11 Best “Prepaid Cards” to Use Abroad (2016)

11 Best "Prepaid Cards" to Use Abroad (2015)

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Mike Randall
By: Mike Randall
Posted: January 4, 2016
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The advantages of prepaid cards are obvious: they’re safer than cash, easy to get, universally accepted and convenient to use. Some prepaid cards can even save you on exchange fees if you pre-load them with the local currency before you leave home. Finally, since a prepaid travel card isn’t a credit card, it requires no credit check or top-tier credit score.

Here are the best prepaid cards to use abroad for 2016:

4 Best Prepaid Cards for American Travelers:

While travelers from Europe, Asia and the Middle East have been using prepaid travel cards for years, they are a relatively new phenomenon for American travelers. As such, there are fewer prepaid card choices available for Americans traveling abroad.

Here are four of the best and most widely available prepaid travel cards available in the U.S., along with their primary features:

1. American Express GlobalTravel Card

  • Accepted around the world
  • No monthly fee
  • No inactivity fees
  • Funds never expire
  • Currency conversion fee: 2.7%
  • Foreign ATM withdrawal fee: $2
  • Free replacement card
Image of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, at night.

Prepaid travel cards are a relatively new phenomenon for American travelers.

2. VISA TravelMoney Card 

  • Most widely accepted card in the world
  • Funds never expire
  • Currency conversion fee: 2.0%
  • Foreign ATM withdrawal fee: $3.95
  • Monthly fee: $5.95
  • VISA purchase protection
  • No free replacement card

3. MasterCard Prepaid Travel Card

  • Widely accepted around the world
  • No monthly fee
  • No reload fee
  • Inactivity fee: $3
  • Foreign ATM withdrawal fee: $2.50
  • Currency conversion fee: 5.5%
  • Free replacement card

4. Travelex Cash Passport Card

  • Accepted anywhere MasterCard is accepted
  • No monthly fee
  • No reload fee
  • Inactivity fee: $3
  • Foreign ATM withdrawal fee: $2.50
  • Currency conversion fee: 5.5%
  • Free replacement card

When considering one of these prepaid travel cards, it’s also important to consider things like maximum ATM withdrawal amounts, maximum load and reload balance amounts and other spending restrictions. There are advantages and disadvantages to each card type, so you should always do your research carefully.

4 Best Prepaid Dollar Cards for U.K. Travelers:

Travelers heading to the U.S. from the United Kingdom have a lot more options available when it comes to prepaid travel cards. In fact, they can purchase prepaid dollar cards from a variety of sources.

Here are some of the best prepaid dollar cards for Brits planning to visit the U.S.:

Photo of the Statue of Liberty.

Travelers heading to the U.S. from the U.K. have more options available when it comes to prepaid travel cards.

1. FairFX Dollar Currency Card

  • Exchange rate: 5736 GBP à USD
  • Card fee: None
  • Transaction fees: None
  • ATM fee: $2

2. My Travel Cash

  • Exchange rate: 5358 GBP à USD
  • Card fee: None
  • Transaction fees: None
  • ATM fee: None
  • Bonus: 1% cash back on purchases made in dollars

3. ICE Travellers CashCard

  • Exchange rate: 5266 GBP à USD
  • Card fee: None
  • Transaction fees: None
  • ATM fee: None
  • Bonus: 5% cashback and free back-up card

4. Tuxedo Travel Currency Dollar Card

  • Exchange rate: 4765 GBP à USD
  • Card fee: £95 (£10.00 credit when used)
  • Transaction fees: None
  • ATM fee: $2
  • Bonus: Free mobile balance checker app

3 Best Prepaid Cards for Other European Travelers:

Travelers from other European countries also have a variety of choices for prepaid travel cards.

Here are some of the best deals on prepaid cards for other European visitors to the U.S.:

Image of Hawaii, U.S.

FairFX, ACE-FX and ICE are some of the best prepaid cards for other European visitors to the U.S.

1. FairFX Euro Currency Card

  • Exchange rate: 3858 Euro à USD
  • Card fee: None (when minimum amount is preloaded onto card)
  • Transaction fees: None
  • ATM fee: €1.50
  • Free card loading (debit/bank transfer)

2. ACE-FX 

  • Exchange rate: 3790 Euro à USD
  • Card fee: None
  • Transaction fees: None
  • ATM fee: €1.25

3. ICE Travellers Cashcard Euro

  • Exchange rate: 3402 Euro à USD
  • Card fee: None
  • Transaction fees: None
  • ATM fee: None
  • Bonus 1.5% cash back on purchases over €50

Enjoy Your Travels!

Prepaid cards have long been a favorite among budget-minded folks and those who want to gain more control over their finances. Recent surveys show travelers – especially those who travel abroad – are using prepaid travel cards more frequently during their journeys.

Whether you’re traveling to Europe, the United Kingdom or here in the U.S., consider a prepaid travel card instead of carrying cash. Prepaid travel cards can keep you on budget, get you a better exchange rate and protect you from fraud or theft. That lets you spend more time enjoying your vacation and less time worrying about your money. Bon voyage!

Photo credits: deanza.edu, dvlotterystategov.us, hawaii-all-inclusive.net