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Sainsbury's prepaid currency card with no ATM fee

18th October 2010 Print

Approximately 11.3 million Brits have withdrawn the equivalent of £3.87 billion in foreign currency whilst they were abroad over the past 12 months, according to research from Sainsbury's Travel Money.

While it's commonly accepted that you'll pay a fee or a minimum charge for withdrawing cash abroad using a debit or credit card, travellers may not realise that the majority of prepaid currency cards also levy individual transaction fees.

Sainsbury's Finance, who offers the Cash Passport with no ATM fees warns holidaymakers and business travellers not to assume that by opting for one of these cards they'll be saving themselves money whilst away. Not all prepaid currency cards are the same.

New analysis of the market, commissioned by the supermarket bank, reveals that 72% of these cards, including those from traditional travel money providers, who may be the obvious first choice for many, charge a flat fee for each overseas ATM withdrawal.  For withdrawals made in the Eurozone, the flat fee can range from 1.25 Euros to 3 Euros per transaction.

The average amount Brits withdraw at cash machines while away from the UK is equivalent to £150 per ATM transaction, however the flat fee charged by some prepaid cards represents a high surcharge for those 2.49 million Brits who typically withdraw the equivalent of £50 or less when they use cash machines abroad.

The findings also reveal that there are prepaid currency cards that don't just stop at charging for overseas ATM transactions; some (8%) of those analysed also levying a charge for an ATM balance enquiry.  Sainsbury's Travel Money offers the Cash Passport prepaid currency card that charges no ATM fee for withdrawing money or making a balance enquiry.

Scott Gorman, Head of Sainsbury's Travel Money, said: "We believe that many Brits travelling abroad who purchase a pre-loaded currency travel card are getting a raw deal.  These cards are supposed to give travellers financial peace of mind whilst they are away from the UK and in theory should mean that they don't find themselves overspending and accruing charges for overseas transactions.  On the contrary, our research shows that almost three in four of these specialist prepaid cards are charging people every time they wish to access their spending money from an overseas cash machine.

"Our Cash Passport does not charge a fee for ATM withdrawals and is also free to top up with additional money at our in-store travel bureaux.  The card is PIN protected and you can get an additional card as a back-up or have a secondary card assigned to a partner to use at no additional cost."

Andrew Hagger from commented: "Unfortunately many consumers assume that tariffs on prepaid currency cards are all the same and as a result those who withdraw smaller sums from ATMs on a frequent basis could be paying well over the odds for their holiday cash."

Sainsbury's Travel Money offers a range of benefits including very competitive exchange rates, commission free foreign currency, travellers cheques and the Cash Passport prepaid currency card. In addition, free next-day delivery to your billing address, if ordered by 12pm, is available for orders over £500.

To find out more about Sainsbury's Travel Money, visit Terms and conditions apply.