Firstpost Take: Thomas Cook launches Borderless Prepaid card

What is it: This is a multi-currency prepaid card launched by Thomas Cook in collaboration with MasterCard Worldwide. You can load the card with eight currencies US dollar (USD), pound sterling (GBP), euro (EUR), Canadian dollar (CAD), Australian dollar (AUD), Japanese yen (JPY), Singaporean dollar (SGD) and Swiss frank (CHF).

What you can use the card for: You can use the card at 34 million physical as well as online stores wherever MasterCard is accepted. You can also withdraw local currency from 1.9 million MasterCard-enabled ATMs worldwide.

Where can you buy: You can buy this from any of Thomas Cook's 214 outlets across India. You can reload the card at the same location where you purchased the card, with a reload fee.

 Firstpost Take: Thomas Cook launches Borderless Prepaid card

You can use the card at 34 million physical as well as online stores wherever MasterCard is accepted. Reuters

Details:This is a multi-currency card. So if you have more than one currency loaded, the card will automatically select the next available currency, in the following order: USD, GBP, EUR, CAD, AUD, JPY, SGD, CHF. Also, this is a chip and pin based card and not a Magstripe card. Which simply means, every time you use the card, you will have to provide the four-digit PIN for the transaction to go through. The card is valid for five years, and your unused amount, if any, can be transferred to a new card. You can also cash out the balance and close the card.

Finer details: Since it's a prepaid card, the exchange rate is guaranteed and you don't have to worry about fluctuations during the travel. This means you need not pay any additional exchange rate fee. It is safer than the traditional travellers cheque as it is a chip and pin-based card. There is a fixed ATM fee and you need not pay a transaction fee on purchase, like you may have to while using a debit or credit card internationally. You also get emergency cash disbursement and card replacement free each.

Firstpost take: Though Thomas Cook is the first non-banking entity offering multi-currency pre-paid card, banks have been offering similar products for a while now. For instance IDBI Bank has World/ Global currency card which also offer eight currencies. Multi-currency forex travel card by ING Vysya offers four currencies. We liked the automated next selection of currency and Chip-Pin features of the card. We also liked the fact that while shopping online, you don't have to worry about the unknown exchange rate fee on debit and credit cards. Over debit and credit cards, this product scores well.

However, what we did not like is that you will have to bear a six-month inactivity fee of US$5. Also the fact that the minimum load value on the card is $250. And, you will have to maintain an annual card load of $10,000 to $300,000 depending on the variant card you take. And unlike other pre-paid cards, this card does not come with an insurance cover benefit. All in all, there is nothing out of the world that this card offers. We suggest, you do shop around for competing products with banks before deciding. Here are the Terms and Conditions for Borderless Prepaid card.

Updated Date: Dec 20, 2014 20:19:39 IST