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Travelex cash passport buyer beware!

Paris, France
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Travelex cash passport buyer beware!

Hi guys,

I will not be using cash passport anymore, after more than a year of use with very mixed results.

It has been 30 days since I used my card to stay at a very reputable hotel, the pre-authorisation has taken this long to be released and by no fault of the hotel. As a result I have been without about 1000 AUD equivalent in funds for the entire trip.

Travelex has blamed the hotel saying it requires a personal letter signed by the manager including very specific information that a hotel would never release for confidentiality. Without such a letter all pre- authorisations take 30 days to remove. The hotel has followed all protocols sent numerous faxes to their vendor, confirmed multiple faxes sent. Travelex is now claiming to have lost at least three faxes.

This is a nightmare, the information provided by travelex has been different on four different phone calls I have made to them.

I understand canstar has rated it, but my friends qantas card was giving better exchange rates, zero reload fee (1% for Cash passport) takes half as long to reload, expect 4 working days. The only positive was the ATM fees are zero. You save very little over 5-10 withdraws compared with the above.

Melbourne, Australia
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for Sydney, Bargain Travel, Food and Travel
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1. Re: Travelex cash passport buyer beware!

Old news unfortunately. Shame you didn't find TA *before* you chose such a product. Here's one of many threads;

tripadvisor.com.au/ShowTopic-g255055-i120-k3…

Also, when you mention the $1000, you should specify that it's multiple pre-auths overlapping.

But yes, nobody in their right mind uses them.

Edited: 27 January 2014, 18:47
Sydney
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2. Re: Travelex cash passport buyer beware!

I know there are lots of fees with these types of cards, that make them difficult to extract the value.

However, preauths by hotels and car rental companies are a real hassle with debit cards, and even credit cards with a low hold balance.

Why did the hotel not process a transaction against the pre-auth? $1000 seems a very steep pre-auth to take, if there were no accommodation charges to process?

Melbourne, Australia
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3. Re: Travelex cash passport buyer beware!

That's what I was pointing out - I don't think it's one pre-Auth of $1000, but multiple smaller ones overlapping

Sydney
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4. Re: Travelex cash passport buyer beware!

Even still - the idea is that a pre-auth should in general be followed up by a charge. How can a hotel pre-auth $1000 - even in multiple overlapping amounts - and then not submit a charge? if the actual charge would hit the card, it will clear the pre-auth. That should be done within 24 hours of checkout.

I understand that it it would be nice that a card issuer will clear pre-auths quickly when they've received a fax on letterhead. However, I'm not at all surprised that a fax sent in these circumstances goes astray. It isn't the way the system is supposed to work.

It sounds to me like the hotel is essentially at fault.

Melbourne, Australia
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5. Re: Travelex cash passport buyer beware!

I think you're misunderstanding what I'm saying - or I'm not explaining it very well.

>>> As a result I have been without about 1000 AUD equivalent in funds for the entire trip<<<

- The OP commenced with an example of *one* hotel not releasing a pre-Auth for 30 days

- Then the OP followed it up with a comment stating that as a result of this that the equivalent of AUD$1000 was withheld - *during the course of his entire trip* - not at the one hotel. The focus is on the word *entire*

- So my guess is that he's described what transpired over several properties. That's what I mean by overlapping amounts.

- The other reason why I think it's overlapping pre-Auth over several different properties, is that if its $1000 over 30 days, it isn't very much, and doesn't make sense unless its a backpackers. But backpackers are usually pay upfront.

- If he has evidence that the hotel did send a release fax, theres absolutely nothing the hotel can do beyond that.

But you are right about asking them to process a charge. Even a 1 cent Sales Completion would have released the funds immediately.

My only concern is that most pre-auths have an auto release period of 3-5 days. So I'm not convinced the OP is giving us the whole picture.

Edited: 28 January 2014, 02:41
Sydney
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6. Re: Travelex cash passport buyer beware!

I understand what you are saying, and it is possible that is what the OP meant. However, they talk of a 'reputable hotel', and obtaining a release from that hotel, so the amount must have been somewhat significant from a single hotel. They didn't talk about getting releases from multiple hotels.

In any event, I think it is difficult to blame Travelex for this one. The OP allowed a pre-auth against a debit card. The hotel didn't complete the transaction. The outcome was entirely predictable.

Three days is very short for a pre-auth. I've had some last at least 7 days. Wikipedia says 30.

Melbourne, Australia
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7. Re: Travelex cash passport buyer beware!

You're right about some banks holding pre-Auth's for 7 days, I too have experienced that. I've worked in hotels which had pre-Auth's release after 3 and 5 days. That's why nightly credit checks are done for guests staying over 3 nights.

I agree the fault can be found with the hotel. The fact that this much pre-Auth is outstanding means that on checkout, a completion wasnt performed, but instead a new sales transaction. So there would have been periods with duplicate amounts transacted (one Auth, one charge)

But the length of the pre-Auth isn't determined by the hotel, it's by the financial institution.

Edited: 28 January 2014, 11:53
Cairns, Australia
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8. Re: Travelex cash passport buyer beware!

I have been following this post with interest. I have a Multi Currency Cash Passport and a Qantas Card. I was going to use the Qantas Card for Hotel Pre Authorisations as i am not fussed at the amount of time it takes. The Multi Currency will be used for my ATM withdrawals and the like. This is my first trip overseas in over 20 years and probably the last one for around the same time, so i dont need a 28 degrees Mastercard, just want the convenience of being able to access money. Is this a good combo? Do i need a credit Card for Hotel Authorisations? Or will the Qantas Card suffice, noting i am not using it for anything other than Hotel Pre Authorisations if required.

Sydney, Australia
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9. Re: Travelex cash passport buyer beware!

Anthony, do you have a standard bank EFTPOS card or Visa/MC debit card? There are not really any advantages to the Travelex cards compared to a standard debit card in AUD- similar fees apply. Why not just use your normal ATM/debit card for withdrawals?

If you want the best card for cash withdrawals the Citibank Plus account is recommended, and this is a card/account that you may find useful within Australia too. And there are no fees for opening and closing an account so as best I can see, no drawbacks to using it for one trip only.

What specifically is your "Qantas Card" - do you mean a credit card? If it's a real credit card (meaning you pay later), then pre-authorisations should not be a big concern, unless they add up and reach the total credit limit.

Cairns, Australia
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10. Re: Travelex cash passport buyer beware!

My Debit Visa Card is through a credit union, they charge $5.00 per withdrawal. I am looking at the CITIBANK Plus Debit as we speak. Will pair it with a 28 Degrees Mastercard and my Qantas Cash/Frequent Flyer as back up.