Multi-purpose prepaid travel cards remove the stress of travelling with cash or travellers cheques. Instead of spending time encashing travellers' cheques or changing money through money changers, you can just go ahead and use the travel card just like any other cash card, debit or credit card. You can load them with multiple currencies before you travel and reload as required. A prepaid international travel card which can be used at any MasterCard enabled ATMs or POS is also a huge plus.
To make it simpler for you to choose from the options available, we have listed out a few considerations to keep in mind before you decide. So what should you look for when you choose the prepaid travel card?
1. Check for the small print – Check for hidden costs and fees. Surprising as it may sound, some cards even charge you for not using them. Check for application and replacement fees, transaction fees, inactivity charges, paying for the prepaid card, cash withdrawals at ATM machines and SMS notifications among others.
2. Currency exchange rate locking facility - Always look to see if your prepaid travel card has exchange rate lock facility. Let’s explain this feature a bit further. Suppose you have planned your holiday in the US, the following week. You will have to check out the exchange rates to estimate expenses. So, if you find the rates are ideal or if you expect a sudden increase in rates causing you to spend more out of your wallet, the best move is to lock the currency rate then and there. By locking the exchange rate, you will not be affected by the fluctuations and will benefit from a better rate, should the dollar exchange rate further increase after you have done the transaction. This gives you total control of how much you have spent in your local currency due to the volatile currency market. It is highly recommended that you choose a travel card, which allows you to lock your currency exchange rates on the day of the transaction.
3. Multi- currency feature – While you are travelling across multiple geographies, access to multi-currencies is crucial. Hence check if your travel card allows you to load multiple currencies on the same card.
4. SMS feature - Ensure the card provider has free SMS facility to notify you of all your expenses. Being a prepaid card, you should be able to track your expenses and keep a budget.
5. Reloadable facility - If your child is studying abroad or your spouse is travelling and is in need of cash, you should be able to load currency on their travel cards as and when needed. Ensure the card provider is able to offer this without levying exorbitant charges.
6. Prompt customer care - Travelling away from your country means you are relying on the card provider for your daily cash requirements. Check if your customer support is available 24 /7 by phone or if a local number is available in the countries you are travelling to. If you lose your card, you need to be able to report it and have it blocked with immediate effect and a replacement card should be made available within 24 hours.
7. Money security - Ensure you use a card provider who is recognised and verified. This goes a great way in determining the security of your money. If you have concluded your tour, check if there is any currency left on your card, and encash it in your home currency within the stipulated time.
8. Limits - It's also worth checking the cards for loading and transaction limits. Check fees and limits to ensure if the card suits your needs.
9. Additional benefits - Also check if you could have an additional prepaid travel card for a Partner or a child so your joint expenses are managed.
Last but not the least, check for added benefits with your prepaid travel card such as free travel insurance, discounted entries to tourist sites, reward points, early bird offers for tours, cashbacks and more. Some cards such as gocash offer 30% off on selected theme park entries or travel insurance to Schengen countries, which is mandatory for visa requirements.
In conclusion, look for a prepaid travel card or an international prepaid travel card which is convenient to use, flexible, secure, and has facilities and offers besides excellent customer care. Never settle for less.
Keywords: Currency exchange rate, international prepaid travel card
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