Pre-Paid Card: A Secure And Convinient Way To Spend Abroad

27 June 2011 - ICE



Weekly Travel Advice - 27/06/11

ICE Warns Travellers to do their Research

ICE (International Currency Exchange) is urging travellers to plan ahead and consider taking a pre-paid card on holiday this year as a secure and convenient option for spending abroad. 

Over 96% of travellers responding to a recent ICE survey used local currency for transactions abroad, followed by credit cards (65%) and debit cards (27%).  While prepaid cards are growing in popularity they still lag behind the old fashioned Travellers Cheque which Janet Johnston, ICE Travellers Cashcard Product Manager believes is a huge missed opportunity for travellers.

“Prepaid cards are not only more secure for travellers but are a charge free method of paying for goods and services abroad,” says Janet Johnston.

ICE Survey on Payment Methods Overseas

(When asked what forms of payment were used abroad)

Travellers Cheques 8.9%

Local Currency 96.4%

Credit Cards 65%

Debit Cards 27%

Prepaid Cards 4%

“While prepaid cards are popular in the US they are still a relatively new phenomenon in the UK and many travellers are sticking to hard currency and Travellers Cheques when planning their holiday money. 

“Prepaid cards offer huge benefits to travellers – chief of which is the fact that you won’t get stung on credit and debit card transactions.  The rate of exchange is also competitive and the card is pin protected offering much greater security than cash.  Even if the PIN got into the wrong hands only the amount on the card could be taken, unlike a credit card.”

The other barrier to prepaid card take up is the sheer choice of cards on offer.  Not all provide the same benefits so it is important travellers do their homework using the following pointers from ICE:

First check the exchange rates offered - how do they compare with the rest of the market?

Check if there is a monthly fee or purchase fee – most cards are free to obtain but there are the exceptions

Look at any charges for transactions or ATM use – how do these compare with your credit or debit card?

Check if the card has a time limit or can remain dormant for an unlimited time

Establish how much money you can load to the card – is it likely to be enough for your everyday spending needs?

Find out how long it will take to process your card and get it delivered to you – will there be enough time before your holiday?

Can you apply for additional cards for family members?

Janet Johnston continues: “The ICE Travellers Cashcard is free to obtain, no monthly fees and no fees for point of sale transactions. A prepaid MasterCard, you simply load the ICE Travellers Cashcard with funds and use it wherever the MasterCard logo appears. The card not only offers much greater security than carrying cash but offers the flexibility of having additional cards for family members.  Once you have a prepaid card in your wallet, you won’t look back.” 

Available in US Dollars (USD), Euros (EUR) and Sterling, the ICE Travellers Cashcard is accepted at over 25 million ATMs, shops and restaurants in over 120 countries worldwide.   It is easy to manage the account and top up online if funds get low. 


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