Prepaid travel cards are an alternative payment method for use overseas which combine the chip-and-pin security of a bank card with the flexibility of cash. Specialist cards are available for Euros and US Dollars, as well as a Sterling or Multi-currency card that can be used anywhere in the world. Unlike credit or debit cards the balance on these cards is pre-loaded in advance which means it is impossible to go overdrawn and you won't come home to any unexpected statements or charges. They also offer highly competitive exchange rates, low or no fees and no credit checks are required.
You can apply online for a prepaid travel card - most are free but require you to load an initial small amount of funds onto the card which is immediately converted into your chosen currency and stored electronically on your account. Your balance will remain on your card until you spend it unless you decide to cancel your card or withdraw the funds back into your UK bank account. You can top-up your balance at any time using a variety of methods including Bank Transfer, credit / debit card, by phone, SMS, and the Post Office, and because your balance is pre-loaded in advance it is impossible to go overdrawn.
When you make a purchase on the card the value will be deducted from your overall balance and once your balance reaches zero you will be unable to use the card again until you add more funds by topping it up. This makes prepaid cards perfect for travelling as a family or on a budget because you can load an initial balance and spend without worrying about returning home to any bills. These cards are not linked to your bank account in any way and no credit checks are required to apply for one.
All of the prepaid cards we compare can be used anywhere in the world that accepts MasterCard or VISA. Anyone who is over 18 can apply for a card and you cannot get into debt with them.
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