The 6 Best Travel Money Cards for Thailand 2024
If you’re travelling to Thailand soon, a travel money card can be handy to cut your overall costs, help you beat foreign transaction fees, or earn cash back and rewards.
UK customers are really well served for travel card options including travel debit, prepaid and credit cards. Each type has its own benefits and drawbacks - this guide walks through your options to help you decide, plus we’ll introduce a couple of our favourites from each category to kickstart your research.
Wise - our pick for travel debit card when travelling overseas
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 THB 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.
Hold and exchange 40+ currencies, including GBP-THB
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
7 GBP delivery fee
No option to earn points or rewards
What is a travel money card?
A travel money card is a credit, debit or prepaid card which is optimised for travel. That can mean you’re able to hold a balance in multiple currencies and pay or withdraw overseas with no extra fees. As an alternative, some cards let you hold a balance in GBP but avoid foreign transaction fees and get the network exchange rate for foreign currency spending, or earn cash back or rewards overseas.
The benefits you get from your travel card depend on the specific one you pick - which means you can choose the one which suits your transaction patterns. Once you’ve got your card you can tap to pay in stores, spend online and make cash withdrawals just as you do with your bank card.
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:
Quick summary: Best travel cards for Thailand
As well as an introduction to the different types of travel cards, we’ve included reviews of 2 of our favourites 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 THB, 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 THB and 21 other currencies, with no fee to spend a currency you hold - 3% fee applies if you don’t have the currency required in your account
Monese travel money card: Hold a balance in GBP, then spend in THB 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 Thailand 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.
|Overseas ATM fee
|7 GBP order and delivery fee
|2 withdrawals, to 200 GBP value per month for free, then 0.5 GBP + 1.75%
|Free to spend currencies you hold in the account
|Mid-market rate with conversion costs from 0.43%
|Variable fees may apply depending on account plan
|No fees to plan limit, 2% fair usage fee may apply once you exhaust your plan no fee limit
|No 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
|No fee for spending up to your account limit, which varies based on plan chosen
|Network exchange rate
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
|No cash advance fee, but interest may apply
|28.9% representative APR
|No fee - interest may apply
|Network exchange rate
|No cash advance fee, but interest applies instantly
|Variable based on credit score
|No fee - interest may apply
|Network exchange rate
Different card types suit different customer needs. Debit and prepaid cards are often cheap to use, and can come with extras like options for holding a multi-currency balance. Credit cards can be convenient for spreading the costs of a trip, and are handy for using as a payment guarantee when hiring a car or checking into a hotel. However, they can 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 Thailand
A travel debit cards will usually come from a specialist provider, and be linked to a digital account you’ll use to hold and exchange currencies for spending. You’ll need to register an account online or in an app, and upload an ID to get started, but you can then order your card for home delivery, and you’ll often be able to start spending instantly with a virtual card to complement your physical card.
Different travel debit cards have their own features - some, like the Wise card, have a one time card order fee but then have no ongoing fees to pay. You just pay transaction costs for the specific services you need. Other providers like Revolut have a variety of plans available so you can open an account and order a card with no ongoing charges, or upgrade to an account with more features but monthly fees to pay.
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
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
Pros and cons of using debit travel cards when travelling overseas
|Pros of using debit travel cards when travelling overseas
|Cons of using debit travel cards when travelling overseas
✅ 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?
Different travel debit card providers have their own approach to fees.
Some - like Wise - charge a simple one time fee to get your card, but then have no monthly charges or minimum balance requirements. This means there’s no ongoing costs so you can simply use your card and account as and when you need to, and pay for the services you use.
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 Thailand?
The best travel debit card for Thailand will depend on how you expect to spend and withdraw while you’re there, and whether you’ll use the card frequently after your trip.
If you’re going to use your card a lot and don’t mind paying a monthly fee, getting a Revolut card and upgrading to the paid plan that matches your transaction needs can be a good investment. If you’re not sure how often you’ll use your card, getting a Wise card or a Standard Revolut card can be a better option as it’ll mean you don’t pay an ongoing fee and can simply use your card as and when you travel.
Is there a spending limit with a travel debit card in Thailand?
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 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 travelling overseas
With a [prepaid travel card] (https://exiap.co.uk/guides/best-prepaid-travel-cards) you’ll need to add money in advance of travel to then start spending or making cash withdrawals once you arrive in Thailand. You can get a prepaid card from a provider like the Post Office, or a specialist like Monese. Post Office cards support a multi-currency balance, while Monese lets you hold GBP, EUR and RON, but not Thai baht. Instead when you spend in THB your funds are converted with the network rate to your plan limit.
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. You’ll be able to top up and hold in 22 currencies, although bear in mind a fee applies if you add money in GBP. There’s no fee to add foreign currencies. The exchange rate used when you top up or convert may include a markup, but once you hold a currency balance in your account you can spend it with no further charges.
THB and 21 other currencies are supported for holding and exchange
No fee to spend a currency you hold on your card
3% cross border fee if you spend in an unsupported currency
80 THB ATM withdrawal fee
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 THB.
- 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 Thailand
|Pros of using prepaid travel cards when travelling overseas
|Cons of using prepaid travel cards when travelling overseas
✅ 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?
Getting your prepaid travel card might be free, but some accounts have ongoing charges which you can pay to unlock extra services or higher no fee transaction limits.
There’s no charge to get a Post Office travel prepaid card, but you may have to pay a fee or currency conversion charge when you top up. Monese has several different plan options including one which gets you the card for free (delivery charges can apply), and others with ongoing fees to consider.
How to choose the best travel prepaid card for travelling overseas?
The best prepaid travel card for Thailand depends on your spending patterns. The Post Office Travel Money Card has the advantage that you can convert your money to THB and see your budget instantly. However if you don’t do this, you might end up paying a 3% fee. Monese has different plan types, so has the flexibility to allow you to pick the one you want - but you can’t hold a THB balance.
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.
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 Thailand
With any credit card you’ll need to check your eligibility and make an application which can include a credit check. You’ll be approved or declined based on credit score, and your credit history can also change the interest charged and the maximum credit you’re offered. Overall, credit cards can be safe and convenient, but often more expensive than a debit or prepaid card.
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 Thailand
|Pros of using credit cards when travelling overseas
|Cons of using credit cards when travelling overseas
✅ 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 Thailand?
There’s no single best travel credit card for Thailand. Choosing a card with no annual fee can be a good idea to avoid ongoing costs, but you’ll also want to look at the interest rate different providers will offer you if you don’t expect to repay your bill monthly. Some travel credit cards also offer some options for earning rewards or cash back, although you’ll need to make sure that the rewards on offer outweigh any potential costs.
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.
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 Thailand?
Thailand is super popular on the backpacking trail, as you can do a lot for a relatively low budget - but there’s also plenty of places to find high end luxury, too. The amount of money you’ll need in Thailand really depends on what you’re planning on getting up to - which means you can set your budget according to your personal preferences. Here’s a quick look at some common costs in Thailand:
|✈️ Flights to Thailand
|At the time of writing (November 2023), flights are available for Spring 2024 starting from about 500 GBP return
|Hostels can be found for 10 GBP a night; high end places are plentiful too, though - so you can spend much more if you’d like to
|🥣 Lunch in a restaurant
|3 course meal for 2 in a mid-range restaurant will cost around 20 GBP on average
|Local transportation can cost under 0.7 GBP a ticket. Taxis should cost about 1.5 GBP a mile - but you may need to haggle
Conclusion: Which travel money card is best for Thailand?
There’s no single best travel money card for Thailand. But as it’s usually a good idea to have several different ways to pay when you travel, it could be a smart plan to get a couple of specific travel card options to suit different spending needs.
For example, you could pick up a Wise travel debit card for convenient, low cost spending and withdrawals with a THB holding balance, as well as a Monese travel prepaid card to use for free currency conversion to your specific plan limit. Consider also picking up a travel credit card like the Barclays Rewards Visa for earning cash back and using as a payment guarantee when you check into a hotel or hire a car, tuk tuk or bike. That way you’d be covered for all eventualities.
FAQ - Best travel cards for Thailand
Can you withdraw cash with a credit card in Thailand?
Yes. You can use your credit card to make an ATM withdrawal at any ATM in Thailand 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 Thailand?
You can use debit cards in Thailand wherever card payments and your network are supported - that’ll usually be 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 Thai baht 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 Thailand, 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 Thailand?
Paying for things with a specialist travel debit, prepaid or credit card in Thailand is most convenient. However, cards aren’t always accepted so having a few options for payment is a good plan. 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.