News this week that the Nationwide Building Society is restricting over-the-counter service for small transactions is a reminder of how last year the Nationwide managed to take the shine off what had been their highly competitive Visa debit card. When used abroad the card offered a great way of getting a good rate while not incurring overseas transaction charges, but by the time they’d slapped additional user conditions on the card it became distinctly less competitive.
So now is a good time to be reminded of what the Guardian identified as the best of the prepaid debit cards. The Caxton FX Global Card has no application fee or monthly charge. It’s also free to load money on to the card. The only cost is a flat £1.50 every time you use it in the UK. And in addition to providing a secure and economical way of changing sterling into other currencies abroad, it also allows you to avoid paying Ryanair’s punitive administration handling fees when booking flights with the airline.
If you are a UK resident, you can apply for one here.
Today’s Guardian agrees with our editor and rates Caxton FX’s prepaid debit card the best of the bunch:
“The best we could find was the Caxton FX Global Card, which has no application fee or monthly charge. It’s also free to load money on to the card. The only cost is a flat £1.50 every time you use it in the UK. So if you spend £60 on two Ryanair flights, the cost will be just £1.50.”
Our previous post is here. If you are a UK resident, you can apply for one here.
Our favourite card just got even better.
Keen readers of Inside Traveller will already be aware of our editor David Stone’s enthusiasm for the Caxton FX Mastercard prepaid debit card. As bank charges increase for both purchases and cash withdrawals made using cards abroad, Caxton FX’s currency cards continue to offer better value than their competitors.
Developments in the payment card industry are about to make the card even more advantageous. From 1st January 2010 when Ryanair introduces charges for Visa Electron card users, the only flyers able to avoid the administration charges of £5/€5 per traveller will be those using a Mastercard prepaid debit card.
Caxton is a large UK-based foreign-exchange company that gives much better rates for converting sterling to euros or dollars than you can obtain elsewhere. You simply apply for a card, load it up more or less instantly via the Internet by converting pounds into dollars or euros and then you use it just as you would any other Mastercard. You can withdraw cash from ATMs at no charge, and also use it to pay bills in the currency of the card. You load your card at the best possible rate (always better than rates obtainable from other exchange organisations) and spend it without any further charge. Three flavours are available – the Euro Card, US Dollar Card and Global Traveller, to match your travelling needs.
One of our readers inadvertently discovered just how competitive Caxton cards are when he was in Paris and, by mistake, used his Caxton Dollar card to withdraw euros from a machine. This is definitely not how to use the cards, because you end up paying to convert into dollars and then from dollars to euros – plus, if you use the card in a different currency, an exchange fee is levied. While he was annoyed at his mistake, he later discovered the whole process had cost slightly less than all the extras Barclays added to a similar transaction on his sterling Visa debit card!
And now the added bonus of being able to avoid booking fees at Ryanair and other airlines makes the Caxton FX card even better value.
Follow this link if you would like to apply for a card.