Thomas Cook travel agency’s history dates back to when the company was first founded in 1841. Also, Thomas Cook Travel Money and other holiday products were widely known across the UK. Alas, the successful streak came to an end when the company declared bankruptcy in 2019¹.
Despite the difficult period for the entire travel industry, Thomas Cook as a brand lives on – restructured, but familiar. The company changed hands, revamped or discontinued some of their products, and struck new partnerships to keep the sunny heart symbol alive.
Today, apart from holiday packages, you can also get some travel money products with Thomas Cook. You can order foreign currency and have it delivered to your home, and make use of the Caxton Currency card that replaced the Lyk card and Cash Passport options². But, there can be some sneaky fees and markups with the latter³.
So, if you’re looking for a travel money card which you can load up with pounds and use for paying in foreign currencies, with transparent fees, check out the Wise Multi-Currency Card. On top of transparent and fair fees, Wise also uses the mid-market rate without an additional markup on the currency exchange rate.
Travel money is a line of products you can use to make purchases when travelling outside the UK. These products can be various currencies in cash, a debit card with a single currency, or a card that can hold multiple currencies.
Therefore, travel money helps you sort out payment options before you go abroad. You also won’t need to exchange currency at the airport or in the destination country at the last minute, which saves you a lot of time, money, and hassle. Furthermore, purchasing travel money ahead of time can be much cheaper than getting it from the currency exchange offices.
Thomas Cook used to offer a whole line of products related to travel money. After the bankruptcy, though, products such as reserve and collect, Lyk card, Cash Passport have been discontinued that were well associated with the Thomas Cook brand.
Nowadays, Thomas Cook offers two products for travel money: Caxton Currency Card and Thomas Cook Travel Money.
After discontinuing the Lyk card and Cash Passport products, Thomas Cook partnered with Caxton FX to offer Thomas Cook customers a card option for their travel money.
The Caxton Currency Card is a multi-currency card that works just like a debit card when paying abroad. You top up the card with pounds and convert it to any of the 15 currencies Caxton offers, and you’re all set². Note that the minimum top up amount is more than 50 pounds, and you can’t load your card more than twice in 24h hours⁴.
You can open a Caxton “One Account” for free and without an additional subscription fee. Signing up gets you access to their handy application that has an overview of your finances with them and acts like a budgeting app as well. To get a Caxton Currency Card, you need to apply for it from your account. You then load at least 10 pounds on your account, and you get the card for free³.
On top of getting the card for free, Caxton has no fees on spending with the card and ATM withdrawals abroad are also without charge. However, there’s a hidden mark-up for currency exchange rate if you pay in a currency that’s not available on your card⁴.
You can also use the Caxton Currency Card in the UK, but then there’s a £1.50 flat fee for every transaction and ATM withdrawal order⁴.
Thomas Cook offers a currency delivery service where you can order foreign currency online and have it brought to your home before your trip. You can choose from 50 different currencies and order 5 currencies per order with a minimum of £300 up to £2,500 in value⁶.
You get a free delivery for orders over £500 or pay an additional £4.99 if ordering less. If you make an order for common currencies before 1pm on a business day, you’ll get the currency delivered during the next business day. For exotic currencies, the delivery could take an additional business day⁶.
Another neat feature for Thomas Cook currency order is the virus-free travel cash or Clean Currency⁶. With this product, your ordered currency is processed in a sterile environment, and you’ll receive smaller notes to minimise the handling of change.
After Thomas Cook went bankrupt, they discontinued several products. Here are the ones that didn’t make the cut.
Lyk card, similar to the currently offered Caxton Currency Card, was a multi-currency prepaid card used primarily for travelling purposes. By now, Lyk card is discontinued from the Thomas Cook products.
Thomas Cook Cash Passport was another product that was taken off the selection after liquidation. The Cash Passport was another prepaid card that came in two versions: a single currency prepaid card and a multi-currency prepaid card for up to 10 currencies.
Thomas Cook used to offer a reserve and collect option for currency order. This meant that you could go and pick up your order from the nearest Thomas Cook brick-and-mortar store yourself.
However, following the bankruptcy, all the previous Thomas Cook stores were taken over by Hays Travel⁷. As a result, you can only have the currency delivered to you and can’t personally pick it up.
Thomas Cook currency delivery service used to be called “currency order”. Now, the service is simply called “Travel Money”.
All Thomas Cook travel cards lost their validity on 6th of April 2020. This means that holders of Lyk card and Cash Passport had to withdraw their funds before that date.
Mastercard, the company that ran the aforementioned cards, also noted that any balance left on the cards after the due date were subject to an inactivity fee⁵.
If you still own any of the discontinued cards and suspect you might have a balance left on them, the best next step would be to call the Mastercard’s Assistance Centre on 0800 964 767. You can then inquire about the card’s remaining balance and ask how you could potentially make a withdrawal.
Unexpected fees and unfavourable exchange rates can really eat into your travelling budget. Therefore, it’s important to know what charges you can expect when using travel money products with Thomas Cook.
If you care about transparent fees and fair exchange rates, also check out Wise Multi-Currency Card and spend less with foreign currency when travelling.
|Product / Service||Thomas Cook Fee|
|Foreign currency exchange commission fee||Thomas Cook charges no upfront commission on foreign currency exchange⁶|
|Thomas Cook currency order delivery||No fee for orders of £500 and above. For below £500, the delivery fee is £4.99⁶|
|Opening a Caxton account||Free⁴|
|Caxton Currency Card||Free *£10 deposit⁴|
|Cash withdrawal from ATM (abroad)||Free⁴|
|Cash withdrawal from ATM (domestic)||£1.5 per withdrawal ⁴|
|Paying with a card (abroad)||Free⁴|
|Paying with a card (domestic)||£1.5 per transaction⁴|
|FX mark-up for transactions in currency not available on the account||2.49%⁴|
Thomas Cook doesn’t charge an upfront fee on foreign currency exchange⁶. However, their exchange rate can be different from other travel money suppliers. The difference typically comes from the spread or mark-up added to the real exchange rate.
But, if you want to travel and spend foreign money with a fair exchange rate and no sneaky fees, choose Wise.
When making a purchase, Thomas Cook will hold the shown exchange rate for 15 minutes while you complete your order⁸.
Interestingly enough, they seem to be determined to offer a better exchange rate than the Post Office Travel Money and will even refund the difference if that is not the case⁹. You can check out Thomas Cook offered exchange rate on their website and use the calculator to see how much money you’ll receive after a purchase.
Thomas Cook doesn’t offer a currency buy back option at this moment.
As per their terms¹º:
“We are currently unable to buyback unused foreign currency. However we are interested in providing this service to customers, so please get in touch via the support badge on our mobile app or website if you would be interested in using this service.”
Even after Thomas Cook declared bankruptcy in 2019, the revamped company offers some good travel money options. However, it pays off to research different options and alternatives available to get the most out of your money and foreign currency. Spend some time comparing the options and choose the most cost-effective one, and you'll have more money available to spend on what really matters.
Sources used for this article:
*All sources checked on July 19, 2022
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