In recent years with the emergence of the FinTech sector, a number of companies have revolutionised the prepaid currency card market. Just half a decade ago cards were typically only provided by the main players in the international payments sector and were normally clunky to load, applied much heavier margins and had limited coverage, especially in areas slightly off the beaten track. However, fast forward a handful of years and now the FinTech era has provider retail customers with a number of solutions to ensure they get excellent rates of exchange when travelling or holidaymaking.
Many of the new applications also allow clients to hold and exchange between a multitude of currencies meaning a set amount can be loaded on the card in USD and EUR for example, excellent for frequent flyers or those with the financial ability to holiday regularly.
FairFX ‘Everywhere card’ has some of the lowest fees of many reputable prepaid currency cards. Amounts ranging from £10 to £2,500 can be loaded at any one time, with a maximum £5000 being able to be held at any moment.
The FairFX Everywhere card’s coverage remains second to none with exotic and far-flung locations such as Brazil, Argentina, Slovenia, Ghana and Iran all accepting FairFX’s everywhere card. In total covering in excess of over 200 locations around the world.
FairFX cards are free to order and can be loaded with multiple currencies via the app or over the phone. Margins remain competitive with a charge/spread of between 1.4% to 1.75% being taken on point of sale purchases. In branch bank withdrawals fees are also charged at 1.5% and subject to a local currency minimum fee of €6.25, £5 or $7.50 per withdrawal.
FairFX is a listed company with great online feedback and an excellent Trustpilot rating. If your requirement goes beyond a simple prepaid currency card, they can also provide other services including International money transfers and travel cash through to accountancy software linked to multiple business currency cards for companies with overseas staff and expenses.
FairFX’s cards also offer a number of perks which include 3.5% cash back promotions and offer with numerous companies including Hertz car rental and No.1 lounges, entitling FairFX customers to a 25% off airport lounge access.
WeSwap affords its clients the ability to swap currency into 15 currencies and allows you to trade these currencies at highly competitive rates. These rates reduce the longer you leave the currency on the card due to WeSwap operating a peer-to-peer model, essentially as you look to ‘swap’ or exchange the base currency the more chance WeSwap has to find another client to buy your swap improving the price notably. The margin applied to these swaps typically ranges from 2.0% to 1%, gradually reducing the longer time the money is left of the prepaid currency card.
WeSwap also offers a travel cash service and this should be considered if you typically draw larger sums of money whilst on holiday. The WeSwap card only allows 2 ATM withdrawals a day, the maximum withdrawal being £500, although withdrawals of £200/€200/$200 or more are free.
Before travelling ensure that you take the time to swap your currency as if you use the base or load currency rather than swapping the rate will naturally be a lot less competitive.
In terms of customer services, WeSwap score highly with a decent if not exceptional Trust pilot rating with thousands of clients providing a review.
WeSwap also offer a complimentary £10 of currency when you load £50 on to your WeSwap currency card.
moneycorp has provided private client and business currency services for many decades now and roughly half a decade ago ventured into the prepaid travel currency market launching its explorer card. A few years on, having benefitted from numerous improvements, the explorer card still offers great flexibility and value for travellers. The card as with the other featured above allows you to load a multitude of currencies onto a single card. The card is subject to local currency fees for over the counter use in a bank, for example, £4.00 or €4.70. FX transfers are priced at 4.99% so are not amongst the most competitive. The cards wallet functionality is, however, excellent for those looking at travelling to numerous locations where multiple currencies will be used.
For those looking to splash the cash whilst away, the Explorer card will appeal with daily limits of up to £10,000 available to be spent in merchants. Clients can also load up to £50,000 per annum, excellent for those fortunate enough to travel a lot or with a well-used home overseas.
Currency can be loaded via a number of means including, online, via telephone or in any of moneycorp’s bureaux de changes located in a number of UK airports and in central London.
For those looking to air on the side of caution moneycorp’s triple-A credit rating will provide necessary comfort, that combined with the company’s longevity in the marketplace.
As to the best of our knowledge moneycorp explorer cards holders have access to no direct offers or perks.
Travelex money card arguably offers the best value with no FX fee applied to foreign currency exchanges on the card. GBP uploads are priced at 2% therefore advisable to exchange currency beforehand. Clients can also order a duplicate second card for just £5, ideal when travelling as a couple.
Using the card internationally at a merchant incurs no fees and if lost or stolen a replacement can be ordered free of charge. The card can be loaded with between £50 to £5000 and the card can hold up to £30,000 of currency annually. Clients can also upload currency onto their prepaid currency card in bureaux and online.
High on customer service, Travelex’s money card has around the clock customer service in case of difficulty or emergency. Calls are free from the UK.
The card also offers exclusive deals from merchants and travel agents. Holders of the Travelex money card also are eligible for Boingo WIFI access, available to clients every time they top up their cards.