The Student Room Group

Travel Bank Card (Monzo,Revolut)

I’m travelling to South Africa in 2 weeks. I’ll need some money but not a lot as much of the trip is included in a price i’ve already paid. Will it work out best to get a travel bank card from monzo say with no cost for the card/transaction fees, or to exchange currency in the UK before I go, and exchange it back if I have any left when I come back.
Original post by fortified_shi
I’m travelling to South Africa in 2 weeks. I’ll need some money but not a lot as much of the trip is included in a price i’ve already paid. Will it work out best to get a travel bank card from monzo say with no cost for the card/transaction fees, or to exchange currency in the UK before I go, and exchange it back if I have any left when I come back.


Don't carry a lot of cash in South Africa - a debit/credit card is a much safer option. Have a look at the recommendations on the MSE website:

https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/credit-cards/travel-credit-cards/

I use the Chase debit card overseas - to withdraw cash and for card payments. The account was quick to open and you don't need to do a switch and close your existing bank account. You also get 1% cashback on your spending for a year.

With travel cards (revolut, monzo, etc.), check the fees for the card, if you go over the free cash withdrawal limit, and if you exchange at the weekend rather than during the week.
(edited 9 months ago)
Reply 2
My kids all use Revolut for travelling. Cash somewhere like South Africa isn’t advisable, and on top of that you’ll pay the tourist exchange rate twice, once to get the currency, and the second time when you change back to sterling. The Revolut and probably Monzo ( not sure about Monzo) in most circumstances uses the interbank rate and as such is much cheaper.
Original post by Euapp
My kids all use Revolut for travelling. Cash somewhere like South Africa isn’t advisable, and on top of that you’ll pay the tourist exchange rate twice, once to get the currency, and the second time when you change back to sterling. The Revolut and probably Monzo ( not sure about Monzo) in most circumstances uses the interbank rate and as such is much cheaper.

Thanks, I did some more reading and am getting a monzo card. They allow up to £200/month ATM withdrawal before any fees and there are no transaction fees, which is fine for my trip. I’m still taking some cash because I’ll be staying in a safari lodge and only the nearest town has an ATM, i’ll need a taxi to get there. I’m imagining most taxis around there will probably only take cash, if not I’d still like some to not get trapped. I’m staying a night in Johannesburg before flying to Port Elisabeth. Do you think with the small amount of cash I’ll be taking it’s best to exchange in the UK before I go, or take it out of my monzo card when in south africa, probably in or around one of the airports I’ll be in, or in the town near where I’m staying
(edited 9 months ago)
Reply 4
Original post by fortified_shi
Thanks, I did some more reading and am getting a monzo card. They allow up to £200/month ATM withdrawal before any fees and there are no transaction fees, which is fine for my trip. I’m still taking some cash because I’ll be staying in a safari lodge and only the nearest town has an ATM, i’ll need a taxi to get there. I’m imagining most taxis around there will probably only take cash, if not I’d still like some to not get trapped. I’m staying a night in Johannesburg before flying to Port Elisabeth. Do you think with the small amount of cash I’ll be taking it’s best to exchange in the UK before I go, or take it out of my monzo card when in south africa, probably in or around one of the airports I’ll be in, or in the town near where I’m staying


It’ll probably be cheaper to do it with your card, but you might feel more at ease with a small amount on you when you arrive. However £200/ month is nothing when travelling. I’m sure that there must be a better deal somewhere.
Reply 5
Original post by fortified_shi
Thanks, I did some more reading and am getting a monzo card. They allow up to £200/month ATM withdrawal before any fees and there are no transaction fees, which is fine for my trip. I’m still taking some cash because I’ll be staying in a safari lodge and only the nearest town has an ATM, i’ll need a taxi to get there. I’m imagining most taxis around there will probably only take cash, if not I’d still like some to not get trapped. I’m staying a night in Johannesburg before flying to Port Elisabeth. Do you think with the small amount of cash I’ll be taking it’s best to exchange in the UK before I go, or take it out of my monzo card when in south africa, probably in or around one of the airports I’ll be in, or in the town near where I’m staying


I did Monzo on my last trip a few years ago but I believe Chase are all the rage these days so I have one of those now. Really easy to sign up and you get 1% cashback on all spends plus near perfect exchange rates. They also only do a soft credit score on you.
Original post by Euapp
It’ll probably be cheaper to do it with your card, but you might feel more at ease with a small amount on you when you arrive. However £200/ month is nothing when travelling. I’m sure that there must be a better deal somewhere.

Yh that isn’t much at all but it suits this trip, because it’s 2 weeks and food and accommodation is included in a price i’ve paid already, it’s volunteering. Only £100-£250 is recommended and majority of that I wont even be using in cash I’ll just use the card
Reply 7
I'm planning a trip too! Personally, I prefer using a travel bank card like Monzo for its convenience and cost-effectiveness.
Reply 8
I also find a Monzo card could be a convenient option for traveling since it eliminates foreign transaction fees. However, I think it's always wise to carry some local currency as well. Before your departure, you can check the Rates currency charts https://rates.fm/ to monitor the GBP/ZAR exchange rate and decide whether to exchange a small amount of cash in the UK or wait until you arrive in South Africa. The charts can also help you plan your currency exchange strategy for any leftover rands upon your return. I always check this source and it often helps me make proper financial decisions.
(edited 3 weeks ago)

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