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daniele


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Advice regarding using Travelex Cash Passport cards for travel
Clip Man
daniele
If you are a traveling to Europe and considering getting one of these debit cards to make life easier for you while there, my advice is don't! Figure out which of your credit cards charges the least amount of fees for international usage and just use it.


First, a general complaint:  interacting with Travelex is a hassle. Their phone menus are a maze of twisty little passages, all alike.  When you finally manage to reach a person, you'll have to give them all the exact same information you entered into the phone menu.  Calling them when you are on your trip means calling a long distance number plus additional charges if you must use your cell phone or hotel phone or pay phone.  The customer service agents are not rude though.  I'll give them that.

Most importantly, the card does not work everywhere that MasterCard is accepted. If you give it to a merchant that it is not compatible, their credit card processing machine might decline the card but the money can still be withheld from you for seven days. If the merchant runs the card through three or four times, each attempt will withhold the funds again. A nice €60 meal can turn into a €180 disaster.

If you get into this situation, don't expect help from anyone. The merchant can't do anything because it was declined on his side. When you call Travelex (paying international long distance or international roaming fees), they will tell you that it isn't their fault and that the merchant did something wrong. Ignore the fact that you had to turn around and use a different MasterCard with the merchant and that one went through just fine. Furthermore, Travelex will tell you that your only option is to wait seven business days and see if the hold disappears. If it does, move on to the next challenge. If it doesn't, then expect the following additional hassle:
  1. request a dispute form from Travelex
  2. wait for it to be delivered by mail
  3. fill it out and send them copies of all the decline receipts and a letter from the merchant stating that they did not receive the money that is disputed and that you have already paid them through other means
  4. wait. After pulling teeth with one customer service agent, I was able to get the reassurance that it should definitely take less than a year to resolve. Likely just a few months.
Once you have the funds back on your card, it is likely you might be in the same boat as me and your trip to Europe is now over! So now, how do you get the money back? You have a few options:
  • Withdraw it from an ATM. You will pay:
    • €1.75 ATM fee converted to USD at a worse than market rate
    • $x dollars to the owner of the ATM for using a foreign ATM card
    • Whatever remainder you can't take out through the ATM will be taken by Travelex after 12 months
  • Close the card at a Travelex branch. You will pay:
    • $20 administration fee
    • Worse than market conversion rate (note the fine print that the "Currency Return Guarantee" doesn't apply to the money on the card!)
    • Another arbitrary fee/commission that varies from branch to branch and (I suspect) the mood of the employee
  • Leave the funds on the card until your next trip. You will pay:
    • €2.30 Monthly inactivity fee each month after a year.
    • The unavailability of the money for the duration (Travelex will happily take advantage of the money while you aren't using it though!)
Tags:

Visa is even better than MasterCard. I remember being in Ivoty coast and only finding shops and ATM only accepting visa.

Being a European and spending my time in this continent, I have to agree.

For Payment around here, the most important thing still is hard cash. Believe it or not, having real Euros in your pocket is very important. ATM cards with the "Maestro" system work in most shops, but not sure if you have special fees on them when coming from overseas. VISA or MasterCard credit cards can be used in very many places nowadays, but don't expect them to work in every shop - when I recently bought my washing machine in a rather large store, they only took ATM or hard money, for example.

I just use my regular ATM card for cash withdrawal. It has a "plus" logo and believe it or not it accepted in more ATM in Europe than VISA or MasterCard in ATM in Canada. But maybe the banking system in the US is worse that I can imagine.

For the rest, VISA, MasterCard or Amex (if you want to be sure, have all three)

Travelex cashport

(Anonymous)

2009-10-18 06:38 pm (UTC)

I will not use Travelex cashpassport again. There have been many times when I was charged fees when I didn't expect to. Also many transactions went through two currency conversions when none was needed. Also, they have been sitting
on my last transfer into the account for three days. I rang them and the auto answer told
me to call again later and disconnected. They are a rip off.

Use Chase ATMS

(Anonymous)

2009-10-30 05:35 pm (UTC)

Use Chase ATMs and there is no withdrawal fee from Chase, regardless of amount. With no fee either from Travelex, you get your cash for free.

Just a heads-up.

Zoe

Travelex cards

(Anonymous)

2010-01-26 06:52 am (UTC)

We have just come back from overseas and was charged card closing fee's and one card which has 7 pounds on it is totally useless as we will lose half of the value on closing the card or we can recharge it,but still be hit with 2 fee's .

Next time we will be using the old travellers cheque's less fee's, same security and full access to ALL of your money

10 months on and Im still waiting...

(Anonymous)

2010-06-17 07:52 pm (UTC)

for my money from Travelex. Why oh why dp I continue to try to tewwk what had worked for 20 years of biz travel in Europe and Asia?

As much as Amex ticks me off from time to time:

1) Personal "disaster" insurance tied to homeowner's insurance, very inexpensive per year (like US$20)
2) Forget trying to save a little marginal expense - use Amex Travel whenever possible.
3) Some banks provide a VISA debit card that does not say "debit" on the card. Mine used to. As I'm on a personal crusade no to use retail credit, I just keep a second cash account with a VISA debit card.
4) AMEX, Amex, amex. Get and use local cash. In the 3rd world, use some "tradecraft" in your hotel room. One thing is to creatively hide 2 days worth of cash plus photocopies of your passport, visa, travel docs. You can trust the safes in 4-star hotels, maybe.
5) Maybe the days of walk-in, full service Amex offices are over, but their Travel Service is still great. Bad things do happen, and they can be very creative in helping you out.

Happy travels.

I've just had a simalar experence and just want shut of this card, I should have never have been talked into taking it.

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