All major cards are accepted widely, Amex less so (they charge too much I believe) UK have our own currency, GB£, the rest use Euros I think. US$ are not a good idea..too complicated for us simple folk.
The Euro/Mastercard is still something of an anomoly,
If you are referring to the pre-paid card, then the theory is great as you top up the card as & when you want to, and as it is a chip & PIN based card, you are less likely to lose all your money than if you were carrying cash - if it is lost/stolen you can have it cancelled & get a replacement sent to you. Even if someone clones the card, they can only spend the money that you have put onto it, so cannot run up any hefty bills.
The drawbacks are that you may incur charges by the card issuer and ATM system. Purchases in shops should be charge free.
The other real draw back is that Mastercard isn't as widely accepted as it used to be, hotels, restaurants & major services should be fine, but smaller shops and taxis companies may not be so keen.
Check with the issuer on any charges, along with how widely it is accepted in the countries you are visiting.
If you use a Euro based card in the UK, you will incur exchange rate charges. So again check with the card issuer on what these are likely to be.
So, is it worth it? imho "yes" just as long as you check up on the potential draw backs.
Have a great vacation,
Alan & Katrina
Next Cruise: P&O Adonia June 2014
Last Cruise: P&O Oriana Nov 2013
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The currency in Spain and Portugal is the Euro. US credit cards are accepted everywhere. If you want to get cash, use a ATM card. There are plenty of places where they are found.
You can get some Euros before you go, but at a lousy exchange rate.
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If it's a pre-paid debit card then it's probably an OK idea. Visa is a better way to go but Mastercard is accepted at most major stores, hotels and restaurants. A pre-paid debit card will avoid the hassle of losing the card and having a large amount of charges and the hassle of getting new cards and disputing the charges.
An American Visa card will work anywhere in the world but some banks, such as Chase, will charge a 3% foreign exchange fee. Citibank does not charge the additional 3%.
For currency I recommend just hitting the ATM at the airport. Withdraw the walking around money you will need and go from there. You will get the current exchange rate. Some banks also charge for this. Wells Fargo PMA accounts do not have a foreign ATM fee. You will still have to pay any ATM fees that the ATM vendor adds.
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