Foreign Cash or Prepaid Travel Card

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Foreign cash vs. prepaid travel card which is best when going abroad?

Are you heading overseas for a short getaway or a trip of a lifetime? We can start to feel a little bit lost when it comes to knowing what the best way to carry foreign currency when abroad.

Before purchasing foreign money online, understanding the benefits and drawbacks both cash and card can have, can help your final decision. This article looks at some of the pros and cons of using foreign cash and prepaid travel cards when travelling overseas.

How can I carry my travel money safely and securely?

It can be daunting for anyone when you know you are responsible for carrying a large amount of money, especially overases. Carrying it around safely and securely can cause headaches and much unwanted stress. In addition to this, the place you’re staying in may not have a safe place where you can keep your travel money locked up safe and securely.

Having a preloaded travel card can help take away the headaches when it comes to looking after your holiday spending money. Not only can you preload the majority of your foreign cash onto a handy little debit card. If you’re heading to multiple countries, more than one type of foreign currency can be loaded at any given time.

Using a prepaid travel card instead of cash, can help reduce the risk of becoming an easy target for thieves. If your travel card becomes lost or stolen, contact the provider and ask them to put a hold on all transactions.

When should I use a prepaid travel card or pay with foreign cash?

Prepaid travel cards are a great way to spend money on transactions of all sizes. Planning on heading to more remote or rural areas on your travels? You may struggle to pay for certain items where cards are not commonly accepted.

Cash on the other hand, can be used to pay for the smaller goods such as a quick coffee. Cash is also useful when bartering at local markets or paying for souvenirs, where card payments are not always accepted.

If you plan on visiting more remote destinations, making sure that you have foreign cash at hand can be really useful. Avoid feeling embarrassed by not being able to pay for small goods because you’ve run out of foreign cash.

Prepaid travel cards are however a great way to pay for larger transactions. In this instance, you don’t have to worry about getting used to local currencies and left wondering if you were overcharged for certain goods.

The majority of prepaid travel cards also come with easy to use mobile apps. This can help you keep track of what you are spending. You can also top-up your card anytime, anywhere if you start running low on funds.

Abhishek Sharma from Foreign Xchange said: “In the last 12 months or so we have noticed a significant increase in travellers purchasing both foreign cash as well as our prepaid Cash Passport travelcards. Retailers are becoming a lot more savvy when it comes to buying their travel money online, as well as spending it when they go overseas.”

Which is the better option when travelling overseas, cash or card?

Ultimately one is not better than the other, and both can provide benefits as well as drawbacks. Carrying out thorough research about different travel destinations can help inform your final decision. In more rural locations you may often struggle to pay for goods using a card so cash can come in handy. Whilst in more urbanised areas, paying in restaurants or for excursions can be a lot easier with a prepaid travel card.

In most instances, if you spend the time comparing all options, you will find the best value for your money. Many prepaid travel cards will allow you to lock in the exchange rate at the time of purchase. When you buy foreign cash online or in-store, you are able to do this as well.

If you’re comfortable with both cash and card, why not split your spending money between both? That way you will ensure that you are never left short. If you start running low on funds, you can always top-up when you are overseas.

Don’t forget to compare currency exchange rates across multiple providers. Weighing up any additional fees such as commission charges or postal costs can help give you a better understanding. Factoring in everything, can give you a truer reflection 

Posted by Graham Morley

Graham Morley

Graham is the business development manager for Compare Holiday Money and an active blogger across the websites.

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