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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)

  • TGLoyalty says:

    Just me that loves to have the choice of my lloyds AMEX, Halifax Clarity, Curve and now Supercard when abroad? nothing worse than a card being declined, found lloyds/Halifax have become very wary now? So with curve and supercard in your wallet at least you have low cost options to settle your bill without wasting time on the phone to the bank

    AMEX coming back to Curve would be very welcome ofcourse

  • mark2 says:

    I am a big fan of the Lloyds Avios card/Lloyds current account combination.
    But, I am currently collecting Hilton points rather than Avios so this looks attractive as I can divert all my spending onto my Hilton card which would charge 2.99%. I am, however, annoyed that I have to use a phone to register. I shall have to ask my niece’s husband if I can borrow what I always refer to as his terrorist phone. I am sure that he will not mention this in the future, often!

    • Scallder says:

      mark2 – only cash withdrawals will be charged at 2.99% fee. Any normal purchases you can divert to your Hilton Visa without incurring a charge as it’ll be charged in GBP

      • mark2 says:

        I was referring to the Hilton card which would charge me 2.99%

        • Mr Dee says:

          Don’t know why you would take cash out of the Hilton card and be charged 2.99%, I assume you didn’t mean this.

          If you want the hilton points then the supercard is useful instead of the lloyds avios for spending abroad which I assume you meant. Incase you didn’t know the virgin black amex allows you to collect 3 hilton points per £1 spent if your spending in the UK.

  • rams1981 says:

    Supercard was great for UK purchases, charging no fees whilst recognised as a debit cad…are there any cards out there that can replicate this?

  • Melvin says:

    Has Supercard not bothered to contact anyone else from the pilot to let them know about the new card? I received an email in March which had the following line but never heard anything since:

    “But, fear not, you’ll be the first to know about how you can get your hands on a free new Supercard and we’ll be in touch again nearer the time with full details.”

    • Lady London says:

      I signed up for the pilot but even after downloading the app, every time I tried it was nonfunctional and simply would not let me get set up. Lots of people reported this problem. For me it was never solved and eventually I gave up.

      I have to say I didn’t enjoy seeing everyone comment on HfP continually, how good that card was working for them on the pilot after that ! 🙁

      I did receive 2 emails 2 days ago reminding me to sign up again so I have done so. Still waiting for them to complete their checking process… no email received yet that it’s all OK.

      It would be nice if it worked this second time.

  • Supercard Representative says:

    Sorry, we forgot about that! Too busy having meetings about the 2.99% fee we’re charging you!

  • harry says:

    O/T Boo, hiss. Just seen on FT that insiders (incl Raffles) have heard that BMI Diamond Club Amex cards are getting canned shortly.

    Goodbye, old card, we had a lovely relationship with many a 2 point earned.

    Even the threesome we had with Visa (1 MR point/£) was fun.

    I’d give it 6 months.

    • BLT says:

      Even worse according to Raffles:
      “Apparently ALL MBNA, Lloyds and Barclays Amex cards are going”
      – Not good for Virgin/ Emirates/ Etihad etc

      • harry says:

        The others will presumably be going to a new home.

        Only BMI cards get the bullet

        • Lady London says:

          Out of sympathy for you Harry I won’t say “it’s about time”.

          I mean, how long has the old BMI been gone for ?

      • Alan says:

        Nooooooo that’d be rubbish – I really like the Lloyds Amex and the earning rate on their Mastercard is pants!

    • Alan says:

      Will the bmi MC continue for a while though I wonder? Or all Diamond Club ones for the axe?

  • Andy S says:

    Is there an Android app, or is this iphone only like curve?

  • Surbhi says:

    So just to confirm, the pilot visa card is not functional anymore? I’m going on holiday in a couple days. Will the old visa Supercard not work abroad anymore?

    • TimS says:

      No, it hasn’t worked since 7th June. Didn’t you get the (many) emails advising you of the end date?

      • Surbhi says:

        Thanks. Didn’t get any emails from them. Need to sort out some Euros tomorrow :O

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