Cash vs. Travel Money Card: A Travel Money Analysis

28 March 2012
Read Time: 1.6 mins

Today we have guest blogger Fred Schebesta, founder of Credit Card Finder giving us the pros and cons of cash vs. travel card when travelling overseas.

It can be confusing working out how to access foreign currencies when travelling. Let me explore the pros and cons of taking cash or using a travel money card.

 Foreign Currency

The facts about taking cash with you when you travel.

  • Cash is always more convenient and it allows you to bargain for a better price. You don't need to go around searching for an ATM every second day or so.
  • It is also quite a security risk. If it becomes known you are carrying a large amount of cash around with you it could lead to you being robbed and once it is taken from you it’s hard to make a claim for its replacement through your travel insurance. Even if you find you are covered for the loss of cash it can be a painfully slow process before any settlement gets made.
  • A lot of cash is very hard to carry around with you. Especially in some countries with a low exchange rating compared to the Australian Dollar. It also means you will still have to find, visit and exchange your cash into the local currency every time you cross a border.

Travel Money cards are reasonably new and offer more protection than cash.

  • You are able to purchase a Travel Money card before you leave in the currency of the country you are going to visit. If you use the card in a country with a different currency you will have to pay the foreign exchange rate between the currency in your card and the currency of the country in which you are making the purchase.  This is why it is sometimes advisable to have a separate travel money card in the currency of each country you are going to visit. Some travel money cards do allow multiple currencies to be loaded onto the one card.
  • Travel money cards are secure in that they are usually issued in duplicate. If you lose one, you can fall back on the other after cancelling the missing card. The replacement card will have a different PIN and account number for security purposes. They have a special appeal for travellers who don't have either a credit or debit card.
  • Travel money cards can be difficult to use in some countries. Unless you are in a major city, often a capital city only, you can find it a problem to get cash from your card. Particularly in some ATMs.

About the Writer

Fred Schebesta is the founder of the credit card comparison website: CreditCardFinder.com.au Fred's further passion for helping Australian consumers save money led him to launch Finder.com.au. You can follow him on Twitter: @schebesta

Flight Centre offer foreign exchange booths at many locations across Australia. Visit Travel Money Oz for more information.

Flight Centre's Guest Bloggers

Flight Centre is proud to present blog posts written by our customers, affiliates or general travel enthusiasts who are as passionate about travel as we are. We're confident you'll find their insider advice and holiday highlights useful when it comes to arranging your own great getaway!