Whether you’re going on a gap year, a work trip or the trip of a lifetime, a prepaid card is perfect for managing your money whilst abroad.
If you’re heading off on a trip of a lifetime, you need to make sure you’re well prepared before you set off. One of the key things you’ll need to do is figure out how you’ll manage your money whilst you’re away. Taking cash isn’t always safe, and using your normal debit or credit card will leave you with hefty exchange fees.
If you’re worried about managing money whilst you’re abroad, look no further than the icount prepaid Mastercard®, which gives you a free Cashplus currency card. Take a look at our guide to find out more about how icount can save you money whilst on your travels, along with some top tips for managing your money away from home.
Euro & dollar currency prepaid card
If you’re travelling long term, a prepaid card is your best option to help manage your money safely and avoid steep exchange fees.
What is a prepaid currency card?
A prepaid currency card is similar to a standard debit card, however it is specifically designed to be used when abroad or for spending in another currency. These cards are just as safe as your normal credit or debit card and come with a range of benefits.
Prepaid currency cards will normally give you better exchange rates than you’d find elsewhere, and help to keep your money safe as you won’t need to carry cash around with you. You can use them almost everywhere that offers card payments as well as at ATM machines, making a prepaid card a great, flexible option for long-term travellers.
What do icount offer?
If you are an icount current account holder, you’re entitled to a range of benefits, including:
- A free Cashplus prepaid Euro or Dollar card
- No commission fees
- Competitive exchange rates
- No monthly fees
- Free cash withdrawals at foreign ATMs
- A free replacement card, including any money loaded on it, if you lose your currency card whilst travelling
- Online card management and top ups
To find out more about the free currency card that is available when you are a customer of icount, take a look at our page on travelling abroad with icount and apply for your icount account today.
How to manage your money when travelling
No matter whether you’re off on a gap year, travelling for business or going on the adventure of a lifetime, there are a few easy rules you can follow to make sure your trip doesn’t cost you the earth.
Sort out your travel money before you leave
Leaving your travel money at the bottom of your to-do list is a recipe for disaster. Currency exchanges in airports or at your destination, are likely to offer poor rates and hefty commission fees, which can leave you with less spending money than expected. Shop around for good exchange rates and, where possible, opt for commission-free options, such as the Cashplus prepaid currency card which is free when you have an icount card.
Check what fees are charged when spending abroad
If you’re going to be making cash withdrawals or spending on your card when travelling, check what fees you can expect on your return. Most banks will charge sizeable transaction fees for spending abroad, which can leave you out of pocket. Consider spending options that won’t cost the earth, such as cash or prepaid currency cards.
Set yourself a weekly budget and stick to it
Although it’s tempting to make the most of your adventure and buy souvenirs, meals or upgrade from your hostel, spending this way can leave you dangerously short on money by the end of your trip. Before leaving, work out how much you’ll need to live on and make sure to include food, drink, accommodation, transport and any attractions you want to see. Simply top up this amount onto your prepaid card each week and, as you can’t dip into overdrafts or spend more than what is loaded onto your card, you’ll keep your finances healthy throughout your trip.
Brush up on your haggling skills
Many market sellers or shop owners will be willing to adjust their prices to make a sale, and in a large number of countries, haggling is the done thing! By brushing up on your haggling skills, you can save yourself a pretty penny, leaving you with extra spending money for the rest of your trip!
How do you use our prepaid card abroad?
It couldn’t be easier to spend abroad with icount. Discover how you can use your free Cashplus prepaid currency card here.
Once you’ve loaded money onto your currency card, you can use your prepaid card as normal. Make free cash withdrawals from ATMs, or pay by card at any location that accepts Mastercard® payments. As you can’t spend more money than you load onto the card, you don’t need to worry about dipping into costly overdrafts or getting hefty penalty charges.
It’s quick and easy to top up your currency card. Simply log onto the icount online servicing page from anywhere in the world and transfer money from your icount account onto your currency card. You can top up your card to a maximum balance of €5000 or $7500. Once you’ve transferred money onto your Cashplus currency card, it’ll be available to spend within 30 minutes.
After your travels
Once you’ve returned from your trip, you can transfer any remaining money from your currency card onto your icount card. Alternatively, leave the remaining funds on your currency card ready for your next adventure!
How to keep your money safe abroad
No matter what method you choose to use when spending money overseas, you should take steps to make sure that you keep your money safe.
Don’t withdraw large amounts of cash
When travelling, it’s recommended that you only draw out as much cash as you’ll need for the day. Drawing out large amounts of cash can make you a target for pickpockets and thieves, and losing a large amount of cash at one time can put you in a difficult financial position for the rest of your trip.
Be aware of pickpockets
In certain tourist spots, pickpockets are rife and can leave you stranded without money or important documents. Taking a few simple steps will help you to avoid becoming a pickpocket victim though. Choose a secure bag with zips to make it harder for pickpockets to grab your possessions, or opt for a waist bag for added security.
Make sure you don’t flash large amounts of cash and be aware of people around you when using ATMs or paying for items.
Split your money
If you’re carrying cash with you, keep it in a number of places. By splitting your cash into a number of locations, such as your wallet, hotel room and phone case, you’ll reduce the risk of losing all of your money. That way, if you do lose some money, you won’t be left completely out of pocket.
Work out your backup plan
Before setting off on your travels, make a note of emergency phone numbers and bank details, just in case you are a victim of theft whilst you’re away. Also, ensure you have enough money available in case of emergency. By having a back up plan in place, you’ll be able to replace lost cards and money quickly, saving you stress and making sure that you can get back to enjoying your holiday as soon as possible.