What’s the Travelex Money Card for?

TransferWise content team
31.12.18
6 minute read

Travelex no longer provides cards from the Travelex Cash Passport range, but you can still use and reload yours until it expires. The Travelex Money Card is the replacement for the old system. It is accepted in many places around the globe and works in much the same way.

In this review, you will learn everything that you need to know about Travelex's multi-currency card, why you might want one, how the process of exchanging your money works and any fees that might be applied depending on how you use it. Then you can compare it with other products, such as the TransferWise debit card, that offers over 40 currencies and the real exchange rate.

Exchange rates

Travelex exchange rates vary on a daily basis but the company publishes them on their website so you can check before loading a foreign currency on your card. You’ll also receive a quote before topping up your card online or in store.

Have in mind though that Travelex rates are often less favourable than the headline rates you will often see on the international currency markets or Google, for example. That’s because they come with a markup, meaning that Travelex effectively charges you every time you convert from one currency to another.

TransferWise, on the other hand, transparently displays its fees upfront and uses the transparent mid-market rate without any markup. The multi-currency card from TransferWise lets you do the same, with fees that are low and clear.

Check the table below to get an idea of how much markup is applied with Travelex rate at the timing of writing this article.

You spend £200 £500 £1,000
Travelex rate (€1.0812) €216.24 €540.60 €1,081.20
Mid-market rate (€1.1193) €223.86 €559.65 €1,119.30
Conversion loss €7.62 €19.05 €38.10

Rates displayed are for online orders only. Source: Travelex* (31/12/18)*

Main fees and charges

Loading your card in any of the nine foreign currencies offered is free but Travelex will charge you at a rate of 2% for loads in British pounds.

It’s free to use your card for international payments, but using your card at a UK shop will result in a £1.50 charge. Plus, in case you use your card for a transaction you don’t hold in your account or don’t have enough balance in the local currency, a foreign exchange fee of 5.75% is applied.

Furthermore, Travelex charges you £10 if there is a shortfall on a transaction which can sometimes happen if you pay for something before loading sufficient credit to cover it.

Travelex does not charge ATM fees, meaning you can withdraw cash abroad at no extra cost. However, if you use your card at a British ATM, then Travelex will charge you £6. Lastly, there is also an inactivity fee which applies on a monthly basis at the rate of £2 per calendar month. This kicks in after 12-months of inactivity.

Currencies available

There are 10 available currencies with the Travelex Money Card. These are British pounds, euros, US dollars, Australian dollars, New Zealand dollars, UAE dirhams, Canadian dollars, South African rand, Turkish lira and Swiss francs.

Limits

The minimum load you can put onto a card in person is £50. Via the Travelex Money app, the minimum reload is £100. You are restricted to a maximum of £150 for in-person withdrawals at a banking establishment although you can withdraw the equivalent of £500 at ATMs within a 24-hour period.

Travelex caps the amount of credit you can hold – in any currency or combination of currencies – to the equivalent of £5,000. What's more, you may only hold one such account in your name. If you are spending with vendor's, then the maximum allowable expenditure within any 24-hour period is £3,000. Finally, you may only load up to £30,000 credit onto your card in a 12-month period.

App overview

Travelex's travel card app is available for both Android and iOS users from Google Play and the App Store, respectively. The app allows you to manage your credit, review recent transactions and to top up your currencies. It is a helpful way of managing your card without the need to go to a bank or an ATM to check how much money is available. That said, the app is only rated at 2.9 out of 5 at the App Store and 3.4 out of 5 with Google Play, largely because of minor bugs and reliability issues.

Conclusion

Because it is widely accepted, Travelex Money Card is a convenient and secure way of handling overseas transactions. That said, its app is not as user-friendly as many, and it is not for hardened travellers because it only offers ten currencies.

The major plus points of using one include the fact that it is possible to use ATMs overseas at no extra cost. Travelex's travel card also affords users access to free Wi-Fi in certain situations and you can use it in many bars, shops and restaurants to settle your bill and the service also comes with 24/7 support in case something goes wrong.

On the negative side, the rates of exchange that are afforded by Travelex when loading it with funds are not always the most favourable. The same applies when you are exchanging a foreign currency balance to another one - from euros to US dollars, for example. There are other alternatives, such as the TransferWise debit card that uses the real exchange rate, which you could opt for instead.

How to get and use a Travelex Money Card

Order

The easiest way to get your Travelex Money Card is to head to their website and order it online. You can then choose to have it delivered to you or to pick it up in one of their stores. Collection may mean waiting up to 14 days. Postal deliveries are made the next business day so long as you place your order before 3 pm.

Activation

Store collected cards are ready to go and require no activation procedure although it is advisable to sign your name on the back immediately. Activation from a home delivery travel card takes moments. You just need to call Card Services.

Using your card

You can use a Travelex travel card at vendor terminals, ATMs and to shop online. You can use it at contactless payment terminals but this will only work if the transaction amount is less than the equivalent of £30. Don't use it for things like car hire or to reserve a hotel room because the vendor may use up all of your available balance to cover potential damages, only for this transaction not to be processed.

Top-up

You can send funds to your card from your bank account using your 16-digit Travelex card number as the payment reference. Alternatively, you can use the app or log in to your Travelex account online to top up using your credit or debit card. Finally, Travelex will also allow you to top up over the phone.

Buyback

You can convert your foreign currency balance(s) back into sterling, but the balance will remain on your card and you'll receive fees for using it back home. Alternatively, you can opt for the aforementioned 'Buy Back Guarantee' scheme.

You can secure the same rate to sell your excess foreign currency back to Travelex at the same rate you paid for it. This works under their 'Buy Back Guarantee' scheme. This system only lasts for 45 days, however, so it will not suit all travellers. What's more, you have to pay a fee of £3.99 for it at the time you first exchange your money.

Contact information

Card Services is on 0800 260 0355.

To top up from overseas call +44 (0)20 368 46495.

The email address to use is cardservices_prepaid@mastercard.com.

Troubleshooting tips

Here’s what you should do in case your card is:

Lost or damaged

Contact Card Services immediately for a new card and to arrange for emergency cash if needed.

Declined

Check if your PIN is correct. Try using a contactless payment terminal. Confirm you have sufficient balance to cover the transaction.

Forgotten pin

Log in to your account and hit the 'PIN reveal' option.

Blocked

Contact Card Services.

Expired

Charges sometimes apply to have remaining credit returned to you from a card which has expired. Contact Card Services.


This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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