According to experts 70% of transactions in Australia are ‘contactless’, the technology is only available on 40% of payment cards in the US, meaning you won’t find as many retailers who are ready for your tap.
From tap and go cards and mobile wallets to ApplePay, the last few years have seen some incredible advances in the way we shop, buy and sell. But its not always easy using the latest technology when travelling in other countries.
The New Way To Pay Safely While Travelling
So, what’s the best way to pay while travelling?
Experts say more travellers are turning to prepaid travel cards ahead of their trip.
Prepaid cards allow you to load money ahead of time, in (nearly) any currency you choose. That way, you don’t need to worry about exchange rates, extra fees or carrying lots of cash.
Andrew Cartwright, SVP and Country Manager, Mastercard says while prepaid programs haven’t been around for very long, but they’re quickly becoming a great option.
“We’re seeing strong consumer demand for multi-currency prepaid travel cards.”
Cartwright added that Commonwealth Bank of Australia has issued more than half a million prepaid travel cards so far, and Qantas, which offers the Qantas Cash Mastercard says Aussies have loaded up more than $1 billion in the past two years.
But what makes prepaid cards a good bet for travellers?
A steady exchange rate
Fluctuating exchange rates can be annoying for international travellers especially when you’re halfway through the trip and your money is not worth as much as it was yesterday. With prepaid travel cards, you lock in the exchange rate before you travel, which means you know what you’re getting from the beginning. Then, you’re safe from any changes that occur while you travel.
You’re not left with awkward amounts of foreign money
I still have South Korean notes floating around from my last trip to Seoul. While they might be a nice keepsake, it would be nicer to be able to covert it to something a bit more useful. With a prepaid card, I can use leftover funds to buy from overseas retailers or just switch it back to my home currency – easy!
You can buy souvenirs in different currencies
If you’re traveling to a few different parts of the world, you’ll likely find yourself trying to pay for a beer with some random money from another country (been there!). Prepaid cards make it easy to manage several different currencies at once. That way, you can keep your Chinese yuan separate from your Korean won.
When you buy something with a prepaid travel card overseas, you don’t pay any transaction fees. There are also no currency conversion fees. So more of your money stays yours!
It’s more secure than cash
No matter what the country, theft can happen to you anytime, anywhere. When you load funds onto a travel card, you’re better protected in case the card is lost or stolen. Card carriers can access services that make it easy to get back up and running.
“With our free Emergency Services phone line, you can report the card lost or stolen, have an emergency card issued within 48 hours and even receive a cash advance. Having access to a local number in nearly 80 different countries offers travellers greater peace of mind,” said Cartwright.
No matter what type of payment you use while travelling, remembering a few rules will help keep your money from ending up in someone else’s hands:
1. Limit your ATM use and stick to ones located at local banks.
2. Treat your cards like cash and be sure you always know where it is.
3. Carry only what you need
4. Be extra careful in crowds or big events
5. Split up your cash into a few safe spots
6. Review your purchases to look for irregularities
Have you ever used a prepaid travel card? How do you prefer to pay while travelling? Tell us in the comments below!