Barclays has become the latest bank to launch a re-loadable, PIN-protected travel money card that has been designed to replace paper travellers' cheques and cash.
Barclays says its new Travel Money Card is personlised with the customer's name, unique card number and signature and uses chip and PIN technology.
The card can be used at ATMs around the world and wherever Visa is accepted. It stands alone from any bank accounts and cannot go into a negative balance so minimises the risk of fraud, says the bank.
The card can be loaded with British pounds, US dollars and euros at Barclays branches, or over the telephone, using a debit or credit card. Customers can put the equivalent of between £100 and £2,500 on the card and the funds are available instantly. Balances can be checked at ATMs or over the phone.
Andrew Jones, Barclays current and savings account director, says: "The Barclays travel card is the most convenient and safest way to carry foreign currency: It's safer than cash and more flexible than travellers' cheques."
In the UK Lloyds TSB, Virgin Money and The Post Office have also launched pre-paid plastic cards aimed at holidaymakers and travellers.
Canada's BMO Bank of Montreal and Australian banking group ANZ also launched similar cards earlier this year.