Travel and Money: Using Prepaid Travel Cards

Editor's note: Traveling safely and managing your money along the way is an exercise in balancing multiple risks: theft, loss, high surcharges, and confusing discrepancies. This Travel and Money series discusses various ways to address money and security issues while you are abroad.

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Hands holding stack of Visa credit cards
© John Lambert Pearson

Today, the topic of discussion is Prepaid Travel Cards, which can be a useful ”” and secure ”” alternative to debit cards and credit cards, as well as a way to hedge against currency risk.

Prepaid Travel Cards Basics

A prepaid travel card is generally usable in the place of a debit or credit card. You can withdraw cash at an ATM, pay for purchases, and make travel reservations. And as the name suggests, you prepay these expenses by loading money onto the card.

It is just as secure as a debit or credit card, since the prepaid travel card is protected by a PIN and/or signature. In fact, some would say that prepaid travel cards are even more secure, since the money is not linked to your bank account and has a limited balance (which limits your exposure).

It can also be a handy tool for budgeting, since you would load only the money you plan on spending for the trip onto the card, which helps you stick to your travel budget.

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One Response

  1. Travel Mom

    Love this idea. I get paranoid when traveling, especially when I have the kids with me and I get really distracted. Plus, if you have ever had a card stolen, you know how much work goes into canceling. My credit cards are set up for certain accounts and that would be a big pain to fix.


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