Consumer: Beware of charges on prepaid holiday cards

File photo dated 30/03/10 of Euros as improved currency rates are making European cities more affordable for British tourists, according to latest figures. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday April 15, 2012. The pound is now stronger than it was a year ago against the euro and also against non-euro currencies such as the Hungarian forint, the Turkish lira and the Polish zloty, a survey by Post Office Travel Money showed. Of 23 city-break destinations across Europe and the USA, the Latvian capital of Riga offers the best value in terms of travel, one-night accommodation, meals, drinks and sightseeing. Holiday costs in Riga, total �121.47. This compares with the most-expensive European city surveyed, Stockholm, (�298.27). See PA story TRAVEL Money. Photo credit should read: Julien Behal/PA Wire
File photo dated 30/03/10 of Euros as improved currency rates are making European cities more affordable for British tourists, according to latest figures. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday April 15, 2012. The pound is now stronger than it was a year ago against the euro and also against non-euro currencies such as the Hungarian forint, the Turkish lira and the Polish zloty, a survey by Post Office Travel Money showed. Of 23 city-break destinations across Europe and the USA, the Latvian capital of Riga offers the best value in terms of travel, one-night accommodation, meals, drinks and sightseeing. Holiday costs in Riga, total �121.47. This compares with the most-expensive European city surveyed, Stockholm, (�298.27). See PA story TRAVEL Money. Photo credit should read: Julien Behal/PA Wire

Travellers should be wary of hidden charges on prepaid currency cards when holidaying abroad.

The International Currency Exchange (ICE) has said travellers should check out the terms and conditions of prepaid currency cards before they apply.

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A prepaid card lets you load cash on them, which can then be spent anywhere credit or debit cards are accepted. They have the benefit of allowing cardholders to travel light while protecting against fraud and theft and helping holidaymakers to budget as they can only spend what is on the card.

But the monthly fees can add up to more than £40, according to research conducted by ICE.

Koko Sarkari, chief operating officer of ICE, said: “A number of prepaid currency cards apply inactivity fees that could easily catch out unwary consumers.

“Some also charge customers for the privilege of giving them any cash left on the card at the end of the holiday. Others apply fees for additional cards, replacement cards or for ATM withdrawals – it all adds up.

“While the rate of exchange offered is important and we can understand it’s tempting to make a choice selected on this alone, we do suggest travellers weigh up all the pros and cons before they make their decision on which prepaid currency card is right for them.”

The Post Office charges two euros every time cash is withdrawn at an ATM while the My Travel Cash Euro Card charges a 2.5euro monthly inactivity fee. Caxton FX also hits cardholders with a 6.5euro fee for a replacement card if it is lost, damaged or stolen. ICE - which picked up the best free prepaid card award at the Prepaid365 2104 ceremony - currently offers a travellers cashcard in euros and US dollars that is free of many of these charges.

Visit www.moneysavingexpert.com/credit-cards/prepaid-cards for more advice and information on the best card for you.