There are a lot of reasons to get a forex card. It saves you time and energy when you travel and can make country-hopping easier. The well-known travel agency, Thomas Cook, has a Multi Currency Prepaid Forex card to make spending when you are abroad easier. Since it is a Mastercard, you can use it wherever Mastercard is accepted, but the card does have some drawbacks, including limited geographic scope and high fees. Read on to learn more about the Thomas Cook Borderless Multicurrency Prepaid Forex Card, and if it could be a solution for your next trip.
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The Thomas Cook Borderless Multicurrency Prepaid Forex card is a single account where you can hold up to 9 different global currencies. Since it is a Mastercard, you can then use the card to spend locally wherever those currencies and Mastercard are accepted. It is to help make travel easier by replacing cash currency exchanges, and by having one card to use in different countries. You can read more about the currencies available on the card in a later section.
You can begin the process online to open an account but you will need to be contacted by a Thomas Cook representative to complete the sign-up and onboarding. You will also need to provide documents to verify your identity during the process. Once you open an account, the card is valid for 5 years.
One of the benefits of having a prepaid forex card is that you can protect yourself against volatility in foreign exchange conversion. You can load up your card when the currency exchange is in your favor and then spend when you find yourself abroad. But it is good to remember that there may be an inactivity fee if you don’t use it every 6 months.
The card also comes with a security chip and a 4 digit PIN to protect your account. You will also receive SMS and email alerts every time you use it so you can keep track of your transactions. There is also insurance coverage upto $10,000 for any fraud or unapproved transactions. Plus Thomas Cook has 24/7 customer support to help you whenever you need it.¹
The main purpose of the card is to pay for any spending you do while you are traveling. So this can be for shopping, restaurants, tours, local travel and more. The card is accepted in more than 31 million merchants and shops globally, and you can access 55,000 ATMs that won’t charge a fee. The multicurrency prepaid card can be used on international online shopping sites too. One thing to keep in mind is that the card can not be used in India as you are not able to hold INR in the account.
But before you use the card, you should be aware of limits that exist. They are all written in USD but the currency equivalent will apply for the respective currency you are loading. First, the minimum amount you can put on the card is 250 USD. There are also maximum amounts that you can have on your card at one time, and how much you can load onto it annually. You can only keep a maximum amount of 2,000 USD as a balance on your card, so if you return from a trip and your balance is more than 2,000 USD, you will have to cash out the amount above that limit. Doing this comes with a fee too, as you will see below. And per FEMA rules, you can only buy a currency equivalent of $250,000 USD per year when traveling abroad. ²
The ease of this card doesn’t mean that it doesn’t come without fees. Here is a sample of the fees, but make sure to check the fees if you sign up, they may have been updated since.³
|Purchase made from a shop or restaurant||₹0|
|Currency Conversion Fee||4.25%|
|6-month inactivity fee||5.00 USD|
|ATM fee||From 2 USD (currency equivalent)|
Last but not least, the other fee that you would be paying is hidden in the exchange rate you get. The card has its own exchange rates, which are different from the real exchange rates that banks use themselves. The real exchange rate is also the one you see on Google. By creating a difference between the real exchange rate and the rate the card offers you, Thomas Cook is able to sneak in a hidden fee per conversion. For instance:⁴
|Thomas Cook Rate||Real Exchange Rate||Difference|
Data as of 8 July, 2020
So even when you meet the minimum load up amount, you lose more than ₹500 per transaction to a hidden fee.
Want to transfer money globally with fewer fees? Check out Wise. Wise lets you transfer money in over 60 local currencies, direct to bank accounts globally.
Say you’re based in India, and you want to send money to a friend or family member, you can do it all with one low, clear and upfront fee. With Wise you will always get the real exchange rate. There is never a markup on the exchange rate. So all you pay is one low transfer fee on your transaction. You can even send money to put down a deposit on holiday homes or hotels for your next holiday with Wise.
If you are settled in any of the currently supported countries like the US or UK, you can sign up for Wise’s multi currency account. It is a single account but with access to over 40 currencies around the world- close to 7x more currencies than Thomas Cook. And it is free to sign up, is done completely online and you only have to pay the same one time transfer fee when you convert money. That’s it. Fewer fees, more currencies, and easy to use, that is Wise’s multi-currency account.
The Thomas Cook Multicurrency prepaid card lets you withdraw from ATMs abroad that accept Mastercard, but you need to make sure you are at a Thomas Cook Access-Point Network (APN) ATM to not be hit with a fee. If you don’t use a Thomas Cook APN ATM, you will be hit with the bank’s transaction fee. But on top of that, you may be hit with a currency-related fee when you are withdrawing money. Be sure to read the fine print before opening up the account to check the charges.⁵
Thomas Cook’s Multi Currency prepaid card gives you access to 9 different currencies. This includes⁶:
- UAE Dirham
- US Dollar
- Great Britain Pound
- Australian Dollar
- Canadian Dollar
- Japanese Yen
- Singapore Dollar
- Swiss Franc
With just slightly more than a handful of options, your access to the larger world is limited with the Thomas Cook Borderless Multi-currency Prepaid Forex card. Especially if you are looking to travel to countries in Southeast Asia like Thailand, or to see the pyramids in Egypt or even explore South America. So if you’re settled in any of these countries and want access to more of the world, check out Wise’s multi currency card. And if you’re in India, get started by jumping on the waitlist to be one of the first to get the card when it comes available.
- Thomas Cook Borderless Multi Currency Forex Card
- Charges & Fees
- Exchange Rate
- ATM withdrawals
- Currencies available
This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.
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