Guide to prepaid currency cards in the UK and abroad

Prepaid currency cards are the best way to control and manage spending while abroad. Here’s a little help picking the right option.


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Spend smarter with prepaid currency cards, the easy way to control and manage spending while abroad. Here’s the rundown on these clever cards to help you pick the right option.

What is a prepaid currency card?

Prepaid currency cards allow your team to pay for whatever they need (such as fuel or food) or withdraw cash from ATMs when overseas.

Rather than a traditional credit or debit card, where the money comes straight from your business account, you can load a prepaid currency card with as much as you need. This makes it one of the safest ways to carry money abroad.

If the card is lost or stolen, you’re only liable to lose whatever is loaded on the card (and only if it’s spent before you get a chance to lock the card or transfer the cash away).

The benefits of prepaid currency cards

  • Confident spending abroad: Rather than using their own money and needing to be reimbursed, team members can pay for what they need without the hassle.
  • Keep your budgets in check: Each card has its own limit; you only load up what you’re prepared for your teams to spend.
  • No credit history, no worries: Prepaid cards don’t need credit checks and you can have a new one five working days after ordering.
  • Have as many as you like: There’s no maximum circulation, so you can create a card for each employee or team.

Soldo offers spending controls, accounting integrations and more. Get started in as little as one working day >

Is it cheaper to use a prepaid currency card?

In most cases it works out cheaper to use a prepaid currency card than to use petty cash or company credit cards.

If your teams use a debit or credit card abroad, they may have to pay significant fees for transactions or cash withdrawals. Not only is it more expensive, it becomes even tougher to reimburse the full amount when they’re back in the office.

But with the right prepaid foreign currency card your staff can spend money abroad just as they would at home.

Soldo cards, for example, come with a lower transaction fee than most prepaid cards (1%). But they also come with a host of other features that other FX cards don’t.

Spend smarter with Soldo

With Soldo prepaid travel cards you can see every transaction in real time, and control spending down to the finest details with our spend management platform.

Most prepaid cards aren’t able to integrate with your existing accounting software. But Soldo isn’t most prepaid cards. We connect seamlessly with Xero, QuickBooks and NetSuite, and you can easily export data to your other accounting apps.

Plus, a stack of extra benefits:

  • Low transaction fees
    On payments you make abroad
  • Complete oversight
    Manage all cards from a single interface
  • Simpler expenses
    Your team can submit photos of receipts using the Soldo app
  • Track who spends what 
    To make reconciliation easy
  • No more overspending
    Set daily, weekly or monthly limits or rules to govern spending
  • Real-time insights
    View transactions on your live dashboard or opt for notifications
  • No credit checks
    There’s no impact on your business’ or employees’ credit scores

How to get the best prepaid currency card

Soldo is helping finance teams make light work of spend management, especially those whose employees do a lot of travel (and a lot of travel spending). Rather than deal with messy transaction fee reimbursements and potential overspend, Soldo allows you to automate many of those time-consuming and headache-inducing expense-related tasks.

That’s why we’re racking up more and more success stories each year.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an FX fee?

A foreign exchange transaction fee, or an FX fee, is the extra cost of making a transaction in a different currency. It might also be incurred when a purchase goes through a foreign bank.

Most cards, even FX business cards, incur some level of a fee because of costs incurred to the provider. For credit and debit cards, this can be particularly high, but even for most FX cards, it is usually around 3% of the value of the transaction.

What is the difference between credit/debit cards and a business FX card?

With a business debit card, the balance on the card is directly linked to the account itself. So there’s no way to limit a cardholder’s spending: in theory, they’re able to use the card until the account is empty.

Business credit cards are even less prohibitive. Team members can essentially spend what they like (up to the credit limit), and you’ll need to pay off the debt at the end of the month. If you don’t, you risk having to pay lots of interest and damaging your business credit score.

Both come with high FX fees, though these vary depending on which provider issues the card. This makes them impractical for business trips. But forex business cards are made for overseas travel, and provide a much smarter alternative or addition to credit and debit cards.

A Soldo card gives you the best of both worlds, and with none of the drawbacks. Not only can you use it abroad with a lower fee than most FX cards (1%), and not only can you use it on home soil, you also have significantly more control over how much cardholders can spend

Is an FX business card right for my business?

An FX business card is well worth having if your team travels for business a lot. Otherwise, fees will start to add up.

They’re particularly useful for startups and SMEs because there’s no need to establish a strong credit score before you apply. And they’re particularly useful for large businesses because you can also have lots of cards in circulation at once without giving up any control, which means you can hand them out to individual departments, contractors and freelancers.

Do FX business cards work with accounting software?

Most forex cards don’t have the data management capabilities needed to integrate with popular accounting software.

But Soldo isn’t strictly speaking an FX business card, which means it has more extensive functionality – including accounting integration. In practice, this means you can export and import transaction data to Quickbooks and other accounting apps. Soldo’s payment console also seamlessly integrates with Xero, including its automatic bank feed and accounting APIs.

Do I need a credit check with an FX business card?

No – FX business card providers will ask you for a few business details when you sign up, but not for your credit history.

So if you haven’t had a chance to establish one, or if you’ve had problems in the past, it won’t matter. Just remember that you also can’t improve on your existing credit score with an FX business card.

What are the alternatives to FX business cards?

Credit and debit cards
Credit and debit cards are a way for your team to buy what they need. But they come with substantial fees and charges for foreign payments, and because there’s no option to set rules and limits, they’re also difficult to manage.

Out-of-pocket payments
Traditionally, staff will cover their own expenses and claimed the money back at the end of the month. But this can be expensive in the short term, and problematic for those who can’t afford it. And when it comes to claiming back, it can be hard to make sure they’re getting recompensed for transaction fees, too.

Petty cash
You can use petty cash to cover small ticket items. But in reality, it won’t go very far on a business trip – and since you don’t know who’s spending what and where, you’ll likely lose track of it, too.

Are entertainment expenses VAT exempt?

Entertaining clients is not VAT refundable, but entertaining staff is. When you’re running events where both will be in attendance, you need to split costs spent on team members and clients to claim the right amount of VAT back.

Soldo entertainment expense cards make it easy for you to track what charges were spent on who and file your accounts accurately when tax time comes round. Simply organise your transactions quickly and easily in your account dashboard to optimise your VAT processes.