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Travelex Supercard relaunches and it’s still FREE – should you get one?

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I dropped in an extra article during the day yesterday to cover the relaunch of the Travelex Supercard.  You can download the free app here.

If you read that article, some of this piece will sound familiar.  I have repeated myself for the benefit of our email subscribers, who didn’t get the original article, and for those people who only check Head for Points first thing in the morning.

What is Supercard?

When Supercard originally launched its trial scheme in May 2015 it was a totally revolutionary payment product.

As you (hopefully) know, almost all UK credit, debit and charge cards add a 3% fee when you buy something abroad.

There are only a handful of cards which waive this fee. There are a few free options, such as Halifax Clarity, Creation Everyday and MBNA Everyday. There is only one credit card in the UK which offers reward points and no FX fees and that is the Lloyds Avios Rewards card (review here). You need to pay a £24 annual fee for that.

Supercard is different.   You can apply by downloading their free app.  It can be used anywhere where a MasterCard card is accepted. Your purchase is translated into Sterling as the standard MasterCard wholesale rate and charged to any UK Visa or MasterCard you nominate. You will receive the usual rewards from that card.

Supercard

Let’s imagine spending $150 in New York. If you use your Tesco MasterCard, you would be charged £103 based on a $1.50 exchange rate. Use Supercard – with your Tesco card linked to it – and your Tesco card would be charged just £100.

Supercard does away with the need to keep a separate credit card just for overseas purchases. You would earn reward points on every overseas purchase (assuming you linked a rewards credit card!), you would have spare credit available – by cancelling your Halifax Clarity, MBNA Everyday etc card – to apply for another rewards card and you would have one less bill to manage each month.

What are the benefits of Supercard?

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

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

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

How does Travelex Supercard compare with Curve?

The Curve card, which we have discussed extensively recently, has similar functionality to Supercard.  Supercard is superior to Curve in a number of ways:

Supercard is free, Curve has a one-off £35 fee

Supercard has no FX fees on overseas purchases, Curve has a 1% fee

Supercard has higher transaction limits than Curve

Supercard now uses the same payment processor, Wirecard, so they are likely to be equally good (or bad) in terms of declining transactions.  Supercard had problems here during the pilot and Curve performed better.  I would imagine that both will now be the same.

Supercard is cheaper than Curve for overseas cash withdrawals under £100 (3% vs £2 + 1%)

Supercard is open to everyone whilst Curve is targetted at those running a small business who would use the card for business purchases

Curve is better in the following scenarios:

UK use, as it charges no fees for purchases and no fees for your first £200 cash withdrawal per month via a credit card.  When Curve Rewards launches, it may become very interesting for UK Visa or MasterCard spend as you would ‘double dip’ with Curve Rewards and rewards from your underlying card.

For overseas ATM withdrawals of £100 to £200, Curve is cheaper (at £200, Curve charges £4 whilst Supercard is £6).  £200 is the daily Curve ATM cap IIRC.  The Supercard ATM cap is £500.

If you need the detailed transaction analysis data which can be downloaded from Curve

If you only want to use one card for both domestic and overseas transactions whilst having a reduced FX fee compared to a standard credit or debit card

How do I apply for a free Supercard?

Download the app via this link 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.


Want to earn more points from credit cards? – January 2021 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are our January 2021 recommendations based on the current sign-up bonus

You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here.

British Airways American Express card

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and a companion voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

BA Premium Plus American Express card BAPP

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Virgin Rewards Plus credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

15,000 points bonus and the most generous non-Amex for day to day spending Read our full review

Earning miles and points from small business cards

If you are a sole trader or run a small company, you may also want to check out these:

American Express Business Gold card

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Amex Platinum Business American Express

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

Earn both Avios and BA On Business points with your business spending Read our full review

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard for a limited company Read our full review

Disclaimer: Head for Points is a journalistic website. Nothing here should be construed as financial advice, and it is your own responsibility to ensure that any product is right for your circumstances. Recommendations are based primarily on the ability to earn miles and points and do not consider interest rates, service levels or any impact on your credit history.  By recommending credit cards on this site, I am – technically – acting as a credit broker.  Robert Burgess, trading as Head for Points, is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as a credit broker.

Comments (102)

  • Genghis says:

    And Supercard did appear on MSE this week so apply while you can to avoid a seriously long wait.

  • Bob says:

    “you would have spare credit available – by cancelling your Halifax Clarity, MBNA Everyday etc card”

    I don’t think this is how credit scoring works – cancelling credit cards is more likely to have an adverse effect. Reducing debt helps, reducing the amount of a line of credit you are using can help – reducing your lines of credit is unlikely to help.

    • John says:

      Furthermore, it’s easier to charge back when you buy something directly on a card. I’d only use Supercard / Curve for something that won’t be refunded. I wouldn’t give it to a hotel or car hire agency for example.

      I don’t know what the typical HFPer is like, but I have 14 credit cards in 3 countries and 36 current accounts in 5 countries, so cancelling one or applying for a new one is neither here nor there. The only thing I churn is Amex Gold in the UK.

      • Richard says:

        Totally agree John, I have had refunds through Curve and they went through fine.

        • Mr Dee says:

          I’ve had refunds from Curve for Pre Authorisations or Declined transactions after 10 days. which completely messes up my credit card statement/credit limit and cashflow.

          Lets also not forget that Curve is meant for businesses and when you are making purchases for personal reasons the merchant/retailer is being done over with the higher percentage, its not really something to base a business around and that is why Amex knocked them out as well as the above reasons.

    • Alex W says:

      But isnt it the case that I can’t get a Virgin card because I already have 5 other credit cards?

      • Bob says:

        They care more about how much of your credit limit you are using and I believe it’s best not to exceed 20-25% of it. Having three cards and using 20% of each limit is better than having one card and using 60% of the limit (ie this would not mean you had freed up three ‘slots’)

    • Genghis says:

      As an example, I believe that MBNA only provides a certain level of credit across all card types so you could argue that by cancelling the Everyday card you could apply for another MBNA card.

      • Bob says:

        That’s about spreading one line of credit with MBNA between different cards.

        • Genghis says:

          No. If you cancelled the MBNA everyday card because you had hit your max MBNA credit line and you wanted the Virgin Amex for example “you would have spare credit available” albeit with one provider.

  • Dave says:

    I think I applied yesterday via the new app. After inputting my details, I saw a message saying something like “I got the email, now log in”, which I pressed before checking my inbox. A day later, I still have no email and can’t log in with the email/password I set up. I’m assuming this is normal?

    • Genghis says:

      For me it is..

    • Danny says:

      Very normal as it stated after you applied and also in the article that they needed to carry out a few checks.

      • Genghis says:

        You would expect an email confirm, however, advising of such

      • Alan says:

        They could make that far clearer in-app though. It reads like you’ll have been sent an email to verify your email address and have to click it to progress in the application – they should have emailed folk to confirm receipt of application.

  • Boris says:

    Do charges apply if I sit in my office in the UK and buy something in from a foreign website, eg bike24.de or Turkish airlines?

    • Hugh says:

      No charges were applied in the pilot, my understanding is, this is still the case

      • Alan says:

        That was different though – they didn’t charge for UK transactions during the pilot. The example here is a genuine foreign purchase so there’d definitely be no fee. It doesn’t matter where you make the transaction, it’s what currency it’s billed in that matters.

    • Fran says:

      No – I’ve made a few online transactions from international sites which were fee free.

      • Jonathan says:

        I’m guessing international sites charging non-GBP?
        I perhaps mistakenly assume it’s based more on the currency rather than geographic location, but please correct me if I’m wrong.

  • David says:

    Supercard or Lloyds? I have the Avios rewards card which is coming to renewal. Since I have cancelled curve, is it worth getting the supercard or just pay the £24 for Lloyds Amex/MC for the Avios I get with it? Also I have got the upgrade voucher with Lloyds already and will I lose this if I cancel my Lloyds card? Any help would be appreciated.

    • Genghis says:

      Depends on what your underlying card would be on Supercard. I’ve just got the Lloyds card for referral and upgrade voucher. After hitting that spend would use Supercard all the way (for purchases)

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Over the MasterCard maybe but even then 1.25 Avios per £5 is better than 0 unless you have a better visa/MasterCard points card (I have Virgin Black ATM) but you wouldn’t over the AMEX as earning rate is 1.25 Avios per £

        If you can spend Atleast £2500 a year on the Lloyds AMEX it’s got to be worth keeping if not just because the protection is better if the merchant takes the AMEX directly.

        • David says:

          Thanks people.
          Only got my IHG mastercard as my other card, so for me not much use getting the supercard for now. Stick to my Lloyds for now since my overseas spend is enough to get my £24 back and the upgrade voucher is useful.
          DOes anyone know if you cancel you Lloyds card, do you lose the upgrade voucher or not since it is linked to your avios account?

          • Simon says:

            I would use Supercard charged to the IHG card over the Lloyds MasterCard as the earning rate on this is not great.
            In fact this is exactly what I will be doing. Lloyds Amex as #1 card and Supercard charged to IHG for anywhere that does not accept Amex.

          • mark2 says:

            Don’t forget that you get an Amex card with Lloyds which can be use if there are ever any more good statement credit offers. It was a bumper year last year; this year has been lean. Also Lloyds cash back if you also have their current account.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            As lloyds is one of my current accounts the few offers I’ve had with lloyds have been really useful and places I would shop anyway, paid back the £24 and some.

          • AndyR says:

            You don’t lose the voucher if you cancel the card. The voucher is in your Avios account.

    • Mr Dee says:

      Use the one that gets you the most points.

      If abroad they accept amex then use the Lloyds avios amex card if they don’t use the supercard for the reward card higher than the Lloyds one.

  • Ian H says:

    Never any mention of Nationwide on HfP. Select credit card is free to use abroad, and you earn 0.5% cash back. Flex plus current account gives you free cash withdrawals (albeit for £10 a month but with added benefits like travel insurance)

    • Callum says:

      That’s because the consensus is operating a current account is somehow too difficult.

    • Stuart says:

      And although there is the Flex Plus account, to get the Select card doesn’t need the paid for version of the current account.

    • nerd. says:

      Also Norwich and Peterborough. Have had this debit card for years and now that supercard pilot has ended I’m back to using it for cash withdrawals. Will possibly stick with it too if there is a 1% fee now. Though using Mastercard instead of Visa (which N&P use) combined with the points from my marriott card and bmi visa will probably make it worthwhile using the supercard for both.

    • Mr Dee says:

      Use the one that gets you the most points.

      If abroad they accept amex then use the Lloyds avios amex card if they don’t use the supercard for the reward card higher than the Lloyds one.

  • rams1981 says:

    So without a legacy BMI card is the new HSBC premier MasterCard the best earner to have? Any others?

    • Jonathan says:

      For non-Amex yes, but eligibility criteria will exclude most from being able to apply.

    • pauldb says:

      The value of the Lloyds MC will be specific to you but I think it’s generally under-rated here. If you put you Amex spend on Lloyds and that gets you the voucher then the MC is low value. However if you have a better place for your Amex spend (BAPPs and triggering a few Amex sign-up bonuses), then if you can put getting on for £7000 on the Lloyds MC (topped up if necessary with some redirected Amex spend) then you get a great return on that MC spend. The voucher value again depends on you and it certainly isn’t as flexible as the BAPP voucher but you should at least be able to upgrade a short-haul return. That’s got to be worth £100 used wisely on in avios terms at least 12k avios. Or much more: mine saved me 72k avios to Asia. Unless you think the voucher is wasted on you, any of those is a good/great return on £7k MC spend.

      • Alan says:

        Indeed I think the Lloyds one is a fantastic voucher – especially when used on off-peak WTP to CW upgrades, which have become more expensive since last April. I paid 52k Avios + £360 vs 100k Avios + £504 on BA.com. I’ve no idea why the taxes/fees were less but I’m not complaining! Even if they were the same (as I was expecting) then it’s still a great saving.

  • BigDave says:

    I think Supercard had a limit of 5 cards that can be added in the app but curve was unlimited…
    I could be wrong though?

    I’m keeping the curve for now as waiting to see what the rewards scheme is going to be like and hoping like a romantic fool that Amex comes back…

    • Shayele says:

      I received the email below from Shachar Bialik. The CEO of Curve this seems to imply that they have taken away the 1% fee for international transactions? Anyone heard anymore of this??

      For many people the ‘Amex everywhere’ proposition was Curve’s USP, however it’s just one aspect of what we do at the moment – super low fx rates, more visibility over your spend, real-time notifications, and a central platform for all transaction disputes and card blocking for when things go wrong. We now even let you use your 0% fx cards via Curve (we think it’s worth giving up the 1% we make, for you to get the convenience of all your spend in one place). Plus we’re working on lots of new features, including supporting apple pay later this year.

      • Rob says:

        What Shachar means in that email is that if you link a 0% card to Curve (eg Halifax Clarity), Curve will not charge its usual 1% fee on foreign transactions.

        • Genghis says:

          That’s kind of them but I can see no benefit of this. Can anyone else?

          • Rob says:

            You get all the data analytics on your spend via Curve and, at some point, Curve Rewards as well as not paying a fee. If you use a different card in the UK you can link both to Curve and just carry that around instead of 2 cards, one for UK spend and one for overseas.

          • Rum says:

            It’s still a pointless card if you ask me. The rest is just marketing talk. Without being able to use our Amex cards to generate points and other rewards, Curve is merely a useful piece of plastic to spread margarine on your toast (anyone remember Mr Bean making his sandwhich in the park?). I see no benefit in having Curve over something like Halifax Clarity or even the Lloyds Avios duo cards.

          • Mr Dee says:

            Yes but the Curve card is often declined and if you make a purchase that pre authorises your card they will charge that pre authorisation and not refund it for 10 days as well as actually charging the amount of the transaction, so it ties up the limit of twice what you purchased.

            Its a pointless card without a loyalty scheme in place, what is the point of using the card to charge my hilton visa when I can just use the hilton visa directly. They are the only ones making money of the transaction in this scenario, if a loyalty scheme launched maybe it would change my mind.

      • Alan says:

        Interesting, I don’t think it quites mean what you say though – to me it sounds more that they’ll let you add a 0% forex fee card (eg Clarity, Lloyds) and bill it in the original currency, thus making the conversion on the destination card rather than by them…