If you’re travelling to Spain, a dedicated travel money card can make spending and withdrawing euros cheaper and more convenient. Travel money cards, including travel debit cards, prepaid and travel credit cards, are available to support different customer needs. The right one for you will depend on your preference and how you manage your money. We accept all types of credit and debit cards at our boutique hotel in Marbella.
What is a travel money card?
A travel money card can be used for payments online in stores and cash withdrawals like your regular bank card. However, with a travel money card, the features and fees have been optimised for international use. That might mean you get a better exchange rate than using your normal overseas card or have fewer fees. Some travel cards also have options to earn cashback and rewards when you use your card internationally.
What are the different types of travel cards?
Generally, UK customers can select a travel money card from a regular bank or a specialist provider, with card types available, including travel debit cards, travel prepaid cards or travel credit cards. We’ll walk through each travel money card type and pick out a couple of good card options so that you can compare and choose.
- Travel debit cards
- Travel prepaid cards
- Travel credit cards
Travel debit card Option 1: Wise
Wise is our best-value travel money debit card for Spain. There’s no fee to open a Wise account, just a small delivery fee for your Wise card, with no minimum balance or monthly charge. You pay low Wise fees from 0.41% when you convert currencies and transparent transaction fees when you exhaust the monthly free transactions available with your account.
- No fee to open a Wise account no minimum balance requirement
- 7 GBP one-time fee to get your Wise card
- 2 withdrawals, to 200 GBP value per month for free, then 0.5 GBP + 1.75%
- Hold EUR and 50+ other currencies, convert between them with the mid-market rate
- Get local account details to receive EUR and 9 other currencies for free
Travel debit card Option 2: Revolut
Revolut has a selection of different account tiers, so you can pick the account you prefer – from free Standard plans to the 12.99 GBP/month Metal plan. All Revolut accounts have linked cards, although exactly what type of card you get depends on your account tier. You can hold around 25 currencies, including EUR, and convert currencies with the mid-market rate to your plan’s allowance.
- No fee to open a Standard Revolut account or upgrade for up to 12.99 GBP/month
- Card delivery fees may apply depending on your account tier
- All accounts have some fee-free currency conversion with 0.5% fair usage fees after that
- Standard plan holders can withdraw 200 GBP (up to 5 withdrawals in total) per month for free
- Hold EUR and around 25 other currencies
Pros and cons of using debit travel cards in Spain
- Avoid interest costs and late payment fees
- Hold and exchange currencies in advance or at the time of spending
- Accounts can be topped up, viewed and managed using just your phone
- Safe to use, as accounts aren’t linked to your main UK bank account
- Travel debit cards are issued on popular global payment networks
- Transaction and currency conversion fees may apply
- Cashback and rewards may not be available
- How to choose the best travel debit card for Spain?
The best travel debit card for Spain depends on your personal preferences and how you like to manage your money. If you’ll be travelling widely, looking for an account with mid-market currency exchange and a large selection of supported currencies and EUR, like Wise makes sense. Other providers like Revolut can also be a good pick, particularly if you’ll use your account frequently and would prefer to pay a monthly fee to unlock many fee-free transactions and extra perks.
Is there a spending limit with a travel debit card in Spain?
Individual providers determine card use limits, which can vary depending on the transaction type. Limits may apply on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. For instance, there may be a cap on the number or value of ATM withdrawals allowed per day or a limit on the value of contactless payments you can make. These limits are set for security reasons and can often be adjusted using the provider’s app.
2. Prepaid Travel Cards
With a prepaid travel card, you’ll need to order a card and add funds in the supported currency of your choice. Once you have a balance, you may then be able to switch to the currency you need to pay merchants and make cash withdrawals. While prepaid travel cards are usually issued on large global networks – and can therefore be used pretty widely – not all cards support all currencies, so you may find you pay a foreign transaction fee if you pick a card which doesn’t support all the currencies you use.
Prepaid travel card option 1: Post Office
You can pick up a Post Office prepaid travel money card in a Post Office branch or order one online. You’ll then be able to top up in pounds or one of the 22 supported currencies, which includes EUR. If you hold EUR in your account, there’s no fee to spend when you’re in Spain, but if you don’t have a EUR balance – or if your EUR balance isn’t high enough for the transaction, you’ll pay a 3% foreign transaction fee.
- Hold and exchange 22 currencies, including EUR
- No fee to spend a balance in a supported currency
- 3% foreign transaction fee when spending a currency you don’t hold on the card
- Variable ATM withdrawal fees – 2 EUR for use in Spain
- No interest to pay
Prepaid travel card option 2: Monese
UK residents can open money accounts to hold GBP, EUR and RON. There are several different types of accounts, from the Simple account, which has no monthly fees, to fee-paying account tiers, which have more features. It’s free to spend a balance you hold, so getting a EUR account makes sense if you’re headed to Spain. If not, you may find you pay a foreign transaction fee of 3% when you’re spending in Spain. Foreign transaction fees may be waived for higher-tier account holders.
- Hold a balance in GBP, EUR or RON
- Choose a free Simple account or upgrade to an account with monthly fees
- Foreign transaction fees of 2% may apply if you don’t hold a EUR balance, depending on your account tier
- ATM withdrawal fees may apply depending on the value of withdrawals and the account tier you hold
- Track and spend Avios reward points within your account
Pros and cons of using prepaid travel cards in Spain
- Manage your account, add more money or convert funds online or with an app
- Accounts with no monthly fees are available
- Selection of supported currencies, with no fee to spend a currency you hold
- ATM withdrawals supported globally
- Some accounts have extras like options to earn reward points
- Typically, not a huge range of currencies is supported
- Transaction fees apply to most accounts
- How do you choose the best travel prepaid card for Spain?
There’s no single best travel prepaid card for Spain – it’ll come down to your preference. If you hold a Monese EUR account or a Monese Classic or Premium account, you might find it’s cheaper to stick with Monese when in Spain compared to using your regular bank card. The Post Office card can also be a strong pick as you can hold a EUR balance, which you can spend for free, plus you can get a card instantly by walking into a Post Office branch.
Is there a spending limit with a prepaid card in Spain?
Different prepaid travel cards set their limits for spending and withdrawals, which can vary between currencies. You’ll need to check your card’s terms and conditions carefully to select a provider that suits your needs.
3. Travel Credit Cards
Travel credit cards typically offer some extra international features compared to regular credit cards, such as low or no foreign transaction fees or extra options to earn rewards when you’re abroad. Travel credit cards are generally safe and convenient but can be more expensive than a debit card. Before you select the right card for you, it’s important to check the fees, rates, eligibility rules and interest rates that apply to ensure it’s a good fit for you.
Travel credit card option 1: Barclaycard Rewards Visa
The Barclaycard Rewards Visa card doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees or international ATM fees. Instead, your spending abroad is converted into pounds using the Visa exchange rate and added to your monthly bill. To avoid fees and interest charges, you must pay your bill in full every month. However, you can earn cashback on your everyday purchases.
- No foreign transaction or foreign ATM fee
- Earn cashback at 0.25% on spending
- Protection on purchases over 100 GBP
- International spending uses the Visa exchange rate
- Variable interest rates which apply if you don’t pay off your bill in full
- Travel credit card option 2: Halifax Clarity Mastercard
Travel credit card option 2: Halifax Clarity Mastercard
When you check your eligibility for the Halifax Clarity Mastercard, you’ll see the variable interest rate available to you. No matter what rate’s offered, you won’t have to pay any foreign transaction or foreign ATM fees, and all currency conversions are done using the Mastercard exchange rate.
- Variable interest rates
- Check your eligibility and order a card online easily
- No foreign transaction fee
- No ATM fee – but interest will accrue instantly when you make a withdrawal
- Mastercard exchange rates apply
- Pros and cons of using credit cards in Spain
Pros and cons of using prepaid travel credit cards in Spain
- Spending from 100 GBP has extra consumer protection
- Spread the cost of your travel over several months
- Check eligibility for a card online with no impact on your credit score
- You may pay no foreign transaction fee and no ATM fee
- Network exchange rates usually apply, which are usually pretty fair
- Interest is charged if you don’t repay in full every month
- Eligibility rules apply
- How to choose the best travel credit card for Spain?
Selecting the best travel credit card for Spain largely depends on individual preferences. If you aim to earn rewards and cashback on your foreign transactions, the Barclaycard Rewards Visa may be a suitable option as it does not have a foreign transaction fee and provides cashback on all purchases. Whichever card you’re considering, you’ll want to weigh the potential fees you’ll need to pay against the rewards you can earn to ensure it’s worthwhile.
If you regularly travel to Spain, getting a travel money card for EUR can help you save money on your euro spending. Travel money cards have different features and can be picked up via regular banks, online specialists and even the Post Office.
You could opt for a low-cost travel debit card with a linked account to hold a selection of currencies – like the Wise account. Or you might prefer a prepaid travel money card like the Monese card, which can be linked to either a fee-free account or an account with monthly fees in exchange for lower transaction charges. Finally, another option is to get a travel credit card either to earn cashback and rewards or to avoid foreign transaction fees.