Best credit, debit, prepaid or rechargeable cards: which ones to choose for travel and holidays

When organizing any trip or holiday both in Spain and abroad, credit, debit, rechargeable or prepaid (rechargeable) cards are one fundamental tool for booking and purchasing the various services that make it up, such as: flight, accommodation, car rental, tours and tickets for attractions.

Their usefulness does not end with the purchase or booking of the various services, on the contrary it is during the journey that their usefulness can be fundamental for not having problems during the holiday, such as being denied delivery of the rental car or running out of money.

In fact, their use during the holiday has multiple purposes: withdraw cash from various ATMs and bank branches, in order not to carry a lot of cash; pay by card when you do not want to use cash; but especially having a credit card is practically essential for renting a car in many countries.

Although in many tourist resorts of the Mediterranean very often small cars can be rented even without a credit card, in almost all European countries and in other continents. a credit card is almost always required for car rental headed to the driver.

Differences between the various cards

The differences between the various cards are quite simple, like their use. Let's make a brief summary to indicate the various characteristics.

We remind you that any type of card, in case of theft or loss, the balance on the card is not lost if the card is blocked promptly, before any attacker uses it. Therefore, always bring the telephone numbers together to block the various cards.

Credit card

The credit card is issued by a bank or financial institution, and allows you to make payments without an immediate charge. The person undertakes to repay the amount the following month in a lump sum or in installments, and to pay interest or bank charges.

A credit card can be recognized because it has embossed characters (name, surname, card number and expiration date). The most important credit cards are: Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Dinner.

Debit card

Debit and ATM cards are not to be confused with credit cards, and are cards combined with a bank or post office account. In this type of card, the money that is used is the one available in the account linked to the card.

The annual fee is cheaper than a credit card or even free and is one of the most used financial tools in the world.

Prepaid cards

Prepaid cards or prepaid debit cards (also called reloadable debit cards) are the most used cards. They are easy to use and are not paired with a checking account.

The available amount of the card is equal to the amount loaded on the card, less any purchases already made. Prepaid cards can be used as long as the amount loaded on the card is used up.

Which cards to use for travel and holidays

To buy a flight or to book a hotel using a prepaid card or a debit card is certainly the best choice for not paying commissions. In addition, it may happen that some types of cards also allow a discount on the cost of the flight or on the purchase of certain travel services.

To withdraw but also abroad, the best solution is debit cards. Withdrawal costs are low or even free, especially if you withdraw. Costs can be higher abroad, so it is advisable to be well informed about the costs and not make many withdrawals.

To leave bail or deposits, as for car rental or in some hotels, it is advisable, indeed the only accepted method, to use a credit card. A certain amount will be blocked on the card which in the absence of damage to the car or hotel room will be unlocked.

Best Credit Cards

The credit card, although not widely used by the Spaniards as we have previously said, it can be very important during a trip or vacation. In addition to being useful for car rental, and to avoid the risk of being refused delivery of the car, it can also be useful in certain hotels that require a deposit, especially in hotels in New York and Las Vegas.

The best credit cards, in general, are those with the lowest costs. Among the best credit cards we recommend:

Credit Card Mastercard Gold IngDirect

Activation fee: 0 €

Annual fee: 12 €

Learn more about the IngDirect Gold Mastercard Credit Card

Diners Club

Activation fee: 0 €

Annual fee: free in the 1st year, € 15 per month from the 2nd year

Learn more about the Diners Club card

Classic credit card (Widiba)

Activation fee: 0 €

Annual fee: 20 €

Further information on the classic credit card (Widiba)

Blu American Express

Activation fee: 0 €

Annual fee: free in the first year, from the 2nd year € 3 per month

Learn more about the Blu American Express credit card

BancoPosta Classic

Activation fee: 0 €

Annual fee: 37 €

More information on the classic BancoPosta card

Best debit cards

The best debit cards are the ones that have the lowest annual costs, or rather if they have no annual costs, and if the withdrawal of money is free or with low costs. Among the best debit cards we recommend:

VD IngDirect ATM card

Learn more about the IngDirect V Pay ATM card

Postamat BancoPosta Click

Further information on the Postamat BancoPosta Click card

CheBanca ATM

More information on the CheBanca Bancomat card

Best prepaid cards

The most famous prepaid card is PostePay, issued by Poste, but there are also many other types of prepaid cards that can be more convenient and convenient. Most often these cards they have no annual expenses, you only pay for top-ups and there are some that allow top-ups for free. Among the best prepaid cards we recommend:

HYPE Start

Activation cost: 0 €

Annual fee: 0 €

Learn more about the Hype Start Card


Activation cost: 0 €

Annual fee: 0 €

Learn more about the Revolut card


Activation cost: 0 €

Annual fee: 0 €

Learn more about the N26 card

American Express 

Activation cost: 10 €

Annual fee: 0 €

More information on the PostePay card

How many cards to have

If you are a lover of travel and do-it-yourself holidays, having a lot of cards is definitely an advantage. It is advisable to have at least one credit card to be used only if strictly necessary, such as for car rental; a debit card useful for withdrawing cash abroad; and a prepaid card for making small payments and for online purchases.

So, as a basis it is advisable to have at least the 3 different types of cards, then it is always better to have more than one of each type, so that if some are lost or demagnetized, you have the replacement. For this reason, it is better to find cards that have very low annual costs or rather free, so as not to have a significant annual cost.

How to transfer money abroad

It can happen during a trip or a vacation abroad that cards demagnetize and stay without the possibility of withdrawing cash to make various payments. A convenient solution is to have friends and relatives send you some money which will then be returned upon return.

But how to transfer money abroad? There are various services that deal with this, but each with its more or less convenient costs. Among all the operators, i better based on the cost of the service I'm:



Best credit, debit, prepaid or rechargeable cards: which ones to choose for travel and holidays
Some of the best cards for traveling - Image from Pixabay
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