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Plan ahead to be a World Cup winner

9th June 2014 Print

Football fans jetting off to Brazil should assess their travel money and insurance options, advises MoneySuperMarket.
With time running out for supporters heading to Brazil for the initial stages of the World Cup, the comparison site offers consumers tips on what they can still do to make the most of their money.
Currency – Brazilian Real if you can get it.
Fans who have yet to get their hands on some Brazilian Real (BRL) to spend when in Brazil might struggle to get hold of any at all, but it’s worth surfing the web to research available stockists as soon as possible to find best rates on BRL and arranging to collect it from that bureau de change, have it delivered (bearing in mind the overall cost of having to pay for adequate delivery in time), and where available, picking it up from the departure airport. Not pre-ordering and just choosing to purchase at the airport could lead to getting 10 per cent less for your money due to typically poorer rates being offered at the last port of call. If you can’t get hold of Brazilian Reals take some US Dollars in small denomination notes. However, it’s not recommended by the Foreign Office to have large amounts of cash on you when you are in Brazil: Updates and travel advice on the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil
Pre-paid Cards
Those acting fastest now might still be able to order a pre-paid currency card online for delivery before departing for Brazil. These cards are a good alternative to cash, and many of the leading products have no charges for use abroad both on purchases and ATM use. In addition, unlike cash, the funds will be protected should your card be stolen or you become a victim of card fraud. They can also be topped up easily online or over the telephone if you run out of funds. My Travel Cash, CaxtonFX, ICE and FairFX offer the market leading pre-paid cards for use abroad. However, pre-paid card exchange rates are not as generous as those available on debit or credit cards which are designed for overseas travel. Given the last minute need for a pre-paid card they can be picked up over the counter at certain high street retailers but these are not the market leading versions and many will have unattractive charges for usage.
Card usage is normal in Brazilian cities but you should weigh up whether you make regular small monetary withdrawals to again avoid having considerable cash amounts on your person. The best advice is to take a dollar currency card, but you will have to do a double conversion (pounds to dollars, dollars to BRL) as dollars aren’t an accepted currency in Brazil.
Credit and debit cards
Anyone travelling to Brazil to be part of the World Cup may have left it too late to apply for the very best credit and debit cards for overseas usage such as; the Halifax Clarity Credit Card, the Saga Platinum  Credit Card or The Norwich & Peterborough BS Gold Classic current account debit card  , but for those that already have one of these cards to hand they are the best option for use when spending in Brazil.
However, football fans intending to use their usual credit or debit cards that aren’t specifically for overseas spending need to be aware of all the terms and conditions so that they don’t end up paying more than they bargained for. Most credit and debit cards should only be used abroad in an emergency unless they are specifically tailored for use overseas as fees and charges are incurred for use outside of the UK. Credit cards will typically charge for ATM withdrawal and any general purchase, and you will be charged interest from the moment a withdrawal is made. However, if you have a credit balance on your credit card, you can spend this without incurring any charges. If you plan to use your debit card abroad, know what the charges are before you go. Many banks impose a minimum charge on each transaction, so try not to make lots of small transactions as the charges will soon mount up, but still bear in mind not having too much cash on your person as per the official advice.
Travel insurance
The good news is you can book travel insurance with nearly no notice, even at the airport, although this isn’t the right way to go about it. Travel insurance should be booked at the point of booking to protect against cancellation however, you can still buy cover for a World Cup trip. You should always check that the policy you want offers adequate cover for instances including medical expenses and lost or stolen baggage. Excess levels are also important as sometimes the more basic the policy means higher excess charges in the event of a claim.
For those travelling to the World Cup, it is also worth considering annual multi-trip insurance policies as it can be more cost effective to opt for an annual premium if you to travel abroad more than once a year, especially to long haul destinations. For example, you can cover yourself and a partner for £26.17 for two weeks in Rio with Virgin Money, but worldwide annual multi-trip cover for the same couple is just £46.
Bob Atkinson, travel expert at, said: “It really does pay to plan ahead when purchasing travel money as failing to plan ahead can cost as much as £10 for every £100 exchanged. However, even a small amount of pre-planning can help travellers to get more bang for their buck and using a credit or debit card designed for overseas use is typically the best option if they’re already in your wallet. A number of credit cards do not incur any charges for use in shops and to pay for services abroad, although they do charge for cash withdrawals on what is essentially a credit card. All travellers should understand any charges they may incur whilst they are away when using their credit cards. For example, most credit cards will start to charge you interest the moment you make a withdrawal from an ATM.
“With many football fans soon heading out to the World Cup those travelling should be aware that both the Post Office and Travelex have reported a shortage of Brazilian currency. If you have left it too late, it is best to take a small wad of US dollars to exchange once you arrive, and then place the remaining money you would have converted onto a pre-paid card but only if you have time for that to be delivered or are happy to get one over the counter that might not have as desirable rates.
“Travelling to Brazil, you should be aware that crime and general pickpocketing can be commonplace. It’s vital that fans do not carry too much cash and they protect their spending power by using hotel safes and money belts and by having back-ups to access money in case of any problems. Look out also for ATM and card fraud and ensure your card is kept in sight at all times when paying for goods and services. Report anything suspicious to your card issuer by using the reverse charge international dialling numbers on the reverse. It’s handy to keep both a copy of the numbers and your card details safe in case your card is stolen.
“Finally, remember to tell your provider you are travelling to Brazil to ensure your card does not get blocked and leave you stranded.”
More general advice on travelling to Brazil can be found here: