I still love carrying cash wherever I go but the world is turning cashless in many places.
I have to admit my personal Credit Card isn’t the best for travel. To avoid the foreign exchange fees while travelling, I have gone the route of Pre-paid credit cards that offer no foreign exchange fees.
In my past travels, I used Stack Pre-Paid Mastercard however since my last trip in 2019, it now incurs a monthly fee of $7.99CAD (waived if you spend $350/month) and also it’s 2.5% on foreign exchange fees.
I did my research looking through the many options for pre-paid credit cards / travel cards. My top choices were Wealthsimple Pre-Paid Mastercard and Wise Credit Card.
I decided to go with the Wealthsimple Pre-Paid Mastercard. Get up to $3,000 when you sign up with their referral code: 9H9PRA. It can be used for purchases and to withdraw cash from ATM’s and has no foreign exchange fees. Bonus – you also get cashback. It is super simple to link your actual bank account and transfer money. Unlike what Stack offered, I found you could only e-transfer money to the card. With the WS card, since you have linked your bank account, you can send funds to your WS cash account relatively easy via your linked account or debit card.
The app is very intuitive and every purchase you make shows you the conversion in CAD. You also get a phone notification option as well. You can also you finger print biometrics to sign into your phone app. What is also nice about these pre-paid credit cards is that if offers you a physical card and also a virtual card if you are purchasing online and don’t trust the website you are purchasing from. If you were to lose/get this physical credit card stolen, it isn’t directly linked to your actual bank account so only the money that was transferred into the cash account can be used or compromised.
My second option was Wise Credit Card where you can hold up to 5 different currencies at a time. It is a great card especially if you are getting paid in other currencies such as USD. You can direct deposit to this card so there is no currency conversion if you are getting paid by a US employer. This card is great if you are a digital nomad. The only thing that swayed me from getting this card was that there is still only a limited amount of currencies this card covers and it did not fulfill all the countries I was going to.
My only other advice when it comes to figuring our money and currency while travelling is to make sure to have XE app on your phone – it comes in clutch to see the realtime conversion rates.