View Full Version : Cash / credit card on the AT

01-10-2018, 11:15
Another spanner in the works...
Few weeks ago I looked into barclaycard travel credit card, free transactions from ATM . . All good no problemat all. (recommended by the money supermarket.com for low rates etc)

Went today to get it...a different lady checking my info.. as I'm now unemployed and do not getting a income... I can't get it now..
My money is sitting in one account and i was going setup a DD to pay it off each month...
Barclay said it was a good idea but the can't approve the card.
I've never had a credit card and don't need credit/money.. just the security and cheap rates etc..
Using my debit card is very expensive.
So need to find other way of getting my money without costing an arm and a leg (more so legs, as two are needed :)

1. So I might ask my dad if he can apply and add me to the card! If barclays allow that's!

2. looking at post office load card.. putting a lump sum on the card..but still comes at a cost.

Have people used just carryed used $ travellers cheques and cashed them easy on the trail?
Any other suggestions / or how you got your money.. are welcome.

Rex Clifton
01-10-2018, 11:21
Problem is that you don't have a credit history. Have your dad add you to one of his credit cards and give him your $$$ to fund your hike. This will establish a credit history so, down the road, you'll be able to borrow money and become hopelessly in debt!

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jj dont play
01-10-2018, 11:29
Prepaid debit card worked for me well..reload as needed.
Good bit of Thrus get there card info stolen, atleast in 2016 it happened to a few of us. Have multiple options to access $.

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01-10-2018, 11:37
> Have people used just carryed used $ travellers cheques and cashed them easy on the trail?

Travelers checks are almost worthless even in ordinary travel, let alone on a back country trail, for the simple reason that nobody accepts them now. Indeed, that's been the case for about thirty years.

> Using my debit card is very expensive
Actually, it's be far the most economical & safe way to "carry" cash. Some banks charge nothing to withdraw funds from their system, and some will even cover the fees charged by other institutions. And you can walk into almost any supermarket in the U.S., buy a few munchies, and get cash back (up to $50 or $100) from your debit card account. I've done this scores of times, all over the U.S.

You can also purchase a pre-paid credit card, which would be accepted anywhere the card would be. The catch is that it's the same as cash -- lose it, and your money is gone.

> I might ask my dad if he can apply and add me to the card
Anyone who owns a credit card can authorize anyone else on the planet to use it. Indeed, with a chip card, you don't even have to be authorized -- if you have the card, you can just insert it, get approved, and walk away. In other words, all that would have to happen is for the card owner to get a duplicate card and hand it to you.

01-10-2018, 11:46
Many places now accept payment through PayPal and your phone. Might want to look into that.

01-10-2018, 11:52
A little more info on the problem might help as I do not know all the international banking issues. In the US, supermarkets allow customers to draw extra cash from debit transactions typically in the $40-80 range but sometimes $100-200 at no charge. I know VISA/MasterCard are accepted everywhere, but are there debit cards from the UK that are readily accepted in the US? US banks also have a card type VISA checkcard which is like a debit card but works at places accepting VISA. So it is a VISA transaction but it comes out of your bank account. My checking account is like that. If you had a card like that you could draw cash like a debit card or use it as a credit card. Not sure if your banks offer that option?

01-10-2018, 12:28
Pretty much everyplace that accepts CC's accepts DC's as well. If it has a Visa or MC loge it can be used as either (here we use a signature for a CC, pin for DC - but some CC's require a billing zip code - there is a workaround for international which I don't know what that is).

You can get a prepaid CC in the states pretty easy, try Walmart.

Gambit McCrae
01-10-2018, 12:32
everyone takes cash....for a 2 week trip I keep $400 on me, people say oh don't keep a lot of cash on you!!! Well why does it matter if I got $20 or $400? Anyway, I keep 1 debit card, 1 credit card and that amount of cash. If I get down to $100 cash I start looking for a cash resupply.

01-10-2018, 12:45
Traveler's checks aren't really used in the US. I used them back about 15 years ago. Even then they barely knew what to do with them.

01-10-2018, 13:01
The US Post Office gives no-fee cash back on debit card transactions as well. The debit card has become my go-to source for cash while traveling.

I would argue that the AT is a relatively safe place to carry cash, so don't worry about carrying hundreds of dollars at a time. You will be your own worst enemy--loss is probably the highest risk. Figure out a way to keep it with or on you at all times.

01-10-2018, 17:37
I gave up on Travels checks after I had to make a loud fuss at the bank in Erwin to cash a $20 TC. I didn't have an account was the excuse. What, you sell these things, their suppose to be good as cash and you won't do an even swap? In the end they charged me a $2.00 fee. That was 10 years ago.

With the OP coming from the UK, a credit card is probably better then a debit card. Just be sure the CC is paid automatically. It can be linked to a checking or savings account for that.

01-10-2018, 18:20
I don't know. But, I know where I'd seek answers. I would ask your questions on how to avoid steep traveling conversion fees at 1) International Hiking Forums emphasizing you're from the UK 2) Traveling on the cheap forums Shortly, there should be a few non U.S. citizens that hike outside their countries chiming in.

01-10-2018, 19:06
I have used a travel card from TravelEx and now use one from Qantas. Loaded with up to 7 different currencies plus $au and you get 2 cards in the case of travelex, in case one is lost or stolen. Cancel it and use the second. I have had the Qantas one stolen overseas and just cancelled it and they issued a sent another one ahead to where I was staying a week ahead with the balance transferred. Backup is my Debit Card and any cash I have. I know most banks in Australia have their own travel cards, either MC or Visa, and since you can only use money you load there is no problem getting one. Allows you to load money on your card when exchange rates are favourable and every place/atm, I used it, accepted them.

We are spoilt here in Australia as they use us for testing out all their new technology, something about we adapt to technology well. When I was in the states last year the first place I was in I looked for their EFTPOS machine so I could wave my card over as the purchase was under $100. No such luck put it in the machine and then sign, SIGN?!!!! I haven't signed for a transaction in nearly 10 years. In fact most of my current transactions are waving my phone over the machine, don't even have to get the wallet and card out, as the phone stores your card details. Felt like I was in a time warp back to the 1990s.

01-10-2018, 21:43
I found out in Colorado that some small town POs don't like giving cash back, especially if you show up first thing in the morning. Small groceries typically do not offer cash back either. That being said, cash back in larger towns and cities is the best way to obtain cash. The other alternative is to get an ATM card that refunds fees. I have an account with Fidelity and a debit card that refunds all ATM fees, so I tend to take this card on my hikes rather than my usual bank debit card.

As an aside, many small town trail businesses prefer cash to cards and I try to pay in cash when I can. Interchange fees can be pretty high and these small businesses often are struggling to get by.

01-10-2018, 21:46
...Felt like I was in a time warp back to the 1990s.
On a recent trip to Canada, I was surprised at how "advanced" credit card transactions were there.

01-10-2018, 21:51
The simplest and most direct plan might be for your Dad to apply and have an additional card issued for you. He's the one on the hook at that point. This would also provide you a bit of backup should there be any problems. If something goes wonky you have someone at home who can manage such things as replacements, make sure the bill is paid (double-check the automatic draft) and generally be a human insurance policy. This is similar to how we managed finances for my son last year when he was in London studying for his masters.

01-11-2018, 10:58
Something to keep in mind as well is that some motels on the AT give a discount if paid in cash. When asking about rates I would always ask about their rates and then ask if they have a discount for cash. Many of them did. I always tried to have about $200 in cash in various denominations so as to have the exact amount for rides/shuttles etc. I didn't read every post in this thread so not sure if anyone has mentioned it, but you can get yourself a pre-paid debit card that can added to as needed.

01-11-2018, 11:37
Using a credit card in a foreign country may incur fees for each use, currency exchange rate charges etc. Best to check with the credit card company before your trip and each credit card will probably have different fees and rules. Sometimes using a debit card is the way to go if your bank has branches in the foreign country or is affiliated with a local bank. Barclays may have such an agreement with Bank of America here in the states. Rather than a travel credit card from Barclays maybe what will work for you is just a debit card for your account that you could use relatively fee free here in the US at cooperating bank ATMs.

01-11-2018, 12:04
Debit cards are usually linked to a checking account and are effectively a check. When you use a debit card the transaction happens right way, which is why your able to get cash back. I know that cashing a physical check from an overseas bank in the US incurs big fees unless they have a US branch office. Debit Cards might have the same limitation. If you do get a debit card, make sure the bank has an office in the US to process it

Credit cards charge for cash back since your borrowing the money from them.

01-11-2018, 15:52
There's a Barclays Bank Delaware here in the U.S.; my L.L. Bean VISA is from them. I suggest you ask about getting a debit card with them, funded via a 1-time transfer from Barclays in the U.K. There may be lower (or absent) fees when you're transferring money between international branches of the same bank.

Highland Goat
01-12-2018, 07:52
You might want to look at Bluebird, an unbanked prepaid card that American Express manages for Wal-Mart.

01-12-2018, 15:22
Most people these days would probably not even know what a traveler's check is...they'd look at you like you just tried to pay with monopoly money. I think you'd have a pretty hard time finding someone to cash them for you. In the US you can buy a prepaid debit card just about anywhere...load all of your money on that and you'd be good to go.

01-12-2018, 15:25
The thing to do might be to arrive in the US with traveler's checks and convert them to cash as soon as you get here and then load the cash onto a debit card.

01-12-2018, 17:19
Possibly a different bank in the UK that has no fees for ATM usage and no exchange fee? My daughter works for the Peace Corps in Zambia and their card they were signed up for was through Barclays because they had no international ATM fees and no exchange charges. She recently changed that for a local bank that has only one branch so they cover the ATM fees and they also have no exchange fees for international ATMs.

01-12-2018, 23:55
once again thanks the replies and good info..
I'm not going with a cc, if its not in my name! i don't want it to be some else's responsibility!
pre paid it's is... looked at,
Revolut.. seem good...but can't get in touch with any to ask questions, before install the app.. Did that...and the support is terrible... plus it links phone to bank account and needs Internet data.. I see that being a pain to sort out. .

the two that seem OK. . are Easyfx and Weswap.. few limitations but together should work OK. .
thanks for the PayPal idea never thought about that!....only normally use that for ebay and amazon.

01-13-2018, 12:21
everyone takes cash....for a 2 week trip I keep $400 on me, people say oh don't keep a lot of cash on you!!! Well why does it matter if I got $20 or $400? Anyway, I keep 1 debit card, 1 credit card and that amount of cash. If I get down to $100 cash I start looking for a cash resupply.

Exactly what I do. All three need to be carried, and there will be situations requiring one of these. Use the debit card where you can, and the cash where itís the only option. The credit card is the backup to cover low remaining funds in the debit card.

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01-13-2018, 15:39
See if you can open a Capital One 360 online bank account from the UK. Their debit card is great, no atm fees at a large number of places and no foreign fees. I’ve used mine in Vietnam and when riding my motorbike across the US and never paid fees.

01-13-2018, 18:36
my DD card is going to charge me 2.75% on every in and out transaction (so on my understanding, in restaurants will get charge for the bill + commission 15% block + 2.75% + refund commission + 2.75%) but what the hell hay.....

just ordered my two cards
Caxton and Easyfx

thanks again... money sorted :)

01-14-2018, 02:58
I like cash.
Carried about $1500 on my recent Via Dinarica hike this past summer.
No problems, except the dollar kept dropping.
Cash is still legal in the US.
I hear in Sweden, it's frowned upon.

ps. I use a moneybelt. Never felt threatened.

01-17-2018, 10:09
Travelers checks are the best way to store "cash". If stolen, can be replaced and can be cashed at any bank.

01-17-2018, 10:13
Get a Schwab investor account with high yield checking account. No fees, no minimums and All ATM fees from other banks are returned to your account at month end, even international ATM fees. Been with them for years making no investments and paying NOTHING for my checking/ATM use. Best customer service ever.

Harrison Bergeron
01-17-2018, 11:29
I actually had that problem once. I was unemployed and for some crazy reason nobody would give me a loan for a car. I mean, what were they thinking? It's not like I didn't have a credit history. The last time I had been employed, my dad had co-signed for a car and I hardly ever missed a payment before I was forced to sell it (when those jerks at Burger King fired me just for sleeping in a few times!). And now even my cruel dad turned me down! Talk about child abuse!

I finally solved it, though. I got another job. Turned out, the military was hiring! And they even paid for me to go to college, so when I got out I didn't have to work for Burger King. With my military pay, I had no trouble getting a loan for a car, and this time I tried a little harder to pay the note on time, which fixed my credit problem. Eventually, I got out of the military, and after a brief 40 year confinement in a Fortune-500 cell, I retired a 401K millionaire. And then went hiking on the AT.

I took a credit card and about $20 in small bills.

Problem solved!