Prepaid Currency Cards.

November 2011 : Details on bottom of page on how to get a free pre-paid currency card with FairFX.

Prepaid Currency Cards Review.

What are prepaid fx currency cards?
They are a relatively new idea and are  taking over from travellers cheques and until recently i was not aware of the existence of these prepaid currency cards. You basically have a plastic card that you pre-load with your currency ie dollars or euros. Your Prepaid Currency Card is not a credit or charge card but it works like a  card. It is like a prepaid MasterCard® that carries a variable amount of money dependent on how much has been loaded on to it. Each time you use the card, the purchase amount is deducted from the available balance and you are also able to  withdraw the funds as and when at the local atm at your holiday destination. You can also add extra foreign currency at any time should you need too.
What are the advantages?
The first is the security aspect as unlike having all your holiday money in cash if you have the prepaid currency card stolen  you can get the funds on the prepaid currency card back.  Below is an explanation taken from the CaxtonFX prepaid currency card literature "You should treat your prepaid currency card like cash in a wallet. If it is lost or stolen, you may lose some or all of the money on your card. As a result, you must keep your Caxton card safe and not let anyone else use it. If you are issued with a PIN, you must immediately memorise it and destroy the notification. You must keep your PIN secret at all times. Do not write it down or reveal it to anyone. We recommend that you check the balance on your card regularly online. If you do lose your card or it is stolen or you suspect that your card has been used by someone, you must tell us as soon as you can  We will then cancel your card. We will ask the police to investigate any suspected misuse of your card and they may need more information and assistance from you. We will refund the amount of any transactions which the investigations show are not authorised by you, provided you have kept your card and PIN secure. However, if the investigations show that any disputed transaction was authorised by you or you have not kept your card or PIN secure, we will not refund the transaction amount. So unlike cash you are covered if you follow the rules.
Second is that these cards do not carry a foreign currency exchange rate fee, which some card providers charge a fee of approximately 2.75% which they add on to the exchange rate.
And finally the exchange rate provided by the suppliers of prepaid currency cards is normally better than that provided by currency exchange shops.

What are the disadvantages?
The first that these prepaid currency cards require you to put the funds on before you go away so if you are looking to fund the holiday spending money on a credit card then these won't help.
The next is that you will still be charged an ATM withdrawal fee at the foreign ATM but this should be less than most debit cards or credit card providers charge and finally they do not provide the protection that a credit card would should something you buy prove to be faulty.
These are a great alternative to travellers cheques and for security those who traditional carry all their holiday money in cash could consider carrying some of it on one of these prepaid fx currency cards.

Popular providers include Fairfx

FairFX Prepaid Currency Card

prepaid foreign currency cards the pros and cons for the holiday traveller,
 prepaid credit cards