As we approach the main holiday season with millions of families set to travel overseas, new research shows that failing to pack the right plastic could see you pay over the odds for your holiday spending money to the tune of £68 or more.
If you’re someone who takes a couple of holidays a year, that’s a saving of over £680 over the next five years – surely a big enough incentive to check that the card in your wallet isn’t an expensive dud when it comes to using it outside the UK.
Much of the current travel money talk is focused on the economic uncertainty in Greece where increasingly the advice has been to take cash rather than plastic, however this is an exception rather than the rule and for most travellers the security of a cost effective pre-paid travel card will always prove a safer and cheaper option.
Too many people simply rely on their existing bank debit or credit card without realising how expensive it can be, but in many cases it can take a huge bite out of your holiday money as highlighted in the table below.
|Cheapest Prepaid currency cards
||Saving against most expensive debit card £1356.39
||Saving against most expensive credit card£1373.70
|Ukash Travel Money Card**£1305.39
|Cash Passport Multicurrency£1307.86
|Cost saving based on 1800 euro spend including 6 x 200 Euro ATM withdrawals and 12 purchase transactions – exchange rates and fees calculated by MoneyComms 24.06.2015
**New cards temporarily unavailable
The cheapest prepaid deal in my research from Ukash is not currently issuing new cards, but both Centtrip and Cash Passport (see table above) beat the majority of debit and credit cards hands down.
Even on a smaller spend scenario of 1300 Euros there was a wide difference in the level of the overall spend (including charges) with Ukash at £942.78 and Cash Passport at £944.14 both more than £38 cheaper than a credit card from Virgin Money and £30 cheaper than debit cards from banking giants Halifax, TSB, Santander and Lloyds Bank.
It’s not just in terms of cost that prepaid cards come out on top, but many providers are also more geared up to step in and help if your card is lost or stolen abroad.
For example more than a dozen debit and credit card providers either won’t send a replacement card abroad or will only consider it in exceptional circumstances whereas 10 out of the 14 prepaid card users offered this service, and two of the others give you a spare card at the time you apply.
The majority of prepaid companies charge a fee of around £5 or £6 for the replacement service with Cash Passport and Travelex the only two providers offering the delivery of this holiday lifesaver free of charge.
Most of us take time to research the best value flights, resorts and accommodation when organising our holidays – so it makes sense to apply the same logic for your holiday spending.
At least you can relax in the knowledge that you’re not being ripped off and that your holiday budget will spread that little bit further.