Compare prepaid travel cards from top providers

You'll only find results from genuine companies. Our data experts check each company before we add them to our comparisons.

Caxton prepaid cards logo
Currensea logo
FairFX
Post Office
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How to compare and get a prepaid travel card

1

Compare cards

Use our prepaid card table to find one that offers all the features you need that will cost the least in fees.

2

Check the eligibility

Make sure you fit the eligibility criteria for your chosen card, and have proof of ID.

3

Apply for the card you want

Click 'view deal' and fill out the application form on the provider's website with your personal details.

4

Start using your prepaid card

Once you receive the card and your PIN, start to use and manage your prepaid card.

Prepaid travel card deals

6 results found, sorted by affiliated products. How we order our comparisons. Commission earned affects the table's sort order.
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Get up to £40 off your first card load. T&Cs apply
FairFX Currency Card
Administration fee
No fees
Foreign transactions
Free
Overseas ATMs
£1
Load charges
Bank transfer: free, debit card: free
FairFX Currency Card
Free multi-currency card that lets you hold 15 major currencies. Lock in some of the best rates available before you travel. Spend in the UK without any added fees and earn at least 3.5% cashback at some top high street retailers, T&Cs apply.
Eligibility
Permanent UK Resident
Minimum Age18 years
Better than a pre-paid travel card! No topping up and no fees.
Currensea Travel Debit Card
Administration fee
No fees
Foreign transactions
Free
Overseas ATMs
Free
Load charges
Debit card: free
Currensea Travel Debit Card
Currensea offers the UK’s first direct debit card, providing the best FX rates compared to the banks, Fair FX & the Post Office. No hidden fees such as weekend or dormant charges. Plus no need to top-up and no leftover balance like an old prepaid card.
Eligibility
Minimum Age18 years
Post Office Travel Money Card
Administration fee
No fees for 12 months after expiry then £2 a month
Foreign transactions
Free
Overseas ATMs
Varies
Load charges
Debit card: free, Post Office: free
Post Office Travel Money Card
Over 60 currencies available for next day home deliver or collection from over 11,000 branches. Click and collect EUR and USD in two hours from a branch near you. Includes travel money refund guarantee. Ts & Cs apply.
Typical card expiry is four years.
Eligibility
Permanent UK Resident
Minimum Age18 years
Additional Cardholders Minimum Age18 years

Compare another type of prepaid card

What is a prepaid travel card?

A prepaid travel card, also known as a travel money card, is a debit card that you preload with money and take on holiday. It's a good way to avoid carrying a lot of cash. 

It can be used at cashpoints, in shops and restaurants, or anywhere that accepts MasterCard or Visa debit or credit cards.

A prepaid travel card is not the same as a credit card, for two key reasons:

  • The pre-loaded limit prevents you from accidentally overspending and getting into debt 

  • You can choose which currency you preload your travel money card with, depending on where you're going, which often means you can secure a better exchange rate

You also get the same benefits as any other prepaid card, such as protection if it is lost, the chance to budget your spending, and an easy application process.

travelling couple

Who can get a prepaid travel card?

Anyone can get a prepaid travel card. There's no need to have a bank account and no credit checks are required.

Sometimes parents like to get them for their children's holiday money, as it can help teach them about budgets and responsibility. Teenagers can also apply for one themselves. 

Types of prepaid travel card

You can choose from two prepaid travel card options, depending on the extent of your trip abroad.

Single-currency prepaid travel cards

These prepaid cards for travel let you preload one currency. For example, you might get a prepaid euro card or a prepaid US dollar card, depending on where you're going.

Multi-currency pre-loaded travel cards

These pre-loaded travel cards can hold several different currencies. If you're visiting several countries, this could offer a better deal on currency conversions and exchange rates.

prepaid card chart
Topping up your prepaid card graph

What does a prepaid travel card cost?

Once you've found the best type of travel card for your needs, it's time to find the cheapest option. Base your choice on whichever suits you best after comparing the fees for:

  • buying the card

  • keeping your account open (paid monthly or annually)

  • cash machine withdrawals

  • spending on the card

  • adding money to the card

The graph to the right shows the difference in card balances when adding £10 to a prepaid card each week for a year. The top line represents transfers with no transaction fee, and the bottom represents a £1.50 fee.

A £1.50 fee might seem small initially, but if you’re saving gradually and regularly it can have a big impact on the amount of money you’re able to spend. Think about how you plan to top up and spend, then select the card that best suits your habits.

Checking the exchange rate on your prepaid travel card

When you load money onto your international prepaid card, it’s converted subject to the issuer’s exchange rate.

For example, if your bank account is in pounds sterling and you're adding money to a prepaid euro card, you'll pay the pounds-to-euros exchange rate. 

Here's how exchange rates work on prepaid travel cards, and how much it can cost.

CurrencyExchange rateSpending money from £1,500
Euros (€)1.1€1.650
Euros (€)1.2€1,800
US Dollars ($)1.3$1,950
US Dollars ($)1.4$2,100
US Dollars ($)1.5$2,250

Finding the best exchange rate

The exchange rate greatly impacts the amount of local currency you’ll get, and thus how much is available to spend. 

Even if you pay for something by credit card, you’re still converting pounds sterling to local currency. With a prepaid travel card that exchanges your money in one lump sum, you are at least aware of the exchange rate beforehand.

This table shows how even a seemingly small shift in the exchange rate can increase or decrease your holiday budget. When applying for a prepaid travel card, look for the best exchange rate possible to maximise your funds.

The advantages and disadvantages of a prepaid travel card

Pros

  • They're safer than carrying cash or leaving money in your hotel room or flat

  • Your money's safe if your card is lost or stolen – your provider can cancel it, and you might be able to get it replaced quickly

  • Budgeting is easier because there’s no credit facility

  • They can sometimes be the cheapest option

  • Prepaid cards are accepted in most shops, restaurants and bars around the world

Cons

  • Application fees

  • Monthly fees

  • Charges to load money

  • Fees to withdraw cash

  • Fees on spending

  • Fees for not using your card

Graphic file showing travel imagery

What are the alternatives to a travel money card?

Prepaid travel cards aren’t always the best option, and there are several other ways to spend money abroad, each with their own pros and cons:

  • prepaid credit card for travel works just like a regular credit card, but doesn’t charge big fees for spending abroad

  • Travel money leads to fewer fees, but it can be risky. You’ll need to budget carefully to ensure your foreign currency lasts the length of your trip and you’re not protected if it’s lost or stolen

  • Travellers' cheques allow you to carry less cash. They can be bought in the UK and converted into foreign currency once you're abroad

For many, however, prepaid travel cards are the best way to carry local currency when abroad. 

Here's how to work out the cheapest way to spend abroad.

Note: travel prepaid cards aren’t credit cards. That means that prepaid cards aren’t covered by the consumer protection law, Section 75, which offers you extra protection for your purchase if something goes wrong, such as faulty goods or lost packages. They're also not protected under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS)¹.

In addition, they can’t be used everywhere (some places may only accept cash, for example), and you can't use one to borrow money.

"Prepaid cards can be a great tool to keep your spending in check, build your credit score or learn how to budget.

"But certain features, especially access to credit, might make a credit card or current account a better option."

Can I top up a prepaid travel card while I’m away?

Some prepaid travel cards allow you to top up while you're abroad via text, an online site or an app. You may be able to use your debit or credit card to top up, too. You can sometimes do it by phone but be aware of international call charges.

Some prepaid travel cards even allow you to have your salary paid directly onto them, which is a guaranteed way to get a top-up if it's pay day while you're away.

Will I have to remember a PIN?

Yes, most prepaid travel cards are chip and PIN. However, some now support contactless, so you may not need a PIN for smaller purchases.

Avoiding card fees

Standard prepaid cards usually charge extra if you use them outside the UK, but the best international travel cards don't charge these fees. 

Our comparison covers cards that are free to use outside the UK. If they're not free, the comparison table shows how much each card charges for foreign transactions and cash withdrawals.

When you're researching prepaid cards to use abroad, choose a card with fees that suit how you plan to use it. For example, if you'll be withdrawing cash often while travelling, pick one with no withdrawal fees.

Prepaid travel cards FAQs

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Why compare prepaid card deals with money.co.uk?

Comparing prepaid cards could save you money. Our multiple award-winning comparison service makes sure you get the lowest fees and rates possible based on your individual circumstances. Our aim is to provide you with the most up-to-date information, as well as useful tools and calculators so to help you make life's most important decisions and take control of your money.

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¹To find out more about how the Financial Services Conduct Authority protects your money, visit FSCS.org.uk.

Last updated: 23 February 2022