Travelex is teaming with MasterCard and West Suburban Bank to launch a pre-paid foreign currency card aimed at US customers travelling to Europe.
The Cash Passport card - available in euros and British pounds - will be available at local banks, travel agencies and Travelex retail locations in North America from the second quarter, says the foreign exchange operator.
The reloadable card can be used at ATMs and the point of sale and can be topped up 24 times.
Travelex says users will also avoid the risk of currency fluctuations because the exchange rate is locked in when the card is loaded.
Commenting on the launch Christopher Russell, EVP, outsourcing, Americas, Travelex, says more than 10 million trips are made to the UK and Europe by Americans every year and 84% of them are prepared to buy pre-trip foreign currency from a bank.
"Foreign currency pre-paid cards make sense for financial institutions and other currency sales outlets," he adds.
A YouGov poll of 995 adults for Travelex found that 43% of recent travellers would be prepared to use a Cash Passport in the future. For respondents the security of PIN and signature protection -37% - and convenience of ATM withdrawals - 32% - were the most important features. When considering foreign exchange purchases, 37% of US respondents were looking for a competitive exchange rate that can be locked in.
In the UK, Barclays, Lloyds TSB, Virgin Money and The Post Office have all 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 in 2007.