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Are prepaid travel cards worth it?

4th November 2019

When planning an international holiday, there are a few things that often get left until the last minute or put in the 'too hard basket' for future you to deal with. One of them is packing your bags, but everyone knows you pack best under pressure with only 30 minutes before you leave for your flight. The other is understanding and purchasing your foreign currency for the holiday. Yikes. 

We know that tracking exchange rates and figuring out the best way to divide and carry your travel money can be pretty daunting, not to mention confusing. While sorting out your foreign exchange certainly isn't the sexiest part of your holiday (or is it?), it is by far one of the most important (yes, it is). At school it was no hat, no play; overseas it's no cash, no holiday. Simple. 

We've got you covered when it comes to understanding currency fluctuations, with plenty of information on exchange rate forecasting for all the major currencies. 

With that out of the way, let's have a chat about how to carry your cash, and why a prepaid travel card like the Travel Money Oz Currency Pass is your best bet when it comes to using foreign currency overseas. 

Currency Pass and ramenIt pays for your meal AND matches your bowl of ramen? What can't this card do. 

Prepaid travel cards are separate to your bank and are specifically built for travellers. Just like your regular card, they can be tapped, swiped and inserted with pin protection to ensure you have access to your money when you need it. There are quite a few available across the market, but we're here to toot our own horn and explain why the Currency Pass is perhaps the snazziest (read: best) of all the options. 

Don't just take our word for it, though. Check out all of the benefits you can take advantage of after getting a Currency Pass in your hot little hands. 

Avoid those pesky currency conversion fees

When you use your bank card overseas, you could be charged a fee every time you transact because you are essentially spending Aussie dollars. The Currency Pass is already loaded with your preferred currency, so you don't have to account for the extra fees. 

No inactivity fees while you’re planning your next trip

Spend less than you expected overseas and arrived home with cash left on your card? Don't stress; it won't get eaten up by inactivity fees and will still be there ready to use on your next holiday. 

24hour emergency assist 

In the event of an emergency, know that you can always contact our team to ensure your money is safe and accessible. If your card has been lost or stolen, you can access your funds through a cash out at any Western Union as well. That way you won’t be left high and dry. We’ve got a page dedicated to numbers you can call if you’re in trouble, so be sure to save it to your favourites for easy access. 

Easy card block and unblock, for when your card falls into the Grand Canyon

If your card gets misplaced or stolen, you can easily block and unblock it via the online portal or app. This process is instant as well, so you don’t have to worry about any annoying delays.


Lock in your exchange rate when the Aussie dollar is doing well

Lock in your exchange rate the day you load your card*. In other words, if the Aussie dollar is riding high, you can load up your Currency Pass and take advantage of the bonza rate the whole time you are on holiday.

Track your spending (and shopping) in the app

The Travel Money Oz app also allows you to track your spending and check your balance on the go. Knowledge is power, right?

Load up to ten currencies for all of your intrepid adventures

Planning a trip where you'll need a few currencies? No stress, you can load up to 10* currencies onto you Currency Pass including USD, GBP, EUR, NZD, CAD, HKD, JPY, SGD, THB and AUD. Better yet, when you're in the country it will automatically know which currency to use, e.g. it will withdraw GBP when you're paying for a pint in a London pub, and euro's when you're indulging in a croissant or six in Paris. 

Use it globally, any country, any time

The Currency Pass is accepted wherever Mastercard is, and Mastercard is accepted pretty much everywhere. 

It isn't linked to your life savings or bank account

If your card falls into the wrong hands you can rest assured knowing they won't have access to your bank account and funds at home, nor will they know any personal information apart from the name on the card. 

Easy reload on app or portal, for when you forget about the budget and splurge on an extra round of mojitos

You can reload anywhere at any time via bank transfer, debit/credit card or BPAY on our app or online portal. Just keep in mind BPAY can take up to four business days to have the funds accessible in your account, so don't leave reloading until the last minute. 


Travel light and avoid carrying around cash

This one is pretty simple - cash has a higher risk of theft. While many countries are still cash-based societies, you don't want to be taking huge wads of it overseas. 

When travelling, we recommend you take a mixed wallet. We want to ensure you are prepared for every situation by having a mix of currency options available. This will vary from country to country, but your best bet is to aim for the following combination:

  • 60% of your budget available on a Currency Pass
  • 40% of your budget converted to cash
  • Credit card handy for emergencies and hotel and car hire pre-authorisation or bonds.

Like all of the best things in life, the card is free to get with no monthly fees

The card itself is free and only has a minimum load of $20. That $20 is your own money to spend as well. 

You're spending your own money which means no nasty homecoming bills

Your money, your way. Before travelling, you can pre-load the card and reload on holiday when necessary - no credit, no overdraft. This makes it easier for you to budget and takes away the stress off coming home to a huge credit card bill. 

Set rate alerts to stay on top of currency movements

You can set rate alerts for your preferred currency on the Travel Money Oz portal. Let us know what your ideal rate is, and we'll let you know if and when it hits. From there you can load funds on your card and lock in the great rate. 

Designed for travellers like me and you

If the above points haven't already made it obvious, prepaid travel cards are designed for travelling. Using a Currency Pass will also unlock a wide variety of Priceless ®  experiences with Mastercard. Care for a pub tour in London, helicopter ride in Paris or discounted tickets to a Vegas show? Priceless has got you covered. 

Sound good? You can purchase your Currency Pass online or in any of our 150+ stores across Australia. Don't forget to grab your cash as well!

Before leaving, it's also worth wising up on some Currency Pass tips and tricks to ensure you are making the most of your travel money overseas. 

Mastercard Prepaid Management Services Australia Pty Ltd (ABN 47 145 452 044, AFSL 386 837) arranges for the issue of the Currency Pass in conjunction with the issuer, EML Payment Solutions Limited ('EML') ABN 30 131 436 532 , AFSL 404131.
You should consider the Product Disclosure Statement for the relevant product available at Travel Money Oz's website before deciding to acquire the product. Any advice does not take into account your personal needs, financial circumstances or objectives and you should consider if it is appropriate for you. Mastercard and the circles design are registered trademarks of Mastercard International Incorporated.. Exchange rates for initial loads and subsequent reloads made using methods available via Travel Money Oz's website will be set at the prevailing exchange rate set out at Travel Money Oz's website at the time of your request, provided you settle the transaction within four hours. Different exchange rates apply for loads initiated using other methods. If you initiate a load or reload other than via Travel Money Oz's website, the exchange rate applied will be the prevailing exchange rate at the time the payment is processed and the funds are received into your facility. For more information on how exchange rates are set and applied, please see the Product Disclosure Statement.
This blog is provided for information only and does not take into consideration your objectives, financial situation or needs.  You should consider whether the information and suggestions contained in any blog entry are appropriate for you, having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs.  While we take reasonable care in providing the blog, we give no warranties or representations that it is complete or accurate, or is appropriate for you.  We are not liable for any loss caused, whether due to negligence or otherwise, arising from the use of, or reliance on, the information and/or suggestions contained in this blog.