How Prepaid Travel Cards Can Save You Up to Thousands in Fees VS Your Regular Debit Card

How Prepaid Travel Cards Can Save You Up to Thousands in Fees VS Your Regular Debit Card

Planning a dream vacation abroad? While getting regular debit cards is convenient for daily use, they can rack up excessive fees when travelling internationally. That’s why prepaid travel cards can save you a bundle in foreign transactions and ATM fees. 

This blog will explain how you can save money using prepaid cards for your next overseas adventure.

What is a Prepaid Travel Card?

A prepaid travel card lets you load funds in advance to spend overseas. It works like a debit card, except it’s preloaded with foreign currency instead of drawing funds directly from your bank account. 

Prepaid travel cards offer many protections that regular cards don’t. They provide:

  • Set exchange rates: Load your card upfront to lock in that day’s rates, protecting you from fluctuations later.
  • No foreign transaction fees: Most forex cards don’t charge this 1-3% fee like typical cards.
  • Low ATM withdrawal fees: Prepaid cards offer huge savings on overseas cash withdrawals.

Who Should Use a Prepaid Travel Card?

Prepaid travel cards provide the best value for certain types of overseas travellers:

  • Frequent international travellers: If you travel abroad often, the savings from prepaid card exchange rates and lack of foreign fees are substantial. When factoring in the high and rising cost of living in the UK for frequent travellers, the savings are especially significant. 
  • Travellers on a budget: For backpackers and budget travellers, saving on fees makes funds stretch further.
  • Group/family travellers: Multiplying the fee savings is significant for trips with many people.
  • Travellers going to multiple countries: Switching between currencies is easier with prepaid cards.
  • Those making big purchases abroad: Buying expensive items internationally can mean thousands in regular card fees.

📖 Recommended Reading: If you’re looking for more useful information, check out Are Travel Rewards Credit Cards Worth It?

What is a Debit Card? 

In contrast to prepaid cards, debit cards give more flexibility for daily domestic spending. They deduct purchases directly from your checking account.

While traditional banks don’t charge debit card annual fees, they impose many other charges.

Who Should Use Debit Cards?

Ideal debit card users include:  

  • Infrequent international travellers: If you hardly travel overseas, paying some fees is manageable.
  • Travellers making short/quick trips: For quick weekend trips, prepaid card exchange rate benefits have less impact. 
  • Those needing card-linked benefits: Some debit card perks like cash back can outweigh foreign transaction fees.
  • Domestic travellers: Debit cards lack international fees for travel within your country.

How prepaid cards can help international students

International students studying overseas can also benefit from using prepaid travel cards. When studying in popular destinations like the UK, costs of living and tuition can be high. Prepaid cards help students stick to budgets for expenses like meeting the requirements for UK student Visa. The UK student visa has substantial eligibility requirements, including showing sufficient funds to cover costs.

Travel Cards VS Regular Debit Card
Research top recommended prepaid travel cards that best fit your specific destinations.

Prepaid Cards Can Save You Hundreds in Fees

To demonstrate exactly how much prepaid travel cards save over debit cards, let’s compare fees on a two-week, multi-country European vacation for one traveller:

  • Destinations: France, Italy, Germany
  • Spending: $100 (INR 8343.03)/day x 14 days = $1,400 (INR 116802.49)
  • ATM withdrawals: $200 (INR 16686.07) x 4 times = $800 (INR 66744.28)

With a typical debit card:

  • Foreign transaction fees: 3% of $2,200 (INR 183546.77) = $66 (INR 5506.40)
  • International ATM fees: $5 (INR 417.15) x 4 (INR 333.72) = $20 (INR 1668.61)
  • Total fees paid = $86 (INR 7175.01)

With a prepaid travel card:

  • No foreign transaction or international ATM fees
  • Only reload fees: ~$1 (INR 83.43) per reload x 2 (INR 166.86) = ~$2 (INR 166.86)
  • Total fees paid = ~$2 (INR 166.86)

Note: These figures are approximate and do not reflect the actual cost

As you can see, the savings from using a prepaid Forex card is around $84 (INR 7008.15), just on a two-week Europe trip. Extend your travels for a month or more, add more destinations, and multiply by family members; savings can easily surpass $300(INR 25029.10)-$500(INR 41715.18) in avoided fees.

Start Saving Today With Prepaid 

Opt for fee-free forex cards instead of lining bank pockets with exorbitant international debit card fees. Protect yourself from foreign transaction fees, get excellent exchange rates, and save hugely on worldwide adventures.

Research top recommended prepaid travel cards that best fit your specific destinations. Many provide bonuses like insurance coverage, global WiFi access, and more.

Disclosure: This blog post may contain affiliate links, which means that I may receive a commission for any purchases made through the links. Your trust is important to us, and we ensure that all products or services we recommend meet or exceed our editorial standards.

Last Updated on January 4, 2024

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