When traveling, banks tend to charge you quite a few fees you didn’t budget for. Foreign exchange rates and ATM fees can add up quickly. On top of that, the holiday vibe gets you to spend way more than you planned. How about budgeting your trip with a prepaid card. A prepaid card allows you to set a budget in advance. Then, if you only spend the money you have set aside, you’re more likely to stay within your budget. With these prepaid cards for international travel, you can’t go wrong!
As the name already suggests, these travel cards are prepaid. That means you have to top them up with money before you can use them to spend that money. For budgeting, these cards are an amazing way not to overspend.
Another advantage these cards offer, is the fact that they usually give you better exchange rates and fewer ATM withdrawal fees.
An international prepaid cards offers the option to spend your money in different currencies, all over the world. You can use them to withdraw money from ATM, pay in shops or hotels, and do some online shopping.
Pro’s and cons of prepaid travel cards
Every payment method tends to have pro’s, as well as cons. So do these prepaid cards for international use.
Advantages of international prepaid cards
- Use several currencies with one card
- Set a budget by topping up only as much as you can spend
- Get a nice overview of your spending
- Pay anywhere!
- Get better exchange rates
- Some cards offer additional insurance options
Disadvantages of international prepaid cards
- Topping up might take a few days
- No chance of going in overdraft (also a pro)
- Some places might not accept your prepaid card, but most places do
The best prepaid cards for international use
So, let’s get to the best part! These are some of the very best prepaid cards for international travel:
N26 is a German online bank and it is one of the leaders in the digital banking world.
When opening an N26 bank account, you can add money in any currency you want. You don’t have to exchange it to a different currency in order to pay in that currency. You get access to live and realtime exchange rates the second you make a payment.
But, if you like to follow up on exchange rates, you can also make the exchange in your account at a moment when rates are in you favour. It’s up to you how you want to use it!
Ready to dive in straight away? Visit the N26 website!
Wise (formerly Transferwise) is another great option when looking for a great prepaid card for international use. Wise is available to people all over the world. So, no matter where you actually live, you can probably open a Wise account easily.
This digital bank allows you to open a multi currency account and order a MasterCard debit card to go with it. Wise offers access to some of the best exchange rates available and you can convert your money at any time. If you like to keep an eye on currency fluctuations and exchange your money at the exact right time, you can!
Your Wise account can be used to withdraw money at ATM’s, pay in shops, restaurants or hotels, but you can also use your account to pay for online shopping.
Revolut is an all-time favourite in the digital banking landscape.
This banks allows you to open a free personal account to use in every country worldwide.
If you want to, you can connect all your bank accounts in the Revolut app and get a nice overview of your bank accounts.
Revolut doesn’t charge you a fee for currency exchange, which makes this card a great option for international travelers.
You can use your prepaid card to pay in shops, restaurants, hotels, and other places, without paying an extra fee.
ATM withdrawals are free, up to 200€ (or 5 withdrawals, which ever comes sooner).
If you want sassy extra’s, like everyday insurance, travel insurance, or other nice extra’s, you can always opt for an upgrade to a Plus, Premium, Metal or Ultra Revolut account.
While there are other options available, we’re only mentioning the very best options in this article. Other prepaid cards for international travel may be a good fit if you’re American or if this bank is located in your own country.
The cards we mention in this article are available to all, and that is one of our priorities for writing this article.
Frequently asked questions
Applying for a prepaid travel card or using a prepaid card for international travel can be slightly different than using your own debit card at home. So, questions arise!
Is a prepaid card always a debit card?
Most prepaid travel cards offer Master Card, which is widely accepted all over the world.
What exchange rates apply on prepaid travel cards?
While each bank has its own way of exchanging different currencies, both of the options mentioned above offer real exchange rates. This means you get the actual exchange rates that are applied at the time of exchanging money.
There are no hidden costs and what you see in the exchange window, is exactly what you get.
How much do these prepaid cards cost?
Both providers offer a free prepaid travel card.
But, both providers also offer the option to get a paid bank account. The paid bank accounts usually offer you more options or even include travel insurance.
N26 just upgraded some of their accounts with interesting insurances for travelers.
There’s actually no reason to hesitate.
Ordering your free prepaid card for international travel holds no risks.
Even if you don’t plan on using it all the time, you don’t have to worry about having a digital bank account with one of these banks. They’re completely safe to use and there are no hidden monthly fees.
We are big fans of the N26 prepaid travel card and we use it all the time, even at home.