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Who Wins In The Battle Of The Pre-paid Travel Cards?

Supercard or Curve?

If you have been overseas recently you have had to exchange currency, whether it be electronically or in person at a store. The charges and exchange rates for your travel money can often be eye watering but there’s a new breed of cards in town. They are attempting to shake up the industry and allow you to get your hands on overseas currency without suffering ridiculous fees.

Introducing the new breed of travel cards

First there’s the Curve card, issued by Wireless Card Solution. It comes in a choice of blue and black and will be launching a rewards program in 2016, although no details have been released as yet.

Second up, there’s the Supercard issued by Travelex, a global name.

The new way to carry your travel money

The introduction of the Supercard and Curve cards offers an innovative new approach to providing an overseas payment method that avoids many of the usual overseas transactions cards. The idea is that you link your UK credit cards to these travel cards and then use the travel cards to withdraw cash or make payment overseas. The charge is applied to your relevant credit or debit card but without incurring the usual exchange rate fees.

If you have ever checked your statements following a holiday, you may have experienced the annoyance of seeing multiple transactions charges applied to your purchases and withdrawals, often running into substantial sums. These cards could be the answer! Whats more, you retain all the benefits of using your linked credit card such as insurance or airline or hotel rewards.

Which should I choose?

If you think this seems like a good idea, then your next consideration is which card is best for you so I’ve rustled up a quick comparison of the two so you can make an informed decision.

Feature Curve Card Supercard
Issued by  Wireless Card Solution Travelex
Eligibility Only available to those who are self employed or who own a business but on the plus side, it is available to anyone in EEA Available to those aged 18 plus in the UK only.
Managed Via online app Via online app
Exchange Rate Curve uses the Mastercard exchange rate plus applies a charge of 1% The Supercard uses the MasterCard exchange rate with no additional charges.
Currencies Can add cards from different currencies to Curve Can only issue cards denominated in GBP
Charges on withdrawals overseas £2 per withdrawal The Supercard charges 2.99% fee for withdrawals
Charges on purchases 1% charge No fees
Refer a friend A referral bonus is payable. Check the app for details but it was £10 when I signed up.  None
Use on PayPal Yes No
Charges for use in the UK  Free cash withdrawals 1% plus £1 for cash withdrawals or purchases
Use with Apple Pay No No
Contactless Yes No
Pin Change Yes at the bank in the normal manner No
Card Fee £35 for the blue card and £75 for the black card Free

The responses shown in pink show the card which wins for each feature, although some of these depend on your personal preference. Where neither is highlighted it is because the outcome is not clear cut.

As you can see the Curve definitely has more features but the initial fee really does leave a sour taste!

Save money overseas with the Curve card

Verdict

So who wins in the battle of the super cards?

The Curve has more features such as the ability to change the PIN, use contactless and connect to Paypal but it will work out more expensive for all but those spending considerable sums overseas. The £2 transaction fee on cash withdrawals is better than the Supercard but this needs to be offset against the additional 1% charge on purchases.

Plus of course there is the initial charge, albeit it is a one off charge (rather than an annual credit card charge). In the longer run, you may feel that this is a price worth paying in order to benefit from the additional functionality but on the basis of price alone, Supercard gets my vote.

Supercard by Travelex
Supercard 2708

Your experience

I’ve been trialling Supercard to date and have been pretty impressed by the efficiency of it, the speed at which purchases show on the account (literally within minutes of making the payment!) and the transparent way purchases show on my credit card statement. Have you had any experience of using either of these cards and if so I would love to hear what you think?

If you would like more information on the best spending options abroad, you may wish to read best way to exchange currency abroad. As you can see, making the right choice can save you a significant amount over the course of a trip.

Pin this so you save money on your overseas transactions:

Which travel card is better for overseas transactions?

About Anne

Anne is the founder and editor of TravelTheGlobe4Less. If she isn't travelling, she is thinking of travelling or planning her next trip. She has visited over 80 countries on six continents and sampled everything from backpacking to bank bursting travel. Her mission is to help you enjoy more luxurious travel without the luxury price tag through the use of airline and hotel rewards and other money saving travel tips

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8 comments

  1. I love that they’re coming up with so many great credit/debit solutions for travelers. I know I hate paying foreign fees — so I love my travel cards that have 0% transaction fees. Thanks for sharing this!

  2. Ah too bad it’s only in the UK. Would love to have one of these babies. Thanks for sharing. I’ll see if something similar exists in Asia.

  3. Nowadays there are so many options for carrying cash, so many plastic cards available with umpteen features, sometimes it is difficult to choose one over the other. Posts like these bring out the features and comparisons of various products and hence are helpful pointers in making decisions.

    • VYjay I totally understand, sometimes it can take me hours to trawl through everything to pull out the salient features. Glad you appreciate it

  4. Uff I hate trying to figure out which option is best – I’m sure the companies make it deliberately difficult to understand! Why can’t banks just not rip us off, it can’t really cost that much to change currencies 🙁 Thank you for adding another option to my already too complicated spreadsheet 😀

  5. Two alternatives that are far better than either of these cards are revolut or monzo. Both are prepaid with the latter trying to become a online only bank.

    I have used all 4 of these optons and my go to is revolut with monzo being my back up. Revolut has a very slick app which makes moving money between USD/Eur/gbp extremely easy. Both charge no fees above the mid market rate for international transactions or using an ATM.

    You should definitely try these out since they are night and day better than the two you reviewed.

    • I’d be interested in knowing what you love about them. I’ve just had a quick look and they both look like you have to pre-load them (although I haven’t read the fine detail) but definitely worth me doing some more research on these. Thanks for the heads up.

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