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Travelex / Money Travel Cards

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Oct 31st, 2013, 11:02 PM
  #1
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Travelex / Money Travel Cards

Hello!!
We are travelling to Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, Peru and Colombia in December-January.
What is everyone's opinions on using Travelex Money Cards (MasterCard with different currencies on them) in ATM's in these countries?
We don't really want to be carrying around too much cash with us everywhere, so this card would be very handy but only if we know if it's gunna work for us!
Anyone had any experiences with them? Good or bad?
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Nov 1st, 2013, 03:35 AM
  #2
 
Join Date: May 2004
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I used Fairfx cards during our current trip covering Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina denominated in £ and $ and found them to be excellent. They are preloaded debit cards the same as Travelex cards but I chose them because the fx rates and charges were more competive than Travelex and other cards. However, I am from the UK and where these charges do tend to be more competive than the US where I understand these pre loaded cards can prove expensive. Not sure about other countries.

I had no problems withdrawing cash anywhere although you need to be aware that just because a machine is showing a MC symbol, it doesn't necessarily mean it is connected to the net work. You can get a web link and input your town and MC will show you which ATMs work in that town. Adding funds to the cards was easily done online, but I took an iPad and used a VPN. I would be very wary of doing this on a shared computer.

I took two cards in each currency so that if one were lost, I could transfer the balance to the remaining card.

The US$ card was useful in Peru and Bolivia where ATMs also dispense $ and $ are the preffered currency for larger purchases.

You can also avoid any ATM fees by paying for some things with the card rather than withdrawing cash.

Travelling around, I found Scotiabank and BCP to be the most efficient banks for working ATMs.

Finally, take a look at the posts re "blue dollars" for Argentina. This unofficial rate is some 40-50% better than the official rate so you may want to take cash $$ and exchange when you get there to save a packet!
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Nov 1st, 2013, 04:53 AM
  #3
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
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About the situation in Argentina, TOP poster Crellston is also right.

Except that the "informal" or "blue" rate was, as of yesterday, more than 60% above the "official" rate, giving you about a 40% saving on anything you can pay for with a credit card, plus further discounts you could get for paying in cash, as cash is king in Argentina.

http://www.ambito.com/economia/mercados/monedas/dolar/

But this percentage could change any time, for better or for worse.

As Crellston said, there are several threads on the subject in this forum, such as:

http://www.fodors.com/community/sout.../blue-rate.cfm

Have a great time in my country (Argentina), sammybuttons.
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Nov 1st, 2013, 11:10 AM
  #4
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
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Whatever card you choose to use, note that in Brazil there has been a daily withdrawal limit imposed at some ATMs that is fairly low and could be inconvenient if you aren't aware of it. Posted alerts about this have been mostly from Rio though.
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Nov 1st, 2013, 07:15 PM
  #5
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Thanks for your feedback.

As to the "blue rate" exchange (which thoroughly confuses me, as I've never travelled before! Haha excuse my ignorance, we all have to start somewhere!) I'm not sure that will be available to us while we are in BA as we arrive Christmas Eve and leave Boxing Day (26th December). Nothing will be open.

I think we will most likely be using the ATM's at the airports as we get there, to minimise the amount of times we have to get money out.

Crellston I am however interested in the web link to show you which ATM's in which towns will accept MA. That would be handy to know when we are down in El Calafate and Punta Arenas.
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Nov 2nd, 2013, 02:50 AM
  #6
 
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It's up to you. No Boxing Day in Argentina.
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Nov 2nd, 2013, 05:14 AM
  #7
 
Join Date: May 2004
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Sammy, you may need to ask Travelex for the link as I am nots sure iwheterhbthey use VISA, MC or another network .

However, here is the MC link

http://www.mastercard.us/cardholder-...m-locator.html
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Nov 2nd, 2013, 05:33 AM
  #8
 
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"iwheterhbthey"? Some kind of password? LOL!
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Nov 2nd, 2013, 05:53 AM
  #9
 
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I live in the US and would not consider such a card because of the fees. I used a regular ATM card, but I have a checking account with no fees (no foreign conversion fee, no ATM fee). Before you buy a Travelex card you should carefully compare its exchange rate and fees to those you would incur with your bank's or credit union's ATM card.

av - I suspect crellston was using an iPad, it has a bad habit of sneaking in extra characters when you thought you were hitting the space bar.
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Nov 2nd, 2013, 06:09 AM
  #10
 
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I am convinced that my iPad keyboard has a life of its own. I never worry too much though as I know I can rely on Avrooster as my autocorrect
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Nov 8th, 2013, 02:56 PM
  #11
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 44
I am in the same boat. Working out the best way to save money with which card to go for. Hard to find something in Australia without an ATM fee (up and to $5) and a conversion of 3% per transaction in AUD. No conversion if I cover to $US on but a travel card. with the current exchange rate the dollar value in $ US is nearly equal to if I use $ AUD with fees.

3 more weeks and I will be in Buenos Aires, I may get some $US before I travel to exchange on the blue rate when I arrive. I don't wish to carry much cash on me though.

I did want to ask what denominations are best to carry in Argentina peso? As $200 AUD is $1000 ARS approx which is a lot of notes.

Please excuse any mistakes-I'm new to using a galaxy note and it's proving a challenge getting used to typing on screen (recently sold everything for my travels)
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Nov 18th, 2013, 01:07 AM
  #12
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Brendensadventures, are you Australian? We ended up getting a MasterCard Cash passport card, pre paid credit card which you load currencies onto. Didn't realise until after there is a 5.95 % conversion fee for every ATM withdrawal/transaction. What did you end up doing? I'm considering getting another card also, if I can find one with a lower fee
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Nov 19th, 2013, 03:33 AM
  #13
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
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Hey Sammy!

I'm Australian! I just applied for an ING orange everyday account. Hope my debit card comes before Tuesday next week. Should have applied earlier.

The account is free. Overseas atm withdrawal fee is $2.50 and conversion cost is 2.5%. Eftpos has no charge apart from the conversion. Over $10,000 I will save approximately $200 on fees . not much but better for me to have the money.

Nab have a gold account that is similar also.
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