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I'll be going to Europe on my cruise and having never been before was wondering how widely accepted prepaid visa and/or mastercards are.  I didn't know how they worked with the exchange rate or if they can even be used.  Just trying to look for an alternative to carrying our main cards or a lot of cash.  We do plan on getting some local currency but didn't want to be carrying large amounts.  Thank you.

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2 hours ago, eeden1 said:

our main cards

We carry two credit card and one ATM card with us. One other of each is in the document case back in the room/cabin. We got pickpocketed in Barcelona some years ago and that's when we made that change. 

Not what you're asking but just an fyi.

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I understand that there may be a concern about losing your main cards, but I fear that pre-paid cards may be more challenge than you want.

 

If you Google using a pre-paid card in Europe, there are general statements that a pre-paid Visa is accepted anywhere a Visa is accepted, but you are now dealing with something that is finite and you will have to carefully keep track of the balance.  Where pre-paid cards have broken down for us in the past locally, is when you have $23.58 left and you need to pay for something that is $30.00 it can be difficult.  On top of this you are now dealing with a conversion of currency.

 

Credit cards today are so easy to block if you do lose one that I would not worry.

 

We each have a personal card and we share a joint card, so we always travel with three cards.  If one is lost or stolen we still have the others.  

 

The other advantage of your credit cards is that most of Europe, if not all of Europe is very card friendly.  We don't even get local currency.  We use our cards for everything.

 

You just need a good safekeeping strategy for your wallets and cards.  Purses - IMO - are not the strategy.  These can be pickpocketed in crowded areas easily, or just pulled from you and they run off.

 

 

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5 hours ago, eeden1 said:

I'll be going to Europe on my cruise and having never been before was wondering how widely accepted prepaid visa and/or mastercards are.  I didn't know how they worked with the exchange rate or if they can even be used.  Just trying to look for an alternative to carrying our main cards or a lot of cash.  We do plan on getting some local currency but didn't want to be carrying large amounts.  Thank you.

 

Widely accepted.  What I did was get a separate debit/ATM card from my bank, WF, that was pre-loaded with some money.  They called it a travel card.  It had minimal foreign transaction fees.  I could use it in, eg, France at an ATM to get euros.  That card could not initiate and transactions with my checking account.  But if necessary I could initiate a transaction in my checking account to re-load the debit/ATM card.

 

On exchange rates, always elect to have the transaction done in the local currency so your bank does the exchange, because that will get you the best rate.

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3 hours ago, Toofarfromthesea said:

 

Widely accepted.  What I did was get a separate debit/ATM card from my bank, WF, that was pre-loaded with some money.  They called it a travel card.  It had minimal foreign transaction fees.  I could use it in, eg, France at an ATM to get euros.  That card could not initiate and transactions with my checking account.  But if necessary I could initiate a transaction in my checking account to re-load the debit/ATM card.

 

On exchange rates, always elect to have the transaction done in the local currency so your bank does the exchange, because that will get you the best rate.

That's what we do with our USAA debit/ATM card. Carry it actually everywhere as they have no foreign transaction fee and refund ATM fees every month. When we travel we put a bit more money in the account and then, as you say, we can transfer money into that account.

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