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Travel (prepaid) credit cards

Sterling prepaid cards reviewed

By Rob Goodman

Article 5 of 5

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Sterling prepaid cards reviewed

Discover everything you need to know about sterling prepaid cards, and whether they could help you save on spending overseas. 


What are sterling prepaid cards?

Sterling prepaid cards can typically be used worldwide and aren't restricted to one currency. 

Unlike with currency specific prepaid cards - such as a Euro or US Dollar prepaid card - with a sterling prepaid card the exchange rate you get will be decided at the time you make the transaction, rather than when you top-up the card. 

So, one downside of this is that you won't be able to 'lock-into' a specific exchange rate when you top-up the card.

However, this is isn't guaranteed to be bad news as exchange rates may also improve between when you top-up the card and use it buy something. 

If you're heading to the eurozone or the US, a euro prepaid card or dollar prepaid card is another option to consider.  

Using Revolut and Monzo cards to spend abroad

Revolut and Monzo are two stand-out sterling prepaid cards, both offer market-leading exchange rates and no fees for overseas spending. 

Both are managed via smartphone apps, and you will need to download the app before you can get the card. With Monzo you will typically be put on a waiting list for a week or two before you can get the card. 

Once you have a Monzo or Revolut account you can transfer money to it via your debit card, Apple Pay (if you have an iPhone) or bank transfer.

Both cards offer fee-free foreign spending and overseas cash withdrawals. 

Revolut charges on cash withdrawals

With Revolut, however, withdrawals of more than £200 a month are charged at 2% per withdrawal. So, this may not be the right card for you if you regularly take out cash on holiday.

The apps come with a number of handy features, such as the ability to track your foreign transactions in real-time (including how much they cost you in £s) and instantly block your card if it is lost/stolen.

Alternatively, a credit card with low fees on overseas spending can work out as the best option for purchases made abroad, as long as the bill is paid off in full each month. 

Monzo to introduce fees for cash withdrawals

in September 2017, Monzo announced that it was planning to introduce fees for making withdrawals abroad. It is currently consulting with its online community on what to charge. This could be:

  • A 1% charge in Europe and 2% in the rest of the world
  • A flat 1.5% charge anywhere outside of the UK
  • The ability to withdraw £200 for free per month, followed by a 3% on anything above

Which? Money Compare: Credit cards for overseas spending – find a credit card for your needs at Which? Money Compare

The best Sterling prepaid cards

The table below shows the range of sterling prepaid cards available on the market, how much they charge to withdraw money, spend and top up. The table was last updated in April 2017. 

Sterling prepaid cards
Card name Foreign exchange mark up Foreign ATM fee Debit card top-up fee  Reload options
AA Worldwide card n/a Free if over £50a Free if over £50a Internet/Cheque/Selected Branches
Otherwise €1.5/$1.5.
ICE Traveller's Cashcard n/a Free 2.85% load fee Internet/Phone/Branch
FairFx Anywhere card 1.40% 1% plus 1.4% transaction fee Free Internet/Phone/SMS
Monzo n/a Free Free Smartphone app
Monzo is planning to introduce fees for overseas cash withdrawals in the near future. These could be a 1% charge in Europe and 2% in the rest of the world; a flat 1.5% charge anywhere outside of the UK; or the ability to withdraw £200 for free per month, followed by a 3% on anything above
Revolut n/a Free Free Smartphone app
Up to £200 (or equivalent) per calendar month. 2% thereafter
  • Last updated: May 2017
  • Updated by: Marie Kemplay

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