Prepaid credit cards offer Canadians a safe way to spend money abroad. Prepaid credit cards provide the convenience of a credit card without the high interest rates, you won't have to worry about your bank freezing your card if your overseas spending gets flagged, and reloading is easy from anywhere in the world. 

High income requirements and credit scores prevent many younger people from qualifying for some of the best travel credit cards. As a response, prepaid credit cards issued by fintech companies and big banks are rising in popularity. Many of these prepaid credit cards offer rewards and features that rival those of regular travel credit cards.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at the 5 best prepaid travel cards in Canada.

KOHO Prepaid Mastercard

You can use the KOHO Prepaid Mastercard anywhere in the world that takes Mastercards, which makes it one of the most widely accepted and best prepaid credit cards in Canada. You can load your KOHO prepaid Mastercard from your Smart Spending Account, KOHO’s version of a chequing account, which earns between 1.5%-5% interest.  

You can load the card with an Interac e-transfer, or you can set up direct deposit from your employer. The direct deposit option is a very convenient feature for remote workers. KOHO also makes it easy to save and budget with their app and they’re the only prepaid credit card that helps you build or rebuild your credit score. 

While the free KOHO Easy card is great for shopping at home, the Extra card offer reward rates that are better suited to travelling. The Extra card earns 6% back for every dollar spent on, 2% on groceries, dining out and transportation, plus 0.5% on everything else, which is deposited right back into your Smart account. Plus, KOHO waves the 2.5% foreign currency transaction fee that most other cards charge for international transactions. There are also higher ATM withdrawal limits and you'll get one free international ATM withdrawal every month, meaning they won't charge you and will reimburse you for any ATM fees charged to your account.

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AC Conversion Visa Prepaid Card

The Air Canada Conversion Visa Prepaid Card from CIBC is available to anyone who wants it regardless of whether you have a CIBC account or not. The card is easy enough to sign up for online, but last-minute travellers can even get one from the CIBC Banking Centre at Pearson International Airport. Once your account is registered you can easily load it from the AC Conversion App with up to 10 different currencies at once. 

In the app, you can also exchange currencies that you've already loaded onto the card for another one that it supports. For example, if you are a Canadian in Mexico but only loaded the card with Great British pounds, you can change them for pesos through the app without having to reload the card. You could also pay in pounds, but you’ll be charged the 2.5% fx fee in that case. 

This prepaid credit card also saves you money on exchange rates. Rather than paying a different exchange rate every time you use the card, one rate is locked in when you load it and you can spend at the same exchange rate until you reload.

This card is completely free to use and there are no conversion fees whenever you use it. Plus, you’ll get one free international ATM withdrawal per month and, since it's a Visa, it’s accepted globally. As part o their promotion, new cardholders can earn 1% cash back on all purchases until October 2023.

EQ Bank Card

The EQ Bank Card works just like a debit card. In order to apply for one, you have to open an EQ Bank Savings Plus account, which earns 2.5% interest on balances. 

The card is free and earns 0.5% cash back on every dollar spent, which is deposited back into your savings account as a lump payment once per month. There are no foreign transaction fees but you will be charged the Mastercard exchange rate.

What sets the EQ Bank Card apart from other prepaid credit cards is unlimited international ATM withdrawals for free (you'll just have to pay the fee charged by the ATM), so you never have to worry about where to get cash while abroad.

EQ Bank Card
  • No fees
  • Earn 2.5% interest on all your money
  • Get 0.5% cash back on all your purchases

Open a Savings Plus Account to get your free EQ Bank Card.

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BMO Prepaid Mastercard

The BMO Prepaid Mastercard is not free, but it has some extra features that make it worth the cost. For an annual fee of $6.95, which is significantly cheaper than some of BMO’s other travel credit cards, you’ll get purchase insurance and an extended warranty, interest-free purchases and cash advances. An FX conversion fee of 2.5% applies to all foreign transactions.

Even though this card isn't free, it’s one of the strongest prepaid credit cards on the market, backed by a globally recognized bank and Mastercard’s massive network. Some folks might consider the annual fee a reasonable price to pay for the insurance and the added peace of mind of an internationally recognized card. 

Canada Post Cash Passport Mastercard

Not many travellers know that Canada Post can issue prepaid credit cards. It's backed by Vancity Credit Union, supports 7 currencies and is accepted internationally anywhere that takes Mastercard.

Unfortunately, this card is not free and there are a few fees associated with it. Many of the fees are easy to avoid, but some aren't. It's $15 to sign up for the card, plus a $3 reloading fee and a $3 ATM withdrawal fee. An FX fee of 3.25% applies to unsupported currencies only, meaning it won't cost you anything to pay in pesos if you've loaded the card with pounds.

With this card, you have access to Mastercard's 24/7 Global Assistance. You also can get back up cards issued for free if you lose yours or it gets stolen, and state-of-the-art security can prevent anyone who finds your card from using it.

FAQs about the best prepaid travel cards in Canada

What is a prepaid travel card?

A prepaid travel card works like a credit card, but instead of spending money and paying it back later, you load the card first and can only spend a predetermined amount. Once the card balance is at $0, you have to add more money in order to continue using it.

Are prepaid travel cards a good idea?

Prepaid travel cards are a safe and convenient way to spend money abroad. If it gets lost or stolen you don't need to worry about someone racking up thousands of dollars that you can't pay back, they're easy to load from anywhere in the world, and many prepaid travel cards now offer cashback rewards.

Where can I get a prepaid travel card?

You can get prepaid travel cards at many different locations around the world including grocery stores, drug stores, banks, credit unions, gas stations, or online. A bank or financial tech company is the best place to look for a prepaid travel card.

What is the best prepaid card for international travel?

Any prepaid travel card backed by the Mastercard or Visa network is the best way to go for international spending because both companies are widely accepted everywhere around the world. Each of the cards on this list comes with features and perks to make spending money abroad cheaper, safer and more convenient.

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