The 6 Best Travel Money Cards for Iceland 2024

Claire Millard
Ileana Ionescu
Last updated
13 December 2023

Iceland has firmly established itself as a popular tourist destination from the UK, with jaw dropping scenery, vibrant cities and unique experiences you simply can’t get anywhere else in the world. Iceland may be a dream trip, but it’s not famed for being budget friendly. Getting a travel money card can help.

From the UK you’ll be able to choose from a range of travel debit, prepaid and credit cards which may allow you to cut your overall costs, beat foreign transaction fees, or earn cash back and rewards. This guide walks through your travel money card options and touches on 6 of our favourites to kickstart your research.

Wise - our pick for travel debit card when travelling to Iceland

Wise accounts can hold and exchange 40+ currencies, and you can get a linked Wise card for a one time delivery fee. Top up your account in GBP and switch to ISK before you travel. All currency conversion uses the mid-market exchange rate, with low fees from 0.41%. Here are some of the pros and cons of the Wise travel money debit card, to help you decide if it’s right for you.

Go to Wise

Pros:

  • Hold and exchange 40+ currencies, including GBP-ISK

  • No fee to spend any currency you hold, low conversion fees from 0.41%

  • Mid market exchange rate on all currency conversion

  • Some fee free ATM withdrawals every month

  • No ongoing fees and no interest to pay

Cons:

Go to Wise

What is a travel money card?

A travel money card can be used in the same way as any other credit or debit card. Usually travel cards are contactless so you can tap to pay in stores, spend online and make cash withdrawals just as you do with your bank card. The main difference is that you could cut the costs of spending in a foreign currency, as travel cards are optimised for international spending.

Different cards have their own features and benefits, but some let you hold a balance in multiple currencies, others are designed to avoid foreign transaction fees, while some travel credit cards are handy if you want to earn cash back or rewards overseas.

What are different types of travel cards?

Generally you can split the different types of travel cards available in the UK into the following categories. We’ll walk through the features and benefits of each in a moment:

  1. Travel debit cards

  2. Travel prepaid cards

  3. Travel credit cards

Quick summary: Best travel cards for Iceland

This review of travel cards for visitors to Iceland from the UK picks out 2 of our favourite card options from each category to help you get a feel for which might suit your specific spending patterns. Here’s what we’ll be looking at:

Wise travel debit card: Hold 40+ currencies, including THB, with no ongoing fees, and spend with the mid-market exchange rate with no foreign transaction fee and low conversion costs from 0.43%

Revolut travel debit card: Hold 25+ currencies including ISK, in one of 4 different plan types, including some with no monthly fee, and some which come with ongoing costs but which unlock more benefits and no fee transactions

Post Office travel money card: Hold GBP and 21 other currencies, with a secure card you can pick up in person at a Post Office. A 3% fee applies when spending ISK

Monese travel money card: Hold a balance in GBP, then spend in ISK with no fees, up to your plan’s limit. Different plans on offer, including Simple which has no ongoing fees to pay

Barclays Rewards Visa travel credit card: Spend with the Visa exchange rate, and earn 0.25% cash back, with no foreign transaction fee and no cash advance fee. Interest and penalties can apply

Halifax Clarity Mastercard travel credit card: No foreign transaction fee, no annual fee, and no cash advance fee if you withdraw money at an ATM. Variable interest and penalties can apply

Travel money cards for Iceland compared

Here’s a brief comparison of all the cards we’ve picked out - in a moment we’ll also look at each card in more detail.

ProviderTypeDelivery feeIceland ATM feeInterest ratePOS feesExchange rate
WiseDebit 7 GBP order and delivery fee2 withdrawals, to 200 GBP value per month for free, then 0.5 GBP + 1.75%Not applicable Free to spend currencies you hold in the accountMid-market rate with conversion costs from 0.43%
RevolutDebit Variable fees may apply depending on account planNo fees to plan limit, 2% fair usage fee may apply once you exhaust your plan no fee limitNot applicableNo fee to spend currencies you hold in the account

Mid-market rate to plan limit


Fair usage fees of 0.5% - 1% apply after you exhaust your plan limit

MoneseDebit No feeNo feeNot applicableNo fee for spending up to your account limit, which varies based on plan chosenNetwork exchange rate
Post OfficeDebit No feeEquivalent if 1.5 GBPNot applicable

Free to spend currencies you hold in the account


3% fee to spend a currency you don’t hold in your account 

Variable exchange rate depending on how you top up



BarclaysCreditNo feeNo cash advance fee, but interest may apply28.9% representative APRNo fee - interest may applyNetwork exchange rate
HalifaxCreditNo feeNo cash advance fee, but interest applies instantly Variable based on credit scoreNo fee - interest may applyNetwork exchange rate

Different travel card types available in the UK can work quite differently in terms of features and fees.

As ISK isn’t a super common currency, you may prefer Revolut if you specifically want to convert your funds to ISK in advance, but you can also choose Wise or Monese for currency conversion with low or no fees from GBP.

In general, debit and prepaid travel cards are cheap to use, while credit cards can be convenient for spreading the costs of a trip, but may also come with higher overall costs. Which suits you depends on the types of transactions you’ll make. Read on to learn more.

Travel Debit Cards for Iceland

You can order a travel debit card online from a specialist provider, and manage your balance and transactions in a linked digital account. Travel debit cards often come with multi-currency account balances, although as ISK isn’t a particularly common currency you might not be able to hold krona in your account. Instead, you’ll add money in GBP, and the card will convert your payment to ISK automatically, with no hidden fees and no foreign transaction costs.

Different travel debit cards have their own features - we’ve introduced two popular picks below so you can compare.

Travel debit card option 1: Wise

There’s no fee to open a personal Wise account, but you’ll pay a one time card order fee of 7 GBP. After that there’s no minimum balance and no monthly charge. Wise accounts can support 40+ currencies for holding and exchange, with low fees from 0.43% when you convert currencies, and transparent ATM fees when you exhaust the monthly free transactions available with your account.

  • No fee to open a personal Wise account, no minimum balance requirement

  • 7 GBP one time fee to get your Wise card

  • 2 withdrawals, to 200 GBP value per month for free, then 0.5 GBP + 1.75%

  • Hold 40+ currencies, convert between them with the mid-market rate

  • Get local account details to receive GBP, NZD, EUR, USD and a selection of other major currencies conveniently

    Multi-currency account and card Wise

Go to Wise

Travel debit card option 2: Revolut

Revolut has a selection of different account tiers for personal customers in the UK, including Standard plans with no monthly fee, to the top end Ultra plan which has a 45 GBP/month fee and comes with loads of perks including a fancy platinum plated card. You can hold around 25 currencies, and convert currencies with the mid-market rate to your plan’s allowance. The higher account tiers also come with extras like various different forms of complimentary insurance, discounts, cash back opportunities and travel benefits.

  • No monthly fee for a Standard Revolut account, or upgrade to one of 4 different account plans which have monthly fees running from 3.99 GBP/month to 45 GBP/month

  • All accounts have some no fee weekday currency conversion with fair usage fees after that which are 1% for Standard plan holders

  • Standard plan holders can withdraw 200 GBP overseas per month for free

  • Hold around 25 currencies

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Go to Revolut

Pros and cons of using debit travel cards in Iceland

Pros of using debit travel cards in IcelandCons of using debit travel cards in Iceland

✅ Hold and exchange 25+ currencies in the same account

✅ Spend in 150+ countries - including spending in currencies the card can’t support for holding balances

✅ Order your physical card and get instant access to a virtual card for mobile payments

✅ Accounts can be opened and managed digitally

✅ Safe for spending and withdrawals when travelling overseas 

❌ Some account plans have ongoing monthly costs

❌ Transaction and currency conversion fees may apply

❌ You may need to wait a few days for delivery of your physical card

How much does a travel debit card cost?

Using a travel debit card is usually pretty cheap, but probably not entirely free. The exact costs depend on the provider you pick and the way you transact.

If you choose the Wise travel debit card you’ll pay a one time fee to get your physical card, but there are no monthly charges or minimum balance requirements after that. ISK isn’t a supported currency for holding a balance so when you spend you’ll pay a small currency conversion cost which can be as low as 0.43%.

Other providers, like Revolut, have different account plans available which means you’ll be able to choose an account with no ongoing charges but relatively limited features, or pay a monthly fee in exchange for getting more no-fee transactions and a range of extras like lounge access or insurance.

How to choose the best travel debit card for Iceland?

The best travel debit card for Iceland will depend to an extent on your personal preference. If you really want to see your travel budget in ISK ahead of time, you might consider Revolut as you can add a balance and then convert to ISK for spending later. Some Revolut accounts have monthly fees so it’s worth comparing your options based on how frequently you might use your card. As an alternative, you might choose Wise which lets you add money as and when you need to and spend in ISK with no foreign transaction fee and no need to convert in advance. Currency conversion costs start from 0.43%.

Is there a spending limit with a travel debit card in Iceland?  

You’ll probably find there’s a spending limit for your travel debit card. However, this limit can vary quite significantly, depending on the provider you pick. You can also usually adjust your spending limits for security in the provider’s app which means you can set the limit you’re comfortable with.

For the providers mentioned above, Revolut UK travel debit card holders have some spending caps based on merchant and transaction type. This applies to things like sending money to others, buying travellers cheques or money orders, and betting. Wise caps monthly card spending at 30,000 GBP but you can also move your limit lower if you’d like to, for security reasons.

ATM withdrawals

ATM withdrawals with a travel debit card are also likely to be subject to limits. Revolut applies a 3,000 GBP limit based on any given 24 hour period. Wise ATM withdrawal limits are 4,000 GBP per month. Both providers allow you to make some no fee ATM withdrawals monthly, but the exact amount you can withdraw will depend on your account type.

Prepaid Travel Cards for Iceland

[Prepaid travel cards] (https://exiap.co.uk/guides/best-prepaid-travel-cards) work fairly similarly to travel debit cards, but may not have quite the range of features offered by some debit card options. You’ll still have the advantage that your card isn’t linked to your main UK bank account which adds a layer of security, but there could be a few extra transaction fees which creep in and push up the overall cost. Here are a couple of strong contenders for prepaid travel cards in the UK:

Prepaid travel card option 1: Post Office Travel Money Card

You can order a Post Office Travel Money Card online or pick one up in person at a branch as long as you have a valid ID on you. Cards allow you to top up and hold 22 currencies, although bear in mind a fee applies when you spend in ISK as it’s not a currency supported by the card. That means that when you spend in Iceland, payments will be deducted from your GBP balance instead, with a 3% fee.

  • 3% cross border fee when you spend in ISK

  • 22 currencies are supported for holding and exchange

  • No fee to spend a currency you hold on your card

  • ATM withdrawal fee will be deducted from your GBP balance, and will be the equivalent of 1.5 GBP

  • Manage your account and card from the Post Office travel money app

    Prepaid travel card option 2: Monese Travel Money Card

Monese offers several different account plans which come with linked cards you can use while overseas. Depending on the plan you pick you’ll get some free international spending and some free ATM withdrawals. Simple account plans have no monthly fees, but are more limited in terms of no-fee transactions compared to the other account tiers. While Monese does offer foreign currency account plans, these are not available in ISK.

  • Pick the account plan that suits your needs, including a Simple plan with no monthly costs and some plans which do have a fee to pay every month
  • Accounts offered in GBP, EUR and RON
  • Simple account plan holders can spend up to 2,000 GBP a month in foreign currencies with no fees - other account plans have unlimited overseas spending with no extra fees
  • All accounts have some fee free ATM withdrawals every month, with variable limits based on account plan
  • Virtual cards available

Pros and cons of using prepaid travel cards in Australia

Pros of using prepaid travel cards in AustraliaCons of using prepaid travel cards in Australia

✅ Secure way to hold a balance and make overseas payments

✅ Cards available with no monthly fees 

✅ Usually free to spend a currency you hold

✅ Issued on globally supported networks for easy spending and withdrawals

✅ Some cards can be picked up instantly if you’re in a hurry

❌ Ongoing charges may apply to your account

❌ Not all providers offer multi-currency holding options

❌ Transaction fees apply to most accounts

How much does a prepaid card cost?

The costs of a prepaid travel card can vary quite a lot. The Post Office travel card has no initial fee, but as ISK isn’t supported for holding and exchange, you’ll pay a 3% cross border fee when you’re in Iceland. Monese has account plans which offer some currency conversion with no fees every month, so this can still be an attractive option based on cost, but you’ll need to weigh up any monthly fees that apply for your specific card plan.

How to choose the best travel prepaid card for Iceland?

There’s no single best prepaid travel card for Iceland - the right one for you depends on your spending patterns.

If you already have a Post Office Travel Money Card, or if you’re looking for a card you can pick up in person instantly, this could be a contender - but it’s not the cheapest option for Iceland as you’ll pay a 3% fee whenever you spend or withdraw.

Monese does not allow you to hold an ISK balance, but has different plan types which can offer some currency conversion with no fee. That could make it a good option, particularly if you don’t mind paying a monthly fee to unlock more features.

Prepaid travel card spending limit

The Post Office travel card lets you top up to 5,000 GBP at a time, with the maximum balance at any given time set at 10,000 GBP, or 30,000 GBP annually. Monese accounts may have different limits based on the tier you pick - usually set at a maximum holding balance at any time of 40,000 GBP. You may be limited to spending up to 7,000 GBP a day, depending on your account type.

ATM withdrawals

With the Post Office card, you can make up to 17,000 THB maximum daily withdrawals and each withdrawal costs 80 THB. Monese accounts may have a maximum ATM withdrawal of 300 GBP a day, depending on the specific account you pick, so it’s worth reading the fee schedule carefully to understand the details.

Travel credit cards for Iceland

Travel credit cards can be safe and convenient, but are often more expensive than a debit or prepaid card. However, they have their own strong features - you can spread your costs of travel over several months if you want to, you may earn cash back or rewards, and you can use them as a payment guarantee when checking into a hotel or hiring a car. Weigh up the benefits and drawbacks when you’re considering if a travel credit card is right for you.

Travel credit card option 1: Barclaycard Rewards Visa 

The Barclaycard Rewards Visa credit card is a good, straightforward option for UK customers looking for a credit card which does not have foreign transaction fees, and which doesn’t have an annual fee. As with any credit card, some costs can apply including interest fees if you don’t clear your bill monthly, but you’ll be able to earn 0.25% cash back on all your card spending at home and abroad.

  • No annual fee, with 0.25% cash back on card spending

  • Currency exchange uses the network rate and no foreign transaction fee

  • No ATM withdrawal fee - but interest can still apply

  • 28.9% representative APR, with penalty fees for late payments

  • Secure spending with extra protection on some purchases

Travel credit card option 2: Halifax Clarity Mastercard

The Halifax Clarity Mastercard has a variable interest rate which is based on your creditworthiness, but doesn’t use different rates for different transaction types as some cards do. There’s no foreign transaction fee when you spend or withdraw in foreign currencies, but bear in mind that an ATM operator might charge a fee, and interest accrues instantly for cash advance transactions.

  • No foreign transaction fee when spending or making a cash withdrawal overseas

  • Interest applies instantly when making cash withdrawals

  • Same interest rate applies on all purchase categories

  • Variable APR based on your credit score - you’ll need to check your eligibility online to see the APR you’d be offered

  • Spending is covered by the Consumer Credit act which means extra protections for purchases from 100 GBP to 30,000 GBP in value

Pros and cons of using credit cards for Iceland

Pros of using credit cards in IcelandCons of using credit cards in Iceland

✅ Spread the cost of your travel over several months

✅ Check eligibility for a card online with no impact on your credit score

✅ You may pay no foreign transaction fee 

✅ Can be used where a payment guarantee is required

✅ Network exchange rates usually apply, which are pretty fair

❌ Interest can accrue instantly on ATM withdrawals

❌ Interest charged on POS spending if you don’t repay in full every month

❌ Eligibility rules apply

How much does a travel credit card cost?

The cards we’ve picked out above have no order fee and no annual charge. However to avoid paying interest you’ll need to make sure you pay your bill in full every month - and also avoid using your credit card in an ATM as this can mean interest accrues instantly. If you don’t pay back everything you owe in full you’ll be charged interest - and if you’re late making a payment, penalties can also apply.

How to choose the best travel credit card for Iceland?

If you’re planning on spreading the costs of your spending over a few months it’s worth looking for the card which has the lowest available interest, particularly if it has no annual fee to worry about. If you’ll usually repay your bill in full monthly it may be more important to you to find a card which offers cash back or rewards. Weigh up a few different options while you decide, to make sure you get the right match for your specific needs.

Travel credit card spending limit

Your travel credit card spending limit will be set by the card provider, and will depend on your credit score. You’ll be shown details of your spending limit when you’re approved for a travel credit card.

ATM withdrawals

The cards we’ve looked at earlier don’t charge a cash advance fee, but this is a common cost when using a credit card at an ATM, so worth looking out for when you select any credit card. It’s also worth noting that it’s very common for ATM withdrawals to start accruing interest instantly, so you’ll end up needing to repay some charges whenever you use your credit card in an ATM.

How much money do I need in Iceland?

Iceland is pretty expensive option when it comes to accommodation and food. You may be able to get bargain flights, but if you’re heading out there during peak season and looking to take advantage of some of the unique experiences on offer, you’ll need to stretch that budget a bit. Here’s a quick look at some common costs in Iceland:

✈️ Flights to IcelandAt the time of writing (November 2023), flights are available from as low as 45 GBP return with carriers like Easyjet and Wizz Air. However, Iceland is a highly seasonal destination so flights at other times of year can be far more costly
🛏️ AccommodationAccommodation isn’t cheap. Hotels in Reykjavik usually start from around 100 GBP per room per night and can cost a lot more
🥣  Lunch in a restaurant3 course meal for 2 in a mid-range restaurant will cost just over 90 GBP on average
🚍 TransportationLocal transportation can cost around 3 GBP a ticket. Taxis should cost about 1.9 GBP a mile, with a fairly high start tariff of about 4.2 GBP normal 

Conclusion: Which travel money card is best for Iceland?

Using a travel money card when you’re overseas can help you cut costs and manage foreign transaction fees. It’s also a secure and convenient way to spend and to make cash withdrawals.

The right travel card for Iceland will depend a bit on your priorities. For example, the Wise travel debit card might suit if you need a card for occasional use which allows for real time conversions to ISK with low fees. A Monese travel prepaid card might be a good pick if you’ll only exchange money to the free currency conversion limit set in your specific plan. Or, a travel credit card like the Barclays Rewards Visa could work if you want a card for earning cash back and for using as a payment guarantee.

FAQ - Best travel cards for Iceland

Can you withdraw cash with a credit card in Iceland?

Yes. You can use your credit card to make an ATM withdrawal at any ATM in Iceland where your card network is accepted. However, bear in mind you’ll pay interest instantly when you use a credit card in an ATM. Choosing to withdraw with a low cost travel debit card from Wise or Revolut may bring down your overall fees.

Can I use a debit card in Iceland?

Debit cards are pretty widely used in Iceland so you should have no problems paying in larger and chain stores, hotels and restaurants in the cities. Bear in mind that you may not be able to pay with card in smaller merchants or at markets, so having both a prepaid or travel debit card and some Icelandic krona in cash is a smart plan.

Are prepaid cards safe?

Yes. Prepaid cards are not linked to your normal UK bank account which means that they’re safe to use. Even if you were unlucky and someone stole your card while you’re in Iceland, they would not be able to access your main account - and you could freeze your prepaid card in the app easily if you needed to.

What is the best way to pay in Iceland?

Paying for things with a specialist travel debit, prepaid or credit card in Iceland is most convenient. However, having a few options for payment is a good plan, so you’ll always have a back up. Consider getting a travel card from a provider like Wise or Revolut, which has some no fee ATM withdrawals so you can also conveniently get cash for those times card payments aren’t offered.