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Before I start singing the praises of using multi-currency travel card instead of foreign currency, first let us clearly understand what exactly these cards are.
A multi currency travel card is a prepaid card which is loaded with any one or many currencies (of your choice), to meet your expenses in foreign land, before you leave the Indian borders. These cards could be issued by your bank on the intimation of your travel itinerary, or by the reputed foreign exchange companies like Weizmann Forex and the number of currencies could vary upon the host countries you are heading to. Generally these could be loaded with US dollar, Australian dollar, Pounds, Singapore dollars etc. however; you cannot use these cards in Nepal, Bhutan and India.
You can use cash instead of multi currency travel card but then it will wreck havoc on your budget because whenever you pay in cash the fluctuation in the exchange rates would leave you paying extra at every stop you make. Plus carrying huge amount of cash is never advised because it would be difficult for you manage it along with your entire luggage plus the anxiety of theft!
Important things to know about a multi-currency travel card before you buy it-
- Multi-currency prepaid travel cards come with an expiry date so understand the offers entailed and key features of the card beforehand.
- The card is secured against lost card liability and could be replaced in case of theft.
- All transactions generate an alert on your registered mobile upon registration
- Do not use your card at merchant outlets that opt for dynamic currency conversion option at the time of settlement of bills because you will end up paying a currency conversion (exchange) cost.
- Usually, multi-currency cards also offer insurance (the type of insurance and the amount varies between each issuer).
Why is carrying a multi currency travel card better than foreign currency while going abroad?
1) One card for a host of nations-
Your travel purpose could be anything (work or leisure) and your schedule includes more than two or three countries. In such a case you don’t want to deal with the hassle of exchanging money at every stop and ending up confused because of the fluctuating exchange rates. Carrying cash in bulk is not an option as it involves huge security risk. A single swipe of your card such as Weizmann’s prepaid multi currency travel card, will ease your burden of extensive calculations while making a payment in the foreign land.
2) Cross- currency exchange efficient-
Other than the ease of use, such a card also offers many other features like waived off ATM withdrawal charges, cross-currency exchange surcharges and other benefits and discounts. Some cards even come with insurance cover depending upon the issuer and plan you choose for your card.
3) Fixed exchange rate at the time of purchase-
At the time of purchase of a multi- currency travel card, the exchange rate of the amount loaded is fixed on the date of purchase, which means you don’t have to worry about the Forex market rate fluctuations once you’ve bought the card and headed out to your destination (simplest form of payment across multiple foreign destinations).
4) Safe and secured option-
With the simple features that come with a card like this is the safest form of managing your payments at merchant outlets. Important features include:
- Transact securely at retail outlets with EVM Chip and PIN (just like your regular debit/credit card)
- Online ATM PIN changing option
- Block-unblock (temporary) your card as per the need and on request
- Insured transactions and other discounts upon usage
5) Global acceptance-
These cards are accepted world-wide as they come with visa and master card recognition. A card that frees you from the worry of carrying different currencies in cash is always a great option.
When you plan to travel the world the least you would to bother about is the currency exchange as that is the most time- consuming and tiring and confusing thing to do. When all your plans like accommodation, transport, shopping, meetings etc. are mapped out then opting for something that eases your money handling, the travel becomes easy-peasy! These cards aid you in dealing with your money matters internationally, in an easy way.