With the pound particularly weak following the Brexit vote, it’s even more important to your wallet that you work out the cheapest ways to spend on your travels. Could Travelex’s Supercard save you money?
I’ve written a few times before about how you can add hundreds of pounds to the cost of your holiday by not thinking about how you pay when away.
The Travelex Supercard promises to save you money when you spend abroad. It’s not a credit or debit card, it’s not even a prepaid card. Instead, it links to your existing cards and cuts out all the roaming fees your bank would normally charge.
The Supercard has just been made available to everyone (you don’t need a credit check), but I was lucky enough to be on the trial last year. Here are my thoughts.
How does the Supercard work?
It’s actually very simple. Download the app and apply. You’re given a Mastercard – your Supercard – which is linked to your account on a smartphone/tablet app. On the app you can easily add any of your existing Visa or Mastercard credit or debit cards, and these are then linked to your Supercard.
You then spend as you would any other card, though it’s not contactless. Because it’s a Mastercard you can use it anywhere that accepts Mastercard, which is a huge chunk of the planet.
Does it save you money?
When you spend, the transaction is converted into pounds using the Mastercard exchange rates with no added fees or charges. With most banks, if you used your credit it or debit card directly you’d have paid roughly 3% extra, possibly more.
So say you do most of your spending for food, drinks, excursions, travel etc when abroad with a Supercard, you’d save at least £30 for every £1,000. It’s even more of a saving when compared to exchanging cash at the airport, where rates are even worse.
One change from the trial which isn’t good is the addition of a charge to withdraw cash. Now, you’ll be charged 2.99% if you take money out on the card at an ATM. You’ll also be charged to use it in the UK, so avoid doing that!
Where I think it’s extra handy is you can earn points or cashback through your linked card, something it’s not normally worth doing when overseas as the charges would make them pointless. You can only link Visa and Mastercard (not Amex), so I’ve added my TSB Platinum card, which will give me an extra 1% on all full pounds I spend.
Is it easy to use?
When we used it on our honeymoon we mainly had no issues, though a few times it was declined – possibly because the linked credit card provider wasn’t sure about the transaction. Fortunately, we had our backup Halifax Clarity cards on hand.
On your bank or card statements, each transaction will appear as a Supercard followed by the merchant name. This is a huge improvement on the trial version which simply said “Tuxedomoney”!! You can use the app to get more details on what you spend.
>> Download Supercard for Apple/iOS
>> Download Supercard for Android
Is it any better than the Halifax Clarity Card?
This is the credit card which I’ve been using for years on my trips abroad as it too offers fee-free international spending.
With most spending the costs are exactly the same as Supercard. But the Clarity card is the better option in terms of cash withdrawals – though you will be charged interest, so pay it off in full each month.
Since you’re spending directly through Halifax you still get consumer protection on larger purchases, which is worth thinking about buying expensive goods.
However, Supercard does let you earn cashback, which could give it the edge.
It’s also useful if you’ve a poor credit rating and don’t think you can get the Clarity card.
So there’s not much in it – I’ll generally take both with me to keep my options open.
What about Curve?
Curve is a similar card but you can also use it fee-free in the UK. This was handy when it accepted American Express, but as it no longer does, and since it comes with a £35 one-off fee, you’re better off getting a Supercard for now.
If you do want to give it a try, you can use the code 25PBH.
6 thoughts on “Travelex Supercard review: can it save you money on your holiday?”
I don’t recommend Supercard and will be sticking to my Halifax Clarity MasterCard from now on. To test the card out my partner and I both ordered online from the U.S. a cd at the same time. I used my new Supercard and the transaction appeared as a pending transaction at the exact same amount as my partners transition was showing pending at the same amount. However when the transaction actually posted to my credit card from the Supercard transaction it came through dearer. So from now on I’ll be sticking to my Halifax Clarity card for both foreign online translations and for when I am abroad a single well.
Yes, I’ve been sticking to Halifax Clarity too, though it’s useful to have it on you as a back up.
Useless. I got the Supercard and tried to enrol. No joy. Customer service was useless. Very unhelpful. To make things worse I have not even used the card and it has charged me 6x£1 in transactions. I don’t have time for this. I am sure many people may be happy but I am one unhappy ex customer.
It’s also worth noting that Supercard currently applies small additional fees, days after purchases have been made abroad, which show up on your linked credit card statement as “Supercard IC Cash”. These additional fees can be pence, or pounds depending on the original transaction cost (in my case some were over £1.50). Travelex told me that these are ‘adjustments’ for the volatile currency exchange rates, but they basically mean that you may not get the same rate as their app suggests you have at the time of the purchase.
Travelex also say they’re working to iron out this issue but for the time being you can expect these little surprise extra fees, which personally I think is pretty unsatisfactory.
That’s really good to know, thanks Murray. I’ve used the new card for the first time today (online purchase) so I’ll be able to fully see any of the changes from the trial