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Old 24 Jun 2011
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money, bank account etc......?

Coming from the UK, I need some advice on how to manage my funds in South America.

Does anyone have experience of any UK bank accounts for using abroad so you keep fees to a minimum.? Any prepaid debit/credit cards?

I dont plan to carry large sums of cash!!

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Old 24 Jun 2011
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In South America, VISA is the best... Never had a problem with HSBC and a Barclays combo there..

To be safe, spread your travel cash between two bank accounts and take two debit cards... Visa is best and probably what you will get for a UK bank account anyway..

Get yourself at least two credit cards for anything you need to buy online and one for an emergency... Make one a MasterCard just in case. Keep one credit card stashed under your seat (this saved my ass BIG TIME when I lost my wallet in the middle of the Ruta 40, Patagonia...)

Venezuela is a nightmare for ATM's so make sure you have a fat wedge of USD to change at the border. It's always good to keep $300USD stashed on the bike with the credit card too. Wrap it up in a plastic bag and gaffer tape and keep it hidden and forgotten about..


Oh, and get yourself a muggers wallet (an old cheap wallet with expired cards and a few dollars in to hand over to muggers/bad cops for bribes etc)...

To keep fees down, I would just visit ATM's as little as possible. Get the maximum you can at every withdrawal... I looked at loads of pre paid travel cards etc. They always seemed to give crappy rates and people I knew who had them could never get them to work outside of the capital cities.
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Old 26 Jun 2011
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Travelex cash passport. Im taking this card on my next trip I believe there is no charge for any purchase. Just 1% when you transfer funds to it.
I believe it is a UK product by Barclays. It might be worth a look for SA use.

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Old 27 Jun 2011
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Caxton FX

I used these in Europe and Asia. They were pretty good on the fees, you could top up via the web, txt and phone. Only let me down once but once could be one time to many...worth a look.

Which Pre Paid Holiday Travel Card is best for me? | Caxton FX
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Old 27 Jun 2011
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+1 Caxton, we've got all 3 (USD,Euro and International)
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Old 27 Jun 2011
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I second the vote for Caxton FX. Good customer service and cheaper than other prepaid cards I looked at when researching - eg it was much cheaper than travelex (back in 2009 & 2010 anyway).
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Old 27 Jun 2011
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another vote for Caxton FX - prepay cad that works like any other visa debit card, but exchange rates are very good and you dont get charged a fee to use ATM's - saved me hundreds of pounds in Africa
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Old 27 Jun 2011
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Halifax, Nationwide and Santander


Never tried Caxton, but I've been pretty happy with a mixed combination of travel-friendly credit and debit cards.

Basically, both the Halifax Clarity Mastercard and the Nationwide Gold Visa Credit Card are pretty good for overseas withdrawals (note the Nationwide card isn't as good anymore for new customers, with a strange system of restrictions).

In terms of debit cards, Santander have a Zero account debit card (also a Zero account credit card if necessary), which also has no fees. They've been a bit more annoying

More useful info here, including a section on different prepaid cards: Cheap Travel Money: Top cards for spending abroad...

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