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Breaking news: Travelex Supercard now live for new applications and is still free

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As of 10am this morning, the Travelex Supercard website is back up, a new app appeared in the app stores and it began to accept new applications.

If you want to get one, click here to download the app and apply.

I would move quickly as the company has told me that it expects a backlog to build up due to the physical constraints on producing the cards.  I imagine that moneysavingexpert.com will give it a big push tomorrow as they have promoted it in the past and their Wednesday newsletter goes to 10m people ……

Note that, if you were on the pilot programme, you must still make a fresh application via the app.

I will do a full article on Supercard tomorrow.  It is, in essence, a Curve-style product which allows you to make purchases which are recharged to an underlying Visa or Mastercard.

Supercard is aimed primarily at overseas use.  It allows you to bypass the 3% foreign exchange fee on almost all UK credit and debit cards.

You pay with your Supercard, the transaction is converted to £ by Travelex using the standard Mastercard wholesale rate, and it is recharged to your underlying Visa or Mastercard.

Supercard

Here is a summary of the card benefits and how it differs from the pilot programme:

Supercard remains totally free.  Free to apply, free to use – although it requires a smartphone to operate.  I must be honest, I expected them to start charging but I was wrong.

It is a Mastercard.  This is a change from the pilot programme which operated on Visa.  As Mastercard FX rates are generally better than Visa, this is to your advantage.

There are NO FEES when using the card for purchases abroad.

There is a 2.99% fee for ATM withdrawals abroad.  This is a change from the pilot programme where ATM withdrawals were free.  Halifax Clarity, Creation Everyday and MBNA Everyday Plus are, I think, the only UK credit or debit cards which allows fee-free global ATM withdrawals.

Supercard is not a credit card so there is no credit check.  They will take steps to verify your identify to comply with general money laundering and compliance rules.

Whilst UK use is not banned, purchases or ATM withdrawals will incur a £1 plus 1% fee which makes them relatively pointless.  The only exception would be if you had a generous card like my old ‘2.5 Avios per £1’ bmi Mastercard – I could withdraw £200, pay £3 in fees and earn 500 Avios.

Transaction limits are generous – £500 cash per day, £50000 in total annual spend and various daily / monthly caps

I will write more tomorrow, but you have nothing to lose by heading to the website to check out the full details and then clicking here to download the app to order a free Supercard.  Even if you already have a ‘no FX fees’ credit card, Supercard could still be a better deal if you link it to a Visa or Mastercard which has richer rewards.

Don’t ask me how Travelex makes any money on Supercard because I don’t know.  There is probably an arbitrage on the interchange fees and some data mining opportunities.  The pilot programme must have convinced them that it does have serious long term potential.


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Comments (124)

  • Ross Parker says:

    Removal of ATM withdrawals is annoying, but I will still (re)apply for this as a back-up card for my Halifax Clarity Reward card. I always like two ways to pay overseas, and if they’re both fee-free, all the better.

  • Scallder says:

    Nationwide FlexPlus account allows FX free withdrawals globally (and I think their Flex account allows FX free withdrawals in Europe). Although so much for them saying those of us in the pilot would be the first to know about this…

  • Kai says:

    mbna everyday plus also offers free forex and cash withdrawal, probably need to get one now…

  • Quark999 says:

    The best bit about the Supercard was free cash withdrawals – and the only thing that worked without getting declined or my cards blocked for fraud.

    Pointless now – will keep using my Nationwide credit card.

    That’s where they will make the money now – people who think cash withdrawals are free…

    • Rob says:

      I wouldn’t put it like that. People are more likely to swallow the fee if they know they aren’t paying fees elsewhere.

      But as cash accounts for about 5% of our typical overseas spend (factoring in the hotel bill which is always settled on a card) that is hardly a business model!

      • Quark999 says:

        No, but clearly something triggered that change, didn’t it…

        • Will says:

          Cash withdrawals cost travelex money, when you withdrew EUR 100 on the supercard you got EUR100 in your pocket. Travelex had to pay the cc processing fee.

          Not true on purchases as the retailer pays the fee some of which travelex receive as profit.

          The sustainable future for ATM withdrawals has to be some kind of debit card withdrawal (which is practically free to process in GBP)

          Would be nice if supercard went free/very low rate on ATM withdrawals when linked to a debit card

        • TimS says:

          Yes, probably because a few people were churning cash via ATM withdrawls and Travelex decided that the majority of users were following “normal” spend patterns & wouldn’t be significantly inconvenienced by the introducion of ATM fees due to their low usage.

          The high ATM users were probably costing Travelex money in transaction fees & Travelex felt that it was in their best interests in the long run to not carry on waiving those fees for the minority of users who were simply churning cash. Not passing on the ATM transaction fees would have impacted their arbitrage on interchange fees & would have provided little data mining “knowledge” so there was no incentive for Travelex to continue with fee-free ATM withdrawls.

        • Axel Heyst says:

          Probably due to Travelex Supercard’s change of merchant/payment processor provider to Wirecard from beta to launch

          Wirecard stand in an odd position here. They’ve invested heavily in Curve but have also taken on a Curve rival – travelex supercard. Probably with a very similar legal agreement and the exact same heads of terms for charges

          I’ve recently resolved quite a few of my issues with Curve and it seems pretty clear now that my cards/transactions being blocked were down to Wirecard’s software bugs.

          Another point to note is that the Halifax Clarity does charge for ATM withdrawals abroad in the form of a heavy interest fee from the day the ATM withdrawal is made until the full payment direcr debit is made off.

          Supercard was my choice card for ATM withdrawals especially when needing initial cash when moving between countries and exiting airports. Time to roll the dice again.

          • John says:

            But if you pay it off straight away then you don’t pay any interest. Actually you have 2-3 days to pay off the Clarity as interest appears not to be charged until the transaction is actually processed.

            Most people’s interest rate on Clarity is 12.9%, so you’d have to pay interest for 3 months before the interest outweighed the Supercard fee; not to mention Mastercard’s exchange rate typically but not always 0.5-1% better than Visa’s.

            There are a few debit cards with 0% forex which you can or could have gotten if 0.1% interest bothers you.

        • Rob says:

          That would be the need to make a profit!

  • martin says:

    I’m a bit annoyed at having left my card from the pilot at home on a recent trip to France – I got there and discovered that the chip on my Halifax Clarity card had gone a bit faulty, and didn’t work most of the time. Having a second fee-free way to pay would have made things a bit cheaper!

    Hopefully they’ll have fixed the fault on the Android app which made it impossible to switch linked card: the workaround offered by their support people was “use the iOS app”…

    • Alan says:

      The sign-up process on the Android app seemed to work better so am hoping they’ve sorted that now too! At least they’ve got an Android app – still waiting for Curve to catch up on that front…

  • Douglas says:

    Does anyone got the confirmation e-mail yet? I applied like 7:30am and nothing so far.
    Not sure if I should be getting one for my OH as well. Maybe curve is a good enough backup.

    • Roberto says:

      Not had my reply..

      Can’t log into my old account either…

    • Simmo says:

      Same here…. no email back… yet

      • Rob says:

        You don’t get your email until you’ve passed their ID verification checks.

        • Jonboy73 says:

          They could have made that a bit clearer, it s usual to expect an email straight away when you sign up for something online. They could send an email to tell you to wait, not hard to do to save the confusion.

          • Alan says:

            Agreed, especially given the issues with sign-up last time. It would have been far better to say your application had been received and here’s what to expect next…

  • Simon says:

    Shame about the ATM charge, but still worth using for me for places they don’t take my Lloyds Amex. Rather hit my spend to my IHG card than the Lloyds MasterCard.

  • Peter says:

    I didn’t expect them to charge because cards like Revolut are free. I’ve seen people taking Revolut instead of Fairfx for example because there is no downside to having it ‘just in case’. My experience with Supercard (and Revolut) is that they work most of the time but not always. Don’t feel I’d want to pay for an option that could let me down sometimes so personally I wouldn’t go for this if it had a fee ….having said that I did get a Curve….;-)

    • John says:

      Revolut is debit card only though

    • HiDeHi says:

      Revolut has a 0% foreign ATM fee and 0% to use as a debit card. It has no foreign exchange fee above the interbank rates. Why would anyone choose the travelex over that?

      • HiDeHi says:

        Oh you can only fund Revolut from a debit card. I guess for purchases, the supercard is better but for ATM, revolut is better.

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