International prepaid cards function like debit cards. They are especially useful for digital nomads and travelers.
Prepaid debit cards enable you to withdraw money from ATMs, buy things online or in stores abroad.
They are safe and useful because you’re not subject to overdraft fees. You can only spend as much money as you top up. For a detailed overview, keep reading.
How Prepaid Debit Cards Work
You can get the card in your home country before you travel. You first fill in an application form, submit proof of identity, and personal details. When approved, you’ll get your card sent to your address. You may also need to download an app to your phone.
When you get the card, you can top it up online in your home currency. Then, you can choose the foreign currency you’ll exchange when you go abroad. You can then switch the balance and know how much foreign currency you have beforehand.
Some travel cards exchange your home currency only when you use it for spending. Such cards don’t allow you to know the exchange rate until you complete the transaction.
Below you’re going to find a list of these types of cards.
Benefits of an International Prepaid Debit Card
International prepaid cards are not linked to your other accounts. This is an advantage considering the possibility of theft or fraud.
You can only spend the amount you’ve put into your card. It also saves you from carrying lots of cash with you.
Also, you won’t need to find an exchange office, because mostly your card already does it in advance. In that case, you’ll not face any extra fees or costs based on the exchange rate volatility.
You can load various currencies on your card as well.
Best International Prepaid Debit Cards
Wise Multi-Currency Debit Card
Wise is an online bank offering several services for clients worldwide. You can open a Wise account if you’re a resident in the US, UK, New Zealand, Australia, or Europe.
After you open a multi-currency account, you’ll get your debit card as well. The account allows you to hold more than 40 currencies.
Another benefit is that the account uses a mid-market exchange rate while converting currencies. Also, you can withdraw up to $250 for free per month. The fee for further withdrawal amounts is quite low.
You can open a Revolut account if you’re a resident in the EEA (European Economic Area), UK, US, Canada, Australia, Singapore, or Switzerland. The free account is available only for US residents. Premium accounts are available for everyone.
Through a Revolut account, you can spend in more than 150 currencies. You can also hold and exchange 28 currencies.
Mostly, you can exchange currencies through the mid-market rate.
For ATM withdrawals over $300 a month, there is a fee. Also, when you exchange more than $6,500 a month, an extra fee of 0.5 percent will apply. For weekend transactions, an extra fee of 0.5 to one percent will apply.
Netspend offers two options in terms of cards. One of them has a monthly fee, and the other is called “pay as you go”. The second one entails charges for each transaction. So, you don’t pay for services. You can choose one of them according to your needs.
Also, there are no particular international ATM fees. However, it may sometimes depend on the ATM operator. Also, there is a four percent foreign transaction surcharge added to ATM withdrawals and purchases.
This one is a German online bank. If you’re a resident of the UK, US, or Europe, you can open an N26 account.
You don’t need to exchange your money for foreign currency in advance. It uses the Visa exchange rates with no additional fees or markups.
Note that you may need to pay some services like ATM fees. However, they aren’t charged by N26 but by other service providers.
Ally is another online bank you can open an account in. You can top up as much as you want and use your linked card.
For overseas ATM withdrawals, there is a one percent fee. There may be additional charges by ATM owners as well.
Travelex Money Card
Local clients in the US benefit from the prepaid currency card used with six foreign currencies. Individuals outside of the US can benefit from similar products as well.
You can use Travelex Money Card for ATM withdrawals, in stores and restaurants. It also has contactless technology.
To get the card, there may be a fee. Also, there is a monthly inactivity fee of €3. An exchange fee of 5.5 percent is added to the currency exchange.
You can use it overseas as well as at home. You can top up your card online or at a retail location as well.
The monthly charge of the card is $4.95. The foreign transaction fee is 2.5 percent. The use of ATMs abroad comes with additional fees as well.