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Pre Paid Currency Card

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Lancashire
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213 posts
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Pre Paid Currency Card

Going to Diani Beach area in 5 weeks time and thinking of taking a pre-paid currency card as opposed to my credit or debit card (thought it may be a safer option).

Can anyone recommend a good one for use in Kenya and advise wheather to put dollars or sterling on it? Also, are there plenty of ATMs near by where I could use it to draw the cash when needed.

If I don't get a currency card how safe / practical is it to use my usual credit card? I will obviousy inform my credit card company of my travel plans.

Any advise welcome.

Lilly

Dartford, United...
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1. Re: Pre Paid Currency Card

I have an Escape prepaid card which I have used in Kenya previously but just before my recent visit I found that they have now started doing an Escape Travel card which doesn't charge a transaction fee when you use it to withdraw cash (the other one charges £1.50, I think) and the exchange rate is pretty good too. Most credit card companies will charge a transaction fee based on the amount you withdraw PLUS interest from the day you use it, irrespective of whether you pay the bill in full. There are a few exceptions. Likewise, withdrawals on a debit card will attract a cash withdrawal fee and additional charges built into the exchange rate. Credit and debit cards are fine for paying bills in your hotel or shops, not so great for ATM use these days.

The best currency to load the card with is sterling so you can use it wherever you go if you have any cash left on it at the end of the holiday, though they do the card in dollar and euro currencies too but then you have double currency exchanges.

The only (slight) drawback is that it's a mastercard and not all ATMs accept it. I didn't have much of a problem in Nyali but maybe someone else can advise you for the Diani area.

I did a lot of shopping around earlier in the year and will now only use a specific credit card, taken out especially for use abroad, and the prepaid card for any cash withdrawals.

Mtwapa, Kenya
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for Barcelona, Newcastle upon Tyne, Bamburi, Mtwapa
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2. Re: Pre Paid Currency Card

Hi,

Escape wasn't around when I was doing my research, it looks ok, better than most. The one I have got is the Fairfx Anywhere card, which regularly comes out at the top of the comparison sites, eg

moneysavingexpert.com/travel/cheap-travel-mo…

scroll down to almost the bottom for Pre-paid cards.

As above for anywhere other than Europe or the US, load it with Sterling. Its free to load online with a debit card, or by bank transfer, so I just move money to it when I need it. There is a £1.50 ATM fee but this outweighed by what makes Fairfx special, the exchange rate you get is far better than any other debit card. It is very close to the interbank rate. I've just checked today's rates, the Fairfx rate is better than the Escape rate by a about the same amount that the Escape card is better than Travelex.

It also is a Mastercard (most travel Debit cards seem to be and strangely they are nearly issued and managed by the Newcastle Building Society). As

Mwingereza said not all ATMs accept Mastercard but KCB and DTB do and until recently Barclays did, however, their ATMs have not been accepting Mastercard for the last few weeks. I asked why in my local Barclays and was told Barclays have pulled out of the Mastercard network, however TA member TimshareVon received a reply to her question about Mastercard at ATMs from Barclays' customer service saying it was a technical problem that was being fixed. I haven't tried to use one since so I don't know if which is true

(Fairfx do dedicated Euro and Dollar cards as well where their nearest rival is the Caxton Euro card)

Berlin
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3. Re: Pre Paid Currency Card

Another good prepaid Master card (correct exchange rates, little fee for ATM use) see: www.kalixa.com

Lancashire
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213 posts
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4. Re: Pre Paid Currency Card

Thanks to all for the info. I will take a look at the cards you mentioned and decide which to get.

Can someone just confirm (I am a bit dumb when it comes to travel and money) that I load the card with sterling which is then exchanged into Kenyan Shillings when I draw cash at the ATM in Kenya. There will be a charge for the exchange and another charge for drawing the cash from the ATM - is this corrrect.

Also, where would be the nearest ATM to my hotel (Diani Sea Lodge) and will it accept most cards. Doffcocker mentions KCB and DTB but not sure what these are or where. Sorry to be a pain but Just want to make sure I have easy access to my cash if needed. First time to Kenya so quite anxious but thankfully I have TA to help out.

Thanks again

Lilly

Dartford, United...
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5. Re: Pre Paid Currency Card

You need to look at the different cards and weigh up cost per transaction against exchange rate. As I said, the Escape Travel card doesn't charge a withdrawal fee, so saving £1.50 against other cards, but Doff said that the Fairfx card has a charge per transaction but a better interest rate. You should be able to see the daily rate on the cards' websites. Yes, you do load them with a sterling amount and then withdraw, say, 20,000 ksh, at the ATM. This transaction is then processed by the card company back into sterling to debit your account at the rate applicable on the day you withdraw.

KCB and DTB are banks, sort of the Kenyan equivalent to Lloyds TSB or Nat West, Barclays is universal - or should I say, global!

Again, maybe someone who knows Diani well can advise you about the ATMs in the area that you are staying.

Don't worry, Lilly, it's all dead easy, but take at least a couple of alternatives for money. Luckily, I had some sterling with me when I arrived last month to find that no ATM was working at the airport!

Balloch, United...
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6. Re: Pre Paid Currency Card

Another one to look at is the Caxton fx Visa Card which is what I will be using.

http://www.caxtonfxcard.com/

Dunoon, United...
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403 posts
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7. Re: Pre Paid Currency Card

Hi. Does anyone have an update as to whether Barclays are accepting Mastercard debit cards? Thanks.

Mtwapa, Kenya
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for Barcelona, Newcastle upon Tyne, Bamburi, Mtwapa
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8. Re: Pre Paid Currency Card

Hi,

On behalf of another TA member and for a general update I tried mine again on Friday, it accepts the card, says 'Welcome to Mastercard' but doesn't give you the cash option, only the 'Other services'.

I asked at Enquiries and they said they have a technical problem, it is taking a long time to fix as it has been like that for two months

Dunoon, United...
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9. Re: Pre Paid Currency Card

Thanks Doff. I presume there are other ATMs in the Diani area that accept Mastercard OK?

Lancashire
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213 posts
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10. Re: Pre Paid Currency Card

I certainly hope there are other ATM's in the Diani area as I have just applied for a Fairfx Anywhere card (thanks again to the TA posters who

answered my original question) and my credit card is also Master Card.

I'm going to struggle for getting extra cash if there are no other cash points in close proximity to Diani Beach area. Hope someone on TA can put my mind at rest.

Thanks

Lilly