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Travel money for USA

(23 Posts)
Poppiesway1 Mon 30-Apr-18 10:49:53

Hoping for some advice..
going to America later on in the year. Last time I went was 14 years ago and we took travellers cheques. I gather these aren’t really used any more and was recommended a travel card from the post office or to use the app Revolut

Has anyone used either of these? And how did you get on. Or any other recommendations? I’ve asked in my bank and they only issue dollars no cards/travelers cheques..

OP’s posts: |
TheHodgeoftheHedge Mon 30-Apr-18 10:56:06

I travel very frequently to the USA and I highly recommend the Caxton currency card.
Super easy to load up with as many pounds as you want and convert to dollars at a good rate and importantly, no charge to use the card or to get cash out on it if need be (be mindful the vast majority of American ATMs will charge you to get cash out, so I always take a bit of cash too). Feel free to ask my any questions.

A lot of the other currency cards on the market have strange restrictions and limits. Caxton has certainly been the best in my experience.

TheHodgeoftheHedge Mon 30-Apr-18 10:56:39

And yes, travellers cheques are rather dead now smile

Poppiesway1 Mon 30-Apr-18 11:38:30

Thankyou.
So can I use it like we do a debit card here? Could I use it as a saving up type card.. eg. I’m currently putting money aside each month for our spending. Can I transfer it straight on to there each month?

I was wondering if I can top it up monthly before I go it doesn’t convert to dolllares at that point? It’s when I spend from it?
It’s making me wonder about exchange rates and when’s best time to load it.. if that happens when using these cards?

Sorry.. such a complete newbie to trivalent cards!! When I go to Spain I just take Euros with me..

OP’s posts: |
FreckledLeopard Mon 30-Apr-18 11:42:20

I also use a Caxton. I think the minimum load amount each time is £100. As far as I know, it will convert at the point that you load, according to the rate at that moment in time. It's handy, as you can lock in a higher rate if you top up when the exchange rate is good - Caxton will normally send an email alert when a rate is at a particularly good level.

I generally just transfer a one-off sum to the card a few days or so before I go anywhere. Then I top up, as needed, when on holiday (there's an app so it's easy and quick to do).

Then basically you just use it like a debit card. You'll have a PIN number once you sign up. And it's commission free so no charges when you withdraw cash from a cash point for example, which is good.

SeaToSki Mon 30-Apr-18 11:53:22

You will need some kind of card, credit or debit, as you are unlikely to be able to stay at a hotel without a card. ATMs will usually charge you about 2 dollars as a convenience fee for withdrawing money, but some charge up to 6 dollars, but they always tell you and ask before the transaction completes. If you use one in a bank (rather than a hotel or supermarket, the charges tend to be lower). If you think the charge is too high, you can cancel and find a different ATM.

Dont rely on being able to exchange actual pounds for dollars when you get to the US, unless you are going to a major tourist destination like New York City. Most ordinary banks wont exchange.

DoneAdulting Mon 30-Apr-18 11:57:38

We take a Halifax Clarity credit card and the rest cash.

Poppiesway1 Mon 30-Apr-18 12:22:42

Thankyou,
I’m staying with family so only flights and spending money to sort smile
However I’m having trouble with the esta now and it will not accept BIL’s street name 😩

Am definitely going to look up the Caxton card

OP’s posts: |
coles85 Mon 30-Apr-18 13:02:15

I travel to the US with Work on nearly a monthly basis. I got myself a Revolut card. They send you the card (just like a debit card) in the post, and you download their app to your phone. From there you can link it to your bank account and "top up" the card directly from your account. The app then let's you convert your £ to $ using that days best conversion rate. Then you simply use the card when paying for things as you would do with any other visa debit card, but with no fees! I swear by it 😊 https://www.revolut.com

TheHodgeoftheHedge Mon 30-Apr-18 13:06:20

Re the Caxton card, minimal load is £50.

LizB62A Mon 30-Apr-18 13:12:40

It's worth checking out MSE: travelmoney.moneysavingexpert.com/

glenthebattleostrich Mon 30-Apr-18 13:12:47

We just got back, used the revolut. It was great. Could top it up from my UK bank account so no conversion charges and a really good rate.

reluctantbrit Mon 30-Apr-18 15:47:10

I must admit, I never faff around with pre-loaded cards or taking cash apart from a small fund.

I just use my normal credit card and use the debit card to withdraw money from any ATM. Just tell your bank/card provider that you go abroad.

DH travels to the US every couple of months and we find it a lot easier than thinking ahead how much to upload and taking the money back to pounds normally gives you a worse exchange rate.

TheHodgeoftheHedge Mon 30-Apr-18 16:01:16

@reluctantbrit

I'm very curious to know what bank and credit card you use then because all mine charge for being used abroad, for example this is NATWEST:
We will charge a Foreign Cash Fee of 2% of the value of the transaction (minimum £2, maximum £5). We will also charge a Non-Sterling Transaction Fee of 2.75% of the value of the transaction

This is Barclays:

A 2.75% fee applied by Barclays for using your debit card abroad when making purchases, withdrawing cash or when you are being refunded. This fee will also apply whenever you do not pay in sterling (either abroad or in the UK) – for example, when you shop online at a non-UK website.

Perhaps this is the difference. Credit cards are generally more reasonable to use for costs abroad than debit cards, but I don't tend to like using credit cards (they're my emergency back up).

FreckledLeopard Mon 30-Apr-18 16:23:38

Every debit and credit card I have from the UK charges you for foreign transactions and withdrawals - that's why I have a Caxton, so am also curious as to why people would use their UK debit card abroad unless they're happy to pay fees?

Linnet Mon 30-Apr-18 22:52:52

I'm going to the states later this year and I was recommended the revolut card. I do have a question though, people are saying you can transfer money to the card from your uk bank by the app. are you doing this while you're on holiday? I've been saving up money to take with us for spending, but can I put it all onto the revolut card before I go or can I only do so much at a time?

Poppiesway1 Tue 01-May-18 06:28:03

I’m hoping I can put all my money on in one go, so hoping people can answer. Stops me spending little bits before I go!

I’ve set an alert in the revolut app for when the exchange rate gets to a certain point again. It’s down a little to when I looked a few weeks ago!

OP’s posts: |
TheHodgeoftheHedge Tue 01-May-18 07:15:13

With both revolut and Caxton you can top up in one go or as and when. I think they both have a top up limit but it's something like £23k so you should be ok!

TheHodgeoftheHedge Tue 01-May-18 07:16:31

To expand further, it means I put my main bulk of money on, in one go, before I go. But should I run low at any point, two minutes later on the app and I've topped up with another £50 or whatever.

HermioneWeasley Tue 01-May-18 07:18:37

I always use a Halifax clarity card as well. No foreign currency charge and rates are competitive.

Ginorchoc Tue 01-May-18 07:20:27

I use Halifax clarity card as it was recommended by Martin Lewis but I’m going to look at the Claxton. I did use my Santander debit card once in America but I’d notified them I was abroad before leaving (online option to do that) and they didn’t charge a transaction fee.

spudfield Tue 01-May-18 18:32:47

Second the recommendations to look at money saving expert's travel cards section. I used the revolut card when travelling with friends and it is excellent (you can even divide bills automatically). But you can only withdraw £200 cash per month then subsequent cash withdrawals are 2%. Using as a credit/debit card is not charged though. I have a credit card and debit card from nationwide that doesnt charge commission fees for purchases/withdrawals however I don't think new customers can get these cards now.

FrancisCrawford Tue 01-May-18 18:34:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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