What type of “money’ should you take on your trip? A comparison of Cash, Travellers cheques, Credit Cards or Travel Money Cards.
When it comes to deciding what type of travelling money to take overseas, one size certainly does not fit all. Some countries may just want cold hard cash, while others won’t mind if you use your card for payments.
• Easiest way to pay, accepted everywhere.
• It’s handy to have some local currency with you before you arrive at your destination just in case you’re unable to withdraw money. So if you’re hungry or need something urgently, you’re not caught out if you arrive in a foreign country late at night.
• If you exchange your money at the airport or ferry terminal, they usually charge a big fee for the convenience.
• Not secure
• Some travel insurance policies may not cover you for theft or loss of cash, however, they will usually cover you if you lose your credit / debit card or travellers cheques.
Travellers cheques are fixed amount ‘cheques’ that can be used to pay for purchases, or cashed in.
• They never expire,
• Are secure, in that only the person who can cash them is the person whose name is on the travellers cheque, and photo ID is required.
• Can be replaced if they’re lost or stolen.
• Some countries may not accept them for payment.
• Not available in a large range of currencies, travellers have to purchase travellers cheques in a different currency and then exchange it for the local currency – which will mean commission and foreign exchange fees,
• No electronic tracking or record of your purchases
Credit / Debit Card
• Safely carry and access all your money for your trip
• Withdraw or charge your account as you go
• No preload, transaction or inactivity fees.
• You can have the card blocked if you lose the card
• You are at the mercy of the exchange rate at the time that you withdraw or use the card
• Surcharges and ATM withdrawal fees
• Some stores may not accept cards at all
• You may not be able to access the ATM network in some locations.
• Potential for identity fraud if you lose the card
Travel Money Cards
• Like a credit/debit card but without the hassle of having to apply and joining a bank
• The cards are secure because they’re not linked to your bank account
• Allows you to preload a few different currencies onto the card for use during your travels
• You can avoid currency fluctuations because you lock in a fixed rate at the time that you load the currencies onto your card.
• The card can be blocked if you lose it
• Almost all credit cards charge 3 – 3.5% on top of all foreign purchases (that’s $30 – $35 on $1,000), while travel money cards do not charge any surcharge on purchases made on the card — as long as you spend in the right currency.
• The inevitable fees that come with using the cards
• The card doesn’t have your name on it, so some merchants may be reluctant to accept the card as payment
• The time the money takes to reload onto your card
Do your research as to that type of ‘money’ country you are visiting – you will probably need to take a mix of travelling money and use the one that best suits your destination and situation.