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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? – July 2021 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are our July 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. Here are the other top current deals:

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 offers.

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

For a non-American Express option, we also recommend the Barclaycard Select Cashback card for sole traders and small businesses. It is FREE and you receive 1% cashback on your spending:

Barclaycard Select Cashback Credit Card

1% cashback and no annual fee Read our full review

Comments (102)

  • Mr Fluff says:

    This is probably an ignorant question, but how does the post office card compare?

    • Alan says:

      0% but obviously no rewards and I wouldn’t use it for cash out. Still a respectable option and it was one of the first to offer 0% forex!

      • Rob says:

        I’ve got a Post Office card and it has been fine. I will probably keep it as a fall back for when Supercard gets declined. Obviously there is no reward scheme so using Supercard linked to any rewards card will be better for you than using the PO card.

        The PO card has a fee for ATM withdrawals abroad, same as Supercard.

  • davetza says:

    One thing to note with Supercard is that you won’t get any Section 75 protection as it is not a credit card even though it is linked to your credit card.

  • AmandaB says:

    I have used my Supercard extensivly thoroughout the pilot in around 10 different countries. The only downside for me is the maximium daily limit. It caught me our a few times when shopping and paying hotel bills. Disapointed with the introduction of the charge for ATM withdrawals as I used this instead of currency exchange prior to travel. But I can live with that. An excellent card and service.

    • Worzel says:

      AmandaB 9:04 am:

      Good that you feel you’ve had an excellent card and service having used the Supercard in around ten different countries- a fair sample!

      However, you state that the only downside is the maximum daily limit .

      The limit appears to be fairly generous -maybe terms have changed?

      https://www.travelex.co.uk/services/supercard/fees-and-limits

      For those spending 10’s of thousands abroad perhaps the card might be beneficial?

      For those spending <10, a Halifax Clarity (or similar) would appear to suit best:

      Why further complicate, already complicated lives 🙂 .

  • Majunga says:

    Supercard vs Curve:

    I was also under the impression that one could link a EUR CC to Curve. You could then route any EUR expenses to Curve + EUR CC and avoid any FX charges as all transactions/billing happen in EUR.

    Is that correct and does that also work with Supercard?

    Thank you

    • Rob says:

      That’s correct, you can link credit card in various foreign currencies to Curve which you can’t do with Supercard (well, you can, but Supercard only recharges in £ so it is pointless). This is one of cleverer Curve features, I rarely mention it because it isn’t relevant to most HFP readers.

      • Majunga says:

        Thank you Rob

      • Eurorrocket says:

        When I had the Curve card, which I binned the minute Amex withdrew, I tried to link it to my Barclays France issued Visa/carte bleue. No dice. Another reason why I bailed at the first sign of trouble with curve.
        Having said that, I always found their customer support very good.
        Just awaiting an email from supercard so I look forward to trying that out.

  • Colin JE says:

    Just ordered my replacement Supercard. The app is way better this time around. No errors, you input your password twice so less chance of a mistake. Let’s hope the transactions track more smoothly.

  • Tom says:

    I fear I may be being too honest for my own good here: but for those of you who can get a Mondo card (appreciate the wait is fairly long at the moment), it is fee free abroad, as well as having the best app interface of all these types of cards (Curve, Supercard, Revolut etc). The downside is that, like Revolut, it is a pre-pay top-up card that can only be topped-up by debit cards.

    However, a bit of experimenting the other day revealed that it treats Curve as a debit card. Effectively therefore allowing fee-free liquid cash withdrawals from a credit card abroad.

    • sprout7 says:

      Strange – I tried linking my curve card to a Mondo account and it wasn’t having any of it. Did you type the details in or take a photo?

      • Tom says:

        Strange indeed. I can’t remember if I typed the details or took a photo. I don’t think that should make a difference though, as all the photo does is translate the image into text.

      • Tom says:

        To clarify, I used my Curve card to top up my Mondo (ie. allowing me to use a credit card to top-up Mondo). I didn’t link my Mondo to my Curve.

  • Graham says:

    Unfortunately, the overseas ATM withdrawal charge kills the deal for me as this means I still have to carry my Halifax clarity – which nets me £5 back for £300 pm anyhow.

    The only use I see of this for me is high-value non-GBP/Euro transactions (I have Euro denominated rewards cards) – however, these are rare as I typically pre-purchase flights/hotels world-wide in GBP. Nevermind!

    • Pete says:

      You can get free overseas cash withdrawals using a combination of Mondo & Curve.

      Set Mondo as you’re curve funding card with the currency set to be the currency of the country you are in.

      Curve will not charge a cash withdrawal fee (it is seen as a domestic debit card withdrawal) and mondo will charge you the wholesale MasterCard rate (no spread) for the charge.

      • Mr Dee says:

        Yes but if your transaction fails then Curve will likely charge your card and not refund for 10 days.

        Better just get a bank account that allows free withdrawals

      • N1david says:

        What’s the advantage over using Mondo directly? Assume you still have to fund Mondo in advance, so what does Curve bring to the party?

        • Mr Dee says:

          Yes exactly the point, if Curve had a reliable product that offered a loyalty scheme fair enough but you do nothing but make them some extra money.

  • Zoe says:

    In the pilot I used Supercard for buying Ryanair flights without extra charges. I imagine I might be able to book the inbound leg separately so that its a euro transaction but is there a cunning plan for the outbound?

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