Prepaid Traveler's Card Vs. Debit Card

You may not be aware of it, but the days of Traveler's checks are almost a thing of the past. Many merchants around the world have decided that it's better to be safe than sorry and they are refusing to accept the old style paper traveler's checks. There has been an increase in counterfeiting of the paper documents and this has led to an alternative method for vacation spending. The newest product? Visa TravelMoney.

Basically, it is a prepaid Debit Card. You purchase this card with any amount between $250 and $9999. The cost is around $9.95 which is a good buy if you want the large amount, not so good if you only need the small amount! The old style traveler's checks typically cost $1 for every $100 worth you bought. So $300 worth of traveler's checks would have cost $3 while $9000 would have cost $90!

Many consumers' first question "Is this any different than using my debit card?" Not a lot. Both should be accepted anywhere they take MasterCard or Visa. Both are pulling from funds that you already have established. Both are very convenient. The advantage that the traveler's card has is the quick replacement if it is lost or stolen. However, the travel cards are new enough that not all locations have converted to them so you might be given paper checks as your replacement funds. Hmm... do you think that you'll be able to use them?

If your debit card is lost or stolen, a quick call to your financial institution should stop any chance of fraudulent activity. But, the chances of getting a replacement card while you are still on vacation - very slim! Your bank may agree to wire money to you at whatever destination you are located - for a fee, of course. So, you shouldn't be stranded without any money.

Another advantage to the TravelMoney card is safety. Some consumers like the fact that this card is not tied to their checking account. They feel more comfortable using this card for Internet purchases than the regular debit card.

But be sure to watch out for extra fees. They seem to get you coming and going. ATM fees if you access your card via an automated teller machine. Balance inquiries at an ATM, even though you may obtain balance information for free on the internet. If you request a statement, there is a fee for that as well. If you run out of money and want to reload your card - you guessed it! Another fee.

Sounds like it might be easier just to stay home! Who's up for popcorn and a movie?

Source: Associated Content