I have had my Travelex prepaid travel card passport for about 18 months and I've used it on many many occasions throughout that time. I purchased it from the Travelex counter at Heathrow airport and it was a fairly quick and painless procedure. I have used it in Spain, South Africa, Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, USA and France over this period of time.
The basic premise is that you can load this card in the same way as you might purchase travellers cheques and then you can use this card as a Visa Debit card when you go travelling. You have to load the card in either Sterling, Euro's or Dollars and because I was travelling to Spain at the time I purchased the card, my card is loaded in Euros - although its important to realise that you can use the card to purchase items in any currency and use it to withdraw money from any bank or ATM that accepts Visa Debit cards. Like a credit card, you are given a PIN to be able to use your card securely - and unlike cash, you have the added security of knowing that you can block the card should it be stolen AND that your funds can be replaced in much the same way as travellers cheques.
You can load your card online, over the phone or via your bank. One issue I have had is that only the card holder is able to load the card and so when I was recently marooned in the US after my flight had been cancelled due to bad weather, my partner was not able to reload my card for me - and I was maxed out on all of my cards! This is a bit annoying and I can't see the reason why others cannot load onto the card should they wish to. The other thing which is a bit annoying is that you are only able to put £750 on it in one transaction - which can be limiting if you are going on a long trip.
I have never had a problem using the card and its been accepted everywhere I have tried to used it (as long as I've had available funds on it!!).
Customer service is a little hit and miss. I phoned them recently because I was having trouble reloading my card (the first time I'd had a problem) and my bank card kept getting refused despite my bank saying they weren't the ones refusing processing and so it had to be an issue with the Travelex end of things. When I phoned customer services they said they didn't know what the problem was and that they couldn't really help me further.....a response which I found less that satisfactory!! After trying again, I did speak to someone who was helpful and was able to clear the matter up for me.
Overall, I would recommend this card for anyone that goes travelling because it is nice to have a card specific for travelling as it also helps you to budget effectively.
Avoid these cards at all cost!!!!!. Everything is fine until something goes wrong then the problems start.
Their security is flawed. My cards were hacked in Thailand. When you approach their claims people the problems start.
First if they suspect fraud they close the card leaving you stranded with no cash. When you ask them to open the card they say the card is suspect therefore if anymore money is lost it is your problem. Since their security is flawed anytime you use the card it might be hacked so you cannot rely on this card when travelling period.
When you go to claim your money back they tell you to prove you did not take the money yourself. Since you cannot prove a negative they hold you liable.
What has actually occured is that previously when traveler's cheques were in vogue, these companies lost alot of money so now they have found a clever way of making the customer pay for problems in their security arrangements.
I would rate these card with a black death star if I could. You are better off petting a Bubonic Plague Infested Rat then hold these cards.
I have had so many problems with the cash passport from Travelex!I went to the USA for 2 weeks and had problems with the card from the first day. I tried to purchase some food on arrival but the card was declined and so i went to an ATM to check the balance and withdraw some funds but every ATM i tried in the area (including ATM's at well known banks) said they were enable to process my transactions.So i called the travelex support line and after waiting 30 minutes for someone to answer the phone the only advice they could give me was to keep trying different ATM's and they couldnt tell me why my card was being declined. RUBBISH! i will not be using this card again!
I work as a tour leader in africa. i use my travelex card throughout east and southern africa including kenya, tanzania, malawi, uganda, zambia, zimbabwe, botswana, south africa at visa cash machines and in some larger stores. It works well as long as you dont rely on it as your only source of cash as some times the visa machines are offline for international transactions. It is more flexible than travellers cheques here wich are often hard to cash and subject to poor exchange rates. The only place i dont use it is zimbabwe where the forex rates on the card make it unusable but that is true for any credit card or tc. I would reccomend it to bring alongside a good stock of post 2000 us dollars (the one with the large heads on them). Really the key is to have a number of different sources of cash here so when one doesnt work you can use the other.
HiI went to Thailand a couple of years ago and got the travelex card - it saved me money as I didn't have to keep paying to change the travel cheques - you use as a debit card with a pin number - I thought it was great but i did put all money on it at the airport, I have thinking about money on it monthly to try and save for my next hol but now having seconds as someone has commented they kept losing his money - I will inquire.
When you go abroad, especially on holiday, what do you do about money? I must admit this is one of my biggest concerns, especially when we are visiting one of those areas in the World where this can be a real problem. Recently we visited the Dominican Republic and I wasnt sure what to do.
I always carry with me three different currencies, Sterling, Euros and Dollars. I reckon that with these I can get by anywhere in the World. However, it never does to carry too much loose money around, with the eternal possibilities if muggers or pickpockets. Nevertheless, I would not feel comfortable without a reasonable supply of the readies.
I also carry credit cards. Here especially, with the prevalence of forgery, especially in the Far East, using your credit card can be fraught with risk. OK, the introduction of the use of PIN numbers as authorisation in place of a signature has, according to recent reports, reduced fraud by 80%.
Nevertheless, there are still many places around the World where the machinery to process credit cards with PIN numbers has still not arrived. Here it is still commonplace to use the old fashioned imprinted vouchers where, if you dont ensure that you demand that the carbon papers between each sheet are totally destroyed, your signature can be easily faked.
One precaution that is always recommended is that you do not let your credit card out of your sight. Dont let anyone take it away to process your transaction. Always insist that they bring the machine to you or else go with them if it is not portable. That way your card cannot easily be cloned without your knowledge.
Still, the thief is always trying to find new ways of getting around the obstacles so using credit cards will always be a risk.
So what else? Well, there is always the Travellers Cheque (Travelers Check?). These are available in various currencies and you are recommended to buy them in the currency that is most useable in the country of your destination. In the Americas thats the Dollar. In Europe the Euro reigns. In the British Empire, you can always use Sterling.
Now, Ive used travellers cheques and I hate them. You never know in what denominations to buy them. Too large and you have problems getting change. Too small and you have to carry loads around. Whats the right balance?
The other problem is that you have to record the numbers of each and every one and then check them off as you use them. However, you are not supposed to carry the numbers around with you so you have to keep a separate record when you spend them and then marry that up with your list latter.
So, whats the perfect solution?
Well, I thought Id found it when I was passing the Travelex desk at Gatwick when waiting for our flight to the Dominican Republic. There, on the desk, was an advert for the Travelex Pre-Paid Travel Card.
The Travelex card is a Debit Card, a bit like Switch. When you use a debit card the money comes right off your account there and then. Normally your account is your bank current account. The problem with this is, of course, that you are just as vulnerable to card cloning and fraud as you are with your credit card, even when protected by a PIN number.
However, the Travelex card is different. It works more like the recent cards that have been trialled that work like an electronic purse. If your purse is stolen, all you can lose is whats in the purse. The same is true of the Travelex card. Like travellers cheques they are issued in the three major currencies, Dollars, Euros and Sterling. Like the electronic purse, you pre-load them with a set amount of money.
As you buy things, the amount held on the card decreases. Eventually you have to re-fill it by arranging for funds to be transferred to it from your nominated account. The minimum amount you can add to the card is £100 or the approximate equivalent in other currencies. The maximum you can have on your card is £5,000 though who would ever want to have that amount on it I cant imagine.
The card can be used in any outlet that displays the Visa Electron logo and Travelex says thats all Visa outlets. It can also be used to extract real currency from ATMs in the same way that you can with bank cards and credit cards.
So, it sounds like the perfect solution. If you have it stolen, the most you can lose is whats on the card and you can have it blocked if it is, as soon as you discover it has been stolen. Its not worth being cloned because if the card is empty transactions will be rejected, unlike with a credit card.
There is just one problem and a big one at that. Its nothing to do with the way the card works. Its to do with the actual physical design of the card. Take a look at any ordinary credit or debit card. The card number across the middle is embossed into the card and the numbers are prominently raised above the surface.
This is important in third world countries (like the Dominican Republic) where the use of the old-fashioned vouchers is still common. The voucher that comes out of the machine after the roller has been rolled across it imprints the card number and outlet details onto the vouchers as evidence of the transaction.
However, the card number on Travelex card barely protrudes above the surface of the card. It is certainly not prominent enough to leave an imprint on a voucher. If the outlet does not have an electronic card reader the transaction cannot be processed and they will refuse the card.
Out of the dozen or so times I tried to use the card in the Dominican Republic it was accepted only twice, once in a supermarket and once in the hotel. It was as good as useless.
When we got back to the UK I took it back to the Travelex desk and explained the problems that I had had in trying to use it on holiday. They were very good about it. They confirmed that the two times I had tried to use it had been processed so it was clear how much was left on the card. They refunded the entire amount plus compensation for the inconvenience I had endured with it.
I have to say that I have absolutely no complaints whatsoever about the way that I was dealt with by Travelex. Indeed, I have used them in the past for currency transactions and have found them honest, fair and competitive.
No, the problem is with the card itself. As it is currently designed I cannot recommend it in any way. This is a great pity because otherwise it should be the perfect answer to using money abroad. Lets hope that they realise the fault in the design and do something about it. If they do I would be prepared to try it again.
But not until then.