The 6 Best Travel Money Cards for the US - 2024

Claire Millard
Ileana Ionescu
Last updated
May 29, 2023

If you’re visiting the US, a specialised travel money card can make it cheaper and more convenient to access US dollars for spending and withdrawals. There are various options available, such as travel debit cards, prepaid travel cards, and travel credit cards, which cater to different types of customers. The right one for you will depend on your personal preference and how you like to manage your money.

Read on for all you need to know, including a closer look at travel money card types, some great options to consider, and the sorts of fees you need to think about when you choose.

Wise - our pick for travel debit card for the US

Before we get into details about different travel money card options, let's begin with the Wise card as a versatile travel money debit card that can hold and spend USD, as well as a diverse range of other currencies.

Go To Wise


  • Hold and exchange over 50 currencies alongside USD

  • No fee to spend any currency you hold, low conversion fees from 0.41%

  • Mid market exchange rate on all currency conversion

  • Some fee free ATM withdrawals every month

  • No ongoing costs and no interest to pay


  • ATM fees apply once you exceed your plan limits

  • No option to earn points or rewards

Click here to read a full Wise review

What is a travel money card?

Similar to your standard bank card, a travel money card can be used for online and in-store purchases, as well as for cash withdrawals. However, with a travel money card, the features and fees are tailored for global usage. This may result in a better exchange rate, or fewer charges, in comparison to using your regular card abroad. Certain travel cards even offer opportunities to earn cashback and rewards for using your card internationally.

6 travel money cards for the US compared

Before we get into each card option in more depth, here’s a summary of how six of the best travel money cards for the US compare to each other.

ProviderTypeDelivery feeUS ATM feeInterest ratePOS feesExchange rate
WiseDebit No feeSome free withdrawals every month, low fees after thatNot applicableFree to spend any currency you hold, currency conversion from 0.41%Mid-market rate
Canada Post Cash PassportDebit 15 CAD card purchase feeVariable by currency - 2.5 USD for exampleNot applicableFree to spend any currency you hold, 3.25% for currencies you don’t have in the accountRate set by the card distributor when topping up
BMO Reloadable MastercardDebit6.95 CAD annual fee5 CADNo interest applied2.5% foreign transaction fee2.5% foreign transaction fee
Koho Premium MastercardDebit9 CAD monthly feeFreeNot applicableNo feeVisa exchange rate
HSBC World Elite MastercardCredit149 CAD annual fee5 CAD20.99% variableNo feeMastercard exchange rate
Home Trust Preferred VisaCreditNo fee1% to 1.5% (minimum 2.5 CAD to 15 CAD) depending on the ATM type21.99% variableNo feeVisa exchange rate

The features of various travel money cards can differ significantly. Generally, travel debit cards can be convenient and relatively inexpensive to use, while travel credit cards may offer extra benefits such as cashback or rewards. However, they also come with the risk of incurring interest and late payment fees, if you don’t pay off your bill in full every time.

Travel debit cards usually allow you to easily add funds online or via a mobile app, which helps you stick to your budget and avoid overspending. Conversely, travel credit cards enable you to spend up to your credit limit, and you can pay off the balance over several months. Which is best for you will come down to how you like to manage your money - we’ll dive into a few more details about each card type, next.

What are different types of travel cards?

Generally, Canadian customers are able to select a travel money card from either a regular bank or a specialist provider, with card types available including travel debit cards, travel prepaid cards or travel credit cards. We’ll walk through what each travel money card type is, and pick out a couple of good card options, so you can compare and choose.

1. Travel debit cards

2. Travel prepaid cards

3. Travel credit cards

1. Travel Debit Cards

Travel debit cards are usually offered by specialist providers, with linked digital accounts you can use to hold and exchange a currency balance. Although these cards may have varying features, they generally provide an easy-to-use online platform and mobile app for topping up your balance. Additionally, you can view your balance and receive transaction notifications on your phone, making it easier to manage your finances no matter where you are in the world.

Travel debit card Option 1: Wise

Wise is our pick for a travel debit card for the US. There’s no fee to open a Wise account, and no delivery fee for your Wise card, with no minimum balance and no monthly charge. You just pay low Wise fees from 0.41% when you convert currencies, and transparent ATM fees when you exhaust the monthly free transactions available with your account.

  • No fee to open a Wise account, no minimum balance requirement

  • No fee to get your Wise card, free to spend any currency you hold

  • 2 withdrawals, to 350 CAD value per month for free, then 1.5 CAD + 1.75%

  • Hold USD and 50+ other currencies, convert between them with the mid-market rate

  • Get local account details to receive CAD, USD and 7 other currencies for free

Click here to read a full review on the Wise card

Go To Wise

Travel debit card Option 2: Canada Post Cash Passport

You can pick up a Canada Post Cash Passport in your local Post Office, and top up your account in CAD. You can then switch your balance to any of the 7 supported major currencies - or you can just allow the card to convert to the currency you need, although there is a foreign exchange fee of 3.25% for doing so. You can use your Canada Post Cash Passport card in ATMs and wherever the network is supported. ATM fees apply which vary by currency.

  • Supports 7 major currencies, including USD

  • No fee to spend currencies you hold in your account

  • Variable ATM fee, 2.5 USD when in the the US for example

  • 1.5% fee for using your card in Canada - plus any applicable fee to convert funds back to CAD if you hold a foreign currency

Pros and cons of using debit travel cards in the US


  • Avoid interest costs and late payment fees

  • Hold and exchange currencies in advance or at the time of spending

  • Accounts can be topped up, viewed and managed using just your phone

  • Safe to use, as accounts aren’t linked to your main Canadian bank account

  • Travel debit cards are issued on popular global payment networks


  • Transaction and currency conversion fees may apply

  • Cash back and rewards may not be available

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How to choose the best travel debit card for the US?

Choosing the best travel debit card for the US depends on your personal preferences and financial management style. If you travel often - and not just to the US - it's smart to consider an account that offers mid-market currency exchange rates and a wide selection of supported currencies, including USD, like Wise.  Other providers like Canada Post also support USD alongside a handful of other major world currencies, and the Cash Passport can be conveniently collected in your local Post Office.

Is there a spending limit with a travel debit card in the US?  

Card use limits are determined by individual providers and can vary depending on the transaction type. Limits may apply on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. For instance, there may be a cap on the number or value of ATM withdrawals allowed per day or a limit on the value of contactless payments you can make. These limits are set for security reasons and can often be adjusted using the provider's app.

2. Prepaid Travel Cards

With a prepaid travel card you’ll usually need to first order a card and then add funds in CAD from your bank account or card. Once you have a balance you can then pay merchants and make cash withdrawals at home and abroad. While prepaid travel cards are usually issued on large global networks - and can therefore be used pretty widely - you may find you pay a foreign transaction fee when overseas, depending on the specific card you select.

Prepaid travel card option 1: BMO Reloadable Mastercard

The BMO Reloadable Mastercard can be topped up in CAD and used when you travel in the US. You’ll pay a 2.5% foreign transaction fee when overseas, but you’ll still have the advantage that - as with other prepaid and travel cards - this card is not linked to your primary bank account, so it can increase security when spending abroad. There’s a 6.95 CAD annual fee, but as this is a purchase card rather than a credit card, there’s no interest to worry about. You just top up and you can spend up to your account balance freely.

  • 6.95 CAD annual fee, 2.5% foreign transaction fee

  • 5 CAD ATM fee

  • No interest to worry about

  • Manage your card online or using your phone, to top up and view balance

  • Add funds from BMO or other Canadian banks directly

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Prepaid travel card option 2: Koho Premium Mastercard

You can get up to 2% cash back with the Koho Premium Mastercard, and there’s no foreign transaction fee to worry about. Instead, you pay a monthly card fee of 9 CAD. The basic card is free to get, or you can upgrade to a Koho metal card for 159 CAD if you want a fancier way to pay when you’re at home and abroad.

  • 9 CAD/month premium fee

  • No foreign transaction fee

  • No ATM fee

  • Earn cash back on your spending

Pros and cons of using prepaid travel cards in the US


  • Manage your account, add more money or convert funds online or with an app

  • Accounts with no monthly fees are available

  • Issued on globally popular networks for good coverage

  • ATM withdrawals supported globally

  • Some accounts have extras like options to earn cash back or reward points


  • Typically only CAD supported - watch out for foreign transaction charges

  • Transaction fees apply to most accounts

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How to choose the best travel prepaid card for the US?

There’s no single best travel prepaid card for the US - it’ll come down to your personal preference. If you don’t mind paying a monthly fee you might like the Koho Premium card which waives foreign transaction fees, and other charges like ATM withdrawal fees. Otherwise, if you just want a simple prepaid card and don’t mind the foreign transaction fee when you’re in the US, the BMO prepaid card might suit you.

Is there a spending limit with a prepaid card in the US?

Various prepaid travel cards have different spending and withdrawal limits that can vary depending on the currency. To find the right card for you, you’ll want to carefully review the terms and conditions of each card provider you’re considering. This way, you’ll be confident you’ve picked a provider that meets your specific needs and requirements.

3. Travel Credit Cards

Travel credit cards often come with additional benefits not found in regular credit cards. These benefits can include lower or no fees for foreign transactions and the chance to earn extra rewards when using the card abroad. While travel credit cards offer safety and convenience, it's worth noting that they may be more expensive than using a debit card.

Before choosing a travel credit card, it's essential to consider factors such as fees, rates, eligibility criteria, and interest rates. Take the time to compare different options and select the one that suits you best.

Travel credit card option 1: HSBC World Elite Mastercard

The HSBC World Elite Mastercard has been optimised for overseas use, with extra rewards on international spending and travel, plus no foreign transaction fees to pay. There are lots of ways to earn rewards, including variable new customer bonus offers - the downside is that there’s an annual fee of 149 CAD, so you’ll need to check if the benefits outweigh the costs. As with any other credit card, you’ll also need to pay off your bill in full every month to avoid interest charges.

  • 149 CAD annual fee, 5 CAD ATM withdrawal fee

  • Variable interest rate

  • No foreign transaction fee

  • Options to earn rewards, including enhanced benefits for travel spending

Travel credit card option 2: Home Trust Preferred Visa Card

The Home Trust Preferred Visa Card is a credit card with a variable interest rate, no foreign exchange fees and 1% cash back on all eligible purchases. There’s no annual fee to pay, although the ATM withdrawal fees can run pretty high - 1% or 1.5% depending on the ATM type, and the maximum cap is 15 CAD for some withdrawals.

  • No annual fee, no foreign transaction fee

  • 1% cash back on all eligible purchases

  • Variable interest rate

  • ATM fees apply, which are set as a percentage, and can run pretty high

Pros and cons of using credit cards in the US


  • Enjoy peace of mind with zero liability policies offered by some cards

  • Spread the cost of your travel expenses over several months

  • Some cards have no foreign transaction fees, saving you money on international purchases

  • Exchange rates typically offered by card networks are usually fair

  • Earn cash back and rewards on your spending with select cards, making your travel even more rewarding.


  • Interest charged if you don’t repay in full every month

  • Eligibility rules apply

How to choose the best travel credit card for the US?

Selecting the best travel credit card for the US largely depends on individual preferences. If you aim to earn rewards and cashback on your foreign transactions, the Home Trust Preferred Visa may be a suitable option as it does not have a foreign transaction fee and provides cash back on all purchases. Whichever card you’re considering you’ll want to weigh up the potential fees you’ll need to pay against the rewards you can earn to make sure it’s worthwhile.


If you regularly travel to the US or further afield, getting a travel money card which supports the currencies you need frequently can help you save money. Travel money cards have different features, and can be picked up via regular banks, online specialists and even the Post Office.

You could opt for a low cost travel debit card which comes with a linked account to hold a selection of currencies - like the Wise account. Or you might prefer a prepaid travel money card like the Koho Premium Mastercard which has monthly fees in exchange for features like no foreign transaction charges - handy if you use it abroad often. Finally, another option is to get a travel credit card either to earn cashback and rewards, or to avoid foreign transaction fees.

The good news is that the Canadian market is well served for all types of travel money cards - use this guide to start your research and pick the right option for your specific needs.

FAQ - Best travel cards for the US

Can you withdraw cash with a credit card in the US?

You can usually make cash withdrawals with a credit card in the US at any ATM that supports your card network. You’ll often find that a fee applies, and you may start to accumulate interest on the withdrawn amount immediately. Travel money debit cards from providers like Wise and Canada Post can be a lower cost option for cash withdrawals overseas.

Can I use a debit card in the US?

You can use your debit card anywhere you see the card network’s logo displayed. Visa and Mastercard networks are very well supported globally, including in the US, making these good options to look out for when you pick your travel debit card for the US.

Are prepaid cards safe?

Prepaid cards from reputable providers are safe to use at home and abroad. They aren’t linked to your main bank account which can offer extra peace of mind, and may also make it easier to manage your travel budget. However, you’ll need to check the card features and fees carefully to make sure you're getting the best match for your needs.