Travel is one of the most enjoyable ways for you to spend your time, but often comes with associated costs and worries which can add stress to what is supposed to be a relaxing vacation.
One of the ways for you to minimize money troubles when you are abroad is to use Prepaid Visa Cards for travel. There are a wide range of benefits to using these cards which will help you to gain more control over your spending while on a trip.
However, how do you know that you are using the best prepaid travel debit card for you? There are lots of options out there with different offers and features, so we'll talk you through our pick of the top prepaid Visa cards for you to consider in 2023.
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What is a Prepaid Debit Card?
Before we assess your options, we should establish exactly what we mean by a prepaid debit card. A prepaid travel card will allow you to make withdrawals from an ATM and payments in local stores while you are traveling.
These cards are a wonderful way for you to control your spending when you are abroad, as you will not be able to spend any more than you have prepaid on the card before you left. They are also a much safer way for you to travel in comparison to walking around with large wads of local cash on your person.
You also don't need to worry about unexpected extra purchase fees, foreign transaction fees, and currency exchange fluctuations when exchanging money abroad. All of which can help to make your travel less stressful and more seamless.
How Do You Use a Prepaid Debit Card When Traveling?
Before you leave for your trip, you will be able to apply with a card issuer and receive a prepaid credit card or debit card and can then add money to the card online. You'll then be able to switch your funds to the currency you will be using abroad - giving you a clear idea of how much you have in local cash before you leave. (This may not be true for all cards.)
The money that you load onto your prepaid card will not be connected to your usual credit card or bank account. So, if you do lose your Visa prepaid card, you won't have to worry about all your funds being drained.
The Pros and Cons of Using Prepaid Debit Cards for Travel
Pros of Using Prepaid Visa Cards
- Set your budget before you travel and monitor your spending while abroad.
- Get a clear idea of how much you will have to spend in local currency.
- Use your card in ATMs, shops, and possibly online transactions while you are traveling.
- Gift prepaid cards to family members and friends when they travel.
- Lock down your currency exchange rate before you head abroad or reach the airport.
- Some premium cards include benefits such as insurance, airport lounge access, and even concierge services!
Cons of Using Prepaid Mastercard and Visa Cards
- There may be a delay of a few days in loading cash to your card. So, you should make sure to get this done before you start traveling.
- Currency exchanges can fluctuate, so you may not always get the most favorable exchange when loading your cash (but a prepaid card offers certainty ahead of time.)
- You won't be able to access an overdraft when using the card.
- Some hotels or locations may not accept these types of cards over traditional credit cards.
What are the Best International Prepaid Visa Cards?
Revolut Prepaid Credit Card
- Can be used in the UK, EEA, North America, Switzerland, and Singapore.
- Apply for a free card or a premium prepaid card for $7.99 or $13.99 a month.
The Revolut card is available for use in the US, UK, Switzerland, Singapore, and Canada. You will be able to hold funds for up to 28 currencies on the card and spend in over 150 currencies using a linked card.
The exchange rate available on the card is generally an average or mid-market rate and you will need to pay small charges for any currency exchanges you enact over the weekend or in large amounts.
Weekend transactions have a 0.5% fee and you'll also have to pay this if you exchange over $6,500 in one month. ATM withdrawals over $300 may also have a fee applied.
Wise Prepaid Debit Card
- Use it in the USA, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, and Singapore.
- No cost to open an account.
Wise is a great option for spending in the US, UK, Europe, Australia, or New Zealand. You can open an account for free online which will allow you to load up cash in multiple currencies.
Over 40 currencies are available on your account, and you'll also be given local bank details for the US, New Zealand, Australia, and Canada which will allow you to receive payments into your account with no extra costs.
The exchange rate is again mid-market generally and you will be able to get a clear idea of your exchange rate for a low, upfront fee. You can withdraw up to $250 worth of currency each month for free. After this, you will need to pay ATM fees.
N26 Prepaid Debit Card
- Use this card in the Eurozone and the UK.
- Open a free account or premium cards for $9.90 or $16.90 a month.
This German bank's prepaid credit card is available to residents of the US, UK, and Europe and allows them to open an account for international purchases while traveling.
There is a 1.7% fee on the free cards, for paid plans you can have five free withdrawals before paying a €2 fee moving forward. You can manage your account using an associated mobile app.
In contrast to the two options above, you don't need to switch your dollars to local currency in advance. Instead, you can spend your dollars as you go at the current Visa exchange rates with no extra fees associated. However, you may need to pay ATM withdrawal fees.
Bottom Line - Best Prepaid Visa Cards for International Travel
Adding funds to prepaid Visa and MasterCards before you leave is a terrific way to get better control of your finances while abroad. You'll be able to budget correctly, ensure you don't overspend, and get a good idea about exchange rates before you leave.
All of this will make your next trip a lot less stressful when it comes to money management and travel budgets. Take a look at our top picks for the best prepaid visa cards above and think about which one will be the best pick for your next vacation.
How Much Money Can You Travel With Domestically?
Whether you are traveling domestically or flying internationally, there is a lot of admin and documentation you need to take care of before you leave.