If you’re travelling for leisure in particular or indeed if any trip is something which constitutes your ultimate entertainment then every single task associated with organising your trip is perhaps something you enjoy. This would include something like calling up the credit card division of your bank and requesting for them to authorise its use internationally at the destination you plan to visit, but this brings to light a very important consideration when it comes to the management of your travel budget when travelling abroad.
I’m talking about using prepaid debit cards, although they should probably be used in supplementation to your primary bank-issued cards. If you have a lot of outstanding debt on multiple cards, I’d look into getting a loan that consolidates credit card debt first.
The advantages of prepaid debit cards
I’ve been using some specific preloaded debit cards for a while now in the form of prepaid MasterCards to be precise. So to that end my experience is a first-hand one and I have nothing but good experiences to report. I’ve had a thorough look at the fees structure and basically a preloaded debit card is like being able to load money on a different card than that which is issued by your bank, which amongst many others has the advantage of not requiring you to call your bank and have them authorise your card.
Otherwise if you manage the transfers into and out of your virtual account which holds the funds strategically then the fees work out cheaper than those charged by your bank. For instance, there’s a fixed fee for ATM withdrawals, which will naturally be in the local currency of the destination you’re visiting. You also have the currency conversion rate set in stone to a certain degree because you can work out exactly how much you’re going to be charged. It’s usually not that much and in my particular case I usually pay around $2 to $2.50 US per local currency ATM withdrawal.
Just like with your bank issued card though all POS payments incur no fees at all, so swipe your card as much as you can. In some countries such as Brazil even the street vendors have mobile POS machines!
Security is another advantage of using preloaded debit cards because if you fall victim to something like card skimming then the criminals won’t be able to empty out your entire primary bank account.
Preloaded debit card options
As far as some specific options go with regards to preloaded debit cards, I’d recommend Neteller as my favourite because of the fact that you can load funds into your Neteller account from your bank at home and then load whatever amount you need on your card. So it’s like having an extra card option “attached” to your bank account, except it’s not really linked directly.
Other preloaded debit card options include GoldMoney and Payoneer, but with GoldMoney that is largely tied to your investment in precious metals such as Gold and Silver. You can cash out your credit balance into the card and use it as a normal debit card.
Payoneer is more for those freelancers who earn their money online on sites like UpWork, so there’s no real way of loading your card unless you load it with another MasterCard.