You’ve picked your destination, loaded the car with as much as it will carry and bought your European breakdown cover and travel insurance. Now you need to think about spending money. You could exchange pounds for euros at your bank or the post office; order online with your debit or credit card; or get a euro prepaid card. You’re probably used to doing the first two, but what is a euro prepaid card? And what are the pros and cons of one? We’ve put together this simple guide to euro prepaid cards to help make choosing how to carry your currency a little bit easier.
How does a euro travel card work?
A euro prepaid card looks like a normal debit or credit card that you can ‘load’ with a specified amount of money from your bank account at that day's exchange rate. You can then use it as you would a debit or credit card in any country where the euro is a legal tender. You can top up and check your balance online, by phone or, in some cases, by text.
What are the advantages and disadvantages?
The prepaid euro card could save you money by avoiding the fees debit and credit cards normally charge for overseas use, which are usually around 2.75% to 2.99%. Also, as there’s no overdraft facility on the cards, you won’t be able to get carried away on holiday and find yourself in debt on your return home. This allows you to budget exactly for the amount of money you want to spend while away. That said, if the balance runs low and you haven’t quite finished your souvenir shopping, you can add funds whenever you want to, at home or abroad.
Another benefit of the card is that if you lose it, you can simply cancel the card to prevent anyone else from spending your money, unlike with cash. And if your euro prepaid card is stolen, most card providers will send you an emergency card or cash replacement.
There are, as with all things, a few downsides to the prepaid card. Depending on your provider, you may be charged an initial set-up fee, ATM fees and "inactivity " fees which come into play if you leave any money on the card for a long period of time. Also, prepaid cards are not eligible for protection under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme .
So make sure you read the small-print and understand the charge that you could incur in order to make the most out of this way of spending your euros.
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