Updated January 2017
I have been using the dollar FairFX pre-paid currency card since 2011 and I cannot recommend it enough for foreign currency. The FairFX travel money rates have always appealed to me.
Benefits of a FairFX currency card
There are so many benefits to have a pre-paid currency card.
- The FairFX card is a Mastercard, meaning that it is accepted worldwide.
- It helps you to budget on a trip – whilst you can top up your card if required, having a FairFX card preloaded with currency can help you not to overspend.
- Topping up is really simple. You can top up online or using the mobile app.
- More secure than cash – if your purse if stolen then you have lost the cash.
- Fraud protection.
- You can wait to top up when the exchange rates are in your favour.
- If you forget your pin then you can ring up for it – no waiting around for a letter to arrive.
How to top up
You can top up using a debit card, credit card (surcharge will apply) or a bank transfer. You get the exchange rate at the time of topping up, so if you are planning a trip you can wait until the exchange rate is in your favour before topping up. The mobile app is brilliant for topping up on the go – brilliant for those last minute large purchases!
You can also top up using their website, automatic top up line or even SMS!
You can use the FairFX card to make cash withdrawals at most ATMs, although there is a small fee ($2 for the dollar card) for doing so.
If you have any money left over after your trip then there are a few things you can do.
- Leave the money on the card for your next trip.
- Use your card in stores back home and pay a small currency conversion fee.
- Pay £10 to get the money returned to your bank account.
I usually leave any left over dollars on my card as I know I will be travelling to Florida the following year. This year I had over $200 on the card and once we had booked our honeymoon I noticed that suddenly my card was empty. A quick look through the transactions and it was easy to see that my card details had been stolen and used fraudulently. It took two emails and one phone call to FairFX to get everything sorted. That includes reporting the fraud, returning a disclaimer stating that the charges were not made by me, ordering a new card, receiving a refund and transferring the refund onto a friends and family card.
Friends and family card
With FairFX you can apply for a friends and family card for a flat rate of £6. This card is great for children or someone else travelling with you. You can transfer money between the cards so it is great for giving a child their own spending money or sharing a balance between a family. You can also get the card in your own name in case anything happens to the first card – then you can transfer the balance over.
Where is it accepted?
Anywhere that accepts Mastercard will accept your FairFX card. I have had one issue at Red Lobster where my card didn't work. I tend to take some spending money in cash anyway so this wasn't a problem.
Not going abroad? It is great for online shopping too
If you aren't travelling abroad, but you like to purchase items online in other currencies then the FairFX card is a great solution. By paying in the local currency you will forgo the foreign currency transaction fee that most banks charge.
Get a FREE FairFX currency card
The card costs £9.95 (although if you get it through this link they will waive the fee) and you can choose to open a Euro account, Dollar account or a mixed currency account.