Hays travel card review
You can pick up a Hays Travel Mastercard in a branch of Hays travel in the UK, or you can order a card online for convenience. Once you’ve got your card you can hold up to 16 different currencies in different currency ‘wallets’, for spending and withdrawals when you’re overseas.
This guide works through all you need to know about the Hays travel card, including the Hays travel card key features, benefits, fees and limits. To help you decide if the Hays card is right for you, we'll also look at the Wise international prepaid card and the Revolut debit card for comparison.
Hays travel card: key features
The Hays Travel Mastercard lets you hold and exchange a good selection of currencies which cover popular holiday destinations from the UK. However, if you’re spending a currency you don’t hold, there are fairly high fees to consider - plus some extra charges and limits you’ll want to know about.
Let’s start with a quick overview of the pros and cons of the Hays Travel Mastercard:
✅ No foreign transaction fee to spend currencies you hold
✅ Up to 16 currencies supported
✅ Mastercard for global acceptance
✅ Convenient and safer than carrying cash
✅ No fee to top up a foreign currency wallet (exchange rate markup may apply)
❌Top up fees apply for adding a GBP balance
❌ Variable ATM fees based on currencies involved
❌5.75% fee if you don’t hold the currency you’re spending in
❌ No rewards or cash back opportunities
The Hays card has a few key benefits. It’s not connected to your regular GBP account which can be safer compared to using your regular bank card when you’re abroad - and you’ll be able to use it to make ATM withdrawals when you’re away, which is also more secure than carrying a large amount of cash. However, there are fees you’ll need to know about - including exchange rate markups and a foreign transaction fee if you’re spending a currency you don’t hold in the account.
Travel debit cards from providers with broader multi-currency account options, like Wise and Revolut, can make it easier and cheaper to spend when you’re abroad. With Wise for example, instead of a foreign transaction fee when you spend a currency you don’t hold overseas, you’ll just pay a low conversion charge which can be as little as 0.41% - and Revolut accounts may qualify for some currency conversion with no fee at all, depending on your account tier.
Who is the Hays travel card for?
The Hays Travel Mastercard supports up to 16 different currencies, which cover many popular holiday destinations from the UK. Supported currencies include euro (EUR), pound sterling (GBP), US dollars (USD), Australian dollars (AUD), New Zealand dollars (NZD), Canadian dollars (CAD), South African rand (ZAR), Turkish lira (TRY), Swiss franc (CHF), UAE dirham (AED), Mexican peso (MXN), Polish zloty (PLN), Czech koruna (CZK), Swedish krona (SEK) and Japanese yen (JPY).
If you’re headed to any of these countries or regions, the Hays travel card may suit you - although it’s worth reading on to check out the fees and limits you’ll need to bear in mind if you do decide to get one.
What is the Hays travel card?
The Hays Travel Mastercard is a prepaid Mastercard which can be used to hold and spend a selection of currencies. There’s no fee to spend a currency you hold - although you may pay a fee in the form of a currency exchange markup when you switch from pounds to the currency you need on your travels.
Is the Hays travel card a multi-currency card?
The Hays travel card is a multi-currency card which lets you hold a balance in multiple foreign currencies. Around 16 currencies are supported, although it’s worth remembering when you top up you may pay a fee to switch from GBP to the currency you need.
We’ll compare the Hays Travel Mastercard with a couple of other cards including the Wise card and the Revolut card a little later. Both of these providers have a broader selection of supported currencies, which means you can easily add money in pounds and switch to the currency you need in advance, or just let the card do it for you, with relatively low overall fees and a fair exchange rate.
Alternatives to Hays travel card
The Hays travel card supports a good range of popular currencies, but it’s also got quite a few fees to consider before you pick one up.
To help you decide if the Hays travel card is right for you, let’s look at it alongside a couple of other popular alternatives:
|Hays travel card||Wise debit card||Revolut debit card|
|Availability||Pick up in a Hays store or order online||Order online or in-app||Order online or in-app|
|Card order fee||No fee||7 GBP||No fee|
|Monthly fees||No fee||No fee||0 GBP - 12.99 GBP|
|International Money Transfers||Not available||Fees from 0.41%, 70 + countries covered||Fees from 0.3% to 2%, 40+ countries covered|
|International ATM withdrawals||Fees vary based on currency being withdrawn||2 withdrawals to 200 GBP/month fee free, then 0.5 GBP + 1.75% after that||Some free withdrawals based on account plan, 2% after that|
|Currency Exchange||Mastercard rate||Mid-market rate||Mid-market rate to plan limit|
|Fee to spend a currency you don’t hold in your account||5.75%||From 0.41%||Free to plan limit, then 0.5% fair usage fee applies|
|Supported Currencies for holding and exchange||16 currencies supported||50+ currencies supported||25+ currencies supported|
|Inactivity fee||2 GBP/month||No fee||No fee|
|Closure fee||6 GBP||No fee||No fee|
|Business Accounts||Not available||Available||Available|
Information taken from Hays Travel Mastercard desktop site and Terms and conditions, Wise pricing page, Revolut international transfer fees.pdf) and Revolut UK; correct at time of writing, 16th May 2023
You’ve got a pretty strong range of options for travel cards if you’re planning on picking one up in the UK. Comparing a few is the best way to make sure you get the best available based on your specific needs. The Hays Travel Mastercard is a handy option as you can collect one in store, and add any of the 16 or so supported currencies, but it may not be the absolute best value out there. Shopping around is the smart way to make sure you get a good deal.
Create a Wise account online or through the Wise app to access a range of convenient features, including the option to securely hold and exchange over 50 currencies. You can also use your Wise card in over 170 countries, allowing you to spend with confidence wherever you go, with the mid-market exchange rate and low fees starting at just 0.41%.
Revolut offers a range of accounts with different features and pricing options. You can choose a basic account with no monthly fees or opt for higher tier plans that come with monthly charges but provide additional benefits and free transactions. Regardless of the account type, you will receive a linked card and can hold more than 25 currencies.
When it comes to currency exchange, Revolut uses the mid-market exchange rate to the limits set out in your account plan, with fair usage charges after that.
Hays travel card fees & spending limits
First, the limits associated with using your Hays travel card:
|Spending & topping up limits||Hays Travel mastercard|
|Minimum load||50 GBP|
|Maximum load||2,500 GBP in app - 5,000 GBP online or in a branch|
|Maximum balance at any one time||5,000 GBP|
|Maximum annual balance||30,000 GBP|
|Maximum cash withdrawals||500 GBP in 24 hours|
|Maximum daily transactions||3,000 GBP in 24 hours|
Let’s look at the costs of using the Hays card when you’re travelling:
|Fees & charges||Hays Travel mastercard|
|Charge for GBP top ups||2%|
|Cash withdrawals||Based on currency withdrawn|
|Foreign transaction fee||5.75% to spend a currency you don’t hold|
|Closure fee||6 GBP cash out fee|
|Maintenance fee||No maintenance fee, but a 2 GBP/month inactivity fee applies after 18 months of inactivity|
Information correct at time of writing - 16th May 2023
When you get a Hays Travel Mastercard you can top up in pounds or in a foreign currency supported by the card. When you top up in pounds, there’s a 2% fee - and when you add money in a foreign currency, the chances are that there’ll be a markup added to the exchange rate used to switch your pounds to the required currency. That’s also a fee, but it’s a bit trickier to spot. Compare the rate offered by Hays against the mid-market rate you can get from Google, to see how much markup is added.
Once you have a balance in a foreign currency it’s free to spend it. However, if you’re spending in an unsupported currency, or if you don’t have enough balance in the currency required to cover the costs of your purchase, you’ll pay a 5.75% foreign transaction fee.
How to get a Hays travel card
To get a Hays Travel Mastercard you’ll need to be over 18 and a UK resident. You can collect a card in a Hays store or order online.
What documents and information you’ll need
When you apply for a Hays travel card you may be asked to show some proof of identity and address. This is part of the verification process - it’s required by law, and used to keep customers and their accounts safe.
How to use a Hays travel card?
Top up your Hays card online or in a Hays branch, to make sure you have the currency you need when you’re away. You can then spend on your Hays travel card anywhere you see the Mastercard symbol. You may also be able to add your card to your preferred mobile wallet like Apple Pay or Google Pay.
You can also make cash withdrawals, with variable fees based on the currencies involved.
How to withdraw cash with a Hays travel card?
Withdraw cash with your Hays travel card as you would with any other debit or credit card. There are variable fees based on the currency you’re withdrawing:
Is the card safe?
Yes. Hays issues travel money cards through a partnership with PrePay Technologies Limited, which is an Electronic Money Institute overseen by the FCA in the UK. The card is also issued under licence from Mastercard. By using an FCA regulated provider you’ll know the Hays travel card is covered by all relevant protections, and safe to use as long as you take normal common sense precautions like never sharing your PIN.
How to use the Hays travel card overseas?
To use your Hays card you’ll first need to add funds in the currency of your choice. Don’t forget, there’s a 5.75% fee if you don’t hold the currency you need to spend, so make sure you’ve got everything you need loaded into your account before you start shopping.
You can use your Hays travel card internationally, anywhere you see the Mastercard symbol. Mastercard is well supported globally, so the chances are that you’ll be able to use it wherever you’re headed. There are a few unsupported countries and regions, usually due to international sancthions - at the time of writing this includes Iran, North Korea and Crimea.
Conclusion: is the Hays travel card worth it?
The Hays Travel Mastercard is convenient as you can collect one in a Hays store, or order online. It also supports a pretty solid range of currencies which are commonly used by Brits when they travel. However, it’s worth comparing the fees and rates available with Hays to a few other providers before you sign up, as you may find it’s not the absolute best value travel card in the UK.
As a comparison, take a look at the flexible multi-currency accounts available from alternatives like Wise and Revolut. You can add funds in pounds and switch to the currency or currencies you need, often with the mid-market rate and low fees. If you don’t have the currency you need in your account there’s no high foreign transaction fee - instead your card will just autoconvert with the lowest available fee, based on the provider. With Wise that’s as little as 0.41%, while Revolut offers some fee free conversion, with 0.5% fair usage fees once you hit your plan limits.
Hays travel card review FAQ
The Hays travel card can hold and exchange 16 currencies. You can spend and make withdrawals anywhere you see the Mastercard logo - but it’s worth bearing in mind that a high 5.75% fee applies to spend a currency you don’t hold in your Hays account. If you want to compare your options to look for lower fees, check out alternatives from providers like Wise and Revolut.
The Hays travel card can be used at home and abroad anywhere you see the Mastercard symbol. It’s free to spend any currency you hold, with a 5.75% fee to spend an unsupported currency, or if you don’t have enough balance in the required currency to cover your purchase. If you want more currencies and a different fee structure which can work out cheaper, check out the multi-currency accounts from a service like Wise or Revolut.
If the Hays travel card isn’t right for you, there’s lots of choice out there. Have a look at travel debit cards from a provider like Wise or Revolut as a different option that can come with a broader selection of supported currencies - and, often, lower overall fees.