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Is The Supercard Really The Best Way To Pay Overseas?

Supercard by Travelex

Introducing the new Supercard

The Supercard is a relatively new addition to Travelex’s variety of currency exchange options and possibly might be the best way to save money on overseas transactions. It links to your existing credit and debit cards, charging items paid for using the Supercard to your linked card, and most importantly it’s free to get your mitts on one of these babies.

What are the benefits of the Supercard?

If you are wondering why this is a big deal, it’s because of the potential savings that can be made using the card. Usually overseas payments or withdrawals attach both fixed fees and percentage fees for every transaction.

The Supercard is designed to deceive your credit card company or bank into believing that your transactions took place in the UK, thus avoiding these charges. Don’t worry though – it’s not illegal and even better, it is totally FREE to get one!

Our experience

We put the card to the test on a recent trip to Bahrain in the hopes of answering all your likely questions about the card. This is our experience but if we haven’t answered a question you would like to know about then just pop it in the comments and we will get back to you.

How much will I save?

The table below shows you all the transactions we made using the card during our four day stay, the exchange rate applied and the amount saved on each transaction.

Transaction Date Description Dinar MasterCard Exchange Rate Amount Saving
25/08/16 Hotel extras 30 0.4961 £60.47 £2.10
26/08/16 Hotel extras 50 0.4961 £100.78 £3.26
 26/08/16 Hotel extras 25.047 0.4988 £50.21 £1.81
 27/08/16 Starbucks 6 0.4988 £12.03 £0.71
28/08/16 New York Coffee 7.2 0.4955 £14.53 £0.78
28/08/16 Starbucks 6.6 0.4955 £13.32 £0.74
28/08/16 Lanterns Lounge 31.460 0.4959 £63.44 £2.19
29/08/16 Hotel extras 21.664 0.4960 £43.68 £1.62
Totals 177.97 £358.46 £13.21

The savings are an indicative figure based on the average foreign charges from six leading providers. 

Yes I clearly am a coffee addict! Less about that though – we saved over £13 in fees in just four days. Now imagine you travel multiple times a year and those charges soon turn into the hundreds! Why pay that on fees when it could be buying you a few more cocktails on the beach?

Cocktails on the beach
Source: Pixabay

This card is also the international business person’s road to mega savings. Those fees really add up for those guys and gals and could save business a fortune! If you know anyone who might benefit, then be a love and send them this link.

Which cards can I connect to the Supercard?

All debit and credit cards except American Express can be connected to the Supercard and you can connect up to five cards. You then select the one you wish to be charged when you make a purchase or withdrawal as this can not be selected at point of sale. It would be nice to have this option but you must change your preferred card on the app beforehand if you want to use a different card to your primary card.

How can I pay using the card?

You pay in the usual fashion either entering your pin or signing. However you cannot pay using Contactless, Apple Pay or PayPal. Instead, simply present your card at the time of purchase and the items will show up on your statement as Supercard – the store name.

You can also use the card to withdraw cash and although it will be cheaper than withdrawals using your bank card, charges do apply.

One last neat tip to be aware of is payments made in the UK which are debited in a foreign currency such as USD. By using the Supercard to pay for those you will continue to avoid the foreign fees.

Shop online with the Supercard
Source: Pixabay

How does it stack up in practice?

I am definitely convinced of the benefits after my trip. Purchases show almost instantly on the app so you can see exactly what you have spent in GBP and also spot any unauthorised transactions. This also allows you to quickly get to grips with the local exchange rate if it one you are unfamiliar with.

What I like about the Supercard?

It is quick and easy to use anywhere that MasterCard is accepted and I love that I do not lose any of the benefits of my linked credit card whilst using it. For instance, I collect air miles and charging purchases to my Supercard doesn’t interrupt that so not only do I save money but I also get rewarded.

Other cards may offer free overseas transactions but usually at the cost of the airline or hotel rewards. Furthermore if you have any added benefits such as lounge access or insurance with your card, these remain unchanged also.

Managing the card through the app

Viewing payments through the app offers fast and transparent recording of your spending. I was amazed to find details of purchases showing within minutes. This shows the original purchase, the converted amount and more importantly the saving per transaction on what you would have paid using your card directly (worked out using the average fees from six of the leading UK debit and credit card companies).

This feature gives you comfort that the Supercard is working for you and satisfaction that you are not paying rip off charges.

Supercard transaction detail page
Individual transaction details

Are there any other benefits I might value?

Your card includes a basic travel insurance policy provided by AXA which covers you for delayed departure, baggage delay, hospitalisation benefit, travel accident and loss of life.

Are there any downsides to using the Supercard?

Yes, it cannot be used Contactless nor can you change the PIN, which is a bit of a nuisance.

Also we did experience a few instances where the card simply would not work. The frequently asked questions on the site points out that you may struggle to make payment in areas where there is a poor signal or no online connection. We were in the basement bar of a building at the time so presume this to have been the issue.

The FAQ also stress that the card can not be used to pre-authorise hotel rooms or rental cars. Although we did successfully manage to use it for hotel pre-authorisation, it would be unwise to travel without a backup (maybe bring at least extra card up with you to be safe!).

Speaking of which, the other fabulous benefit is security as you can leave all your other cards at home securely locked away in a safe place!

Credit card insurance offers protection
Source: Pixabay

Verdict

This is a great new way to get currency overseas. I personally withdraw very little in cash when travelling, preferring the protection of my credit cards and security of knowing that if they are stolen I am protected. This option allows me to continue enjoying those benefits whilst also reducing the overseas fees I pay – a win:win in my view.

Why don’t you give the Supercard a free trial?

As the card is free you have nothing to lose by trying it out and I would love to know how you get on. Simply click on this Supercard link to go to Travelex, download the app and register.

Pin this as a reminder to order the Supercard before your next overseas trip:

Supercard review
Source: Pixabay

 

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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18 comments

  1. It’s a pity you don’t have a donate button! I’d most certainly donate to this
    brilliant blog! I guess for now i’ll settle for book-marking and adding
    your RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward to brand new updates and will share this site with my Facebook group.
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  2. I participated in the trial last year and have the new card too. I haven’t had any problems using the new card. The trial one worked 2/3 times. I echo having a back up. The change from the trial is that atm withdrawals are no longer free.
    One negative which wasn’t mentioned is that if the currency rate changes between purchase and processing you will get a subsequent charge. I haven’t experienced it but there were a lot of furious posts in July time when the pound was fluctuating which resulted in people get lots of additional payments to cover the difference between the rate when they presented the card and when it went through. Also keep an eye on it in the USA as they do that double scan thing.
    But a great product, easy to manage and saved several hundred pounds on our rtw trip. Also great for purchasing online.

    • So glad to hear you had a positive experience using it. Not experienced anything with the currency yet but will watch out for that. I echo your thoughts about online purchases as I have switched a number of my overseas payments onto it to avoid the fees on those. I just really wish I could connect it to an AMEX for more air miles and better rewards!

  3. This sounds really convenient! I wonder if I would be able to link it to my Canadian accounts. Thay would be so great since I live in Asia!

  4. Wow this is so convenient. I’ll definitely look into this next time I travel. I like that you list the downsides but they don’t seem so bad.

  5. Hmm this is intriguing! Only wish I could try it but it’s only for the UK? Great concept though!

    • Currently yes but I guess if there is enough demand, consideration could be given to developing something in other countries

  6. The Travelex Supercard is a really intriguing concept and definitely something I would look into! Now that I use our Chase Sapphire and Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards cards around the world with no foreign transaction fees, I have honestly never contemplated anything else but it’s always nice to hear about new ideas and concepts that can help save even more money! Thanks for introducing us to this.

    • Sounds like there are some good options for the US which is the main thing. We don’t seem to have many cards with no overseas fees and certainly not the ones I want to carry which allow me to earn airmiles!

  7. Well i hope i can ger something like this in my country as it sounds really great and very useful with budget in mind. Anyway, thanks for sharing.

  8. I always love a good money saving trick! This sounds totally awesome (haha I love all the coffee purchases, mine wouldn’t be too different)! I wonder if there’s one for the US!

  9. Ah that’s cool. Sadly, only for UK. I live in Thailand. I gotta look into alternative options from here.

  10. Anne I’m fascinated by this stuff and have long been a fan of travel cards, having even worked with Travelex in my corporate life for many years. I take it this is just available in the UK? Do you know if this is replicated in other countries where Travelex has a real presence? Such a great initiative.

    • HI Kerri, I have done a quick search for Australia and can see nothing specific but it is knowing what to put as a search term to find it if it existed. I have also messaged Travelex as they will be best placed to answer. I will let you know when I hear back.

  11. This sounds like a really good option for people based in the UK – is it available around the world? We are Aussies and use a Citibank card which has no fees at all. I love it because it is a normal visa debit so you can use it contactless, change the pin, etc because it is just a normal bank account. I’ve been using it for the last 18 months of full-time travel and love it! I will definitely forward this article to my relatives living in the UK though!!

    • HI Laura, I cannot see anything doing a search on Google but have contacted Travelex to be on the safe side. You are very fortunate if you have a card with no fees at all (result!) but it might be worth checking the exchange rate to ensure you are not getting stung there too. Thanks for sharing.

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