For those wishing to travel abroad for a holiday, for business or any other reason, they have the option of availing an international debit card from their bank before setting out on their travels. Availing an international debit card come with its perks as with a domestic debit card, the customer will have to spend quite a bit just on withdrawal and transaction charges. Keeping that in mind, having an international debit card lowers such costs, and travellers have to just pay a nominal cost for currency conversion and foreign transaction fees. Apart from the usual international debit cards, customers also have the option of availing a prepaid card from their bank. This has numerous benefits, one being that the customer travelling abroad can stick to a budget - just the amount that has been loaded on the card - and secondly it enhances the security of the finances of the traveller. By using a prepaid card for international travels, the customer does not need to carry physical cash around, eliminating the possibility of losing the cash or it getting stolen, and reduces the chances of the card being skimmed - a prevalent problem in countries abroad, with travellers most often being the victims of such fraudulent techniques. That said, for those wishing to travel abroad and are considering opting to use a prepaid card on their international travel, we’ve listed out a few advantages to help you consider the option.
Advantages of using a prepaid international card when travelling abroad
Listed below are some of the advantages of using a prepaid international card make transactions:
- Customers holding a prepaid international card can load up to a maximum of 16 different currencies on the same card.
- Customers can avail attractive discounts at restaurants across the globe using the prepaid international card.
- For every transaction that is made using the prepaid international card, the customer is rewarded reward points.
- The card can be used only for purchases outside India - which helps the traveller set aside a budget for the holiday or business trip.
- To know exactly how much money is left on the card, the customer can make a balance enquiry at any ATM across the globe, or in most cases, the bank will send the customer a notification message following every transaction or withdrawal, stating the balance left in the card as well.
- Since the prepaid international card will be linked to the internet banking account of the customer, he/she can check their bank statements anytime - to keep a track of their funds.
- If in case the customer loses or the card is stolen, one has the option of the two available add-on cards.
Things to keep in mind when using a prepaid international card
When using the prepaid international card to make transactions or withdrawals abroad, customers need to keep the below listed points in mind:
- By using a prepaid international card, customers will save a significant amount when it comes to the currency conversion charges.
- Customers can load the foreign currency directly on their card, meaning that they can choose to make the currency conversion when the rates are most favorable.
- The most offered currencies are the United States Dollar, British Pound, Euro and the Australian Dollar.
- If the prepaid card holder is abroad and the money in the card is finished, he/she can reload the card using their internet banking or mobile banking account. Once the card has been reloaded, the customer can go ahead and make transactions or withdrawals and can even make purchases on overseas online websites.
1. Is it absolutely required to avail a prepaid international card when travelling abroad?
You have the option of making transactions and withdrawals abroad on your travels using your international debit card. This is provided that your debit card is issued by any foreign card associate such as VISA, MasterCard, American Express, Maestro and so on. That said, using a prepaid international card you will get the best foreign currency exchange rates and you can also budget your trip by using only what’s loaded onto the card. In many ways, including security and going through the hassle of carrying physical cash around, a prepaid international card is preferable.
2. Do prepaid international cards come with insurance coverage just like international debit cards?
It depends on which bank you are availing the prepaid international card as this varies between banks. However, banks such as ICICI Bank offer a personal air accident cover up to Rs.10 lakh, lost liability card protection, lost baggage coverage, counterfeit liability cover and so on, with their prepaid international card.
3. Most rentals and hotel bookings take a pre-authorisation (basically a fixed advance) once you make a booking. Can I use my prepaid international card for this purpose?
Using your prepaid to make a pre-authorisation booking means that the money will be locked in with the hotel or the rental company for a fixed duration - meaning that you have no access to the funds till it is reimbursed. That said, it is inadvisable to use your prepaid international for this purpose as it defies the reason the card was designed for. Instead, in order to make a pre-authorisation payment, use your debit card or better still, use your credit card.
4. It is possible to block a prepaid international card or should I not bother if it is lost or stolen?
If you have lost your prepaid international card or it has been stolen, then make sure that you block the card immediately. You can block the prepaid international card either through your internet banking account, mobile banking account or by calling the customer care unit of your bank. For this very purpose, banks offer add-on cards if it does get stolen or lost.
5. What should I do if my prepaid international card is not working either to make a withdrawal or a transaction at a POS terminal?
If you’re making a withdrawal at an ATM or a transaction at a POS terminal, ensure that the card associate logo - such as VISA, MasterCard, Maestro, American Express, Discover - is accepted either at the ATM or at the POS terminal. If the problem persists, check if you have sufficient balance in the card to make the transaction or withdrawal. If there isn’t you can reload your card through your internet and mobile banking account. If that’s not the issue, call the customer care service of your bank and ask them to resolve the problem immediately.