1. Hotels, car hire, bicycle hire and deposits of all kinds
Don’t use your travelmaker card for the security card swipe when you check into a hotel or hire a car. Use any other credit or debit card for this and only use your travelmaker card to settle the bill. This is because of something called ‘shadowed funds’. When any card is swiped you might not know that a ‘shadow’ is put on the card. Unlike any other card your travelmaker card holds a prepaid balance and the shadow will stop you from getting to your travel cash. A shadow can last for up to 30 days. Use any other card for the security swipe and your travelmaker card when making the final payment.
2. DCC Dynamic Currency Conversion - Don't pay in Sterling!
Sometimes you will get the choice of paying in euros/dollars or in sterling – always choose the local currency. This is called Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC). Retailers and ATMs may give you the choice and you might think that paying in sterling saves you money. It doesn’t. If you pay in pounds the retailer converts your payment at their exchange rate and you lose out. Remember to check the screen before authorising transactions. If the value is shown in pounds – ask that it is changed!
This is where you can be caught out.
If you were using the ATM in the picture the correct button to press would be "NO".
However please be aware that some ATMs will pose the question like this: "Are you sure you would NOT like to pay in Pounds?" The answer to this is "YES" as you are sure you would not like to pay in pounds.
3. Automated French Petrol Stations
Automated petrol stations on the continent (not just France) usually take a security deposit of €120 (normal approval) when you first swipe your card. No money actually leaves your account at this point, but your available balance is reduced by €120. A couple of days later (it can be up to 15 days), they will process a settlement increase for €120 which will raise your available balance by €120. Simultaneously, they will process a settlement decrease where they will remove funds from your card to cover the actual amount of fuel dispensed for example €45. In the period between the Normal approval and the settlement decrease your account will appear to have been debited by €120, but it has not. Only when the settlement decrease goes through has money actually left your account. This procedure is not unique to our cards or indeed any prepaid card, all cards issued by any institution are treated in the same way whether they are debit, credit or prepaid cards.
4. ATM use
There is a maximum daily withdrawal limit of £500, €625 or $750. However, you should be aware that some ATMs have their own lower limits particularly in small towns and remote villages.
Almost every ATM in Thailand will charge for an ATM withdrawal, usually 150 Thai Baht (about £3), regardless of the amount you withdraw. A large number of banks in the US will also charge, but they normally inform you of this before letting you proceed.
5. Checking the balance
You can check your balance free of charge by visiting www.travelmakercards.com and clicking on 'My Account' button or alternatively call +44 207 201 0552
You can also use SMS to check your balance. Before you can use this service, you will need to register your mobile number and debit card in your account area on the website.
You should then save the text number as +447537402025 in your phone.
Travelmaker do not levy any charges for this service, however your mobile phone provider may charge your for sending text messages.
To check your card balance send a text in the following format:
Balance [space] XXXX [space] DDMM
Where XXXX is the last four digits of the card.
Where DDMM is your day and month of birth.
For example, someone born on the 5th July with a
card ending 1625 would send the message:
BALANCE 1042 2407
6. Changing your PIN
Change your PIN at any UK cash machine displaying the MasterCard Acceptance Mark. But don’t leave it until you are away – overseas cash machines won’t allow you to do this. Some ATMs may tell you that you will be charged for this service – you won’t be.