Six steps to getting a currency card
1. Pre-paid debit cards
A number of foreign exchange providers offer pre-paid debit cards; you can compare these at travelsupermarket.com and compareprepaid.com to see which ones are the cheapest in terms of fees.
In terms of exchange rates, it's a question of checking with individual providers. You also need to decide which currencies you will need. For example, if you only holiday in Europe it's not necessary to get a global currency card.
2. Contact details
To apply for a card, you'll need to fill in a few contact details online. You should then receive an email in the following few days confirming whether you've been approved or not. The card will then follow shortly after in the post.
Before you can load money onto your card you must activate it - again through the card provider's website. It will notify you of login details and how to set up a password.
4. Load card
There are three ways to load your card: online, over the phone or via text message.
But the first time you load money you must do it online. The money will be available from your card almost immediately and it will be possible to view your balance online.
5. If you lose your card...
If your card is lost or stolen you must contact the provider immediately - they should each have 24-hour helplines - and it will cancel your card. Depending on your location, you can order an emergency replacement card, but this comes with a high fee. Caxton charges £50, for example.
6. Transferring funds
Once back from holiday you can move money back into your bank account, although some card providers will charge a fee. Alternatively, leave the cash on the card until the next time you go abroad, but bear in mind that cards have expiry dates.
The difference between two currencies; specifically how much one currency is worth relative to each other. For example, if £1 is worth $1.50, converting sterling to US dollars, the exchange rate is 1.5. Converting dollars to sterling at those levels, the exchange rate is 0.66, so $1 is worth 66p. There are a wide variety of factors that influence the exchange rate, such as a country’s interest rates, inflation, and the state of politics and the economy in that country.