travellers cheques v travel cards?

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i travel to thailand with my wife and up to now have used travellers cheques for spending money (approx £1000). now i know they may be outdated, but how do they compare with the new travel cards?
i get a reasonable exchange rate but the service charge is now 150 baht (approx £3) per cheque hence i use the largest denomination cheques.
if i did use a travel card i would only use it to withdraw cash from atm's, not for buying, as a lot of places we visit are remote and probably wouldn't accept the card.
so can anyone recommend a travel card that would give a decent exchange rate and preferably no charge for withdrawing cash from atm's?
thanks in advance.
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  • Maelwys
    Maelwys Posts: 146 Forumite
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    richiegate wrote: »
    so can anyone recommend a travel card that would give a decent exchange rate and preferably no charge for withdrawing cash from atm's?
    thanks in advance.

    Check http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/credit-cards/travel-credit-cards#bestbuys

    Halifax Clarity is the best of the bunch for this at the moment - "perfect" exchange rate (with no fees for card purchases) and no ATM fees. The only catch is that you start paying interest on the ATM withdrawals from the point you withdraw cash... but you can use internet or telephone banking to transfer money in to cover this sooner instead of just waiting for the usual monthly direct debit repayments.

    I have one, and use it for Euro purchases (I live in NI and the girlfriend's from the South). Was loads better than constantly getting money changed... :)

    It's a pure credit card though, not a "preloaded" card.
  • nchunt34
    nchunt34 Posts: 5 Forumite
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    Only had this card a month, now their site is reporting:

    "At least 51% of customers will get a representative rate of 18.9% APR (variable). Others will get a rate of either 21.9% APR (variable) or 25.9% APR (variable)"

    That's some variability!
  • richiegate
    richiegate Posts: 7 Forumite
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    nchunt34 wrote: »
    Only had this card a month, now their site is reporting:

    "At least 51% of customers will get a representative rate of 18.9% APR (variable). Others will get a rate of either 21.9% APR (variable) or 25.9% APR (variable)"

    That's some variability!

    thanks, but how do you know which of these three rates will apply?
    i assume if the money withdrawn from an atm with the card is repaid the same day, there won't be a charge?
    correct me if i'm wrong ...
  • Maelwys
    Maelwys Posts: 146 Forumite
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    richiegate wrote: »
    thanks, but how do you know which of these three rates will apply?
    i assume if the money withdrawn from an atm with the card is repaid the same day, there won't be a charge?
    correct me if i'm wrong ...

    They should tell you the rate in their offer after you apply (assuming you get approved) along with what Credit limit etc they're prepared to offer you.

    Interest is calculated daily (as per 4.3 here) so Interest on ATM withdrawals ought to be if not zero then very near it if you transfer funds to cover the withdrawl the same day. (Worst case with a 25.9% APR, I think you'd be looking at 25.9/365= 0.07% of whatever you withdrew for that day's interest payment. Or about 7p for every £100 withdrawn...?)
  • richiegate
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    thanks for explaining.
    may apply for one but don't need until our next holiday in december.
  • richiegate
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    it appears that the halifax clarity card wins hands down versus travellers cheques ...
    no charge for overseas withdrawals from atm's and no interest if the balance is paid off straight away. and also a better exchange rate using mastercards rate versus the banks exchange rate for travellers cheques.
    but wait!
    i've just checked with a couple of thai banks, kasikorn and siam commercial, and they confirm that they charge 180 baht, approx £3.50, for every withdrawal from their atm.
    so the comparison would be how many cash withdrawals from atm's at £3.50 per withdrawal versus how many travellers cashed at £3 service charge per cheque, correct?
    obviously, withdrawing large amounts of cash from atm's or using large denomination travellers cheques would keep charges to a minimum.
    anyone agree with that?
  • richiegate
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    anyone agree?
  • richiegate
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    i understand that the limit withdrawn per day for the clarity card is £500 (anywhere in the world)
    can anyone confirm please?

    then i can compare charges between the clarity card and travellers cheques.
    thanks.
  • Ebe_Scrooge
    Ebe_Scrooge Posts: 7,320 Forumite
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    Sorry for the slight hijack here, but this thread was just so apt for my situation.


    Off to Tenerife next month, thought I'd apply for the Clarity card having read so much about it on here. Applied today, got accepted at 18.9% APR.


    Now, I was going to use the card just for spending ( car hire, meals out etc. ), and was planning on old-fashioned travellers cheques for cash. But having read this thread, am I right in thinking that it's actually better to withdraw cash from an ATM ? This goes against the grain somewhat, as I always thought the golden rule was Never Ever Ever withdraw cash from a credit card ?? But if it's going to work out cheaper then I'll do that instead.
  • chrispep
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    I think you are referring to the travel cards which are pre-loaded before you travel or can be loaded online wherever you are as they are linked to your UK bank account and many can be loaded online or via their app on a smart phone. Their exchange rates are pretty competitive. My husband and I have two cards, one from Caxtonfx and the other from My Travel Cash. There are others available and we use them on holidays like a credit card but you are just spending the money which is already in the account. We used to take Travellers Cheques with us all the time but these cards are much easier and have found that as they use MasterCard to facilitate their transactions, they are accepted in millions of places worldwide. You can draw money from ATMs (we have never encountered a fee) but they do say that charges may be made by the bank which owns the ATM. There are daily limits to how much you can withdraw. I was alway under the impression that if you use a Credit Card to withdraw cash, wherever you are, you will be charged an extremely high rate of interest from the day you make the withdrawal. Suggest you search pre paid travel cards on MSE where there is a lot of great info. Hope this post doesn't sound too much like an advert for these cards but they have been so easy to use and you can keep track of your spending online or if you prefer the good old fashioned way by pen and paper! Other posts mention the Halifax Clarity card which doesn't have any fees but interest is charged on cash withdrawals from the day your account is debited (i.e. the day you make the withdrawal) until the day you pay your account so be careful with this. Happy holidays!
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