Note: The Supercard beta ended in 2016, see our latest article on the best credit and prepay cards for travel
The Travelex Supercard was launched on 13th May 2015 to great fanfare. It’s the first card to offer perfect exchange rates in every country around the world, and doesn’t charge for cash withdrawals either.
Put simply. This new card is THE cheapest way to spend abroad, but the icing on the cake is that the card is free (for time being) and there’s no credit check, meaning everyone should be accepted.
How does it work?
The Supercard is unlike anything that’s come before it, so it takes a bit of explaining. If you consider a typical travel card to be pre-pay, and a traditional credit card to be post-pay, the Supercard is more sort of pay on demand.
What that means is that you don’t load it with cash like say Cash Passport or Kalixia card. Nor do you pay later like with the excellent Halifax Clarity card. Instead you link the card to your debit or credit card via the Travelex Supercard app (android/iOS).
When you use the card abroad, it takes care of the currency conversion at near perfect rates (VISA wholesale), and then charges your UK debit card in pounds. All of this happens in real time.
The concept is fantastic when you consider that most debit and credit cards apply a charge for withdrawing cash abroad, as well as applying an additional 2.75% load to currency conversion. So spend £100 worth of euros abroad and you’d get charged £102.75. No so with the Supercard, spending £100 worth of Euros would cost you £100. Simple.
It’s worth noting that the Mastercard exchange rate can often be ever-so-slightly better than the visa rate, so if you already have a card that’s great for spending abroad, then stick with that and use this as backup.
How do I get a Supercard?
UPDATE: The Supercard pilot scheme has now ended. You can now apply for your new Supercard here.
- Download the Supercard app for android or iOS. Other devices aren’t supported at present
- Register via the app and wait for your card to arrive in the post
- Once your card arrives you’ll be able to activate it via the app and see your new PIN
- Then link it via the app to your UK debit or credit card
That’s it, you should then be able to use the card abroad and enjoy great foreign exchange rates.
It’s also worth pointing out that you link multiple cards to the Supercard and switch them at any point. Travelex will in theory then charge whichever card you’ve set as your default at the time of purchase. In practice this doesn't always happen as can often present bills long after the transaction has been made.
Protection and security
Another benefit of the Supercard over more traditional pre-pay cards is that since you don't load any money on it, there's no risk of losing your money should the firm go bust (unlike anyway), as it's tucked up safely in your bank account which is protected.
That being said, it's not a credit card so (neither are pre-pay cards) so you've no protection under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. Spend on a credit card and the Section 75 law means that if you buy something costing between £100 and £30,000 and pay for part of it on a credit card, then the card company's equally liable if something goes wrong. This is how many people got their money back on preordered phones when Phones4U went into administration. However, on a holiday you're unlikely to be making these sort of purchases.
The card is managed via the mobile app. You have to enter a password to see your pin code, so it should be safe if ever you lose your phone. If you lose your card then you block it from the app and Travelex will be notified and automatically send out a new card.
It's worth noting though that new card can only be sent to your registered UK address, so not much use whilst you're away. As ever, we always recommend that you have a backup payment option should the worst ever happen.