There is a new attempt to reduce the cost of holiday spending but you'll be lucky to get it as the service has been in overwhelming demand since launch. It's called "Supercard" and it's backed by Travelex and uses Visa and the European exchange rates.
Money Saving Expert (MSE) which was used to launch it by email yesterday said - "Supercard is the first ever plastic we've seen with almost perfect exchange rates in every country and no fees for cash withdrawals. Quite simply, it's one of the cheapest ways to spend abroad. Better still, it's totally free, anyone can get it, as there's no credit check, plus you can keep earnings and reward points."
On the MSE website they say - "Supercard is the new travel card from Travelex. But it isn't a credit card, or a debit card. Technically, it's a prepaid card, but here you don't load it up with cash, you just connect your existing debit or credit card to it (not physically, that would look stupid – you link them via an app).
When you then use the card to spend overseas, it does the foreign exchange conversion – at Visa's wholesale rates (so there's no exchange fee) – and charges your debit or credit card in pounds. There are no fees to use it and no fees for withdrawing cash from ATMs (though the machine itself may charge a fee).
It must be said that as this is a totally new concept we've not been able to try it in practice – so there is a leap of faith involved – but then again, it's totally free, so the worst thing that happens is it doesn't work."
I can't immediately see where they make their money though MSE says "So in a nutshell, it seems (and you can never know 100%) the aim here is it believes offering a loss leader like Supercard is effectively a cheap model for customer acquisition for future products." i.e. Building a database to use for future product launches.
An interesting idea. We shall see if the experiment works out.
As a back up get the Halifax Clarity credit card as it's the second cheapest way to spend holiday money.
UPDATE: Apparently Supercard is now closed to new applicants. Should the trial be a success it will be roled out at a later date.