Travelex Chip & Pin Cards

Jun 18th, 2011, 10:29 PM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 24,586
We accept Amex in our business, but then our clients tend to spend a lot more on average, and we have an agreement with Amex that matches what VISA and MC charge in service fees. Our turnaround time with Amex is generally 3 days, depending on the amount, whereas the funds from VISA and MC are in our account within 24 hours.

That isn't remotely close to the 7%+ or 30 days you claimed earlier. Again, I think those numbers are exaggerations and cannot find anything on the internet to support them.
travelgourmet is online now  
Jun 19th, 2011, 07:52 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,560
I always take my AMEX with me when traveling to Europe just to have an extra card for safety reasons. YOu never know what can happen, it doesn't hurt to take it. In fact, once I was buying some books in FNAC in Paris when the entire Mastercard/Visa network went down (at least in their store, I don't know if it was FNAC or the cad company) so no one could buy anything with a charge card except for AMEX cards, which I fortunately had carried with me as I certainly didn't have enough cash for those items and had just spent maybe an hour shopping for them (I routinely blow 100 euro on books and CDs in FNAC). And you can get cash with it in an ATM in case of some emergency where your ATM/debit cards doesn't work. The foreign transaction charge on my AMEX is lower than many charge cards by a bit (it is 2.7 pct rather than 3).

Anyway, I don't use it a lot in Europe due to that fee as I have ones without any, but I certainly take it with me just in case. Actually, I was in London once when the entire Visa network went down, as I recall, for some hours but at that time I could use a Mastercard as I was trying to buy theater tickets.
Christina is offline  
Jun 19th, 2011, 08:29 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 32,635
>>>when the entire Mastercard/Visa network went down <<<

I had that happen in Italy last year (it was down in most of Italy) and used my AmEx. I try not to use my AmEx much in Europe because they charge more fees than my credit union issued Visa and MC.
kybourbon is online now  
Jun 19th, 2011, 03:21 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 8,827
We are not a small merchant, thus the difference in fees and turnaround time. If you're really interested, just ask a small mom and pop store or restaurante why they will not accept Amex.

There are a number of post on the internet concerning merchant fees:
Robert2533 is offline  
Jun 19th, 2011, 09:16 PM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 24,586
I agree that there are any number of posts on the internet concerning merchant fees. The subject is very well covered. That none of those posts repeat your 7% and 30 days claim (those that give numbers seem to settle at roughly 3% and 3 days) is why I think your claim is greatly exaggerated. And, yes, I'm aware that merchant fees explain why Amex is not as widely accepted as Visa or MC, but that doesn't mean it isn't still quite widely accepted.
travelgourmet is online now  
Jun 20th, 2011, 07:07 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 73
Thanks everyone for your input. Some have veered off the subject of Travelex cards. Obviously very few have used this service.
Isadore204 is offline  
Jun 20th, 2011, 07:09 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 46,613

There's a reason for that. And it's a big stretch to call it a "service."
StCirq is online now  
Jun 20th, 2011, 01:01 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,560
I read that the fees on those Travelex cards amounted to around 15 pct. So that is just a very expensive way to get money abroad. The only reason I could think of using one was to give to a minor who didn't have his/her own CC or ATM card. Even then, I would try to think of a better way around that problem.
Christina is offline  
Aug 14th, 2011, 07:02 PM
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 2
The main reason you would pay the extra charges of the Travelex card is to get a European style Chip and PIN card. We're just back from a 1-month trip to France, and I can testify that there are plenty of situations, once you get away from the tourist areas, in which you absolutely NEED this type of card. Swipe cards, and even cash, won't hack it. Particularly in mid-summer, many systems are automated, there's no-one there to talk to. They expect you to insert your card and punch in your PIN - as virtually ALL Europeans do. We were traveling in the South of France, and without this type of card we could not buy diesel fuel or pay for dockage for our boat (without accosting a Frenchman and persuading him to use his card on our behalf) - very inconvenient! Also many small restaurants in this area only accept this type of card.

I wish someone here would say if the Travelex actually works as well as a real European-issue Chip & PIN card, but so far, I don't see any posters with first-hand experience on this.
HClews is offline  
Aug 14th, 2011, 07:43 PM
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 418
OK, I've been using a Travelex card for the past 2 visits to Italy. I'm from Australia, so that could make a difference. It is simply a PIN card, no chip involved.

I loaded it with euros when the exchange rate seemed good, and didn't worry if the rate went up or down after that; there was nothing I could do about it! Same goes for reloading it.

The main reason I wanted to use this form of cash 'management' is because I deal with a Credit Union, and they cannot lift the daily withdrawal beyond $500, and they also charge $5 for each overseas withdrawal. So, that wouldn't be very handy for getting the cash needed to pay for my long term apartment.

I bought this card through my Credit Union, and the initial charges were certainly NOT 15%, more like $11 for the 2 cards, and 1% for the cash loaded. I pay a 2.2 euro charge for each withdrawal, and I made far fewer than half the transactions I would have been required to, with my Credit Union card.

I tend to use cash for any day to day transactions while overseas, and don't use a car while there, so perhaps I am not a typical spender?

Anyhow, I'm happy with the card, and will continue to use it, for sure!
YvonneT is offline  
Aug 15th, 2011, 05:22 AM
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 2
YvonneT wrote: "It is simply a PIN card, no chip involved..."

Are you saying your card does not have an imbedded chip? Have you looked at it carefully? To me, as a US citizen that is the whole point of these Travelex cards. At present, no other US bank issues this type of European "EMV enabled" card, they only offer credit and debit cards with a magnetic stripe, commonly referred to as "swipe cards".

These American swipe cards do work OK in most French ATM machines, no problem. The problem is at automated kiosks like train stations, toll booths, gas stations, and small out-of-the-way places that don't normally cater to foreign tourists.
HClews is offline  
Aug 15th, 2011, 05:29 PM
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 418
Hi, again! Well, I've got a "long in the tooth" Travelex, apparently! The new ones do have a chip, mine is just a magnetic strip. Sheesh, left behind by technology again.
YvonneT is offline  
Aug 15th, 2011, 05:38 PM
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 161
HClews - agree totally. I was in France for a month and had endless difficulties because I didn't have a chip card - and the situations where you need one because of automation are increasing all the time. (I had a heck of a time buying tickets for a movie in Lyon because all the purchase options even at the theater were automated.) This is a situation that is changing rapidly - I lived in France for a year and have visited 15+ times in the 20 years since then, including 8 times in the last 14 years, and even two years ago, I had no problem except one place with an American card. I don't know if I would get the Travelex just for that but I do know it's a rapidly growing challenge not to have a chipped card. When are US credit card companies going to catch up with this?
Texastrips is offline  
Aug 17th, 2011, 04:09 AM
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 71

I assume you are using the card as per link?

There are two things to check when deciding to use this card
1) the exchange rate travelex offer (what percentage below the wholesale rate)
and 2
2) percentage fees per transaction

If the exchange rate is 2% below the wholesale rate(what you see on tv), and the transaction fee is 1%. then a 3% charge is what you need to know for making comparisons to other cards or cash etc.

The one good thing the travelex card offers it is preloaded with the currency you require , which hedges against any fall in your own currency, and it also has the security of not carrying all that cash at the one time.
greenerpastures is offline  
Aug 17th, 2011, 04:20 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 21,541
I still think a lot of these problems could be solved by buying a preloaded card directly in France or another European country. 1. Get euro cash out of ATM 2. Go to bank or hypermarket or post office and buy a card and deposit the cash onto its account. 3. Use card with no additional conversion fees or service charges.
kerouac is online now  
Aug 17th, 2011, 04:32 AM
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 71
You have a good point kerouac, would you have a link to any of those cards available?
I had a look at the link you provided and it is a card that requires identity verification documents.
With the card you mentioned is there a purchase fee? for example - does a 100 euro card cost 100 euro?
If not, then the only charge is what your own bank charges you for the international transaction.
The other thing to consider is - if this card can be purchased with a debit card ,then it should be able to be purchased with a standard credit card.
Would the purchase of the card incur the full percentage cash rate for withdrawing cash, or only an international exchange rate as per any other item purchased while overseas?
Would be interesting to know!
greenerpastures is offline  
Aug 17th, 2011, 04:36 AM
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 71
Just reread your reply kerouc, disregard my point about the card being preloaded with cash, and the credit card question.
The only thing that would be of interest is how much the card cost?
greenerpastures is offline  
Aug 17th, 2011, 05:00 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,525
Greener...'below' the wholesale rate? I like that deal

Someone here recently did a in depth breakdown of all of the charges on a VISA pre-paid, and by the end you had to ask..why bother?

As for exchange rates...what if the rate got better? You lose. I'm a bit leery of assuming I can outguess exchange rates, and any product that locks in at a certain rate..
Michel_Paris is offline  
Aug 17th, 2011, 10:07 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 21,541
I confess that since I do not need one of those cards, I don't know all of the details, but I will try to find out more. However, since they are mostly marketed locally to people who want to make cash safely accessible to their teens on independent vacations and also to people who have been banished from having normal cards due to credit incidents, they are clearly not overpriced or the target group would never consider buying them. (I think I have seen on certain sites that the card costs 5€ and there is maybe a 1% fee to load it, but I'm not sure.)
kerouac is online now  
Aug 17th, 2011, 04:15 PM
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 71

What I mean is the euro's you receive for your dollar are always less than the wholesale rate. That lower rate is different depending who you use to supply your money.

kerouac, no drama about the info, just clarifying the details.
The cards you mention obviously have benefits and I may use them myself at some stage, especially if travelling out of city areas.

Isadore204, hope the info provided is of benefit?
greenerpastures is offline  
Related Topics
Original Poster
Last Post
Jun 4th, 2018 07:59 AM
Jun 10th, 2013 04:33 AM
Mar 21st, 2012 12:52 PM
Aug 7th, 2004 05:46 AM
Oct 27th, 2003 06:07 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 12:46 PM.