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Prepaid travel cards: Euros

Prepaid Euro cards: everything you need to know

published: 27 September 2022

Prepaid Euro cards can be a good way of managing your spending abroad without carrying lots of cash, but it’s important to know exactly what you can do with one.

Prepaid cards for Euros - Ordered alphabetically A-Z

Caxton

Caxton Currency Card

  • Card fee

    Free

  • Transaction fee

    Free

  • UK ATM fee

    £1.50

  • International ATM fee

    Free

  • Monthly fee

    Free


Great for

  • Free multi-currency card. Hold 15 major currencies with no monthly fees, excellent rates and UK customer support
  • Use your card fee-free* at over 35 million locations globally and pay zero fees on overseas ATM withdrawals
  • The Caxton app lets you manage your finances from every corner of the globe. Check your balance, top up, or even block your card – at any time of day

But be aware that

  • You need to load a minimum of £10 to receive the card
  • The card needs to be activated online or via the app
  • *Caxton does not charge overseas ATM fees, but some ATM providers may charge their own fees to use
More Details

THE BASICS

  • Card issuer: PSI-Pay Ltd pursuant to a license by Mastercard® International Incorporated

  • Card type: MasterCard

  • The card is valid for 36 months

BENEFITS

  • Online account management

  • No fee on foreign transactions

  • Accepted online

CARD FEES

  • Card application fee - Free

  • Monthly service fee - Free

  • Annual service fee - Free

  • Card replacement fee - £5.00

  • Card cancellation fee - Free

  • Dormancy fee - £2.00pm if there have been no transactions, card loads or balance switches in the previous 12 months

TRANSACTION FEES

  • Foreign transaction Fee - Free

  • Purchase fee - Free

  • Internet Purchase fee - Free 

ATM WITHDRAWAL FEES

  • ATM withdrawal fee (UK) - £1.50

  • ATM withdrawal fee (International) - Free

ELIGIBILITY

  • You must be aged 18 or over

  • You must be a UK resident

You are advised to check the lenders Terms & Conditions for information relating to interest rates, fees and charges.

    Currensea

    Travel Debit Card

    • Card fee

      Free

    • Transaction fee

      Free

    • UK ATM fee

      UK ATM withdrawals not allowed

    • International ATM fee

      Free

    • Monthly fee

      Free


    Great for

    • The UK's first travel money card that connects directly to your high street bank account: no top-ups, no pre-pay, no leftover balance and no need to open a new bank account
    • You can choose to contribute part of your savings on bank charges to plant trees or to recover ocean-bound plastics, helping offset the environmental impact associated with your travels
    • Works with all leading high street banks and supports all currencies. No hidden fees like weekend or dormant charges

    But be aware that

    • You must be over 18 years old and have a UK bank account
    • You can withdraw up to £1500 per month from international ATMs. UK ATM withdrawals not allowed
    More Details

    THE BASICS

    • Card issuer: Currensea

    • Card type: MasterCard

    • The card is valid for 60 months

    BENEFITS

    • Online account management

    • No fee on foreign transactions

    • Accepted online

    Benefits notes:

    • A new travel money card that connects directly to your high street bank account: no top-ups, no pre-pay. Works with all leading high street banks

    • You don't need an app or access to WiFi to operate the card

    • Supports all currencies

    CARD FEES

    • Card application fee - Free

    • Monthly service fee - Free

    • Annual service fee - Free

    • Card replacement fee - £5.00

    • Card cancellation fee - Free

    • Dormancy fee - n/a

    Card fee notes: 

    • 0.50% markup above interbank or Mastercard rates, no transaction charges, saves up to 85% vs your high street bank

    TRANSACTION FEES

    • Foreign transaction Fee - Free

    • Purchase fee - Free

    • Internet Purchase fee - Free 

    Transaction fee notes:

    Zero transaction fees

    ATM WITHDRAWAL FEES

    • ATM withdrawal fee (UK) - UK ATM withdrawals not allowed

    • ATM withdrawal fee (International) - Free

    ELIGIBILITY

    • You must be at least 18 years old

    • You must be a UK resident

    • You must have a UK high street bank account

    You are advised to check the lenders Terms & Conditions for information relating to interest rates, fees and charges.

      Get £10 off when you load £250 or more, £15 off when you load £500 or more, and £40 off when you load £1000 or more. New customers only. T&Cs apply

      FairFX

      FairFX Currency Card

      • Card fee

        Free

      • Transaction fee

        Free

      • UK ATM fee

        £1.00

      • International ATM fee

        £1.00

      • Monthly Fee

        Free


      Great for

      • Free multi-currency card that lets you hold 15 major currencies with no monthly fees
      • Lock in some of the best rates available before you travel, or while you’re away, and spend in over 190 countries at 35 million locations*
      • Earn at least 3.5% cashback at some of the UK's most popular high street retailers and supermarkets. T&Cs apply.

      But be aware that

      • You'll need to be a UK resident and aged 18 or over
      • *1.75% fee applicable on transactions that are not in one of the 15 card currencies
      • Card cancellation is free, but there is a £5 fee to redeem any remaining money left on the card
      More Details

      THE BASICS

      • Card issuer: Valitor Limited

      • Card type: MasterCard

      • The card is valid for 36 months

      BENEFITS

      • Online account management

      • Accepted online

      Benefits notes:

      • One card with 15 currencies 

      • Lock in great rates and spend in more than 190 countries, wherever Mastercard is accepted

      • Your funds are securely held in a safeguarded account with Citibank

      • A friendly, UK-based team are available 7 days a week, 365 days a year

      CARD FEES

      • Card application fee - Free

      • Monthly service fee - Free

      • Annual service fee - Free

      • Card replacement fee - £6.00

      • Card cancellation fee - Free

      • Dormancy fee - £2.00 per month or currency equivalent on expired cards with leftover balances 

      Card fee notes: 

      • No fees applied when you pay in the UK or in any of the 15 currencies

      RELOAD OPTIONS (Online)

      • Debit Card - Free

      • Credit Card - Free

      Reload notes:

      Bank transfers onto account: Free

      TRANSACTION FEES

      • Foreign transaction Fee - 1.75%

      • Purchase fee - Free

      • Internet Purchase fee - Free 

      Transaction fee notes:

      A 1.75% out of currency fee is charged when you use the card in a different currency to what is held on the card – including ATM withdrawals

      ATM WITHDRAWAL FEES

      • ATM withdrawal fee (UK) - £1.00

      • ATM withdrawal fee (International) - £1.00

      ATM withdrawal fee notes: 

      • When you use your card at an ATM, you may also be subject to applicable fees, surcharge rules, and regulations of the relevant ATM, or other financial institution or association

      ELIGIBILITY

      • You must be a UK resident and aged 18+

      You are advised to check the lenders Terms & Conditions for information relating to interest rates, fees and charges.

        Euro prepaid cards

        Prepaid Euro cards are an alternative way of spending money abroad – they work slightly differently to debit and credit cards and can often be a safer method than using cash. However they may also carry certain risks that you should be aware of before using one.

        What are prepaid Euro cards?

        With a prepaid euro card, you load it up with euros before you go on holiday and then use it in the same way as a debit or credit card. However, the advantage of a prepaid euro card is that you will avoid the expensive fees debit and credit cards usually charge for overseas use. 

        You can use prepaid euro cards for transactions in shops or cash withdrawals while you’re travelling abroad in Europe. However with normal debit or credit cards you could also be at risk of spending more than you have, either by entering your overdraft or exceeding the amount you can realistically expect to pay back in time.

        Using a prepaid Euro card involves loading it up with your Euros before you travel, then using it in the same way as a bank card – this way you can only spend what you’ve planned on spending, and if you run out then you’ll have to top it up again.

        How to use a prepaid Euro card?

        Prepaid Euro cards are generally quite simple to get and use, and the process normally involves the following:

        Apply

        You can apply for prepaid Euro cards in a number of ways, depending on the provider you choose, but the options normally include online, over the phone, or in person. You generally provide a few basic details about yourself, choose the currency you want to use, and you’ll be on your way.

        Some providers may require you to download and apply through an app, while others may request that you visit a branch in person so they can check your identification documents.

        Load up

        This may be part of the application process or you might have to wait until after it’s complete, but you’ll need to load up your card with money before you can spend overseas.

        Spend

        It’s important you read the terms and conditions of your card so you know if there are any limitations on how you use it, or advantages if you use it a certain way. However once you’ve received your card and loaded it up, you should be free to spend when you’re abroad – with a prepaid Euro card, you’ll be able to use it in almost all of the most popular holiday destinations in the world.

        What are the benefits of using a prepaid Euro card?

        Using a prepaid Euro card can offer some advantages over more traditional methods of spending abroad:

        • Charges – Euro prepaid cards are usually cheaper to use overseas than a standard debit or credit card. This is because debit or credit cards often charge a foreign exchange fee of around 2.75% to 2.99% when you spend on them abroad – so if you spent £200, this would cost you about £6.

        • Budgeting – as prepaid Euro cards are independent of your bank account, you can only spend the money you’ve loaded on to it. You won’t be able to exceed that amount as there is no overdraft, and you won’t have to pay anything back at high interest rates as you are spending your own money, not credit.

        • Security – prepaid Euro cards generally come with the same basic features as standard debit and credit cards, which means they can have chip and pin protection as well as contactless capabilities. They can also be cancelled immediately in the event that they are lost or stolen, while if you lose cash it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to stop someone else spending it. You should keep in mind that the best way to cover yourself for lost cash can often be to take out a good travel insurance policy.

        • Currency rates – the exchange rates offered on some prepaid Euro cards can be better than those you might get from airports or other currency exchangers, like banks or supermarkets. However this isn’t always the case, so it helps to shop around and compare rates before taking out a prepaid card.

        • Additional currencies – some prepaid cards let you add and spend money in more than one currency, which can be useful if you plan on travelling between countries that use different currencies. However if you’ve chosen a card with only one currency, using it in a location that doesn’t accept it could lead to extra charges for spending and withdrawing money.

        • Multiple cards – if you’re travelling as a family or group you may be able to take out several prepaid cards all linked to the same account, which can make it easier to collectively manage your money.

        • Cashback – depending on the provider and deal you choose, you may even be able to take advantage of cashback being rewarded for purchases. However this isn’t always included so it’s best to make sure you know what your provider is offering.

        What charges apply to prepaid Euro cards?

        While prepaid Euro cards offer some benefits, you should keep an eye out for potential extra charges, such as:

        Buying the card

        Some providers could have an initial fee you have to pay in order to get a prepaid Euro card.

        Making an initial minimum top

        You may also have to deposit a minimum amount at the start so you can use the card.

        Holding the account

        There might even be an account holder charge, where you pay for simply having the account. This is usually paid either monthly or annually.

        Withdrawing cash 

        Like with debit and credit cards, you could be required to pay a fee when you take cash from a cash machine. However if there aren’t any withdrawal fees, you might instead be given a limit on how much you can withdraw for free before being charged. This limit could be applied at different intervals, for example annually or monthly.

        Spending on the card

        Each purchase or transaction you make with the card may also cost you a fee.

        Topping up the balance

        Prepaid Euro card providers might even have a fee for every time you top up your card.

        Replacing the card

        If you lose your card or it is stolen, there could sometimes be a charge involved for replacing it. It’s also worth noting that you may have to contact the police and get a reference number, if you plan on claiming the money back through your travel insurance.

        Not using the card 

        Not using your card when you’re no longer on holiday may mean you get hit with an inactivity charge. This could be especially relevant if you plan on taking more than one holiday in a given period of time, as while a prepaid card could be more convenient than taking cash out for every holiday, it can also mean there are long stretches where you won’t be using the card.

        Redeeming unused cash

        If there is left over money after your holiday, you might be charged for converting it back to sterling.

        It’s important to remember that different providers might not all apply the same types of charges, and they could also vary on how much you pay for each charge – therefore you should always double check the terms of your agreement so you know exactly what you can do with your card and avoid any surprise fees.

        How to avoid charges

        To avoid some of the potential charges that could apply, you should read the description of each deal carefully. They will normally mention what you’ll have to pay extra for, but if you’re unsure it’s worth contacting the provider to get an exact outline.

        However once you’ve chosen your card, you can still do the following in order to avoid extra costs:

        • Withdraw and load cash in bulk

          , so you aren’t charged for a lot of small transaction, only a few major ones.

        • Use the local currency

          , as some shops or restaurants will conduct the transaction using sterling, therefore you might have to pay a fee for using a different currency.

        • Keep your card safe

          , because even though you can cancel the card as soon as you’ve realised it’s lost, if you don’t know immediately then someone could still use the card until you do – this is particularly true for contactless cards. Looking after your card can also keep you from having to pay for a replacement.

        • Choose the right card

          , for example if you know you’ll be making a lot of transactions then it’s probably a good idea to find a card that doesn’t apply transaction fees. It’s best to avoid the cards that have any extra charges at all.

        How do currency exchange rates affect prepaid Euro cards?

        The currency exchange rate that’s in place when you load up your prepaid Euro card is the only one that will apply to you. This means that if the rate becomes more favourable afterwards, you won’t be able to take advantage, but likewise if the rate becomes less favourable, you won’t be hit with a loss of funds.

        It can therefore be a good idea to wait until you can get the most from your currency exchange before applying for a prepaid Euro card.

        Where can you use prepaid Euro cards?

        Most places that accept Visa and MasterCard will also let you use prepaid Euro cards. However there may be some exceptions, including:

        • Car hire companies

        • Petrol stations

        • Motorway toll booths

        You should always check with your provider beforehand to see if they can give you information about where you can and can’t use your card.

        Finding a better deal for your prepaid Euro cards

        If you’re planning a trip to Europe, taking a prepaid Euro card with you could be a good way to manage your money while you’re abroad. It’s generally a safer option than taking cash out, you’ll be able to budget without risking spending extra money, and you may even be able to take advantage of better exchange rates and reduced charges.

        With MoneySuperMarket’s selection of prepaid Euro cards you can compare different deals for all the different features available, including the exchange rate they offer, any fees they apply, the currency or currencies they will let you use, and even any extra benefits you could take advantage of. This way you’ll have a good chance at finding the right deal for you when you go overseas to Europe.