Prepaid Visa cards

Old Apr 20th, 2008, 04:44 PM
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Prepaid Visa cards

My granddaughter and I are going to Europe in June. I will have my bank card to use for ATMs and my charge card for expenses. I would like for my 16 year old granddaughter to have some funds of her own. Has anyone used the prepaid Visa cards issued through a bank? Any other suggestions of how to handle this? We will be in Italy, Switzerland, France and England. First time to Europe for both of us. Can't wait.
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Old Apr 20th, 2008, 05:19 PM
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I believe these prepaid cards charge a hefty fee - check that out before you get one.

Why not just set up an arrangement w/your gdtr in a way that you'll give her a x amt of cash each day (if she wants to get souvenirs etc) and pay for her expenses (meals/hotels) w/your CC, then have her pay you back in US$ after the trip?
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Old Apr 20th, 2008, 05:45 PM
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I was afraid that there might be a hefty charge. I was trying to give her a little independence even though I am treating, so she felt like she wasn't getting an allowance every day, but that may be the way to go. Thanks for your thoughts.
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Old Apr 20th, 2008, 05:53 PM
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I have taken my teenage daughter to Europe twice in the last two years, and she has traveled with student groups twice in the same period of time. Instead of paying her allowance in cash, I opened a checking account and had a check card issued to her. Additionally, I added her as an authorized user on my credit card. I do take the credit card back when the trip is over, however.
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Old Apr 20th, 2008, 05:59 PM
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Instead of opening a checking acct for her, you could get her an ATM card on your account. Just be sure to get it back after the trip

Same w/ a credit card if you'd rather - you can get a 2nd cc w/ her name on it (I have a cc on one of my Mom's accts that has my name on it to simplify me running errands/shopping for her)
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Old Apr 20th, 2008, 06:11 PM
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If you decide to go the prepaid card route, check with issuers to make sure their card will work outside the US.

Some are USA only.
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Old Apr 20th, 2008, 07:07 PM
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I had a bunch of prepaid visa cards from family, that I was considering using on my trip overseas next week. When I read through the fine print about foreign transactions I decided it wasn't worth it. Like yk says, there are high fees, and you have to convert into foreign currency, which will more than likely leave you with a lot less than you started out with. After much persuasion, ATM is the way to go.
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Old Apr 20th, 2008, 07:26 PM
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Old Apr 20th, 2008, 07:56 PM
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Hi Ready, I agree with janisj, an ATM card for your checking account (or a seperate checking account for your granddaughter if you felt that was a better idea with an ATM card of course) and if you feel comfortable about it a credit card under your credit card account.

Some credit card companies will do this and some will not. I have two credit card companies that will and two that will not.

Your trip with your granddaughter will give both of you a lifetime of memories Ready! I hope you can give us a trip report after you return home and get settled in.

P.S. Don't forget to contact the financial institution where you have the ATM cards and also the credit card company(s) to let them know you will be in Europe so they do not put a freeze on your accounts.
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Old Apr 21st, 2008, 12:30 AM
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The only time that I have used a prepaid card was when I went to Tanzania for 3 months last year. This was necessary, as ordinary visa cards can't be used in Tanzania. I used the Travelex Visa card, loaded with USD. It worked in every ATM where I tried it, and it saved me hours of having to queue to change travellers cheques, showing my passport and being stung for additional fees.

I was charged to change £s to $s when I set up the cards, but not when I withdrew money in Tanzania. I had two cards to access the same pot of money, in case I lost one.

Prepaid cards are not needed in Europe, but they do provide the same protection as travellers cheques and your grandaughter will have her own funds. If you decide to buy a card, you need to consider which currency to choose - probably Euros, given your itinerary.
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Old Apr 21st, 2008, 03:51 AM
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I'd do as one person also suggested and get her a credit card for purchases. And then give her cash from the ATM for "walking around money". Be sure not to use the credit card as an ATM/cash advance. That is a real hefty charge.
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Old Apr 21st, 2008, 04:08 AM
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Londonres - we used our normal Visa card in Tanzania no problem. I had never heard of a prepaid card until I saw it here on Fodors so it's just as well the normal one worked.
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Old Apr 21st, 2008, 07:09 AM
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Because I had paid for my trip early the tour company gave me a 150.00 prepaid Visa and it worked out excellent. Especially when going from England (pounds) to France (euros) so that I didn't have too much of the other monies. What I did encounter trouble with was using my Am.Ex. no one would accept it when I tried to use it, Oh well, it saved me money if you know what I mean
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Old Apr 22nd, 2008, 01:40 AM
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When my son was 13 he went to China and we gave him a VisaBuxx card to use which I highly recommend. We got it through Wachovia Bank (orderd on the internet). It worked out great, our bank would not allow him to have an atm in his name. We loaded it with an amount of money and he could use it as an atm and a credit card. Any time he used it, we received an email about the transaction. He is now 16 and he still uses the same card, we can reload money on it. The fees were not too bad and I found Wachovia to have the best rates.

You are right about them wanting independence. It works out well and we found our son spent less money this way than if we gave him the money directly for a trip.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2008, 07:08 AM
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Thanks for all the great ideas. May look into the opening a checking account and ATM card idea. Will talk to my bank.
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