Prepaid cards: the must have product for 2012?

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

Kevin Harrington, managing director of the Global Prepaid Exchange, reveals how prepaid credit cards can save you money when you’re abroad on holiday

Charges can really rack up when using foreign exchange services, either in the UK or abroad.  For some, a credit card is the easiest option, and there are some that offer good value when abroad – but setting up a new account before going on holiday might be out of the question for the time-poor.

Prepaid cards look and are used very much like credit and debit cards.  But instead of the money coming out of a bank account, or getting a bill at the end of the month, you ‘load’ money onto the card either online or at a local shop – the number of retailers offering prepaid cards is steadily growing.  There is a small fee for the card itself, but from then on there are no hidden costs.  You can use the card anywhere that takes credit cards – many people don’t realise that you can use a prepaid card just as easily and widely as a credit card when travelling.

Kevin Harrington

One of the major benefits for many, is that you don’t need to have a bank account or a good credit history to get a prepaid card.  You can even have one if you’ve been bankrupt or are under 18.

If you use a prepaid card when going on holiday you can also save money on exchange rates, as they stay at the competitive rate you paid when you loaded the card and aren’t subject to change.  You also completely avoid transaction fees which can be hidden and very high.

As with credit cards, it is really important to shop around to find the best rates, particularly when you are planning on using the card abroad.  Prepaid cards that offer the best rates for travelers are available from companies such as Caxton FX and Travelex.  Like with any financial product check you’re using a reputable company.

What do you think? Do you believe that that there are benefits to using a prepaid card abroad or do you think that prepaid cards only cause confusion? CD-Traveller wants to hear your thoughts!

 

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