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

By: Mike Randall • May 22, 2017

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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:

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.:

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.:

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

Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

About the Author

Mike Randall

Mike Randall is most knowledgeable in the areas of credit scores and credit cards, having written on those topics and others for the past eight years. He graduated from California State University with a degree in English literature, and he has an extensive background in personal finance studies. When he's not keeping readers informed of changes in the subprime market, Mike’s hobbies include sailing and gourmet cooking. Connect with Mike on Google+.