11 Best Prepaid Cards to Use Abroad in 2018

By: Mike Randall • 8/16/2018

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.

Advertiser Disclosure

Advertiser Disclosuretap to close

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 from many of the offers listed on the site. Along with key review factors, this compensation may impact how and where products appear across the site (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.

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.

US Travelers | UK Travelers | Euro Travelers

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 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. WeSwap

  • Card fee: None
  • Transaction fees: None in 18 Wallet countries
  • ATM fee: None for transactions of £200/$200/€200 or more
  • Other fees: Variable swap fee based on turnaround time

2. Caxton Mastercard Currency Card

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

3. FairFX Dollar Currency Card

  • Card fee: None
  • Transaction fees: None
  • ATM fee: $2
  • Other fees: 1.75% out-of-currency fee for non-USD purchases

4. ICE Travellers US Dollar Prepaid Card

  • Card fee: None
  • Transaction fees: None
  • ATM fee: None
  • Bonus: 1.5% cash back on transactions over $50/£50

3 Best Prepaid Cards for Other European Travelers

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 UK travelers.

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

1. ICE Travellers Euro Prepaid Card

  • Card fee: None
  • Transaction fees: None
  • ATM fee: None
  • Bonus 1.5% Cashback on transactions over €50

2. FairFX Euro Currency Card

  • Card fee: None (when minimum amount is preloaded onto card)
  • Transaction fees: None
  • ATM fee: €1.50
  • Other fees: 1.75% out-of-currency fee for non-EUR purchases

3. ACE-FX

  • Card fee: None
  • Transaction fees: None
  • ATM fee: €1.25

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

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 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. Connect with Mike on Google+.