7 best UK-issued prepaid travel cards for Europe

Gert Svaiko

Planning a week in the Spanish sun, a romantic minibreak in Paris or a culture trip to Berlin? Whatever your European adventure, you’ll need to find a cheap, convenient way to spend.

Spending outside the UK on your ordinary debit card can be expensive. So, you might want to consider a prepaid travel card instead. In this guide, we’ll compare prepaid travel cards available in the UK and run through your best options for trips to Europe.

We’ll also show you an alternative, the Wise debit card. It’s designed for low-cost spending in Europe (and elsewhere), automatically converting your pounds to the local currency at a fair mid-market exchange rate.

Learn more about the Wise debit card 💳

Table of contents

What is a prepaid travel card?

A prepaid travel card is a debit card which you ‘load’ with funds in your chosen currency before you travel. So if you’re going for a week-long break in Europe, you might choose to load €500 or €1000 euros onto the card.

Then, you can use the card like an ordinary debit card once you’re abroad. You can use it for shopping, dining, travel and more.

The benefit of these cards is that you know the exact exchange rate and fee when you load the card. You’re not at the mercy of ATM operators or overseas currency exchange services. It gives you certainty on costs, as well as helping you to control what you spend.

📚 Read more: Best debit card to use abroad: Top 6 UK picks

What makes for a great prepaid travel card for Europe?

Before you start shopping around for a prepaid travel card, you’ll need to know what key features to look out for.

For spending in Europe, you should look for a card that has:

  • No or low initial or monthly fees
  • No top-up fees
  • No foreign ATM fees
  • Generous maximum load amounts (this is the most you can load or hold on the card at once)
  • Good exchange rates, with low or no extra fees added on top
  • Support for multiple currencies - if you’ll be travelling to parts of Europe that don’t use the euro, such as Switzerland (Swiss franc), Poland (Polish Zloty) or Hungary (Hungarian forint).

What are the disadvantages of prepaid travel cards?

There are a few potential downsides of prepaid travel cards you should know about. This includes:

  • Fees. Some of these cards come with lots of fees attached. This includes foreign ATM charges, fees for loading the card with currency, inactivity charges and more. It’s always important to check the small print before signing up for a card.
  • Not accepted for some pre-authorised transactions, such as hiring a car, paying at petrol stations or booking a hotel room.
  • Lack of Section 75 protection on purchases over £100.¹⁴
📚 Read more: The best UK bank accounts for travelling and travel insurance

The 7 best prepaid travel cards for Europe

Now, which are the best prepaid travel cards for Europe? To help you choose, we’ve put together a list of the best cards available here in the UK.

But don’t forget that there are alternatives out there too. Get a Wise debit card and you can spend and withdraw cash abroad in 150+ countries, including in Europe, Turkey and the US.

The Wise debit card also offers a world of travel-friendly features such as:

  • Have your GBP automatically converted to EUR or other local currency at the mid-market exchange rate, whenever you spend. There’s just a small fee to convert the currency
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Withdraw up to £200 from overseas ATMs for free (although ATM operators may charge their own fees)
  • Manage everything from the handy Wise app.

You can also use your Wise account to send money worldwide, in 40+ currencies, in just a few clicks. You’ll get the mid-market exchange rate and low fees, so your money will go much further.


1. Post Office Travel Money Card - Best for multiple currencies¹

The Post Office Travel Money Card lets you load and spend up to 22 currencies, all using the same card. You just need to create a new virtual wallet for each one. This makes it ideal for multi-destination trips, especially in parts of Europe which don’t use the euro.


  • Holds up to 22 currencies
  • No charges for spending abroad (in a preloaded currency)
  • Use with Apple Pay and Google Pay
  • Hold up to £10,000 at once
  • Maximum top-up limit £5,000


  • ATM fees apply (varies by currency)
  • 1.5% commission charge for GBP top-ups
  • Low daily cash withdrawal limit of €450 (varies by currency, i.e. £300 daily)
  • Monthly £2 inactivity fee chargeable 12 months after card expires

The Post Office Travel Money card uses First Rate exchange rates, which are competitive but are likely to include a margin on top of the mid-market rate. You can get an idea ofPost Office foreign currency rates here.

The card can be managed through the Post Office Travel mobile app, which also lets you freeze your card for security purposes.

2. EasyFX Currency Card - Best for cash withdrawals

The EasyFX Currency card charges absolutely no fees for ATM withdrawals overseas. So, you can take out cash whenever you need to. The only thing to watch out for is which ATM you use, as some operators can charge their own fees. It also lets you take out up to £1,000 a day.²

Pros: ²

  • No fees for spending overseas (in a preloaded currency)
  • No foreign ATM withdrawal fees
  • No load fees
  • Generous maximum ATM withdrawal of £1,000 a day (max. £500 per withdrawal)
  • In-app card security, including temporary card blocking.
  • Supports 14 currencies.³
  • Hold up to £15,000 at once.

Cons: ²

  • £2 monthly inactivity fee if not used for 12 months
  • £6 card replacement fee.

EasyFX offers competitive foreign exchange rates when you preload your card, which can beat some others on our list (depending on the transaction).⁴ However, these might fall a little short of mid-market exchange rates.

3. Caxton Currency Card - Best for travel perks

The Caxton Currency Card comes with lots of extra travel benefits, alongside the other features you’d expect from a prepaid travel card.

This includes discounted Covid-19 tests if you need them, free European toll tags, 25% off airport lounge access, 20% off airport parking and many more.⁵


  • No fees for overseas spending
  • No fees for foreign ATM withdrawals
  • UK-based customer support available 365 days a year
  • Load up to 15 currencies
  • Hold up to £12,000¹⁵
  • Travel perks including discounted airport lounge access and airport parking.


  • Low daily cash withdrawal limit of £300⁷
  • £2 monthly inactivity fee after 12 months of no use.¹⁶

You can manage your card on the move using the Caxton Currency Card app. This lets you top up while you’re away, as well as security features like freezing/unfreezing your card.

When you load a balance onto your card, your pounds will be converted using Caxton’s own exchange rate. This is made available on the Caxton website, and in the app before you load the card.

4. FairFX Currency Card - Best for longer trips

The FairFX Currency Card has the highest maximum load limit of all the prepaid travel cards on our list. You can hold up to £50,000 on the card at once.⁸

This makes it a good pick for those longer trips, where you don’t want the inconvenience of topping up or exchanging currency several times. You can just preload and go.


  • Supports 20 currencies
  • Use in over 190 countries
  • 3.5% cashback when spending at selected retailers in the UK
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No load fees
  • Hold up to £50,000
  • Competitive exchange rates
  • High ATM withdrawal limit of £1,500 a day (£500 a time).⁸


  • £1 fee for ATM withdrawals overseas and in the UK
  • £2 monthly inactivity fee on expired cards with leftover balances.

You can manage your card through the FairFX app, which lets you review transactions and pause your card if you lose it.

5. ASDA Travel Money Card - Best for occasional trips

The ASDA Travel Money Card charges no activity fee if you don’t have a balance on your card. This means that as long as you spend or withdraw everything on it, you can simply pop it in a drawer between holidays. But if there is a balance, you’ll be charged a £2 monthly inactivity fee after 12 months.¹⁰

Pros: ¹¹

  • Load up to 15 currencies
  • No foreign ATM withdrawal fees - withdraw up to £500 a day¹⁰
  • No fees for spending overseas (in a preloaded currency)
  • No load fees for foreign currency
  • 24/7 global assistance
  • No credit check to apply
  • No inactivity fee if there’s no balance on the card.¹⁰

Cons: ¹⁰

  • 2% fee for loading GBP
  • Can only hold £5,000 at once.

ASDA Money will apply its own exchange rate when you load the card, using the dedicated mobile app. You’ll be able to see this before you go ahead though.

6. Sainsburys Travel Card - Best for Nectar card holders¹²

If you have a Nectar card account, you may be able to get better exchange rates when you use the Sainsburys Travel Card. You can also take advantage of promotional offers. As these keep changing, be sure to check the up-to-date information on Sainsburys homepage.


  • Load up to 15 currencies
  • Manage your card using the Sainsbury’s Bank travel money card app
  • No foreign ATM withdrawal fees - withdraw up to £500 every 24 hours
  • No fees for spending abroad (in preloaded currencies)
  • No load fees for foreign currency


  • 2% load fee for GBP
  • £2 monthly fee after 18 months of inactivity
  • Hold a maximum of just £5,000 at once.

7. Travelex Travel Money Card - Best for regular top-ups¹³

The Travelex Travel Money Card has no fees for loading up your card with currency. This means you don’t have to put all of your spending money on it in one go, just to avoid top-up fees. You can top up as you need to, which is handy for any unexpected costs while you’re away.


  • Supports 15 currencies
  • No foreign ATM withdrawal fees - withdraw up to £500 a day
  • No fees for spending overseas (in preloaded currencies)
  • Extra travel benefits such as free Wi-Fi worldwide
  • Manage your card through the Travelex Money app
  • 24/7 assistance if your card is lost or stolen.


  • 2% fee for GBP loads
  • £2 monthly inactivity fee after 12 months
  • Only hold a maximum of £5,000 on the card at once.

When you load your card with currency, you’ll get Travelex exchange rates. These will be available in the Travelex Money app at the time of loading.

The best prepaid travel cards for Europe comparison

Card nameHold amountATM feesCash withdrawal limitCurrencies
Post Office Travel Money CardUp to £10,000Yes - varies by currency£300 daily*22
EasyFX Currency CardUp to £15,000No£1,000 daily14
Caxton Currency CardUp to £12,000No£300 daily15
FairFX Currency CardUp to £50,000Yes - £1 per withdrawal£1,500 daily20
ASDA Travel Money CardUp to £5,000No£500 daily15
Sainsburys Travel CardUp to £5,000No£500 daily15
Travelex Travel Money CardUp to £5,000No£500 daily15

*varies by currency

📚 Read more: UK travel credit cards you can use abroad


What is the difference between a prepaid card and a travel card?

With a prepaid card, you load the card up with your chosen currency (or currencies) in advance. With a travel card, you can usually just spend, and the currency will be converted to the local currency at the time.

Are prepaid euro travel cards worth it?

If you want to keep an eye on your spending, and avoid bank fees for overseas debit card use, a euro travel card could be a good option. They also keep your travel money separate from your bank account, and prevent the need to carry cash around - so can be seen as more secure.

Is it cheaper to use cash or card in Europe?

It all depends on which country you’re in, and the exchange rates you’re offered when spending on a card, withdrawing cash at an ATM or changing currency. And of course, the fees involved too.

After reading this, you should be all set to choose the right prepaid travel card for you. We’ve covered fees, features, limits and everything else you need to know.

Just remember that there are other options out there for your travel spending.

You can use a Wise debit card abroad, including in Europe, for spending without needing to top up your card in the local currency (as long as you have funds available in your account).

Best of all, your money is automatically converted at the mid-market exchange rate, which can beat the rates offered by many of the cards on our list. There’s just a tiny conversion fee to pay, or no conversion fee at all if you already have the local currency in your Wise account.

Register with Wise today

Sources used:

  1. Post Office - Travel Money Card
  2. EasyFX - Card fees
  3. EasyFX - FAQs
  4. EasyFX - Homepage
  5. Caxton - Travel Extras
  6. Caxton - Currency Card
  7. Caxton - Support - What are the maximum number of ATM withdrawals I can make on my Caxton Card?
  8. FairFX - Support - What are the balance and spending limits on the FairFX Card?
  9. FairFX - Currency Card
  10. ASDA Money - Travel Money Card fees and limits
  11. ASDA Money - Travel Money Card
  12. Sainsburys Bank - Prepaid Travel Money Card
  13. Travelex - Travel Money Card
  14. Financial Ombudsman - Section 75 and chargeback
  15. Caxton - Caxton Mastercard prepaid card terms and conditions
  16. Caxton - Terms and conditions

Sources last checked on date: 07-Feb-2024

*Please see terms of use and product availability for your region or visit Wise fees and pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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