When to Use a Visa International Prepaid Debit Card

Anna Spooner
International travel documents

International travel can be an experience that expands your horizons and helps you learn new things and shift your perspectives. Depending on your circumstances when you travel, you may find that your best payment option is a prepaid international Visa debit card.

Ideal Times to Use a Prepaid International Visa

A prepaid Visa debit card designed specifically for international use can be beneficial in a variety of circumstances. The best times to choose this payment option include:

When You're Concerned About Financial Safety

Many times, when you travel you will stand out as a tourist, which could make you a target for thieves. If you're concerned about having your bank account or credit compromised, then your trip is an ideal time to use a Visa international prepaid debit card instead of your regular debit or credit card.

A prepaid debit card is protected by a PIN, and it's more secure than other debit or credit cards because it isn't linked to your bank account or credit line. It also has a precise balance, which means that if you lose the card or a thief steals it, the amount of money you lose is limited.

When You Have a Poor Credit Rating

Using a credit card when traveling overseas can be advantageous because they are widely accepted and often offer purchase protection benefits. However, if you can't qualify for a credit card or if your credit limit isn't high enough for the spending level needed for your trip, an international prepaid debit card is a good option.

A Visa prepaid debit card is accepted everywhere a regular Visa card is, but it doesn't require a credit check. When you're traveling overseas but are struggling with your credit rating, a Visa international prepaid debit card is a good solution.

When You Absolutely Must Stay on Budget

If you have a strict budget for your trip and are afraid you may go over the limit if you have a traditional credit card, you've discovered an ideal time to use a prepaid international Visa debit card. You will load the card with the funds you have allocated for your trip before you leave the United States, so the amount on your prepaid card functions as your spending limit.

Keep in mind that some prepaid Visa cards are reloadable from your checking account, which can be helpful if you need to add a few extra dollars. However, this can be dangerous if your checking account has enough extra money to blow your budget.

Benefits of Prepaid International Visa Debit Cards

There are several great benefits of using a prepaid Visa debit card on your international trip.

  • One of the advantages to using a Visa prepaid debit card is that you can use it anywhere Visa is accepted. Wide acceptance makes the card extremely convenient.
  • You can use this kind of card at ATMs overseas to withdraw money from the balance of the card, in case you need cash on hand.
  • An international prepaid debit card also makes currency conversion simple. You load the prepaid Visa debit card with money from your home country, and it will be converted at the time you use it. The conversion rate on the day of your purchase is the rate that will be applied.

Drawbacks of International Prepaid Debit Cards

Prepaid international Visa debit cards are not without their drawbacks. Cons to consider before deciding to opt for this type of purchasing card include:

  • Prepaid international debit cards carry a lot of fees. On a list of the 11 best prepaid cards to use overseas in 2015, Cardrates.com indicates that these cards often include currency conversion fees, ATM withdrawal fees, monthly fees, inactivity fees, card fees, and transaction fees. These extra costs can make a big dent in your travel budget.
  • Prepaid international debit cards don't offer the fraud protection of credit cards. If this type of card is stolen or fraudulently used, you will lose the money you had loaded onto the card.
  • You can't use an international prepaid debit card for situations where a card is pre-authorized, such as having a credit card on file at a hotel.

Review Your Options

Traveling at times when you are concerned about financial security, struggle with your credit rating, or absolutely must stay on budget are perfect opportunities to use a prepaid reloadable international debit card. If you choose to use this kind of card when you travel out of the country, be sure you understand all the pros and cons. Watch out for fees, but enjoy the convenience and security of a widely-accepted Visa card without risking your bank balance or credit rating.

When to Use a Visa International Prepaid Debit Card