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Thursday, April 18, 2024

11 Best Prepaid Cards to Use Abroad (April 2024)

Best Prepaid Cards To Use Abroad
Mike Randall

Written by: Mike Randall

Mike Randall
Mike Randall

Mike Randall is an expert in the areas of credit scores and credit cards, having written on those topics for national publications for more than a decade. He graduated from California State University with a degree in English literature, and he has an extensive background in personal finance studies. Aside from credit cards and scores, Mike enjoys writing about changes in the subprime market and how they directly impact financial decisions.

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Edited by: Lillian Guevara-Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro
Lillian Guevara-Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of editing and journalism experience to the CardRates team. She has written and edited for major news organizations, including The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the New York Times, and she previously served as an adjunct journalism instructor at the University of Florida. Today, Lillian edits all CardRates content for clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement.

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Advertiser Disclosure

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.

There are prepaid cards designed for all types of travelers and destinations. We’ve explored the many offerings available today and compiled our choices for the best prepaid cards to use abroad. So, if you’re traveling abroad in the near future, keep reading for what we believe to be some of the top prepaid cards out there.

US Travelers | UK Travelers | Euro Travelers

5 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:

Discover® Cashback Debit Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

EXPERT'S RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

  • Cashback – Earn 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases each month
  • No. Fees. Period. That means you won’t be charged an account fee on our Cashback Debit account.
  • Early Pay – Get your paycheck up to two days early with no charge
  • No Credit Impact - You can apply without affecting your credit score.
  • Fraud Protection - You’re never responsible for unauthorized debit card purchases. If you suspect someone else has used your debit card without your permission, let us know.
  • Member FDIC
  • Fee-free overdraft protection
  • No minimum opening deposit and no minimum balance
  • Add cash into your account at Walmart stores nationwide
  • Cash access at over 60,000 no-fee ATMs nationwide
  • 100% US-based customer service available 24/7
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
$0
No Credit Needed
Chime® Checking Account Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

EXPERT'S RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.1/5.0
  • Your Chime Checking Account comes with a Chime Visa® debit card, no monthly fees or maintenance fees.
  • Avoid out-of-network ATM fees and access to 60,000+ fee-free ATMs¹ — more than the top 3 national banks combined!
  • Direct deposits arrive up to 2 days early.²
  • Disclosures: Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services and debit card provided by The Bancorp Bank, N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A., Members FDIC.
  • ¹Out-of-network ATM withdrawal fees may apply except at MoneyPass ATMs in a 7-Eleven, or any Allpoint or Visa Plus Alliance ATM.
  • ²Early access to direct deposit funds depends on the timing of the submission of the payment file from the payer. We generally make these funds available on the day the payment file is received, which may be up to 2 days earlier than the scheduled payment date.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
$0
Not applicable
Brink’s Armored™ Account Review

at Netspend'ssecure website

EXPERT'S RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

  • Brink’s knows Security! 24/7 access to a suite of security benefits to help keep your account armored.
  • Get access to over 100,000 Brink’s Money ATMs.
  • Get paid faster than a paper check with direct deposit.
  • Add funds to your Brink’s Armored Account and use Brinks Armored debit card anywhere Debit Mastercard is accepted.
  • Account opening is subject to registration and ID verification. Terms & fees Apply. Deposit Account is established by Pathward®, N.A., Member FDIC.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
Variable Monthly Fees
Not applicable
NetSpend® Visa® Prepaid Card Review

at NetSpend'ssecure website

EXPERT'S RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

  • With Direct Deposit, you can get paid faster than a paper check.
  • No late fees or interest charges because this is not a credit card.
  • Use the Netspend Mobile App to manage your Card Account on the go and enroll to get text messages or email alerts (Message & data rates may apply).
  • Card use is subject to activation and ID verification. Terms and Costs apply.
  • Card issued by Pathward N.A., Member FDIC. Card may be used everywhere Visa debit card is accepted.
  • See additional NetSpend® Prepaid Visa® details.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
Variable Monthly Fee
Not applicable

5. GO2bank

GO2bank Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

EXPERT'S RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

  • Overdraft protection up to $200 with opt-in and eligible direct deposit*
  • No monthly fees with eligible direct deposit, otherwise $5 per month
  • Earn up to 7% cash back when you buy eGift Cards in the app
  • Get your pay up to 2 days early - Get your government benefits up to 4 days early.*
  • High-yield savings account, 4.50% APY paid quarterly on savings up to $5,000.*
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
All Credit Types Considered

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.

3 Best Prepaid 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. WeSwap

  • Card fee: None
  • Transaction fees: None
  • ATM fee: None for withdrawals up to £200/$200/€200, 2% fee for larger amounts
  • Other fees: 2.49% currency conversion fee

2. Caxton Currency Card

  • Card fee: None
  • Transaction fees: None
  • ATM fee: None abroad; £1.50 domestic

3. FairFX Currency Card

  • Card fee: None
  • Transaction fees: None
  • ATM fee: £1.00 domestic and abroad
  • Other fees: 1.75% out-of-currency fee for purchases outside of its 15 supported currencies

3 Best Prepaid Cards for Other European Travelers

Image of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, at night. Travelers looking to make purchases in Euros also have a range of prepaid card options to help make purchasing easier, many of which charge the same low fees as offered by cards for U.K. travelers.

Here are some of the best deals on prepaid cards for travel around Europe:

1. FairFX Currency Card

  • Card fee: None (when minimum amount is preloaded onto card)
  • Transaction fees: None
  • ATM fee: £1.00 domestic and abroad
  • Other fees: 1.75% out-of-currency fee for purchases outside of its 15 supported currencies

2. Moneycorp Red Explorer Mastercard®

  • Card fee: None
  • Transaction fees: None
  • ATM fee: None
  • Other fees: 4.99% foreign exchange fee

3. Moneycorp White Explorer Masterard®

  • Card fee: None
  • Transaction fees: None
  • ATM fee: GB£1.50, EU€1.75, US$2.30
  • Other fees: 4.99% foreign exchange fee

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. 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

Advertiser Disclosure

CardRates.com is a free online resource that offers valuable content and comparison services to users. To keep this resource 100% free, we receive compensation for referrals for many of the offers listed on the site. Along with key review factors, this compensation may impact how and where products appear across CardRates.com (including, for example, the order in which they appear). CardRates.com does not include the entire universe of available offers. Editorial opinions expressed on the site are strictly our own and are not provided, endorsed, or approved by advertisers.