Travelex and Azimo launch new travel money products (and £10 off with Azimo)

By coincidence, both Travelex and Azimo decided to launch new travel money products this week.   Both make full use of smartphone technology to improve on their exising products.

The Travelex Money Card

The Travelex Money Card is a replacement for the Travelex Cash Passport.

It is pre-loadable and re-loadable MasterCard which can be funded in 10 currencies:  Euro, $, Dirham, Australian $, Canadian $, Turkish Lira, NZ $, South African Rand, Swiss Franc and £.

Compared to the old Cash Passport product, the new Travelex Money Card has two main differences:

it can be reloaded via an app

it is contactless

If you were wondering how this compares to the Travelex Supercard, which offers 0% FX fees and recharges your transaction to a linked Visa or MasterCard, the answer is primarily no ATM fees (Supercard is 2.99%) and the contactless functionality.

(Unlike Supercard, pre-loaded payment cards also tend to work all the time!  Supercard has problems because when you spend on it, Supercard has to obtain a parallel authorisation from your linked Visa or MasterCard provider before it authorises its own transaction.  This often leads to a ‘time out’ and a decline.)

The big question, of course, is whether you need a pre-paid payment card or not.  I generally believe that you don’t, which is why I don’t plug the Avios-branded one much.

If you have a credit card then you will, overall, pay less by using that.  This is because the 3% fee on most credit cards – which is also offset by the rewards you earn – is lower than the spread Travelex charges to loads your Travelex Money Card from your debit card.  You also need to factor in the hassle of reloading your Travelex Money Card – even if it can now be done via an app – and the sneaky fees that tend to appear from time to time.

One tweak of the new card is free wi-fi for three months via Boingo.  This used to be an American Express Platinum benefit until last year and lets you connect to hot spots around the globe.  If you miss Boingo via Amex Platinum then getting a Travelex Money Card is an easy way to get it back. (EDIT: apparently Boingo was extended as a Plat benefit and still exists)

This card may be suitable for a younger person who is off travelling and who does not have their own credit card.  The ability to reload it via an app would also a parent to top up easily on their behalf when required.

If you think the Travelex Money Card may work for you, you can find out more here.

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Azimo launches new mobile payment scheme which only requires a mobile number

Azimo has also launched a new product this week which allows you to send or request money using only a mobile phone number.

The idea is that you will no longer need someones bank details, IBAN number etc in order to make a payment.  All you need is their mobile number and the Azimo app on your phone.

This works for both foreign and domestic £ payments.

You link a payment card to the Azimo app and then, to send a payment, simply select a person from your mobile contact book or input their number directly.  That’s it.

Azimo deducts the money from your payment card and sends a text message to the recipient.  The recipient is told to download the app and their money will be waiting for them.  They add their bank account details and Azimo deposits the money.

For future transactions, now that Azimo has bank account details, it will deposit the money directly in the bank account of the recipient.

Full details can be found on the Azimo website here.

Azimo discount code

And £10 off your first Azimo transfer online

Meanwhile, if you need to send money abroad in the next couple of weeks, Azimo has reactivated our special £10 Head for Points discount code.

This is valid for your first transaction, for a new user, of £50 or more on the Azimo website.

The promo code you need to use is HEAD10 and is valid until 16th April.  This only works on the desktop Azimo site and not via their app.

With the code HEAD10 on the Azimo website here every new customer will get £10 off their first transaction.  The code needs to be entered on the transaction page and NOT on the sign up page in order for it to work.  Ignore the box marked ‘Invite Code’ on the sign up page.

Azimo can handle payments to 196 countries, which is pretty much everywhere.  In some countries, such as Ghana, the recipient can pick up the money in cash from selected locations if they do not have a bank account. When sending money to Nigeria Azimo charges no transfer fees and claims to offer the UK’s best exchange rate.

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Promos’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Look where I'm going today ....
Bits: 2400 Avios with a £40 Nerf gun, Nutmeg ISA Avios update
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Comments

  1. 1. Assume no free cash withdrawal in UK
    2. Assume cannot be loaded using AMEX credit card

  2. I would suggest a look at the Revolut card.
    This is a prepaid card in pounds yet you get interbank exchange rates.
    The card costs £5 and up can top this up with a debit card or bank transfer from anywhere using their app.
    You get an instant notification on your phone giving you your transaction and the amount in pounds
    I’ve recently used this in New Zealand and found it works perfectly and tracked the bank rate via XE

    • Glad to know it worked for you in New Zealand.

      However, it did not work at all on a recent 22 day trip to Phnom Penh and Siem Reap in Cambodia and to Bali in Indonesia.

      Despite pre-loading £700, it was repeatedly rejected everywhere (in supermarkets and at 4 ATM’s belonging to 4 different banks.

      I therefore have to very strongly advise anyone who is thinking of taking a Revolut Card to either use something else or have fully suitable and adequate alternative payment means with them when they travel abroad.

      Additionally, readers will wish to be warned that unless you upgrade to ”Plus” which is Revolut’s £6.99 per month fee version, you now only get an almost totally useless £200 maximum per calendar month of ‘free’ ATM withdrawals in total .

      I have a Post Office MasterCard which is amazingly great for purchases in the local currency abroad but no use for ATM withdrawals. For ATM use abroad, I have cut-up and cancelled my Revolut card now and I am looking at alternatives including something like Monzo.

      • zsalya says:

        What is the problem with the Post Office Mastercard for cash withdrawals?

      • Halifax Clarity if you want good rates plus no extra charge for withdrawals. Note though that they do start the interest timer immediately for cash withdrawals so even if you pay your statement in full you may still get charged a few pence in interest the following month. To avoid that, pay off the cash withdrawals as soon as you can after making any.

        • the real harry1 says:

          or simply pay in some dosh, in advance – when you withdraw the cash from your balance @ ATM, you won’t get charged any interest

      • BigDave says:

        I have not had any problems with Curve card abroad, still has the ATM limits and 1% fee
        but it works and no need to top up

      • Monzo is pretty decent – still free too (which Revolut used to be), you just have to top-up the card. Also get free ATM withdrawals in the UK – some pre-paid debit cards also work for topping up balance.

    • +1 another upside is that for USD & EUR at least, you can exchange between those currencies at any time so you can potentially ‘lock in’ better rates for those currencies. Any spend in USD or EUR comes out of that currency if you hold some before falling back to a spot exchange against what you hold in GBP (as it does for any other currency you can’t hold directly in the app).

      By the way, you can also top up via Visa/MasterCard for a 1% fee.

    • ….. but a Lloyds Avios card gets you BETTER than spot due to the value of the Avios, and with no reloading faff.

  3. JamesW says:

    You’ve mentioned “payment card” with regard to Azimo, does this include credit cards & Amex charge/credit cards ?

    Further to this do the payments register on the underlying card as a standard purchase or as a cash withdrawal ?

    Cheers.

  4. JamesW says:

    Look out for scam phishing emails claiming to be Azimo asking for your bank details :-)

    • Hi JamesW,

      I am Sara from Azimo. Would you be so kind to forward to affiliates@azimo.com one of these phishing emails? Obviously we never ask bank details in an email and we would like to remind it to our customers.

      Thanks in advance,

      Sara

  5. With Sean on this one. The Revolut card and app is brilliant.
    Highly recommend it

    • guesswho2000 says:

      Agreed, but the ability to hold/charge in only GBP/USD/EUR is a bottleneck for me, wish they’d offer AUD as an option, though it’s useful if I want to transfer from a GBP card to an AUD bank account.

      • You can charge any currency and it converts at spot rate to GBP you just can’t hold any currency other than GBP/USD/EUR

  6. Boingo is still an Amex Platinum benefit (In the UK at least) until 31 Aug 2018.

    • guesswho2000 says:

      Yep, my Boingo still appears to be active, no idea when it’ll end (not that I use it very often, but it does come in handy).

      “The Boingo American Express Premium Preferred Plan
      Plan Description:
      Enjoy unlimited Wi-Fi access on any 4 Wi-Fi enabled devices at more than 1 million hotspots worldwide, free of charge, courtesy of American Express. “

  7. I would also recommend looking at Monzo. It is not a travel money product per se, but gives Mastercard rates and cash withdrawals are completely free. I think Revolut offers slightly better rates, but free cash withdrawals are very limited. Also, I had some problems using Revolut in Dubai – usually it worked, but sometimes it did not.

    • Genghis says:

      No rewards though for Monzo as only debit card top ups. They stopped me topping up from gift cards

      • Yes, my aim is to use Supercard for purchases (when it works) and Monzo for ATM withdrawals. Can Revolut be topped up with a credit card? I assumed not. Also, presumably any top up would be treated as a cash advance?

        • Genghis says:

          Revolut can be topped up with a credit card for a 1% fee. Top ups not treated as cash advance.

          • Thanks – very good to know!

          • Now we need to find a currency card (incl. GBP) which accepts Amex.

          • the real harry1 says:

            too much angst/ poop on this thread – points/ Avios are simply not worth the alternative better deal, sometimes

            Halifax Clarity wins handsomely against all comers. Load it up with a positive credit balance and you won’t even get charged cash advance interest for ATM cash withdrawals abroad. Perfect exchange rate.

        • Nick M says:

          You can use a Visa or Mastercard CC for a 1% fee

      • Brighton Belle says:

        Loved Monzo to topups from Curve which passed through to a points card. Lasted about 3 weeks and then Monzo banned Curve.

  8. Mattsan1 says:

    Boingo not an Amex Platinum benefit anymore?

    Mine still works fine and its still listed on the Platinum website as a current benefit.

    Matt

    • My account still says it is active but it never lets me connect anymore.

      I am gutted as it was one of the best features – especially in those lounges that make you use the public wifi so you have to watch adverts to connect.

      • Connected using my Amex Boingo benefits last Thursday. No problem – you may need to register again or check your details.

  9. “Young people travelling …”

    My 11 y old son has got a Kids Nationwide flex account and it comes with a card that works on holiday. Downside is it’s a debit card so bit more risk. But I don’t think international fraudsters will get far on the pocket money! Great fun to see him use it abroad and good for financial education. Recommended.

    • Agreed, but mine is just coming up to 10 and for a recent school skiing trip we had no real alternative but to manufacture a solution with a parental card on a separate account, with little of a balance but instantly able to top up (again Nationwide).

  10. Concerto says:

    I always used my Nationwide Flexaccount card for cash withdrawals abroad, then of course they started charging for it. Was great while it lasted. Once a machine in Salt Lake City ate it. British cards are a veritable nightmare abroad, so I stopped using them.

  11. Hi
    I’ve some Hyatt points that are going to expire & will. It be staying in a Hyatt anytime soon. Is there a way of using the points or transferring into it to stop then expiring?

    • Does it need a stay or activity? If only activity then buy 1000 or book and cancel a redemption.

      • Only activity is required as per their T&Cs (below). I wonder if an MR transfer in would count?

        “III. Loss of Points; Termination of Your Membership; Termination of the Program
        (a) Inactivity. Prior to July 1, 2017, Members whose accounts are inactive for twenty-four (24) consecutive months will have their membership terminated and all points in and awards or benefits associated with that Member’s account will be forfeited at that time. Starting July 1, 2017, if a Member’s account is inactive for twenty-four (24) consecutive months, all points in that Member’s account will be forfeited at that time, but the Member’s account will remain open (with the ability to earn new points thereafter) unless the Member’s account is otherwise terminated in accordance with these Terms. Under no circumstances will forfeited points be reinstated. Active Members can remain active in the Program by (i) receiving points via authorized means, (ii) receiving credits with a partner in the Program for a stay at a Hyatt hotel or resort, (iii) redeeming points (and, if applicable, completing any reservation for which such points were redeemed), (iv) transferring a Program award (in accordance with these Terms), (v) converting points to Partner Loyalty Points (as defined in Appendix B), (vi) purchasing or combining points, or (vii) having a valid Hyatt co-branded credit card (“Hyatt Credit Card”) in the Member’s name. If a Member redeems points for an Award Reservation (as defined in Appendix B) and either cancels that Award Reservation or does not actually check-in on the appointed date (i.e., no-shows), that Award Reservation will not count as a redemption of points pursuant to subsection (iii) of the preceding sentence and will not toll the measurement of that Member’s Program inactivity.”

  12. I would recommend the Caxton FX card, top-ups from debit card very easily and can be used in every country I have visited in last 9 years with no issues.

    • Callum says:

      I’d certainly hope it works without issues given the premium you’re paying on it… You do know the rate you get is worse than you’d get on virtually any normal debit or credit card?

      About the only way you could be better off is if you need cash and your normal card charges a withdrawal fee. Though if you’re going to go to the effort of signing up for a new financial product it seems like you’d be better off getting a card with zero fees.

  13. daftboy says:

    And don’t forget the good old Lloyds Avios card, which I find offers pretty close to the interbank rate (on a rough estimate basis, I haven’t done a detailed analysis before anyone asks!) – not attractive for cash withdrawals but certainly for my travels cards can be used almost everywhere, supplemented by some cash changed before leaving the UK.

    • Genghis says:

      I got some ‘seed money’ from Best Foreign Exchange for our up coming Easter trip.
      $90 was 0.8% off xe.com spot so not too bad (driver wants paying in USD) but other currencies were much greater: SGD circa 2%, IDR circa 6%, and this is from one of the best places. OK for ‘seed money’ but nothing more. I’ll be getting further cash if desired from the ATM abroad.

      • Seed money is what you have left from your previous trip.

        All money changers in Singapore and Indonesia will offer better rates than bestforeignexchange yet BFE is still the best physical shop in the UK. Poland is the only EU/EEA country where you can get most common world currencies for cheap, i.e. 0.5 to -0.5% spread.

    • I read on here a while back about the current package possibly being withdrawn and replaced with a MasterCard. Does anyone know if there is any news on this?

  14. Mark e says:

    O/T slightly. I’m off to Iceland soon and will be using my usual Travelex Supercard. It will be linked to my Creation IHG card, I’ve not used this combination before. I recall a couple of forum members having problems using the two together, any thoughts people please?

    As always I will also have a Halifax Clarity card as back up.

    • Worked OK for me in Feb in France – occasional decline but I think that was a Supercard issue (as it was quoting a PIN error despite me using the right one!) rather than a Creation issue.

  15. Jeremy I says:

    O/T but I’ve noticed a few links in the comments recently to the 20k PRG –> Platinum upgrade.
    I don’t think Rob has covered this yet – is that because it’s not a good deal? Seems like a no brainer to me ie upgrade to Plat, obtain the relevant statuses, clear out the MR points and close for pro rata refund? Am I missing anything?

    • I am in serious regulatory trouble if I publish a link which turns out to be targeted and the points are pulled or not given. Annoying but little I can do.

      • Jeremy I says:

        Thanks Rob. Sorry I didn’t realize the link was potentially targeted. I’ll have a think about whether I go for it or not. Thank you for the blog by the way!

  16. Sundar says:

    For awareness, both Azimo and Transferwise use the same payment “network” or “system” in UK( So do Xoom and Worldremit) for transferring the funds over to 60+ countries or so.

  17. liam Mackay says:

    Revolut is useless since 200usd ATM cap.
    Support is woeful.

    Travelex are selling GBP/USD 1.211 also useless.

    Loot.com better alternative 3k month cap and MasterCard rate. Although max 250 withdrawal a time so watch ATM fees although cannot hold GBP/USD/eur

    Nationwide flex plus £10pm incudes visa rate and no fx fee .£10pm can be justified by privileges.

    • Agree with this for Nationwide Flex+.

      Rob, you need to do a best current account article.
      It will be interesting to read comments on what is the best value current account from Miles and Points views

      • From a M&P perspective, Tesco is your only option to earn any sort of points.

        • the real harry1 says:

          I can use my current a/c for about 2% of annual card spend, most of it being Lidl, the people’s German Deli :)

          So not bothered by points on my current a/c

  18. BigDave says:

    Must admit it was fun comparing app statements when friends when I went out for dinner in Spain once and we split the bill – most people had Revolut, I had the Curve card, and the difference was not much at all even though curve is meant to add 1% on top of interbank rate
    But it is free and you get rewards and £5 in those rewards if you get referred (use robs code or mine: Amcen)
    The support is now spot on and very easy to get them on email, twitter or facebook and they generally reply in 24hours. It was a bit iffy at first but they seem to have ironed out a lot of the customer support shortfalls – the app just gets better and better too.