsletter. Happy saving!

Heather on her travels

Holiday money for your teenagers – Caxton fx currency card review

If you’re a mum of teenagers like me, there comes a time when they start to fly the nest and travel on their own. It might be school trips, off with a group of friends in the UK, their first independent holiday abroad to celebrate the end of exams, or even some extended travel in their gap year.  At this point you’ll probably be funding some or all of their travels and you’ll need a secure way to give them cash that won’t get lost on the beach or stolen from their hotel room. Enter pre-paid currency cards such as the Caxton fx currency card that I was asked to review on my recent trip to the Greek island of Zakynthos.

Travel money in Greece Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Travel money in Greece

My daughter, Sophie-Anne was with a group of friends on this trip and although I was also there in the background, she wanted to be as independent as possible. This seemed to be the ideal time to test out the concept of using a currency card where I was the main cardholder, but she had a second card to use to withdraw cash at the ATM in the resort or buy items she needed in the local shops.

Benefits for my daughter

  • She didn’t need to take large amounts of cash with her on holiday that might get lost or stolen.
  • She could use the cash card to either take money out of the ATM as she needed it, or use it to buy things in any shop that accepted a visa card.
  • She could feel independent by having her own card without having to keep asking me for cash.

Benefits for me, the parent

  • I didn’t have to worry about my daughter losing cash
  • I could top up the cash on her card at any time via internet or mobile
  • I could monitor the money she was using and what it was being spent on
  • The Caxton card also offers a currency conversion rate that claims to be more favourable that what you might get at the airport or in the resort
  • The currency card can also be used by anyone who has a bank account so if you (or more likely your teenager) don’t have a visa card, you can still use the Currency cash card

Caxton fx currency cards Review at Heatheronhertravels.com

Setting up the Caxton fx currency card

We set up the card by completing a simple form online which took around 30 minutes.  The card, together with the second card for my daughter arrived in the post (it takes up to 7 days). Depending on where you are going, you need to apply for the Europe Traveller (the one we tried), Dollar Traveller or Global Traveler card. Once I received the cards it took me around 30 minutes to ring the number given and set up the card with a pin number.

Our experience in the resort

We had €60 on the card initially and Sophie-Anne tested the card both to use at the ATM in the resort and to buy things in local supermarkets and souvenir shops. There was no problem in using the currency card to withdraw cash from the local ATM, the only downside was that the machine only allowed us to withrdraw a mimumum of €50, not the smaller amounts that we would ususally prefer. I later withdrew cash from the same ATM using my visa debit card and successfully took out smaller amounts such as €20, so I think this was a restriction with the currency card. Otherwise Sophie-Anne used up the balance of money on the card by buying items in 2 different shops and found that the card was accepted with no problem, wherever other debit cards were taken.

Sophie-Anne’s view of the currency card

As a teenager, I can be somewhat careless from time to time and the card allowed me to securely carry large amounts of money and not fear thieves. I took my card with me on holiday to Greece, the Euro being one of the many currencies available on the card. I used the card to buy a variety of items from food to jewellery in different shops. I found that generally wherever cards were accepted my travel card would also be accepted. I was suprised to find it even worked in small souvenir shops in the resort where I was staying. I also used it to get money out of the bank with no problems after I spent a few minutes working out how a Greek cashpoint worked.

The best thing I thought about the card was the security it allows you as you can cancel it at any point. Some people I met in Zante told me horror stories of their hotel room being broken into and all the girl’s money stolen – some of whom hd up to 500 Euros! If they had they had a currency card they would not have been out of pocket and their holiday spoiled. If you were going on holiday to an extremely remote area you might want to consider taking both cash in case cards are not accepted or there are no cashpoints. Otherwise I think the travel card  is an extremely intelligent item to have in your travel kit, not to mention how easy it is to set up. I’d totally recommend it to other travellers for secure adventures.

Currency rate benefits of the Cafton fx currency card

To test the claim that the Caxton fx currency card would save you money through favourable currency conversion rates, I checked the £ to € conversion rates at the airport and in the resort, based on an assumption of £200 spending money.

In the airport – £200 converted to €215.45 – based on a rate of £1 = €1.048 and a handling charge of £4.99 for all transactions under £300. For transactions over £300 there was no handling charge and my £200 would have converted to €220.96 Euros

Using a debit card  – £200 converted to €237.39. My cash withdrawals from the ATM machine were converted at a rate of £1 = €1.23 but there was a transaction fee of £1.75 for each transaction. Assuming that I withdrew my £200 spending money on 4 withdrawals of £50, my £200 would have converted to €237.39. If I had taken the £200 out in one go the £200 would have converted to €243.85

At the Hotel – £200 converted to 240 Euros – the rate was £1 = 1.20 Euros and there was no transaction fee

Using the Caxton fx card – £200 converted to €250, based on the conversion rate published on the site of £1 = 1.25 Euros, although there is a £5,  €7.50 or $10 fee for secondary cards which you’d need to take into account if you were only planning to use the card as a one off. This would assume that there were no additional ATM charges for withdrawals, which could be the case in some countries – this would be stated on the machine at the time of withdrawal.

Conclusion – The Caxton card did give the most favourable rate, and on a sum of £200, there was a difference of arround £30 compared to changing money in the airport or £10 difference if changing money in our hotel. The favourable exchange rate would certainly be a major benefit if you are a big spender on holiday although less significant if you wanted to just exchange small amounts.

Questions about the Caxton fx currency card

There is lots of information on the Caxton fx website , but based on our test these are the answers I found to typical questions you might have

How much will it cost me?

There is no charge for the main card although a £10 deposit is taken when you apply that will be added to your credit balance. For secondary cards such as you might need if giving it to your teenager, there is a charge of £5,  7.50 Euro or $10. It is free to make ATM withdrawals abroad although if you use them domestically there is a charge. However in some countries, the ATM owner may levy a fee, but this should be declared on the screen when you make the withdrawal.  It is free to make purchases in stores. If you get cash out over the counter, for instance at a bank, there are additional charges. The bottom line is that once you have set up the card, it is free to use abroad at ATMs or shops.

How do I top up the card?

You register your debit card online and then you can either make a top-up online, by phone or via text, providing you have also set up your mobile number in advance. You can also check your balance online, by text or by making a phone call to the automated service.

What if the card gets lost on holiday?

You can ring Caxton to put a stop on the card if it is lost or stolen to prevent it being used. The card will then be cancelled. A replacement card can be issued to you for a fee of £5 or €7.50 or $10 but this will be posted to a UK address and may take a few days to arrive. One way around this if you are using the card yourself is to order a secondary card for your own use and then keep it in the hotel safe just in case the other card is lost and needs to be blocked. It could also be useful on family holidays where you want to give your teenagers a second card for holiday spending money. If your teenager loses the currency card you give them, the cash on the card should be protected but it will typically take a while to get them a replacement,  so they shouldn’t be relying on this as their only means of funding.

How old do you need to be to use a Caxton fx card?

To be a primary card holder you need to be 18 or over, resident in the UK and have a UK debit card. To have a secondary card you need to be 13 or over.

How much money do I have to put on the card?

The minimum amount you can initially load onto the card is £100, 150 Euros or $200. The same minimum applies to subsequent top-ups, which could be an issue if you want to top up smaller amounts on the card.

What if there’s money left on the card at the end of the holiday?

Once you get back you can get a refund on the currency held on your card back into your account and there is a redemption fee of £2 or 3 Euros for this, also you should bear in mind that the exchange rate may not as favourable as the rate you got initially.

Can I change my PIN to something I remember?

You can change your PIN at an ATM in the UK before you leave, but not abroad

 Our recommendation

We found that the Caxton fx currency card was easy to set up and their website is simple to understand. I think this would be a very useful card for parents to give to teenagers who are travelling alone so that they have a more secure way of carrying their cash and the parent has some control over the amounts being spent. The Caxton fx currency card also gave a more favourable rate of currency exchange which could be significant if you are spending a lot on holiday.

You do have to charge the card with a minimum of €150 and then top it up with the same minimum amount, which could be annoying if you are at the end of your holiday and just wanted to charge it with a bit of extra cash. I’d prefer to be able to top up the card in smaller increments. However you can get the money back off the card at the end of your holiday, albeit with a fee and less favourable currency rate. You also need to bear in mind that if the card is lost of stolen your cash should be safe, but you won’t easily be able to get a new card for that holiday. This means that you shouldn’t rely on the currency card as you sole source of spending money.

Overall I’d recommend the Caxton fx currency card as a means of taking holiday cash abroad that is ideal for parents to give to their teenagers, perhaps in conjuntion with some cash so that it’s not the sole means of spending money. Those families who plan to spend a lot on their holiday would also find the favourable currency conversion rates will save them money.

Please note that this review was based on our personal experiences and does not claim to be an exhaustive review of the pros and cons of using a pre-paid currency card such as the Caxton fx cards. However, you can find the information you need to make up your own mind on the Caxton fx currency card website. Caxton fx gave us a currency card charged with some cash for the purposes of this review.

Caxton fx Currency card website

More things to do on Zakynthos

Teenage thrills at the waterpark on Zakynthos – in Greece How to run a beach bar on Zakynthos in Greece – video My top three beaches on Zakynthos

This article is originally published at Heatheronhertravels.com – Read more travel articles at Travel Blog Home

You’ll also find our sister blog with tips on how to build a successful travel blog at My Blogging Journey

Subscribe to Heatheronhertravels

CompareCurrency.com

Friday 7th of February 2014

We find the CaxtonFx card really popular with students. The exchange rates are always really competitive and it offers the cheapest fees

Travel Product Review - Total Beauty Collection - sample sizes for travelers | Heather on her travels

Friday 21st of December 2012

[...] to travel from Anatomie Holiday Money for your teenagers – Caxton fx currency card review The mountain clothing you’ll need for treking the Tour de Mont [...]

Siri Stafford/Getty Images

Advertiser Disclosure

What to know about prepaid travel credit cards

Prepaid travel cards are one more way to access cash while traveling the globe

Published: December 15, 2022

Allie Johnson

Author: Allie Johnson

Dan Rafter

Author: Dan Rafter

Brady Porche

Editor: Brady Porche

Kaitlyn Tang

Reviewer: Kaitlyn Tang

Why trust us?

Prepaid travel cards can make it easy to access cash while you’re traveling abroad, but remember that convenience comes with limitations.

The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of our partner offers may have expired. Please review our list of best credit cards , or use our CardMatch™ tool to find cards matched to your needs.

Finally ready to take your next international trip? Whether it’s a business meeting in Brussels or a foodie’s tour of Florence, you might consider packing a prepaid travel card for your trip.

Prepaid travel cards let you access cash in your destination’s local currency without the risk of using your debit card. They also let you avoid the high fees of credit card cash advances or the hassles of scrounging up traveler’s checks before you depart.

But, be careful — despite the convenience of prepaid travel cards, they come with their own set of fees and limitations (most notably ATM withdrawal and purchase amount caps that could put a damper on your vacation).

“A prepaid travel card is one tool in a diverse travel wallet,” said Julie Hall, internal communications manager for Hilton Grand Vacations and former public relations manager for AAA, in a previous interview. “It’s one of the most convenient ways to get money while traveling.”

Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about prepaid travel cards — from how they work to the pros and cons of using them for your travels.

  • How do prepaid travel cards work?

Prepaid travel cards work much like general-purpose prepaid cards, except that they typically offer special features and perks designed for travel — which can vary based on the issuing bank.

In general, to use a prepaid travel card, you purchase the card and simultaneously load it with the funds you want to spend on your trip, up to the maximum amount allowed on the card. (For example, the PayPal Prepaid Mastercard® , a general prepaid card, allows a maximum balance of $15,000.)

Once you’ve arrived at your destination, you can use your prepaid card to make purchases directly (much like you would with a debit card). You can also use it at an ATM to get cash in that destination’s currency.

Depending on the card issuer, you’ll be able to log in to a mobile app or your online account to check the balance, review your purchases and see any any account charges.

  • What are the benefits of a prepaid travel card?

Why not just take cash, your credit cards and your debit card the next time you travel to an international destination? Why would you also take a prepaid credit card?

If you lose your card, thieves only have access to the loaded cash

If a thief gains access to your prepaid card abroad, they’ll only have access to whatever funds are loaded onto the card (unlike debit cards, which can provide thieves access to your bank account, or credit cards, which a thief can charge up to a certain limit).

Further, the network through which a prepaid card is offered may provide a zero liability policy , though, overall, prepaid cards don’t offer the same breadth of protections as debit and credit cards (think chargebacks and fraud alerts).

More convenient than traveler’s checks

Prepaid travel cards also provide more convenience than, say, traveler’s checks (which, yes, still exist). Getting traveler’s checks before you go can be a hassle, and you might also be surprised at how many retailers across the globe no longer accept them. As a result, prepaid cards are often a better option than these paper checks.

  • What are the drawbacks of a prepaid travel card?

Like most financial products, prepaid travel cards come with pros and cons. Here are some of the drawbacks of using one:

Foreign transaction fees, among others

Travelers should be wary of the fees connected to prepaid cards, as they can add up to a lot of money during an international trip. Many prepaid cards carry foreign transaction fees. Today, it’s far easier to find credit cards with no foreign transaction fees than to find prepaid cards without them.

Further, prepaid travel cards may also charge a card purchase fee, ATM withdrawal fee, higher foreign ATM withdrawal fee, inactivity fee and a fee to get any remaining balance back by check.

No help for your credit score

If you charge restaurant meals, souvenirs and tickets to a traditional credit card and pay your bill on time, your three-digit credit score will receive a boost. This doesn’t happen with purchases you make with prepaid travel cards, because your prepaid card activity isn’t reported to the national credit bureaus .

If you don’t keep track, you could run out of funds

If you’re used to swiping a credit card without much thought, there’s a chance a prepaid card could leave you high and dry when you go to make a purchase. Just be sure to keep tabs on the amount of money you’ve loaded — and spent — on your card.

Prepaid travel card tips

Prepaid travel cards do come with some potential hurdles. Here are some tips for avoiding the most common downsides of these cards:

  • Check the fees associated with your card (or potential card): Prepaid cards can charge fees that existing debit and credit card holders aren’t used to, so it’s important to read the fine print before swiping. For example, the Netspend® Visa® Prepaid Card charges a $5.95 inactivity fee per month after the card has been idle for 90 days.
  • Verify the card will work at your destination: Double-check with your issuer that your prepaid card will be accepted where you’re traveling. Even a card that’s designed for international travel might not work in specific locations due to restrictions from U.S. trade sanctions.
  • Know the limits: Prepaid travel cards typically have limits that could throw a wrench into your trip if you don’t understand them ahead of time. For example, some cards can have a daily reload limit as low as $500 (or as high as $7,500, in the case of the Netspend Visa card). Again: Be sure to read through your card’s fine print before embarking.
  • Avoid holds at all costs: In a sense, prepaid travel cards work like debit cards. Be sure to avoid using a prepaid travel card to reserve a hotel room or a rental car, which can trigger a hold that could tie up hundreds of dollars of your cash for a week or longer. Instead, use a credit card to reserve these items, then use your prepaid card to pay the final charges.

Should you use a travel credit card instead?

If the drawbacks of a prepaid travel card outweigh the benefits, you might be better off signing up for a travel credit card  or using one you already have as your primary payment method while traveling.

Travel credit cards almost always have zero fraud liability, which can set your mind at ease in the event your card is lost or stolen . They also let you earn rewards for your spending, and many offer purchase and trip protection and have no foreign transaction fees. Some even offer perks such as access to airport lounges where you can get complimentary food and drink. And, depending on your credit limit, you may have more spending power with a credit card than a prepaid card.

That said, they can also have pitfalls. Not all travel credit cards are accepted in all countries. For example, Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted, while American Express and Discover have a smaller international presence. And, depending on your location, some merchants may require chip-and-pin cards or may not accept payment cards at all.

It’s advisable to carry a few different payment methods with you (credit, debit and prepaid) when traveling, along with some local cash. Also, notify your credit card company about your travel plans, lest they flag your card as stolen and cancel it.

Bottom line

A prepaid travel card doesn’t come without downsides, but if you want an easy way to access cash in your destination’s currency — and want a quick way to pay merchants once you arrive at your international destination — the ease of using them might make your trip a less stressful one.

Editorial Disclaimer

The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.

Allie Johnson is an award-winning freelance writer covering personal finance, business and lifestyle. She loves tracking down tips, tricks and cautionary tales about credit cards and money.

Dan Rafter has covered personal finance for more than 15 years for publications ranging from The Washington Post and Chicago Tribune to Wise Bread, HSH.com and MoneyRates.com. His work has also appeared online at the Motley Fool, Fox Business, Huffington Post, Christian Science Monitor and Time.

On this page

  • Prepaid travel card perks
  • Stick with travel credit card?

Essential reads, delivered straight to your inbox

Stay up-to-date on the latest credit card news 一 from product reviews to credit advice 一 with our newsletter in your inbox twice a week.

By providing my email address, I agree to CreditCards.com’s Privacy Policy

Your credit cards journey is officially underway.

Keep an eye on your inbox—we’ll be sending over your first message soon.

Learn more about Education

Best credit cards for international travel

Best credit cards for international travel

The best credit cards for international travel can make traversing the globe a more comfortable and rewarding experience. Compare our top picks to see how they work for your travel style and goals.

Best no-annual-fee travel credit cards of 2023

Best no-annual-fee travel credit cards of 2023

Looking for the best travel rewards with no annual fee doesn’t have to be hard. There are plenty of great credit cards you can explore to help you earn and redeem rewards for travel.

Best credit cards for trip cancellation

10 credit and money tips for travel abroad

TSA PreCheck vs. Global Entry vs. Clear: Which is best for you?

How do travel rewards credit cards work?

Explore more categories

  • Card advice
  • Credit management
  • To Her Credit

Questions or comments?

Editorial corrections policies

CreditCards.com is an independent, advertising-supported comparison service. The offers that appear on this site are from companies from which CreditCards.com receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site, including, for example, the order in which they may appear within listing categories. Other factors, such as our own proprietary website rules and the likelihood of applicants' credit approval also impact how and where products appear on this site. CreditCards.com does not include the entire universe of available financial or credit offers. CCDC has partnerships with issuers including, but not limited to, American Express, Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, Citi and Discover.

Since 2004, CreditCards.com has worked to break down the barriers that stand between you and your perfect credit card. Our team is made up of diverse individuals with a wide range of expertise and complementary backgrounds. From industry experts to data analysts and, of course, credit card users, we’re well-positioned to give you the best advice and up-to-date information about the credit card universe.

Let’s face it — there’s a lot of jargon and high-level talk in the credit card industry. Our experts have learned the ins and outs of credit card applications and policies so you don’t have to. With tools like CardMatch™ and in-depth advice from our editors, we present you with digestible information so you can make informed financial decisions.

Our top goal is simple: We want to help you narrow down your search so you don’t have to stress about finding your next credit card. Every day, we strive to bring you peace-of-mind as you work toward your financial goals.

A dedicated team of CreditCards.com editors oversees the automated content production process — from ideation to publication. These editors thoroughly edit and fact-check the content, ensuring that the information is accurate, authoritative and helpful to our audience.

Editorial integrity is central to every article we publish. Accuracy, independence and authority remain as key principles of our editorial guidelines. For further information about automated content on CreditCards.com , email Lance Davis, VP of Content, at [email protected] .

  • Skip to main content
  • Skip to main navigation
  • Skip to search
  • Skip to talk navigation

Advertisement

Use our Travel forum for recommendations on everything from day trips to the best family-friendly holiday destinations .

Prepaid currency card for under 18?

emsiewill · 08/06/2013 16:32

Dd1 is going to South Africa with the school in July, and it has been recommended that she takes a prepaid cash card with her, rather than loads of cash. So far, so sensible. However, I'm not sure if it's possible for an under 18 (she's 16) to have one in their own name. The card that seems to be recommended is the Cash Passport, but I can't see anywhere in it's terms and conditions where it says how old you have to be to have a card. Anyone have any experience with this? Any recommendations for a card in SA Rand (other than the Cash Passport)?

Anyone got any ideas?

I was going to suggest a Post Office travel money card but it says that it is for over 18s. However, you could apply in your name (they know who you are because you have to show passport) and then hand over the card to DD. What's the worst that could happen? - that she loses a bit of pre-paid money?

I got bored am struggling to find details, but try speaking to the Nationwide about their debit cards. I know it's not a cashcard but if there are limited funds in the account and no overdraft facility then, again, she can't do too much damage.

Thanks - the Post Office one hasn't come up in any of the searches I did, so will have a look at the rates on that one. I was thinking that I would have to get one in my name and then give it to her, but didn't want to cause her problems while she's out there. (not sure what problems really as she will only be using it to withdraw cash, but I guess I'm thinking if it gets lost /stolen / eaten by a machine and she has to show ID to sort it out...)

I got one in my name when DD2 went to work in Spain. Bought it online and she used it without any problems

Thanks, I think I will have to go the route of getting it in my name. I just have a tiny fear that something will go wrong, we'll need to get her another one, or she'll have to report it to the police and then it will all start to unravel....

I would speak to the currency card issuer beforehand and see what if any solutions they come up with. I found the age limit for cash passport online - again its 18 years of age. Obtaining a bankcard for her in your name could cause you and she all sorts of problems. If it got swallowed at a machine then a new one in your name would have to be re-issued. Have you spoken to the school about this situation re the cashcards?. They need to be told that their information could be duff. (BTW your DD needs two clear pages in her passport for entry into SA).

Thanks. She has lots of clear pages in her passport as she's never been anywhere interesting! But the school haven't told us that is a requirement... Not sure the school will be able to assist with the cash card issue though. They have encouraged it because the teachers don't want the responsibility of having all of the children's cash to look after, which I understand, but I don't know if they have really thought through the implications, just see them / used them themselves & thought "what a great idea" She has her last exam today & then won't be in school again before she goes. Will see if she can have a word with the teacher tomorrow, if not, will contact them myself.

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

  • Prepaid Cards >
  • Travel Prepaid Cards

Compare our best prepaid travel cards

Simplify your spending abroad with a prepaid travel card, find a prepaid travel card, what is a prepaid travel card.

A  prepaid travel card , also known as a 'travel money card', is  a debit card that you preload with money  and take on holiday. It's a good way to stick to your holiday budget and avoid carrying a lot of cash. 

Prepaid travel cards  can be used at cashpoints, in shops and restaurants , or anywhere that accepts Mastercard or Visa debit or credit cards.

However, a prepaid travel card is  not the same as a  credit card  for two key reasons:

You can only spend the amount you have put on the card; the pre-loaded limit prevents you overspending and getting into debt 

You can choose which currency to preload your travel money card with depending on where you're going, which often means you can secure a better exchange rate

Pick a card with fees that suit how you plan to use it, e.g. choose one with no withdrawal fees if you'll be withdrawing cash often while travelling.”

What are the different types of prepaid travel cards?

Multi-currency prepaid cards.

These can be loaded with several different currencies , making them ideal for both frequent travellers and those taking trips to multiple destinations. For example, you holiday in Europe but often visit the US on business, you could use a prepaid travel card to cover your everyday spending wherever you are by topping it up with say £600 then exchanging £200 into euros and £200 into US dollars. The different currencies will then be stored in separate “wallets” , allowing you to switch currencies when you like.

Sterling prepaid cards

These can be used at home and abroad , making them even more flexible than the best travel cards offering multiple currencies. You don’t need to worry about setting up a wallet for the currency you want to use; the card provider simply converts your pounds to the required currency each time you make a purchase . However, this can make holiday budgeting harder and may increase your costs, depending on the charging structure.

Euro prepaid cards

As well as multi-currency cards, you can take out prepaid cards designed to hold a specific currency . This can work out excellently if you're trying to lock in a good rate now by loading your euro prepaid card, but if you then use the card to buy things in a country that isn't in the eurozone. That's because if you spend in a country that does not use the euro, it converts to the local currency each time you make a purchase, which can work out more expensive.

Prepaid US dollar cards

These keep your balance in dollars . If you spend in countries that use a different currency, the card will exchange your dollars to the local currency, and you might well be charged a fee. The currency exchange takes place as soon as you load your card . If the pound strengthens afterwards, you won’t be getting the best value for money, but it if weakens you'll do well.

How to get a prepaid travel card

Compare cards.

Use our table below to find prepaid travel card that offers the features you need with the lowest fees

Check your eligibility

Make sure you fit the eligibility criteria for your chosen travel money card and can provide the required proof of ID

Apply for the card

Click 'view deal' below and fill out the application form on the provider's website with your personal details

What are the eligibility requirements?

Anyone can get a prepaid travel card. There's no need to have a bank account, and  no credit checks are required . Some providers have a minimum age of 18, but many will let you have a prepaid card from the age of 13 with parental consent. 

Sometimes parents like to use travel money cards to give their children a set amount of  holiday money , and to help teach them about budgeting and financial responsibility. 

Pros and Cons

What exchange rate do you get.

Exchange rates vary over time depending on what is happening in the wider economy. That means the exchange rate you get on a US dollar travel card today, for example, might not be the same as you get tomorrow or next week.

What prepaid cards offer is the ability to lock in today's rate to use later on. That could see you better off if the pound weakens, but might also mean you get a poor deal if the pound strengthens.

That offers is certainty - you'll know exactly how many dollars, euros, lira or whichever currency you load onto the card you have to spend on holiday.

Today’s best exchange rates

At what point is the currency exchanged with prepaid travel cards.

Some prepaid travel cards hold the balance in pounds sterling. These convert the required amount to the local currency every time you spend on them .

The exchange rate isn’t fixed, so you’ll only know how many pounds you have on the card - not what it will buy you while overseas.

But the cards in our comparison table convert your money when you add it onto the card. This means you know the exchange rate used and your card's exact balance before you go away.

Compare the rates before you choose a prepaid card. Although rates can change several times a day, some travel cards will be more competitive than others.

Using a card with competitive exchange rates will mean you get more local currency for your pound.

You also need to watch out for fees as well as withdrawal limits when choosing a card, as these can vary between providers.

What are the alternatives to prepaid travel cards?

Travel credit card.

A travel credit card works just like a regular credit card, with which you can make purchases by borrowing money. The main difference is that travel credit cards don't charge foreign transaction fees for spending abroad. 

Travel money

For many people, cash is the most comfortable form of payment when travelling. It's hassle-free and universally accepted. But it’s riskier, as you'll lose out if it’s lost or stolen and you’ll need to budget carefully to ensure your foreign currency lasts the length of your trip. 

Travel debit card

These days, there are plenty of specialist banks and providers that offer bank accounts that don't charge foreign transaction fees when used abroad. This offers you a chance to take advantage of the best exchange rates. And if it's your main current account, you won't have to worry about topping up your account before you go.

What other costs or fees are there with prepaid travel cards?

As well as the exchange rate, you might have to pay several other charges on your prepaid travel card.

These could include:

A fee to buy the card

A monthly or annual fee for keeping the account open

Cash withdrawal fees

Transaction fees when you pay for anything on the card

Inactivity fees

Loading fees when you add money onto the card

Some cards also charge fees for withdrawing cash or making purchases inside the UK .

But some of the cards in this comparison do not charge fees in countries that use currencies loaded on the card - just make sure the right one is selected before spending on them.

Check carefully for fees before you pick one.

Read our full guide on how much it costs to use a travel prepaid card and how to choose one .

"With multi-currency cards, check you've selected the right currency before you arrive."

How long does it take to get a prepaid travel card?

You can apply online and get a decision immediately. However, it can take up to two weeks before your card arrives in the post.

Can I use any prepaid card abroad?

Yes, you can use prepaid Visa or Mastercard cards in most destinations worldwide.  Travel prepaid cards  are usually cheaper to use overseas than a standard credit or debit card. 

Can I withdraw cash abroad?

Yes, you can use a travel money card in a cash machine outside the UK. Some cards  charge fees  for this, so always check if you want to use your prepaid travel card to make cash withdrawals.

What currencies can my card hold?

All the travel money cards in our comparison can hold a balance in popular currencies such as euros or dollars, while some support more than 50 different currencies.

Can I make international payments?

Yes, some providers let you send or receive money from abroad by logging into your online account, which works in the same way as standard internet banking.

Who sets the exchange rate?

This depends on the company that processes the transactions. Typically, it’s down to  Visa or Mastercard , as well as your card provider, which may take an additional cut.

Can I use my prepaid card in the UK?

You can use prepaid cards to withdraw cash or buy things in the UK or online. However, you may pay fees or even an exchange rate if your card is loaded with a foreign currency.

Explore our prepaid card guides

Should you get a prepaid card?

About the author

Author image

Didn't find what you were looking for?

Our most popular prepaid card deals

Other products that you might need for your trip

Customer Reviews

Trust Pilot stars

I wanted a lot of extras like curtesy …

Trust Pilot stars

Easy site to navigate and quick and…

IMAGES

  1. Visa TravelMoney Prepaid

    prepaid travel money card under 18

  2. Hays Travel Money Card

    prepaid travel money card under 18

  3. Travel Money Card

    prepaid travel money card under 18

  4. Travel Money Card

    prepaid travel money card under 18

  5. Prepaid Travel Money Cards Reviewed

    prepaid travel money card under 18

  6. Travel Card & Prepaid Visa Card

    prepaid travel money card under 18

COMMENTS

  1. 9 Best Prepaid Debit Cards For Minors (Feb. 2024)

    Greenlight is a debit card for kids, managed by parents Parents set flexible controls and receive real-time alerts while kids monitor their balances, set goals, and learn how to manage money Feel secure knowing Greenlight blocks unsafe spending categories Receive Mastercard's Zero Liability Protection

  2. Under 18s Travel Money Card

    Travel money card providers such as Fairfx will allow your child to make purchases anywhere around the globe that accepts Mastercard. A little closer to home, the Fairfx card can be used in the UK without charge, so it can be a great introduction to money management.

  3. Travel spending: Put your kids' cash on a card before they go

    The obvious solution for young people - or anyone with standard bank cards - is a prepaid travel money card.

  4. Prepaid travel money cards: Lock in the best rates

    Borrowing Credit Cards Prepaid travel cards Lock in a top rate before you go away Chris Collier | Edited by Helen Saxon Updated 23 January 2024 If you're planning a trip overseas, making sure you'll be able to pay for things in your destination is crucial. But many don't like taking too much cash in case it's lost or stolen.

  5. Top prepaid cards and bank accounts for under 18s

    If you have children under the age of 18 then a card could be a great alternative to cash to teach them how to spend wisely. There are two main alternatives - prepaid cards or debit cards that come with children's bank accounts. This guide takes you through the advantages and disadvantages of each to help you choose. Top picks for under-18s

  6. Travel Money Card

    ATM withdrawals Get cash from more than 3 million ATMs worldwide (free from Wise fees, up to 200 GBP per month). Spend the leftover money in the UK for free If your trip is cancelled or you've got leftover currency, spend it at home in the UK with a small conversion fee. The most international prepaid travel money card

  7. Travel Money Card

    Learn more We keep your money safe Learn more One card, 40+ currencies. Save up to x4 when you spend internationally App to top-up and convert in real time Check balance and transactions on the app, and get notification for every transaction. Use it instantly with Google Pay or Apple Pay Travelling tomorrow? Use it instantly on your phone.

  8. 4 Best Debit and Prepaid Cards for Kids & Teenagers Under 18 Years Old

    4 Best Debit and Prepaid Cards for Kids & Teenagers Under 18 Years Old Credit Cards 4 Best Debit and Prepaid Cards for Kids & Teenagers Under 18 Years Old By Brian Martucci Date November 16, 2023 Kid-friendly debit cards have lots of built-in advantages, including full adult ownership (usually) and tight controls on transactions.

  9. These Are the Best Prepaid Travel Money Cards in 2024

    Airtime Topup Recharge someone's data or airtime abroad Life Abroad Learn all about living abroad Travel Insurance Learn about the best travel insurance options About Monito Find the best travel money cards to stop banks and ATMs charge fees on travel money while abroad. Compare fees and rates of the best multi currency cards.

  10. Prepaid Travel Card

    For an instant digital kitty, share the Jar if you're travelling with others so everyone can pay in and link their cards to the Jar to spend when you arrive. Your prepaid HyperJar travel card is free to use - zero fees when you spend in any currency, and we pass on Mastercard's best exchange rate to you directly.

  11. US dollar travel card

    Order a travel money card for your American vacation is simple. Step 1. Create your free Wise account. Order your US dollar travel card for a one-time fee of $9 USD. Step 2. Choose currencies. Activate US dollar or any of the other 40+ currencies that we offer, and top your account up. Step 3.

  12. Travelex Money Card: Prepaid card that simplifies travel

    To get the Travelex Money Card, buy it on Travelex's site or pick one up at any Travelex store. You'll need to be at least 18 years old — or your state's age of majority — with valid ID. Once you've received your card, load or reload it online, by phone at 877-414-6359 or through the Travelex Money app. I got the card.

  13. Travel money: tips for teenagers planning a trip abroad this year

    This equates to about £1.50 a month for every £100 withdrawn, assuming you are accepted at the headline interest rate and pay it off ASAP. Meanwhile, Creation is offering the same deal but with ...

  14. Prepaid Travel Card by Mastercard

    Mastercard Prepaid travel card is accepted globally, helps get a benefit from locked-in rates, allows worldwide access & is safer than cash. ... Outside the U.S.: Mastercard Global Service Phone Numbers. Availability of insurance benefits on your card may vary by card issuer. Please refer to your issuing financial institution for complete ...

  15. Best card options when sending your child abroad

    Option No. 1: Let your kid use your card. Making your child an authorized user on your card might be your best option. This strategy has big advantages, including convenience. If you've already ...

  16. Best bank cards for under-18s

    Back Travel insurance Best travel insurance Guide to travel insurance What ... Unlike other prepaid cards, though, the money is protected through the FSCS. ... TSB Under 19s: 11-18: 2.5% up to £ ...

  17. Best prepaid travel money cards

    Sainsbury's, Travelex and Asda had similar offers with free ATM withdrawals and £500 limits. Nectar cardholders can get better exchange rates at Sainsbury's, so this may be worth considering. All the cards allow you to load money that is immediately converted to a foreign currency free of charge.

  18. Pre-paid Currency Card

    Register now Get started Top Currency Card FAQs: What is the best travel money card? There are many different currency cards available, but the Asda Travel Money Card offers the convenience of being able to order online and pick up while you're getting your weekly shop.

  19. Holiday money for your teenagers

    We set up the card by completing a simple form online which took around 30 minutes. The card, together with the second card for my daughter arrived in the post (it takes up to 7 days). Depending on where you are going, you need to apply for the Europe Traveller (the one we tried), Dollar Traveller or Global Traveler card.

  20. Prepaid travel cards pros and cons

    Again: Be sure to read through your card's fine print before embarking. Avoid holds at all costs: In a sense, prepaid travel cards work like debit cards. Be sure to avoid using a prepaid travel card to reserve a hotel room or a rental car, which can trigger a hold that could tie up hundreds of dollars of your cash for a week or longer.

  21. Prepaid currency card for under 18?

    Dd1 is going to South Africa with the school in July, and it has been recommended that she takes a prepaid cash card with her, rather than loads of cash. So far, so sensible. However, I'm not sure if it's possible for an under 18 (she's 16) to have one in their own name. The card that seems to be recommended is the Cash Passport, but I can't ...

  22. Best prepaid travel cards January 2024

    September 15, 2023 What is a prepaid travel card? A prepaid travel card, also known as a 'travel money card', is a debit card that you preload with money and take on holiday. It's a good way to stick to your holiday budget and avoid carrying a lot of cash.

  23. Qantas Travel Money Card

    Contact Mastercard Qantas Travel Money Global Support on 1300 825 302 (from within Australia), or +61 1300 825 302 (if overseas). If eligible, you can collect emergency funds from approved agent locations. The team will let you know the address details, telephone number and opening hours of the nearest agent location. Help & support.