11 Best “Prepaid Cards” to Use Abroad (2017)

credit card advice

Mike Randall
By: Mike Randall
Posted: May 22, 2017
Opinions expressed here are ours alone, and are not provided, endorsed, or approved by any issuer. Site may be compensated through the issuer affiliate programs.

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:

Image of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, at night.

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:

Pink NetSpend® Visa® Prepaid Card Review

at NetSpend'ssecure website

  • Get paychecks or government benefits checks up to 2 days faster* with Direct Deposit.
  • Sign up for NetSpend Payback Rewards and earn cash back.
  • No late fees or credit card debt because this is not a credit card.
  • Use the Mobile App to manage your account on the go and get real time text message alerts (Message & data rates may apply).
  • Funds availability not guaranteed. Card used is subject to activation and ID verification. Terms and Costs Apply.
  • *Card issued by MetaBank®, Member FDIC. "Apply Now" for full details.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
Variable Monthly Fee
No Credit Check
AccountNow® Prepaid Visa® Card Review

at AccountNow'ssecure website

PREPAID RATING

★★★★★
4.6

OVERALL RATING

2.5/5.0
  • $0 Monthly Fee Pay As You Go Plan (See Cardholder Agreement on site)
  • No Credit Check. No Overdraft Fees, ever.
  • Free† direct deposit and online bill payment
  • Use it Everywhere Visa Debit Card Accepted in the U.S.
  • Easy Online/Mobile Account Access
  • Perfect for Occasional Usage
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
$0
No Credit Check
READYdebit® Visa Prepaid Card Review

at READYdebit'ssecure website

PREPAID RATING

★★★★
4.3

OVERALL RATING

2.0/5.0
  • Instant Account Number - A Great Card for your Money.
  • Free† Direct Deposit — Paycheck, Benefit Checks, Tax Refund Checks
  • Easy Online Bill Payment & Mobile Account Access
  • No Purchase Transaction Fees
  • No Risk of Overdraft Fees or Balance Minimums
  • Withdraw Cash at ATMs or Get Cash Back with Purchases
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
$9.95 monthly fee
No Credit Check
READYdebit® Visa Latte Control Prepaid Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

PREPAID RATING

★★★★
4.2

OVERALL RATING

2.0/5.0
  • $0 Monthly Fee Pay As You Go Plan (See Cardholder Agreement on site)
  • No Credit Check or ChexSystems Checks
  • No Risk of Overdraft Fees
  • No Bounced Checks - Ever!
  • Free* Direct Deposit
  • Easy Cash Reloading at 50,000 + Retail Locations
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
See website for Details
See website for Details
N/A
N/A
See site for details

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:

Photo of the Statue of Liberty.

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.:

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:

Image of Hawaii, U.S.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.:

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