High street travel agent Thomas Cook has rolled out its new Lyk money card in stores and online – which is set to replace the Cash Passport, with more ‘benefits’ for the customer.
This is the prepaid holiday card that launched online last November, however it’s now available in branches, where customers will be able to apply, activate and top their cards up on the spot.
It’s an alternative to carrying around pockets full of cash (and cards) abroad that can offer peace of mind – and it promises no transfer fees between currencies. Plus, each time you top up, you get free wi-fi.
In an upgrade to the Cash Passport, new payment options have also been introduced including Apply Pay and Touch ID. This will allow customers to pay using their fingerprint wherever they see the Apple Pay logo.
What is the Lyk card?
Lyk is essentially the upgrade to Thomas Cook’s Cash Passport which is being phased out.
It allows customers to travel without cash in hand and works as a prepaid Mastercard (with chip and pin and contactless) that can be used to make payments abroad.
The card can be pre-loaded with ten major currencies and you can transfer between them for free.
Likewise, if you’re trying to make a payment abroad but the local currency you’re using is not on the card (or there are insufficient funds), it will automatically use an alternative available currency instead, with no penalty fees.
The card has no load fee – however you will have to pay 2% of your transaction to transfer your cash back into pounds.
You can also manage all of your credit on the app – including moving money between currencies and topping it up.
The card itself is free to use for payments abroad, however ATM fees will apply as follows:
As it’s a prepaid card, Lyk gives you have the option to lock in a rate when you top up – which means you won’t fall foul of market fluctuations or higher charges during your trip.
Customers that sign up will also get 20% off Thomas Cook travel insurance, and three months worth of Boingo wi-fi access each time you top up £50.
However don’t fall victim to the small print.
While there are no transaction fees abroad, a foreign exchange fee will apply based on the chosen day’s rate.
If you fall below zero while making a transaction, you will also be changed a default £10.
And, just like the Cash Passport, a £2 a month fee will apply after 15 months of inactivity if there’s a balance on the card.
Anth Mooney, of Thomas Cook Money, said: “Holidaymakers often leave holiday money to the last minute, so we are keen to help them find the best deals quickly and easily.
“Launching the Lyk card in our high street stores will give holidaymakers greater freedom when spending and withdrawing cash abroad and help them to manage their budget on the go.”
I have a Cash Passport – what’s going to happen to my card?
Thomas Cook’s flagship Cash Passport has been replaced by Lyk, however it says anyone on the older card (Cash Passport) will still be supported.
If you want to switch across however, you can do so for free by calling its customer services line on: 0800 023 2943.
Is it worth joining?
The new prepaid card from Thomas Cook works in a similar way to a debit card so it can be really helpful for holidaymakers that do not want to hold onto lots of cash or cards on holiday.
To use it, you’ll have to pre-load the card with your spending money and then use it in cash machines and in shops – the app also means you can track your spending which is useful where contactless is concerned.
“Unlike the older Cash Passport cards, the Lyk travel money card will allow customers to pay with just a touch of their fingerprint via Apple pay which can save them time at the checkout,” explains Rachel Springall at Moneyfacts .
“Customers can also have some piece of mind when they load funds onto the Lyk card because they lock into an exchange rate, which can often catch people out overseas or at the airport.
“One thing to watch out for with prepaid cards is the cost to withdraw cash and the Lyk card is no different, it costs £1.50 per withdrawal. Customers should also ensure they close the account for inactivity because there is a £2 per month charge after 15 months of no use.”
According to Moneyfacts, the next best alternative in the prepaid cards market right now is Caxton’s prepaid travel money card with comes with no withdrawal fees.
You can download the free app with the Caxton currency MasterCard and lock into an exchange rate to use the card worldwide.
Andrew Hagger, expert at MoneyComms says it’s frequent travellers that’ll be able to reap the most rewards from Lyk.
“The Lyk card is a good all round product for the overseas traveller – particularly for those who travel more than once a year as you have the option to leave currency on the card and then switch to a different currency if you are travelling to a new destination.
“Like a growing number of products in this market the card is linked to an app which gives you a handy up to date view of balances and transactions, plus you have the ability to freeze your card with a single tap if you think it’s lost or stolen – a useful option.”
Hagger adds for an even lower exchange rate – that’s cheaper than Mastercard and Visa (both commonly used on prepaid cards) – holidaymakers could consider Revolut which uses a very fine exchange rate.
“The first £200 of withdrawals per month at ATMs are free with Revolut and it charges 2% on anything above that.
“Away from prepaid cards, the Metro Bank debit card is totally free for purchases and cash transactions within Europe.”
Similarly the debit card from new digital bank Starling Bank doesn’t charge any rate mark ups or fees for cash or purchases.
Tandem’s new credit card is also totally free to use abroad plus you get 0.5% cashback on all purchases.
For more advice on travel money and how to choose the right card, see our holiday money guide . To compare cards, head to a comparison website such as MoneySupermarket or uSwitch .
Source Link:- https://www.mirror.co.uk/money/thomas-cook-revamps-popular-travel-12337809