Fact checked! This material is written by an expert.

9 min read 06.07.2021 135

The Best Travel Credit Cards 2021

Travelling has become cheaper in recent years however, the exchange rates and bank charges have only soared to new highs. How does one travel the world and not spend their savings on fees? This askwallet article is going to take you through the best travel credit cards and their features.

Ibrahim Busari
Ibrahim Busari
Ibrahim is a fintech writer at AskWallet

Fact checked! This material is written by an expert.

9 min read 06.07.2021 135

Introduction 

So, if your local bank is attempting to swindle you with their travel card, how can you travel and spend money without going over budget? We are flattered that you inquired. Prepaid debit cards issued by electronic money companies are the answer. You've been missing out if you haven't been paying attention to the e-money market. Companies have done an excellent job of establishing themselves as competitors to large banks.

However, because the e-money industry is still in its infancy, it is not without flaws. There are numerous options to consider, which can be difficult for travellers. That is why Askwallet has compiled a list of the best travel cards for you.

What is a travel card?

A travel card, also known as a travel money card, allows you to pre-load money on a card and carry it with you as you travel the world. It's an excellent way to avoid carrying cash and avoiding high banking fees.

Travel money cards are not the same as regular credit cards issued by banks. You do not accumulate debt with Money cards, and you spend the money you deposit on the card. They have numerous advantages over credit cards, and we will discuss some of their features later in this article.

The cards are typically accepted at various stores and ATMs around the world, with low ATM and purchase fees for travelers.

What are the best Travel credit cards for International Travel?

There are tons of EMI credit cards available for international travel. We have selected the best five credit cards for international travel in this ocean of options. 

Wise (Formerly TransferWise)

Wise offers a multi-currency debit card that is linked to their Borderless Account. Wise users can convert their currency at market value and avoid paying too much. The payment system accepts over 50 different currencies and offers competitive exchange rates.

Users can order a prepaid debit card with their borderless account for a one-time fee of 5 EUR. With Wise, you can watch all of your high fees on exchange rates and ATM withdrawals vanish. You can send money internationally in different currencies without fear of incurring bank-breaking fees. More information on the company's fees can be found here. MasterCard, which is accepted in over 210 countries, backs the card.

Wise travel Cards are available for users in Switzerland, the USA, Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore and other EU countries. 

Wise Card Features 
  • You can sync your card with Apple Pay or Samsung Pay.
  • You can withdraw money from ATMs for free up to £200/$250. Following that, an ATM fee of 1.75 percent will be imposed.
  • Because they are powered by MasterCard, they are accepted in a wide range of locations.
  • International Bank Account Number.
  • Currency conversion rates are low (typically between 0.35-1 percent , plus a small fixed fee.)
  • Over 50 currencies are available for loading onto your card.
  • There is a mobile app available for both Android and iOS users.
  • In the event that your card is stolen or lost, you can freeze it directly from the mobile app or website.
Wise Reward and miles

Unfortunately, Wise doesn't provide a reward for new users anymore. We are unable to find a miles program on the company's website. 

Revolut 

Because of the reasons we will discuss now, many travelers consider Revolut to be the best travel credit card. Revolut has altered the game by offering accounts that are linked to a contactless prepaid debit card. The mobile app allows you to easily access your current account and make transfers from your bank account to the card.

Revolut has distinguished itself from the competition by providing a secure and convenient travel card. Transferring money abroad is simple and inexpensive once your Revolut account is loaded. Not to mention that users receive real-time exchange rates that reflect the market. On weekends, however, the exchange rates are slightly higher.

The great thing about Revolut is that it's not only for travellers; businesses and freelancers can take advantage of low fees as well.

Revolut Travel Card Features
  • Standard, premium, and metal subscription accounts would cost $0, $6.99, and $12.99, respectively.
  • With a Revolut card, you can spend over 150 different currencies while traveling. 
  • You can also get medical travel insurance for as little as £1.00 per day.
  • Get a weekly breakdown of your spending habits.
  • Set monthly spending limits to gain control of your spending.
  • Earn a high rate of return on your savings.
  • Earn points when you use your Revolut card anywhere.
  • The free withdrawal cap of €200 per month is extremely appealing to long-term travelers (in the Free Plan). If the monthly limit is exceeded, a flat 2% charge is imposed.
  • You can exchange cryptocurrency for fiat currencies using Revolut.
Revolut Rewards And Miles 

Revolut provides several cashback schemes and rewards to its users on every level, whether free or premium users. On Revolut's website, we could find cashbacks of up to 10% on travelling, 30% on restaurants, 10% on entertainment and 15% on groceries & Shopping.

However, we couldn't find any information on Revolut's official website if the company provides miles as rewards for travelling. 

N26

This mobile bank was the first to launch in Europe, making it a market pioneer in the EU. N26 provides its users with a Mastercard debit card. The company provides extremely competitive real-time exchange rates. You can quickly create an account and begin using it to make a transfer as soon as possible. Another advantage is that you can order the card online and have it delivered to you. The only criticism we have for N26 is that it is only available in a few countries, namely the EU and the US.

N26 Travel card Features
  • A user-friendly and up-to-date banking app
  • A Mastercard debit card with minimal to no fees
  • Subscription fees are divided into three levels, with a free version included in each.
  • ATM withdrawal fees are low, and if you have a N26 metal subscription, you can withdraw money in Euros for free.
  • With the mobile bank, you can use overdraft and obtain a line of credit.
  • Wise collaborates with it to provide its users with real-time currency exchange.
  • Enjoy low insurance rates (medical, luggage, and flight delay compensation, among other things!)
  • Google Pay and Apple Pay are both accepted.
N26 Rewards and Miles 

N26 has a long list of offers and discounts available to its users, including a lucrative referral program. The mobile bank has partners with some big names to bring its users extraordinary deals. The partnership includes Adidas, Udemy, Yoox and booking.com. Travellers can get up to 20% off their hotel selection when using N26 cards at booking.com. However, we weren't able to find any information about the company offering miles as a reward on its website.

Monzo

This is another mobile bank, like N26, that offers travelers a Mastercard-enabled debit card. The card allows you to make payments anywhere without incurring additional fees. Monzo offers its customers real-time mid-market exchange rates. Because the FCA regulates the company, you can be confident that your money will be safe with this mobile bank. The only drawback to Monzo is that it is only available in the United Kingdom. However, the company has stated that it plans to expand its reach in the near future.

Monzo travel card Features
  • Free ATM withdrawals in the EEA, while in other countries, you can withdraw £200 for free every 30 days. After that, a 3% fee is added.
  • Mid-market currency exchange with no hidden fees 
  • Pay online and in-store anywhere MasterCard is taken, which is in many places.
  • Monzo also has a joint account feature if you are travelling with a partner. 
  • Real-time travel reports on your expenses in a new country and the current exchange rate in the country.
  • Provide excellent interest rate on savings 
  • Allows for overdraft and loans to help you in time of need
Monzo Rewards and Miles

Monzo provides a cashback program for its users. However, there is no miles program for travellers with a Monzo card.

Monese

Monese claims to be the ultimate travel card you'll need, but the features it provides aren't as great as some of the ones mentioned above. Nonetheless, the Monese card provides users with mid-market exchange rates and low ATM withdrawal fees. However, much like other travel debit cards, its available only to the UK and EU residents, 

Monese Travel Card Features
  • You will have access to free Cash withdrawals worldwide up to €200/£200 a month.
  • You may also create a dual currency account (EUR or GBP)
  • Oversee your travel budget more effectively with the Monese app's real-time visual depiction of spending patterns.
  • Direct debits for monthly spending can be easily set up and stopped.
  • There is no charge for topping up with another bank card (within the monthly limit, which differs across its three plans)
Monese Card Rewards and Miles 

Monese offers a lucrative referral program where users could benefit. The company also has partnerships with some big names like Paypal and Avios. However, no mention of miles for travellers anywhere on Monese's website.

How Do These Travel Credit Cards Stack Up Against Each Other?

Though the list above shows five different travel card options, we are sure that you have noticed our slight bias towards Revolut. This isn't for any shady reason. We honestly believe that these are the  best travel cards for everyone. 

If you don't believe us, we'll compare Revolut to the best travel credit cards and prove that Revolut is at the top. 

Wise Versus Revolut 

When choosing between these two travel credit cards, we think Revolut has the upper hand in the cost and fees department. However, that's only for UK and EU citizens. If you live outside these countries, Wise might be the better choice. 

On the other hand, Revolut quickly takes the cake with its reward programs, low rate insurance policies, and more!

Revolut Versus N26

N26 is a mobile bank that provides travellers with several features and offers. In comparison with Revolut, it looks like they pretty much do the same on the surface. However, we give N26 an upper hand because it is a full-fledged bank. Its travel card covers travel insurance, phone insurance, flight delay and cancellation insurance and many more.

Monzo Versus Revolut

This is a straightforward decision because, just like N26, Monzo is a full-fledged bank with plenty of features. However, we are judging these travel cards based on their features for travellers, and we can say that Revolut wins here as well. However, Monzo brings some features that we would like to see from other Travel card companies; Some include their travel reports and Joint account features. 

Best Travel Credit Card by Countries 

Unfortunately one of the biggest downsides of travel money cards is that they are only available in a select number of countries or regions. However, today we will give you a list of the best travel money cards you can start using in your country today.

Best Travel card for Europe in 2021

Europe has seen a lot of innovation in the fintech industry in recent years and have become patient 0 of many of these companies. It is not different for travel money cards as many of them are available for EU residents.  

Let's look at some of the best travel money cards for EU residents: 

If you are a resident of the EU, you can’t go wrong with any of the travel money cards mentioned above. You can sign up online and get a card delivered to you as soon as possible.
 

Best Travel Card for the United Kingdom

The Uk has also seen its fair share of startup fintech companies. The sector is highly regulated thanks to the FCA and FSCS who protect consumers in this modern banking system. If you are living in the Uk, here are some Travel Card options for you: 

  • N26
  • Wise
  • Revolut 
  • Monzo

All of the travel money cards mentioned above are available to Uk users. Don’;t waste too much time and try one of them out.

Best Travel Card for Australia in 2021

The travel card choices are not very much for Australian users. However, they still have access to the two best travel money cards. Australians look for Prepaid cards mostly to partake in iGaming or betting. Aussies can either use: 

  • Wise 
  • Revolut 

Best travel Card for the USA in 2021

If you’re from the red white and blue , then your options are very limited as many of the Travel money cards haven’t expanded into the US yet. However, the good news is that many of them plan too and one in particular has made the jump. US residents can enjoy all of the fantastic perks of using N26 as ther travel card.

Best Travel Cards for Canada in 2021

For Canadian travellers the picking is very slim when it comes to travel money cards. However, one of the best travel money cards is available to Canadians and that is Revolut. Yeah, you will be missing the opportunity of choice but we are sure you won't be missing much with Revolut.

Best Travel Card For Students 

Students don't really have a lot of money to spend while travelling, whether it's an au pair year or just a trip with friends. Students need to find ways to save money on their travels at every turn. You have probably heard stories of student couch surfing their way through Europe, India and other countries. 

Another big way students can save a lot of money is by avoiding high currency conversion rates at high banks. Also, high transfer fees and commissions at ATM machines. Students can avoid most of these fees or pay way less in fees if they used one of the travel cards mentioned below: 

Revolut 

Many of the younger generations of students have already flocked to using mobile payment apps as they speak more to them. However, even more college and university students ditch their bank for cards like Revolut. What is so enticing to students about this card? Well, it's because of the features provided by companies such as Revolut. Let's look at some of the reasons why using a card like Revolut is best for students. 


Spend money abroad with Real-time market exchange rates

Many of the students in the world are far from home, and they will eventually need to return. Or at least for the holidays, which means they will need to send or receive money overseas. Whether your parents are trying to send you your allowance or sending money for a relative birthday, With Revolut, you can do that free of charge in a few taps. 

You won't be getting ripped off by the high banking fees and no long waiting periods for money to be sent or received. When travelling, a Revolut card can be a student's best friend with student discounts and other rewards. 


Spending Analysis

Students usually don't have a lot of money to waste, and every dollar counts. So, getting a daily statement of your spending is essential for students. The app quickly helps them group their payments into different sections such as restaurant, transportation, entertainment etc. The Analysis can help students spend their money better and make them aware of how much money they are spending.


Easily Split Bills

One of the most inconvenient parts of college life is constantly having to remind people that you covered their dinner last night and you haven't received their share. Or perhaps you go out with your friends, and you cover the check with the hopes that everyone would reimburse you as soon as possible. Then it turns to a game of cat and mouse where you are endlessly chasing them for your money. 

You can skip all of this hassle with Revolut. How? The mobile app has a built-in feature that lets you add people you would like to split bills with, and everyone goes home happy. The app can do this seamlessly because it has no account details or sort code, so transfers are quick and free of charge. 

It's free 

There is one word every student loves to hear, and it's free and so revolut. Students do not have to pay anything to sign up for an account. Neither do they have to pay for a travel card and no service fees. It seems too good to be true, but it is true. 

Easy Registration

Another reason why Revolut is the best travel card for students is simply the fact that they don't need to go to any physical location. Students don't have to wait in a line or have to endure long waiting times. They can sign up and verify their identity in a matter of minutes via the Revolut app or website, with such ease who could say no to Revolut Travel Cards. 

Learn about budgeting

Budgeting is a topic that many students don't really like to get into, despite it being an important issue. However, if you fail to take responsibility for your incoming and outgoing expenses, you will be in a bad financial situation. Imagine you have to budget for a trip, and you have no idea where to start.
That is where Revolut budgeting tools come to the aid of many students. With this tool, students can type in the amount of money they intend to spend for the month. At the same time, Revolut will help you stick to that budget. 


Saving made easy


Saving money isn't a problem that students only face. It is a global problem for people of different ages. However, getting a student to save might be even more difficult in our fast world. In a world where trends change quickly, and the new becomes old in just a year or two. 

Students feel the need to keep on with the times and constantly spend money, which makes savings an afterthought for most students. Revolut can help change this behaviour in the least invasive way possible. With Revolut, you can use its saving tool to help round up the sum every time you purchase. 

You're not going to be saving a lot of money this way. However, it is a step in the right direction and easy for students to use. If you start saving early, you will reap the benefit later. Whether it's for a trip, present or a new computer, it's never too early to start saving. With Revolut, you can even get rewards for saving. 

Other Alternative Travel cards for students 

They are other digital banks providing Travel debit cards. So, there is a lot of competition in the industry. Some of Our honourable mentions include : 

  • N26
  • Monzo
  • Monese

You can read our full review of these travel debit cards here. 

What Makes a Travel Credit Card the Best?

Before we get into the best travel cards, let's take a look at what they are. Let's take a closer look at what makes a good travel credit card. Fees, fees, and more fees will always be mentioned when deciding which credit card to use. Fees, whether ATM withdrawal fees, point of sale fees, or conversion rate fees, are the most dreaded aspect of any travel card. However, they are typically in the 2-5 percent range, but they can certainly add up over time.

New companies into the travel credit card market have set out to demolish the industry's long-standing practice of charging high fees to travelers. Travelers are becoming more aware of the schemes used by banks to force them to pay higher fees.

So, you're an adventurer who enjoys traveling or you're about to embark on a long-awaited long trip. Here are some things to look for when selecting a travel credit card.

 

  • A travel card should be simple to apply for and, ideally, delivered to you in the comfort of your own home.
  • It should provide you with complete control over your funds, whether you are transferring money or making deposits.
  • The best travel card should be capable of holding multiple currencies at the same time.
  • ATM withdrawal fees are minimal.
  • Exchange rates that are competitive
  • Service fees and other charges are minimal or non-existent.
  • Excellent multilingual customer service available 24 hours a day, seven days a week
  • It has an app that allows you to keep track of your spending and fees.
     
Ibrahim Busari
As a fintech writer at AskWallet, he uses his metaphorical pen to guide you through the world of EMIs. He is an Ural Federal University Alumni and has been working in the financial and iGaming industry since 2016.