Monday, October 03, 2011

Post Office Travel Money Card Plus–How inconvenient can it get?

imageI recently returned from a holiday, now for me being cautious, the problem always arises, of how to take your money with you, in a safe and convenient form.

Till this last trip I’ve always taken a bit of cash, cards and travellers cheques, as I was getting cash for my trip, from the post office, I decided rather than use travellers cheques I’d get a “travel money card plus” this looked a lot less fussy, more 21st Centaury and perhaps more secure than the old American Express travels cheques.

Below are the main bullet points stressing the convenience and benefits the Post Offices website.

  • You can conveniently and safely carry your spending money overseas on one handy card.
  • Easily load money on to a card online, SMS or in a participating Post Office® branch.
  • Use the Travel Money Card Plus like a debit card in millions of shops, bars and restaurants around the world.

Now with hindsight here are the main drawbacks as I see it

  • You cannot easily redeem money left on the card
  • Assuming your call to their number is answered, the advice seemed to me unhelpful, apparently for some arcane reason, this card which when travelling appears to carry your money electronically, doesn’t should you be stupid enough to wish to redeem the damn thing at the post office.
  • Instead you have to wait for a redemption letter which cannot possibly be produced in (dependant on who you speak to) under 5-7 days also what with posting out, up to 15 days is the time to your expected to wait.
  • Mildly concerned for the whereabouts of my money, I rang to check progress a week after, mentioning that it would have been easier if I could have had it paid back into my bank account, I was told this could be arranged, the post office bod either told me or implied that they would ring to confirm, they didn’t but I assumed sometime this last week, my account would be credited, it wasn’t
  • In defence of the laggardly approach of the Post Office, to returning my money, I was asked if I had read all the terms and conditions, clearly I hadn’t and who would in a sane world.

My overall impression is that the Post Office in this instance, is they haven’t moved on during my lifetime, the “didn't you read the terms” malarkey is reminiscent of customer services in the 1970’s. (Also I have to admit I didn’t read the conditions on my holiday flight ticket, nor the manual for the Airbus A320 which failed to take me on holiday as arranged) my shame I know.

Like most people I'll read the main details and in my view reclaiming your money after a holiday is a not insignificant detail, the Post Office ought to make clear that getting your money back, might well be a flippin mission and could as in my case, take more than the rather optimistic 15 days quoted.

Finally the reason the PO give for not instantly redeeming the card is that transactions may take up to seven days to come through, but since they claim the money is loaded on to your card electronically, how is it possible, that you could spend somemoney and its not recorded on the card? surely if that were the case you could spend more money than you’d loaded, a dream for fraudsters.

I know the header of this blog reads Bignews Margate, with a commitment to offend politicians etc and this is somewhat trivial, but I’m sure if you read my terms and conditions, when I’ve finished writing them, it will be allowed under the section, its my blog,

Incidentally the sum involved is probably not enough to buy lunch for the Chief Executive but its my money and would pay this quarter’s blimin electric bill if I ever see my money again.

I’ll email the PO media department see whether they’d like to comment or correct me, if my version is wide of the mark I shall fess up.


  1. Next time have a look at the Caxton FX card. No AMT fee abroad but if you want to ge our money back just put it in a UK ATM although a charge of about £1.50 applies plus current exchange rate.
    You can also check out the section on prepaid currency carda on the moneysavingexpert web site.

  2. Thanks 11 47 , I'll certain do an extra couple minutes research and follow your pointer next time rather than go through this saga

  3. The ICE (international currency Exchange) card is also very very good !

  4. Hope you get your money Tony, next time stay at home no currency charges here.

  5. This is insightful and informative post. I would like to appreciate your effort to share the difficulties you faced to take money during travel and explain the pros and cons about using travel money card.

  6. This is informative blog post about travel money card.
    Definitely this is useful card for holiday tour.