Is the easyJet Euro Currency Card worth a look?

I wrote a long piece last week about the avios.com and British Airways ‘cash passport’ products. These are reloadable cards which can be used instead of credit cards for making payments abroad. I wasn’t impressed.

Two people have asked me about the new easyJet Euro Currency Card, and whether this is worth a look.

easyjet

The home page for the easyJet Euro Currency Card is here.

The good news, I suppose, is that the card is not orange! The issuer is R Raphael, who also run the avios.com and BA cash passport cards.

This card is impressively free of fees. There is no transaction fee (as long as you buy items priced in Euros) and there is NO CHARGE for topping up the card using your debit card. (This compares to the 2% fee on the Avios cards.) You can also use a credit card, although there is a 2.5% fee – it is not clear if it would go through as a purchase or a cash advance.

There is also no fee for using the card at an ATM in Europe, although the bank you use may impose its own charge.

As the card is fee free, the only item to look at is the exchange rate. Putting in a test order, it showed a rate of £1 = Euro 1.1272. The spot rate was Euro 1.1567. This means that the spread is 2.3% – surprisingly decent.

However, looking at the same time at the American Express travelmoneynow website, they offered a rate of Euro 1.137 for a pre-ordered transaction, collected at the airport. Not only is this a better rate, but the transaction would be treated as a purchase if charged to an Amex-issued American Express card.

Now, of course, you may not want to carry cash around. However, pre-ordering cash from Amex will get your more for your money than getting an easyJet Euro Currency Card. You also have the issues around emptying out the easyJet card after your holiday.

Compared to using a miles and points credit card, the easyJet card is better value. All miles and points card charge a 2.75%-2.99% spread compared to 2.3% on this card. However, once you factor in the value of the miles and points you would also earn on the transaction, using a normal credit card would be a better deal.

If you really must have a prepaid currency card – perhaps to give to a young person who cannot get a credit or debit card – then this product does offer decent value for money. For the rest of us, though, I still don’t see the point.

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Comments

  1. It may be worth taking a look at the ‘FairFX Anywhere’ pre-pay mastercard. I got the tip from a reader comment on here.

    You top it up in Sterling, then spend in any currency. They claim to charge you spot rates and a simple 1.4% fee for transactions (including GBP)

    The real beauty of it is that you need not worry about having balances in other currencies and you can always spend it in the UK to clear the balance when you come back from holiday (albeit with the 1.4% fee even in Sterling).

    • If you go through quidco/TCB they will even offer £5 cashback and to waive the initial £9.95 fee.

    • Sir Stamford says:

      There have been several posts here regarding how to minimise foreign currency charges but I think a 1.4% charge is too high.

      Here’s one example. If you have a current account with Metrobank or even Norwich & Peterborough Building Society, you get free overseas debit card usage.

      Prior to my overseas trip, I would fund it with an amount of money and then use it for cash withdrawal, effectively treating it as a pre-paid account. Metrobank converts the foreign currency transactions to GBP at a very competitive spot rate. If you have any “excess” funds in your account after the trip, you simply transfer it back to your main current account without charge.

      Sir Stamford

  2. Just a word of warning on using your Amex card for Amex Travel Money Now purchases. I contacted Amex to confirm this would be treated as a cash advance and got this response:

    “Dear Mr —,

    Using American Express Travel Money Now services is considered as a cash advance on your American Express Card and not as a regular purchase. Therefore, if you are using an American Express Card for ordering your foreign currency, the cash advance fee of £3 or 3% of the amount may be applicable, whichever is the greater.

    Sincerely,


    Email Servicing Team
    American Express Customer Care”

    • Stuart,

      Here is a paragraph from a post (and please don’t take this personally!) that I have already written and which will run on Thursday:

      “Let’s get something clear. Every time I write about this, at least one person and usually more than one rings up Amex to check if I am right. This is despite the fact that hundreds of people have successfully done this, including myself. The Amex phone reps tell them that I am wrong and that the transaction will be treated as a Cash Advance and they will be charged. The Amex phone reps are wrong. The transaction will be treated as a Purchase.”

      • ComeFlyWithMe123 says:

        and I can confirm (once again) that it worked a treat (as expected) on my gold Amex card a few days ago

        AMEX TRAVEL MONEY Finance £150.76

        :)

  3. Frenske says:

    I used an Escape Travel card. One reason was to avoid paying for payment charges by Ryan/Easyjet and it is free.
    Secondly it suppose to be cheaper when withdrawing euros abroad since Nationwide was charging £1 per transaction. But soon I found out that the exchange rate is +3% where is Nationwide was +2% so when withdrawing over £100 worth of euros it became cheaper to use my normal debit card. Now I have upgraded to Nationwide Plus account, the £1 fee is waved, so the Escape Travel Card has become useless. Even worse they don’t allow to cancel it till the end of the contract and would charge £1pm fee for dormancy.