Why Fair Fx vs Credit Card?

Discussion in 'UK Trip Planning Forum' started by Magic Megadegs, Sep 28, 2012.

  1. Magic Megadegs

    Magic Megadegs Mouseketeer

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    Sincere apologies if this has already been covered lots on here but I am seeing a lot of you experienced folk talking about loading a Fair Fx card rather than using credit cards whilst away - why is this? Does it provide a better exchange rate etc?
     
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  3. UKDEB

    UKDEB <font color=CC33FF>Found the Tag Fairy's hangout<b Moderator

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    All it does is fix the exchange rate at the point of purchase. It's impossible to know whether or not it will end up being better or worse. It gives you certainty, that's all. In that way, it doesn't differ from buying currency or travellers' cheques in advance. I worry that the company could go belly up. At least with hard cash, you just need to make sure it doesn't get stolen or lost!
     
  4. wayneg

    wayneg Moderator Moderator

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    Main difference is FXcard you pre-load and fix your rate each time you top up, Credit card you have to accept the rate on the day you use it.
    Today topping up FarirFx card you would get 1.58 if you used a fee free creid card today you would get $1.616.
    Personally I prefer a credit card, use their(Post Office) money then pay in full when I get home, I would rather do that than load my money onto a card. Others prefer the opposite.
     
  5. Magic Megadegs

    Magic Megadegs Mouseketeer

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    Thanks guys, I couldn't get my head around it - I am a credit card camp I think because of the insurance etc if anything dodgy happens. Thank you - it does seem a little like travellers cheques as you say. A colleague of mine just had one for his trip in the summer but he had a little notebook and pen so he could log what he spent in case it ran out of money I think - as I say I didn't quite get it. I can see now why some people like it then, it must be a good way to budget / save etc. I think I'll stick to cash / cc then, thank you x
     
  6. UKDEB

    UKDEB <font color=CC33FF>Found the Tag Fairy's hangout<b Moderator

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    Exactly. That's the sole advantage. Like Wayne, though, I'd rather take my chances on the exchange rate and borrow the credit card company's money, interest free. We take some cash and put the rest on cards. i can't be doing with travellers' cheques or pre-loaded cards.
     
  7. 2Tiggies

    2Tiggies <font color=blue>I am subscribing to this thread j

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    I did that this year and it worked great with the Post Office Credit card. I still use my FairFX and have had no problems with it. Everything is a risk in the grand scheme of things - you just have to make sure you take a calculated risk :)

    I used the FairFX to preload for buying party tickets and having items shipped to my resort and when I got to WDW I bought gift cards with the funds on there (we didn't leave Disney property and I also had $ in cash so felt I was fine to do that). It worked out well for me as I didn't need to carry around ID with me to show for making purchases; only once each time I loaded a gift card. That also gave me the advantage of knowing the balance on the cards at any time without checking online
     
  8. madmumof2

    madmumof2 DIS Veteran

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    I use the post office pre paid cards. A credit card isn't for everyone. Some don't like borrowing money and would rather save until they can afford to buy, some can't get a credit card for whatever reason.

    Travel cards are good when you like to save your own money rather than borrowing someone elses, helps you budget as you know you can only spend what you have, more motivation to save towards your holiday and no big bill when you get back :D
     
  9. 2Tiggies

    2Tiggies <font color=blue>I am subscribing to this thread j

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    :thumbsup2 All of the above is correct. However I do want to raise a point for anyone who would prefer to use a credit card and may be put off by the foregoing:
    You can still save your spending money and set it aside and transfer it back into the card once the trip is over. It does mean that you need to keep closer tabs on what you're spending so that you stay within your allocated budget and don't have to pay anything back, but it does work and is an alternative option.

    Plenty choices and not really a right or wrong way to do it - just what works best for you
     
  10. tigger137

    tigger137 "Smile and wave boys, just smile and wave ..."

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    One option which rarely gets a mention is using your bank debit card.

    I take some cash and use credit cards. But I get further cash from ATMs using my bank debit card, just as I would at home. There is a fee to withdraw cash (as I believe there is when using pre-paid cards) but I get the financial exchange rate rather than tourist which I find works out better overall. I wouldn't dream of having large amounts of cash either on me or in the house at home, I withdraw it from the ATM as needed. So I do the same in the US, although admittedly in larger amounts because I spend more on holiday. ;)

    I also use my debit card in some shops in the US, usually when grocery shopping. The only problem I've had is that if the machine at the till says "credit or debit", for some reason I have to press credit even though it is debit otherwise it won't work. And just like in the UK, I can get cash back at the till and no fee is charged.
     
  11. madmumof2

    madmumof2 DIS Veteran

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    And I'd imagine you could set some sort of limit on a credit card as well? So you're still only 'allowed' to spend a set amount rather than overspending?
     
  12. wayneg

    wayneg Moderator Moderator

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    Its rarely mantioned because its generally a bad way to spend in the US. You need to check very carefully the fees involved. I personally bank with the Halifax, if I used my debit card I would be charged 2.75% & £1.50 everytime I used it. As I use my card multiple times a day I would be charged a small fortune with them.
    Often cards are advertised as no fees but they have a coversion fee worked into the rate, these fees are harder to spot. Martin Lewis has a good guide on his website but its down just now.

    Buying goods and services in a foreign currency
    If you use your debit card to withdraw cash or pay for goods and services in a currency other than sterling, the exchange rate we use will be
    the Visa Reference Exchange Rate. We will charge a foreign exchange fee of 2.75% of the amount of the transaction and a £1.50 fee for each
    payment or withdrawal.
     
  13. Stitch's Greatest Fa

    Stitch's Greatest Fa DIS Veteran

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    I too prefer a credit card - gets me Tesco or M&S points! Or of course an Amex could get you Avios!
     
  14. 2Tiggies

    2Tiggies <font color=blue>I am subscribing to this thread j

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    You could

    You could request the bank to drop your limit if you wish, or you can just impose the restriction yourself, which I found to work very easily. I mentioned previously thread that I used my FairFX and Credit Card to put cash onto Disney gift cards so it was always round numbers, say $100 - 200 on each gift card and made it easy to keep track, and not have to worry about the many smaller transactions on the gift cards, where they show the balance remaining on the card on each receipt. It also saved me carrying my bank cards and ID everywhere, unless I thought I might need them. I just charged gift cards with cash at the resort and put my credit card and FairFX into the room safe
     
  15. Magic Megadegs

    Magic Megadegs Mouseketeer

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    I like that plan 2Tiggies especially for the little people if it gives them a running balance in each receipt! Can I ore order Disney Gift Cards on the phone or just stock them up once there?
     
  16. 2Tiggies

    2Tiggies <font color=blue>I am subscribing to this thread j

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    As far as I know you have to get them there but I could be wrong. I prefer to get them there as it's one less thing to leave behind here :lmao:

    My 10 year old used gift cards for her money again this trip and it worked very well. She kept tabs on her own balance and had to work her budget to last the whole trip and it worked really well
     
  17. iHEARTflorida

    iHEARTflorida DIS Veteran

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    CC for purchases over the counter, restaurants, gifts, hotels etc...

    then use a pre-pay card to take cash out at ATM's

    as CCs will charge you daily to take cash out on it.
     
  18. tigger137

    tigger137 "Smile and wave boys, just smile and wave ..."

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    Personally I find it a good way to spend in the US. I bank with HSBC and find that even with the various charges involved, the end result - ie the amount in sterling on my bank statement for each transaction, converted to work out the exchange rate - compares favourably with exchange rates on credit cards or when buying cash.

    I think perhaps that the various charges etc put people off and make it seem a bad option when that may not necessarily be the case. But, as with everything, I always look at the total overall cost, and for me using my debit card works out better financially. I certainly would not do it if it didn't work in my favour - I'm Yorkshire born and bred! ;)
     
  19. wayneg

    wayneg Moderator Moderator

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    HSBC are not quite as bad as Halifax, they charge 2.75% but not no fixed fee per transaction.

    This last trip we spent £2,000 over 83 transactions:
    Using Halifax Debit card would have cost me £179.50 in fees
    HSBC Debit card £55 fees
    Post Office Credit card no fees.

    To me £55 fees on £2,000 is high when I can use a card that is free but to others it is not, 2.75% is acceptable.
     
  20. UKDEB

    UKDEB <font color=CC33FF>Found the Tag Fairy's hangout<b Moderator

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    But you also have to take into account the exchange rate and that's something you can't predict. It might work out it your favour overall, including the fees, or it could go against you.
     
  21. bazzanoid

    bazzanoid where'sthespacebar?

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    Does anyone apart from me just take a big fat envelope of $100s, $50s and $20s with them anymore? :rotfl2:

    (That said last time I went i had a pre-paid Paypal VISA card to use for the rental swipe and my food / gas budget :rolleyes1)
     

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