Post Office Travel Card review
The Post Office Travel Card is a prepaid travel card you can load in cash or online, to switch to the currency you need for spending and withdrawals. It’s not linked to your regular bank account, and can be managed from your smartphone, for secure spending across 23 currencies.
Before you order a Post Office Travel Card check out this full review - we’ll look at what the card can do, how to order your card and how much it’ll cost.
And to help you compare we’ll also touch on Post Office Travel Card alternatives like Wise and Starling, which may offer cheaper and more flexible options for taking travel money abroad.
TL;DR - it's a solid prepaid card
- The card supports most major currencies for holidays, including Euros (Europe), Lira (Turkey) and UAE Dirhams (Dubai)
- Several top-up methods, with the option of doing so online or in-store
- Only convert what you want to spend; good for holiday budgeting
However, there are some downsides.
- There are better exchange rates available with other travel cards
- You'll get a worse exchange rate (a.k.a "buy-back rates") when converting leftover foreign currency to pounds
Find out more about the card on the Post Office website or click the button below to purchase a card.
Not sure yet? Continue reading to decide whether this is the right prepaid card for you.
What is the Post Office Travel Money Card?
The Post Office Travel Money Card is a prepaid card you can top up in cash or from your bank account, in any of 23 supported currencies.
Once you have funds on your card you can use it as you would a regular debit card, for contactless and mobile payments, and cash withdrawals. There’s no fee to spend currencies you hold on your card, although other transaction fees do apply depending on how you use the account.
Use your Post Office card to buy travel money before you head off on holiday, or top up as you go online.
As pictured, you can also manage, view and freeze your card in the Post Office app for security.
How does it work?
- Top up your card in cash at a Post Office or online by purchasing one of 23 different currencies
- If you choose to top up in GBP and convert later, you’ll be charged an administration fee of 1.5%, from a minimum of 3 GBP up to a maximum of 50 GBP
- Exchange rates are shown in the Post Office app, and may include a markup on the market exchange rate - but rates often improve if you top up more
- It’s free to spend currencies you hold. You can also spend unsupported currencies, but a foreign transaction fee of 3% will apply
It’s worth noting that the Post Office exchange rates are shown in the Post Office app before you convert your funds. They may include a markup, which is an extra fee added into the rate applied to switch to the currency you need.
Another thing worth noting is that the exchange rate gets better for higher top up amounts - meaning you’ll pay a smaller markup the more you add to your card.
Using a markup is pretty common but does make it tricky to see what you’re really paying for your foreign currency transactions.
Spending limits and card fees
Before you order a Post Office Travel Card it’s good to know a bit about the fees and limits that apply to card usage.
First, let’s run through the spending limits.
|Spending & topping up limits|
|Minimum load||50 GBP|
|Maximum load||5,000 GBP|
|Maximum balance at any one time||10,000 GBP|
|Maximum annual balance||30,000 GBP|
|Maximum value of cash withdrawals||Set by day, and varied by currency - 350 GBP or 450 EUR for example|
|Maximum number of cash withdrawals||3 per day, including counter services and ATM withdrawals|
|Maximum daily transactions||40 per day|
|Maximum daily loads||3 per day across all top up channels|
When you transact with your Post Office Travel Money Card, there are also fees to pay.
While these do vary slightly by currency, they’re roughly similar.
Here are the key fees to know about:
|Fees & charges|
|Charge for GBP top ups||1.5% - from 3 GBP - 50 GBP|
|Cash withdrawals||Varies by currency - 1.5 GBP or 2 EUR for example|
|Foreign transaction fee||3% when spending a currency you don’t hold on the card|
|Closure fee||5 GBP|
|Maintenance fee||2 GBP (Applies from 12 months of no usage)|
How do I get a Post Office Travel Money Card?
It’s easy to get your Post Office Travel Card online or in person by calling into a Post Office near you. Here’s what you’ll need to do.
- Head to the Post Office website
- Select "Order Your Card >"
- Top up in your preferred currency - there’s a minimum top up of 50 GBP, through to a maximum of 5,000 GBP
- Input personal details following the prompts
- Delivery of your card will take 2-3 days by post
- Head to your local Post Office branch
- Show a valid form of ID (driving licence, passport or EEA ID card)
- Apply in branch and load your card
What happens when the card expires?
The expiry date for your card will be printed on the back of the card - usually it’s valid for 3 years from the point you order it.
Once your card has expired you’ll pay a monthly inactivity fee of £2 per month if you don’t redeem your balance within 12 months of the card expiring. This fee continues until there’s no remaining balance, at which point your account will be closed.
What are the alternatives?
If you’re not sure whether the Post Office Card is right for you, check out a few alternatives to see which gives you the best balance of cost and convenience.
The Wise card allows you to hold and exchange 50+ currencies, and spend in 170+ countries. It's a fully-fledged debit card, meaning it works at home just as well as it does abroad.
There’s no markup on the exchange rate, and they are super transparent about the fees (usually around 0.4% for foreign spending) they'll charge you.
The Starling debit card is a good option for international spending as there are no foreign transaction fees and no ATM fees.
You can sign up entirely online for an account with no monthly fees which you can manage from your phone, with instant notifications and a whole range of banking features.