Carrying foreign currency is the most important component of an international trip. Besides planning on how to buy tickets and get a visa, you also need to think about how to carry foreign currency. There are several ways to pay for your overseas expenses, and each way has several advantages and disadvantages.
You can choose to carry cash, use your credit card, or purchase a foreign exchange card to make your international trip hassle-free, but which one is the best option? Carrying a lot of cash can be risky and is subject to theft or misplacement, whereas using a credit card can cost you a lot due to forex money exchange rate fluctuations. As with a multicurrency forex card, you will need some cash to pay for a taxi or at the airport.
The answer depends on what your plans are upon landing in the country of your choice. There are different rates, charges, and benefits applied to each method. We have prepared a brief comparison to help you plan your international trip accordingly.
Understand the difference
A multicurrency forex card is a prepaid card loaded with multiple currencies at a prefixed forex money exchange rate. It the safest and most popular way of carrying foreign currency. As the exchange rates are predetermined, you are always protected against fluctuating foreign exchange rates.
A credit card is similar to your forex card, but it comes with additional charges when you withdraw funds from ATMs or make purchase transactions. Other the other hand, cash is the local currency notes of the foreign destination.
You can use your card at international ATMs and merchant establishments, both online and offline. It is used for all purchases abroad.
A credit card can be used to make purchases too, but the down part of it is that, sometimes, it gets declined due to security issues. The bank can freeze your account if you overspent.
As with cash, it can be used almost everywhere, albeit you have to be wary of the fact that some establishments do not accept cash in payment.
Safety and Convenience
Cash is the least safe option to carry foreign currency in a foreign country. It is subject to misplacement and theft. A foreign exchange card is the safest and convenient way to pay for your expenses. It comes with chip technology and PIN protection to replace if lost.
A credit card’s security is similar to that of your forex card. It ensures similar safety and convenience besides transaction fees.
Another disadvantage of using a credit card, compared to using a forex card and cash, is the high fees and hidden charges you need to pay when swiping or tapping the card at POS terminals or international ATMs.
The foreign exchange card, on the other hand, has the most attractive exchange rates to offer. Some card issuers don’t even charge for withdrawal from ATMs. There are also zero transaction fees applicable on purchase transactions.
A foreign exchange card comes with a fixed forex rate at the time of loading your currency to make your travel easy. You can book your order in advance and avail yourself of the best foreign exchange rates without being subject to currency fluctuations. You can reload your forex card when you ru out of funds very easily.
However, a credit card does not give the same spending control. You are subject to fluctuating foreign exchange rates and transaction fees. As with cash, imagine you run of cash when you need money for an emergency!
If you want to travel abroad and you are not sure what to opt for, the above advice should help you make an informed decision. The golden advice would be to carry a foreign exchange card along with some cash to meet all your travel needs.