Traveling when living abroad is a blast but figuring out how to access money can be a hassle. Do you exchange cash at every country? Take out the nearly antiquated traveler’s checks, or attempt bringing your ATM card with you on a series of questionable planes, trains and busses? All of these options leave room for disaster there is always the risk of theft, being on the losing end of an exchange rate or being hit with the hated international transaction fee. Never fear, the Travelex Cash Passport is here to save the day…kind of.
The Cash Passport is a preloaded MasterCard with pin and credit card security. If it’s lost or stolen you have recourse and it is NOT linked to your bank or any other bank account. Basically it’s similar to a prepaid cash card only you load it with a foreign currency when you buy it. There are a few ground rules for eligibility regarding purchasing one. First you must be an “individual aged 18 years or over who is resident of and accessing the Service from the United States” and “the Service may only be used to order Travel Money for personal or business travel and not for speculative, investment or any other purposes”.
I’m honestly on the fence about this item. While it’s more secure than carting an ATM or personal credit card on your travels (PIN & signature protected + they have a 24 hour emergency assistance line to help with lost/stolen cards) there are a few draw backs.
The biggest being that its currency options are pretty limited, currently limited to Euros or British Pounds only. Pretty much crossing it off your list if you’re planning on traveling anywhere outside of the Euro-zone or the UK. Secondly, as Indelible International contributor Michelle Mata found first hand exchanging money before you go can wind up costing you if exchange rates change in the US’s favor while you’re abroad.
Another issue is that it must be loaded from the United States. This means you cannot reload it yourself from your study abroad location. This is frustrating for travelers looking for an alternative to using their ATM card overseas, although, it might be a nice way for loved ones back at home to supply you with a bit of a cash flow without needing to give them access to your bank accounts.
The Travelex Cash Passport does seem pretty ideal if you’re planning on relocating to Europe long term and just need access to cash/credit while you get the lay of the land down and open a local account. The amount of cash able to be accessed per day on a Cash Passport must be between $250 and $3,000 USD making it ideal if you’re planning on using it to get settled while you figure out long term plans or for short term travel excursions.