How to Protect Against Fraud and Overspending on Holiday

Prepaid travel cards

Today’s guest blog comes from Jamie Gibbs from Confused.com, the credit card comparison website…

Going on holiday can sometimes make you feel like a kid in a sweet shop. There are so many different and tempting tastes, experiences and souvenirs, and if you aren’t careful you’ll soon find your suitcase full and your wallet and credit card empty. There’s also the risk of losing your money or having your credit cards stolen, which puts more than a little dampener on the whole holiday. Using a pre-paid travel card could save you the hassle and keep you worry-free.

Safe and sound

Pre-paid cards aren’t linked to your own bank account, so if someone was to take your card they wouldn’t be able to run up a load of credit in your name. This also means that the risk of identity fraud is greatly reduced, and all pre-paid cards are PIN protected. If your card is lost or stolen, your money is still safe and can be replaced when you call the card issuer. This saves you having to make a claim on your travel insurance for any lost/stolen cash.

Curb your spending

If you’re concerned about how much you spend while on holiday, a pre-paid travel card can help you out. You load however much you want onto the card, and once that money’s gone, it’s gone. Prepaid cards work in the same way as debit cards (i.e. no credit) so there’s little worry about spending more than your budget. Many pre-paid cards come with a ‘companion card’ that you can keep with someone at home. If you’re in a tight spot, a friend or family member can top-up the card for you.

There’s always a catch

Well, not a catch as such, but if you aren’t careful you could be paying over the odds for simply having the card. Many cards charge a transaction fee of up to 3% for every purchase that you make with the card. Some will charge you up to €3.50 for using an ATM abroad, and some also charge monthly fees of up to €15. Almost all pre-paid cards have an application fee (again, of up to €15) so it pays to look around for a pre-paid card that won’t cost you the earth. Pre-paid cards that are specifically tailored towards travel seem to offer better rates, but make sure you know of any charges or fees before taking the card. Being hit with surprise charges won’t be the best way to start your holiday.

Travelling on a card There’s no ‘perfect card’ with no strings attached, and so the trick is to figure out what kind of spending you’ll be doing and get a card accordingly. If you’re jetting off to a city with a lot of brand stores, a card with no transaction fees is for you. If you want to visit local markets and bazaars more often, a card with little to no ATM fees is your best bet.

Pre-paid cards are either Visa or Mastercard, so there’s little worry about being able to use them abroad. Any shop or ATM that accepts Visa and Mastercard will accept a pre-paid travel card, so as long as you watch out for those fees, you could save yourself quite a bit of money and bother the next time you reach for your wallet on holiday.

Thanks to gruntzooki, Anthrocopy and  for the excellent images from Flickr. Please note, all images were used under the Creative Commons License at the time of posting. 

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