The Top Travel Debit Cards

Travelling can be an expensive hobby. You have to consider the cost of flights, accommodation, transfers, insurance, airport necessities and a decent amount of spending money on top of all that. This doesn’t allow much room for slip-ups when it comes to spending abroad. 

It is crucial to stay street smart when it comes to using a card as opposed to cash overseas. Many banks will have hidden charges when spending abroad and can really catch you out if you are unaware of certain terms and conditions.  

There are multiple ways to go about managing money when travelling, the main one being travel debit cards. Whether this be a temporary card you top up for a specific trip or a main debit card with additional, travel appropriate benefits.

 Ideal benefits of a debit card

  • No overseas charge or ATM withdrawal fee– Some debit cards will allow you to use them abroad but will rack up a fee due to overseas charges applied on top of your bill. This can be risky as it is hard to keep track of what you’re spending and will significantly eat into your budget. Instead opt for a card with no overseas charge or ATM withdrawal fee.
  • Easy top up on app –Most bank accounts will offer an online banking service and mobile phone application. Ensure you have this set up on your phone so you can easily access your balance and make necessary top ups or transfers at all times.  
  • 24/7 help service – It can be daunting if you’re abroad and you find yourself with a problem, especially if you’re Opt for a bank that has a 24 hour helpline and make a note of any contact details so you can reach them if your card ends up lost or stolen, or if you have an issue with your funds. 
  • Consistent exchange rates Check the exchange rate of your current bank and ensure that you are getting the best deal available whilst also avoiding any additional charges.  

 Best travel debit cards on the market

Monzo

Available since 2016, Monzo is an online, app-based bank, simple to set up and easy to use. On the app, you can see exactly what you have spent and where, straight away. Your balance is immediately updated so it is super easy to keep track of exactly how much remains in your account. In terms of travel, Monzo will recognise as soon as you enter a different country and alert you to the current exchange rate. There is also no additional fee when paying by card in any shop, restaurant or bar as well as a £200 cash withdrawal per month.  

 Other benefits include; splitting of bills between friends who are also Monzo users, ability to freeze your card if you lose it and a spending summary when you leave the country.  

Brown wallet with a Monzo travel debit card inside

Revolut

Revolut is a financial technology company offering banking services with the additional benefits of free currency exchange, commission free stock trading and cryptocurrency exchange. 

The main benefits of travelling with Revolut is that they offer the interbank exchange rate in over 150 currencies. They allow you to withdraw up to £200 a month abroad and insure any necessary items quickly and easily through the app.  

With multiple features such as stashing spare change, instant spending notifications, freezing and unfreezing of your card and complete control, Revolut is a great choice.  

Banks to avoid for travel

It is really not worth the stress or cost of racking up international spending fees with your bank. Unfortunately, there are still a few banks out there that are way behind the times and don’t offer a low-cost, easy spending solution when abroad. However, they are still making money from those that don’t do their research into additional charges.  

Some of these banks include; Santander, Lloyds, Halifax, Natwest and more. If you are with any of these banks and looking to travel abroad, it is strongly advised that you do your research and ensure you are aware of the charges that may be involved. Alternatively, register for a specific travel card like those mentioned previously to begin reaping the benefits.  

 If you still have some concerns about spending abroad and are considering a short-term loan, get in touch with us today.   

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