Should I use a travel card abroad?

Portrait of a loving mature couple in a hotel lobby holding a credit card

Consider using a pre-paid travel card on your summer trips overseas - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Summer is almost upon us, which means many of you are considering a holiday in the sun. Michael Brown discusses four reasons why you should consider using a prepaid or travel credit card while abroad

According to the Office for National Statistics, UK residents spent £4.9 billion on visits abroad between July and September last year. While this statistic is lower than previous years due to the coronavirus pandemic, these figures do suggest Brits prefer to spend time abroad during this period.

So, if you are planning to put your feet up on holiday soon, why not use a travel card to fund your holiday? Many travellers prefer to use their own debit or credit cards, but travel cards come with a set of unique advantages.

No foreign transaction fees

While most credit cards allow you to spend money outside of the UK, most providers attach additional charges for doing so. In fact, some banks will charge you a 3% transaction fee for every purchase you make, which can ratchet up to a larger unnecessary charge.

Travel credit cards, by contrast, do not demand such fees so may work out being cheaper for your holiday. However, some travel cards still charge a fee on ATM cash withdrawals, so this should always be taken into consideration depending on how much cash you wish to use.

Credit transactions are protected

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Travel credit cards are also protected under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, which will be welcome news for travellers. What this means is that any purchases between £100 and £30,000 are covered by this law if anything goes wrong with your purchase. In such an instance, you will receive a full refund.

For example, suppose your accommodation provider or airline goes insolvent, your credit card provider will then be required to refund you your purchase. Consumers need to note that this applies to travel credit cards, and travel prepaid cards are not included.

Travel rewards

If you consider yourself to be a frequent traveller, you may want to use a travel credit card for the rewards alone. Some cards offer cashback on flights, hotel bookings, and rental cars just to name a few. Others will offer you air miles instead, which can be redeemed for a unique set of travel perks.

Ultimately, these rewards can make your trip cheaper when compared to using a normal credit card.

Prepaid travel cards give you flexibility

Although you may be on holiday, Sterling doesn’t rest and it will continue to fluctuate. This is why some travellers opt for a prepaid travel card instead. What this does is lock your currency in at any given time before your trip when you think your purchasing power is the strongest. This then protects your purchasing power, and if Sterling weakens your budget will remain unaffected.

To review your travel spending options in more detail, and to compare the best travel credit cards on the market, visit

Michael Brown is an online reporter at, the money comparison experts, specialising in personal finance.