Prepaid card for holidays and travel
Avoid the hassle of exchanging currency, cashing traveller’s cheques, or withdrawing money before, during, or after your holiday. Instead, simply load your prepaid card with money and take it with you. Our Getsby cards are accepted at over 36 million merchants worldwide.
Click below to learn more about our virtual cards.
You thought the time would never come. You’ve been counting down the days for what seems like forever, and, finally, your long-awaited, well-deserved holiday is here. But while it’s great to be away, travelling doesn’t come without drawbacks. Trying to navigate your way around a new city is hard enough without having to worry about things like thieves. But sadly, more than 400,000 tourists fall victim to pick-pockets every single day.
Imagine if you were one of them. If you had all your credit cards and debit cards on you, and a hefty wad of cash, your dream holiday could turn into a nightmare in just a split second. Of course, there are travel tips you should take on board to ensure this doesn’t happen — such as leaving half of your money and cards locked away in your hotel safe, keeping an emergency stash in another pocket or bag or ensuring you only deal in traveller’s cheques. But did you know there’s an even better way to avoid the stress of losing cash abroad?
If you’ve loaded your travel money onto a prepaid card and it gets stolen, there’s no denying it will be slightly inconvenient. However, all is not lost. Once you realise your card has gone, you’ll usually be able to freeze it in your issuer’s app to prevent anyone else from using it, instantly transfer your funds to a different account or — if you have a virtual card like Getsby’s Black Card — you can order another card that you’ll be able to use right away.
There are many other benefits of using prepaid cards for spending abroad. With Getsby’s cards, you get an extra layer of protection since your personal payment details remain protected. Plus, if you’re travelling on a strict budget, then you can load a set allowance onto your card and only spend what’s on your card.
Let’s take a look at exactly what prepaid travel cards are and how they work.
What is a prepaid travel card?
Also known as a “travel money card” or a “prepaid currency card”, a prepaid travel card is a card you preload money onto so that you can then make card payments or withdraw cash abroad.
They work the same way as a credit or debit card, but you have no credit limit or overdraft facility, so you can only spend how much you’ve loaded onto the card.
Read on to learn more about prepaid cards and the advantages of using them on holidays.
How do prepaid cards work abroad?
Prepaid cards work a lot like debit cards. When putting money onto your card, you can choose whether to load it with the currency of the country you’re visiting at the exchange rate at the time or load it in pound sterling and use that (or the next) day’s exchange rate when you pay for something.
If you’re trying to budget, it might be best to lock in an exchange rate by loading the foreign currency on straight away, as that way, you’ll know exactly how much you’re spending. And, if you realise you’ve under-budgeted, you can always top up your card while you’re abroad, either by phone, text message, online or via an app. Most cards come with an app that lets you check your balance, review your transaction history and load on money quickly and easily.
As well as being able to withdraw money from ATMs that display your card issuer’s symbol (for example, MasterCard or Visa), you can use your prepaid card to make purchases in shops, ticket offices and restaurants all over the world.
When you return home, you can transfer the funds back to your bank account for a fee if you have any foreign currency left on your card. Or, if you have any sterling left on your prepaid card, you can use it to pay for things when you get back home.
Helpful tip: When using your prepaid card abroad, you may be given the choice of paying in pounds or the local currency. If you’re given this option, it’s generally best to be charged in the local currency, as exchange rates can be high.
Do prepaid cards have foreign transaction fees?
When you make an international card purchase using your prepaid card, in many cases, you will be charged a small foreign transaction fee.
Note that many international ATMs will also charge you for withdrawing cash.
We’ll talk more about fees later on.
What are the different types of prepaid travel cards?
There are three main types of prepaid travel cards:
- Multi-currency travel cards — If you’re visiting more than one country on your trip or you want to use your prepaid card on multiple holidays, a multi-currency card could be the best option. This is because you can have several currencies on the card and choose whether to lock in an exchange rate when you load a currency or transfer it from sterling into a different currency later. Bear in mind, though, that while these cards can hold multiple currencies, you may be charged additional top-up fees for exceeding the maximum amount that can be loaded onto them.
- Single-currency travel cards — As the name suggests, a single-currency travel card only allows you to exchange your sterling for one other currency. When you load money onto the card, it will be converted at the exchange rate that applies on that day. This can be handy if you’re planning a holiday to a single country or a trip around Europe where you’re visiting countries that all accept Euros. However, some require you to load a minimum amount, and you may have to pay a fee for transferring any leftover funds back to your bank account.
- Sterling prepaid travel cards — Sterling prepaid cards offer the most flexibility in that you top up with sterling, which is only converted into local currency when you make a purchase abroad. These types of cards are ideal if you’re travelling through multiple countries. However, budgeting is harder as you can’t be certain of what exchange rate you’ll get.
How does a Getsby virtual card work?
Getsby offers two prepaid cards — both virtual, meaning they’re better for the environment and save space in your wallet.
The Virtual Green Card is a reloadable card that’s valid for three years, and you can apply for one without a credit check.
The Virtual Black Card is a disposable, single-load card that can be loaded with up to €500 per card. Again, you can apply for it without a credit check and have up to 50 of them per month, meaning you can spread your funds across different cards.
Where are Getsby virtual cards accepted?
You can use a Getsby prepaid virtual card worldwide at more than 36 million merchants that accept Mastercard.
How much does a prepaid travel card cost?
There are various fees to be aware of with prepaid travel cards, but how much you’ll be charged depends on your issuer. Some of the most common fees include:
- Application, sign-up or card purchase fees — A one-off charge to open an account, ranging from about £5 to £10.
- ATM withdrawal fees — A small charge every time you withdraw cash from an ATM.
- Currency service fees — A charge for making a transaction in a currency not included on your card.
- Inactivity fees — You may be charged around £2 per month for not using the card in 12 months.
- Monthly or annual fees — You can be charged between £1 and £15 per month just to have the card.
- Refund fees — You’ll normally be charged for transferring any foreign currency back to your bank account, so make sure you don’t overload it with more funds than you need.
- Replacement fees — If the card is lost or stolen, you may have to pay for a replacement card or a cancellation fee.
- Top-up fees — Usually, these two to three per cent top-up fees will only apply when you use a credit card to top up, so consider using a debit card instead.
- Transaction fees — A small amount will be charged every time you make a purchase.
You don’t pay transaction fees or balance reversal fees with the Getsby Green Card and the Getsby Black Card. Like many other prepaid travel cards, you will be charged a foreign transaction fee (FX fee) of two per cent, as well as an activation fee of €2.99 or €3.99 plus three per cent, and Green Card ATM withdrawals cost €2, while top-up fees are also €2. However, Green Card monthly fees are just €0.99 after the second month; with the Black Card, you don’t get charged a monthly fee at all.
What are the exchange rates for prepaid cards?
Again, what exchange rate you get depends on your provider, but for most prepaid travel cards, it will either be set by the card network (Mastercard or Visa) or the “interbank rate”, which is the rate the banks use when exchanging currencies.
Your card provider will usually also add a commission on top of that.
What are the benefits of using a prepaid card for spending abroad?
There are many advantages to using prepaid cards for your holiday money:
- As mentioned at the beginning of this article, if you lose your prepaid card, you can freeze your card, transfer funds onto another card or order a replacement card instantly.
- Fees and charges are usually less than those for credit or debit cards.
- If you manage to lock in a good exchange rate at the time of loading, your holiday money will go further.
- Prepaid cards are accepted in millions of places all over the world.
- Prepaid cards are better than carrying cash, which can’t be replaced if it’s lost or stolen.
- The eligibility criteria aren’t as strict as with credit or debit cards, and you won’t be subject to a credit check.
- You can budget better, as you can only spend what’s on the card.
- You can’t become overdrawn, as the card isn’t linked to your bank account.
- You don’t risk losing your debit and credit cards, as you can leave them in your hotel safe when you’re out and about.
Who can benefit from using a travel money card?
Prepaid travel cards are ideal for people with bad or no credit rating. No credit checks are required, so people who have just moved to a different country or younger people who haven’t yet built a credit history will find them especially beneficial.
They’re also a good option for students travelling abroad, especially those who want to stick to a strict budget.
If you’re considering applying for a Getsby virtual card for your next trip, you’ll be eligible as long as you’re at least 18 years old and an EU or UK citizen or you have a B visa.
Prepaid travel cards are cards you preload money onto so that you can make card payments or withdraw cash abroad. They work similarly to credit and debit cards, but you have no credit limit or overdraft facility, so you can only spend how much you’ve loaded onto the card, making it much easier to stick to a budget.
There are many other benefits of using prepaid cards for spending abroad, the main one being that if you lose your prepaid card, you can freeze your card, transfer funds onto another card or order a replacement instantly. With a virtual card like the Getsby Black Card, you can add a replacement to your Apple or Google wallet and use it immediately. Some of the other advantages of using prepaid cards for your holiday money are that fees are usually less than they are with credit or debit cards, and if you manage to lock in a good exchange rate at the time of loading, your money will go further, and they are accepted in millions of places, all over the world.