Thomas Cook Travel Card Review - 2023
Thomas Cook offers a travel money card as part of its ‘Extras’ package for travellers. The card promoted by Thomas Cook is the Caxton Currency Card, which is issued in partnership with Caxton and PSI-Pay Limited. Thomas Cook/Caxton offer a couple of different prepaid travel money card options - if you’re trying to decide if they’ll suit you, this guide is for you.
We’ll cover the Thomas Cook travel card options, including key features, benefits, fees and limits. Plus, we'll also look at the Wise international prepaid card and the Revolut debit card for comparison.
Thomas Cook travel card: key features
Thomas Cook is a popular UK travel agent, offering flights, package deals, hotel stays and more. So it’s natural that they also have ways to help travellers sort their holiday money - including a travel money card issued via Caxton.
Caxton has a couple of different Currency Cards - in this guide we’ll walk through the features of the main prepaid Mastercard Currency Card - but you can also switch to a Caxton Red Card if you want a different set of features. The Caxton Red Currency Card has an annual fee of 55 GBP, but unlocks some extras like fee free domestic payments.
Let’s start with a quick overview of the pros and cons of the standard Thomas Cook/Caxton Currency Card:
✅ No foreign transaction fee to spend currencies you hold
✅ Up to 15 currencies supported
✅ Mastercard for global acceptance
✅ No annual fee
✅ No load and reload fee (currency exchange markups may apply)
❌Domestic payment and withdrawal fees of 1.5 GBP
❌ 2.49% fee to spend currencies you don’t hold
❌Account closure and inactivity fees apply
❌ 300 GBP maximum ATM withdrawal per 24 hours
The Thomas Cook/Caxton prepaid Mastercard can hold 15 different currencies, with no fee to load funds in the first place. Once you have the currency you need in your wallet you can spend with no POS or ATM fees overseas - however if you don’t have the currency you need, or if you don’t hold enough balance in that currency, a foreign transaction fee applies.
The Caxton card doesn’t have the same breadth of currency coverage as travel debit cards from specialist providers like Wise and Revolut. That means you’ll need to double check if the currency you need is supported - plus, it's worth looking at the Caxton exchange rates, as these may include a markup to switch from GBP to the required destination currency. Specialist services may be able to offer a better exchange rate, making it cheaper to spend when you’re abroad. Wise currency conversion, for example, uses the mid-market exchange rate with a low conversion charge from 0.41%. More on that later.
Who is the Thomas Cook travel card for?
The Thomas Cook Currency Card supports up to 15 different currencies. Supported currencies include euro (EUR), pound sterling (GBP), US dollars (USD), Australian dollars (AUD), New Zealand dollars (NZD), Canadian dollars (CAD), Hong Kong dollars (HKD), Hungarian forint (HUF), South African rand (ZAR), Swiss franc (CHF), Polish zloty (PLN), Danish Krone (DKK), Norwegian krone (NKK), Swedish krona (SEK) and Japanese yen (JPY).
That means that the Thomas Cook/Caxton Currency Card can be a good bet if you’re headed to any of these popular destinations and regions. Read on for all you need to decide if it’s right for you.
What is the Thomas Cook travel card?
The Thomas Cook Currency Card is a prepaid Mastercard issued through a partnership with Caxton. In fact, Caxton has a couple of different currency card options, including the standard prepaid Mastercard (which we’re covering in detail in this guide), and the Red card which requires an upgrade to pay an annual fee - but comes with some cheaper transactions, too.
With either card, you can hold and spend a selection of 15 currencies. Once you’ve topped up, it’s free to spend a currency you hold - but remember, with the standard card, there’s a fee for domestic transactions in GBP, and you may pay a currency exchange markup when you switch from pounds to load your card in a foreign currency.
Is the Thomas Cook travel card a multi-currency card?
Yes. The Thomas Cook/Caxton Currency Card is a multi-currency card which supports holding and exchange in 15 currencies.
Alternatives to Thomas Cook travel card
The Thomas Cook/Caxton travel card covers 15 currencies. If the one you want isn’t supported - or if you just want to compare a few options to make sure you get a good deal, shopping around is a smart move.
Let’s look at the Thomas Cook travel card alongside a couple of other popular alternatives:
|Thomas Cook travel card||Wise debit card||Revolut debit card|
|Availability||Order online||Order online or in-app||Order online or in-app|
|Card order fee||No fee - minimum 10 GBP initial top up required||7 GBP||No fee|
|Monthly fees||No fee||No fee||0 GBP - 12.99 GBP|
|International Money Transfers||No transfer fee - exchange rate markups may apply, send to 195+ countries||Fees from 0.41%, 70 + countries covered||Fees from 0.3% to 2%, 40+ countries covered|
No Thomas Cook fee for international withdrawals; ATM operator may impose their own fee
1.5 GBP domestic fee to withdraw in the UK
|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 an unsupported currency||2.49%||From 0.41%||Free to plan limit, then 0.5% fair usage fee applies|
|Supported Currencies for holding and exchange||15 currencies supported||50+ currencies supported||25+ currencies supported|
|Inactivity fee||2 GBP/month||No fee||No fee|
|Closure fee||1.5 GBP redemption fee||No fee||No fee|
|Business Accounts||Not available with Thomas Cook - Caxton may offer business services, depending on requirements||Available||Available|
Information taken from Thomas Cook Currency Card desktop site and Terms and conditions (Caxton standard Prepaid Mastercard - other Caxton card options also exist, which have their own fees), Wise pricing page, Revolut international transfer fees.pdf) and Revolut UK; correct at time of writing, 17th May 2023
Ultimately whether or not the Thomas Cook/Caxton travel card suits you will depend on your specific needs. The Thomas Cook Currency Card lets you spend in 15 supported currencies, but depending on the exchange rate you’re offered to switch pounds to the currency you need, it may not be the best possible value in the UK market. Shopping around is the smart way to make sure you get a good deal.
Wise offers flexible multi-currency accounts and linked prepaid international cards, which you can set up and manage right from your phone or laptop. Open an account online and hold 50+ currencies, spend in 170+ countries with your Wise card, and send payments to 70+ countries easily. There are no ongoing fees, no inactivity charges and no redemption fee - plus all currency exchange uses the mid-market exchange rate and low fees starting at just 0.41%.
Open a basic Revolut account with no monthly fees, or pay a monthly charge to unlock additional benefits and free transactions. All accounts come with a linked card and can hold more than 25 currencies, with some currency exchange which uses the mid-market exchange rate, depending on the limits set out in your account plan. Once you’ve exhausted your account’s free exchange, fair usage charges of 0.5% apply.
Thomas Cook travel card fees & spending limits
First, the limits associated with using your Thomas Cook/Caxton Currency Card:
|Spending & topping up limits||Thomas Cook Currency Card|
|Minimum load||50 GBP|
|Maximum load||10,000 GBP|
|Maximum balance at any one time||12,000 GBP|
|Maximum annual balance||50,000 GBP|
|Maximum number of loads per day||2|
|Maximum cash withdrawals||300 GBP in 24 hours|
|Maximum number of point of sale transactions||20|
|Maximum number of ATM withdrawals||2|
And here are the costs of using the Thomas Cook/Caxton card when you’re travelling:
|Fees & charges||Thomas Cook Currency Card|
|Load/reload fee||No fee|
|ATM cash withdrawals|
No fee internationally
1.5 GBP fee in the UK
|ATM balance enquiry||0.3 GBP|
|Over the counter cash withdrawal||4.5 GBP + 2%|
|Foreign transaction fee||2.49% to spend a currency you don’t hold|
|Closure fee||1.5 GBP cash out fee|
|Maintenance fee||No maintenance fee, but a 2 GBP/month inactivity fee applies after 12 months of inactivity|
Information correct at time of writing - 17th May 2023
When you order your Thomas Cook/Caxton Currency Card you’ll need to make an initial deposit of at least 10 GBP. Minimum loads after that rise to 50 GBP, or the equivalent in another supported currency. Once you have a balance you can switch to a different currency for spending overseas - but the exchange rate used to do so may include a markup.
You’ll be able to see the exchange rate being used before you confirm the transaction, and can check it against the mid-market rate that you’ll find on Google.
If you’re spending a currency you don’t hold, or if you don’t hold enough balance in the currency you’re spending, your card will convert your balance automatically, using the Mastercard rate and a foreign transaction fee of 2.49%.
How to get a Thomas Cook travel card
To get a Thomas Cook/Caxton Currency Card you’ll need to be over 18 and a UK resident. You can order your card online, and will need to make a minimum opening load when you do so.
What documents and information will you need?
When you apply for a Thomas Cook travel card you need to provide evidence of who you are and where you live, for verification purposes. This usually means uploading a photo ID document, like your passport, and a proof of address - such as a utility bill in your name.
What happens when the card expires?
If you have a live Caxton Currency Card which is coming close to its expiry date, you’ll get an email at your registered address and you’ll be asked to confirm your details, including your shipping address. Once you’ve done this, Caxton will post a new card to you, and the balance of your expiring card will be transferred to the new one automatically.
How to use a Thomas Cook travel card?
You can either top up your Caxton Currency Card in advance of travel, or you can add more money through the Caxton app easily once you’re already on your holiday. Once you have a balance in your account, you can spend up to the balance anywhere you see the Mastercard logo being displayed.
How to withdraw cash with a Thomas Cook travel card?
Withdraw cash with your Thomas Cook travel card at an ATM or over the counter in select outlets. Over the counter cash comes with high fees of 4.5 GBP + 2% of the value withdrawn. There’s no Caxton fee to make an international ATM withdrawal, although the operator of the specific ATM might add their own charges.
Is the card safe?
Yes. Thomas Cook issues travel money cards through a partnership with Caxton, which is registered and authorised in the UK by the FCA. As the cards are Mastercard branded, there’s also oversight from another specialist company - PSI-Pay Limited. All in all, this means you can rest assured that the Caxton/Thomas Cook card is safe as long as you take normal precautions like keeping your PIN private.
How to use the Thomas Cook travel card overseas?
Use your Thomas Cook travel card to spend and withdraw anywhere you see the Mastercard symbol. Bear in mind that you’ll need to have enough balance of the local currency wherever you are, to avoid paying the foreign transaction fee of 2.49%.
Conclusion: is the Thomas Cook travel card worth it?
The Thomas Cook Currency Card, issued through Caxton, is a handy card to hold and spend 15 currencies, with no Caxton ATM fees, no annual fee and no charge to spend a currency you hold. However, you may pay fees in the form of a currency exchange markup when you switch from pounds to the currency you need for your holiday - plus there’s a 2.49% foreign transaction fee if you're spending a currency you don’t hold in your account.
Before you sign up to the Thomas Cook card, it’s worth comparing the options against a couple of flexible multi-currency accounts available from alternatives like Wise and Revolut.
Wise lets you open an account online or with your phone, to hold 50+ currencies, and spend in 170+ countries with your Wise card. Currency exchange uses the mid-market rate with fees from 0.41%. Revolut also has handy multi-currency accounts which can hold 25+ currencies, with linked payment cards. You’ll get currency exchange at the mid-market rate to your plan limit, with a fair usage fee of 0.5% after that.
Thomas Cook travel card review FAQ
The Thomas Cook travel card is issued through Caxton, on the Mastercard network. You can hold and exchange 15 popular currencies, but bear in mind that a 2.49% fee applies to spend a currency you don’t hold in your Caxton account. As a comparison on flexibility and fees, check out alternatives from providers like Wise and Revolut.
The Thomas Cook/Caxton Currency Card is designed for international use. There’s no POS or ATM fee when you’re overseas, but domestic payments and withdrawals attract fees. For alternatives, including accounts you can use fee free when spending GBP at home, take a look at the multi-currency accounts from services like Wise or Revolut.
Caxton has a couple of different card options - if the standard card isn’t right for you, there's also the Red account which has a 55 GBP annual fee, but more features. Or, you might consider travel debit cards from providers like Wise or Revolut for a broader selection of supported currencies with accounts on offer that have no ongoing fees.