Best GBP cards in the US 
If you’re planning a trip to the UK you might be wondering about the best way to get a GBP card before you head off to make it easier and cheaper to spend pounds while you’re away. Using a GBP card can also help you manage your travel money budget and access better exchange rates – but which GBP cards are best to pick?
This guide walks through all you need to know, including a look at how GBP cards from providers like Wise and Revolut can help you get a better deal on your overseas spending.
What is a GBP card?
A GBP card is a card that can be used conveniently for spending and withdrawals in pounds. These cards are also called multi-currency cards and they usually come with other currencies available too. You’ll be able to top up your account in USD or the currency of your choice based on the specific provider’s options, and convert to pounds before you travel. That means you can plan your budget in advance, and lock in exchange rates before spending.
What is a GBP card good for? 🇬🇧
Getting a GBP card is a great bet if you’re headed to the UK.
It can make it safer for spending while you’re away as you won’t need to carry a lot of cash – and your travel money account isn’t linked to your regular bank account so even if you were unlucky enough to have your card stolen, the thieves won’t have access to your main USD funds.
Using a GBP card while you’re away can also cut the costs of currency conversion, and allow you to get a better exchange rate. You’ll be able to add money in USD and switch to pounds when you spot a good rate – and some card providers also offer better rates compared to the banks, as well.
Pros and cons of GBP card
- Cards can often be used for GBP and a range of other currencies
- Some providers offer preferential exchange rates to card holders
- Using a travel money card when you’re abroad can be safer than relying on cash or your normal card
- It’s usually free to spend currencies you hold in your account
- You can avoid currency exchange stores and simply make cash withdrawals on arrival in your destination
- Different accounts come with their own fees which can include monthly charges or currency conversion costs
- Not all cards can support GBP, so you’ll need to make sure the one you pick is suitable
- Topping up your card might incur a fee, depending on how you make your payment
4 best GBP cards in the US
The good news is that there’s a pretty wide choice of GBP cards you can get from the US. Let’s look at our top 4 picks so you can decide which is right for you.
Then convert to GBP using the mid-market rate and low, transparent fees for simple spending when you travel. You can get local account details for GBP and a selection of other currencies to get paid like a local with Wise account, and you can also send payments to 70+ countries with Wise money transfer.
- Currency conversion fees from 0.43%, with the mid-market rate
- Convert in advance or let the card automatically switch to pounds as and when required
- No monthly fees or minimum balance
- Some transaction fees apply, including ATM fees once you’ve exhausted your fee free allowance
- No cash top up options
Read our Wise card review to learn more.
You can open a Revolut account or choose to upgrade to an account with more features, for a monthly fee of up to 16.99 USD. All accounts come with the option to hold and exchange GBP, and linked physical and virtual cards for easy spending. Depending on the account you hold you can get some fee free currency conversion, too, with relatively low fees once your plan allowance is exhausted – 0.5% in most cases. A couple of other charges might apply, including an out of hours conversion fee of 1% which you’ll want to watch out for.
- Choose the account plan that suits your needs
- All accounts have some fee free currency conversion
- Physical and virtual card options
- Fees apply for the most feature packed account tiers
- Out of hours fees of 1% apply when converting currencies at night and at the weekend
Bluebird American Express prepaid debit card
You can order a Bluebird prepaid debit card for free online. You’ll then be able to top up in cash or from a bank account. You can also add checks or have funds deposited by others – fees apply for some top up methods. While this card doesn’t allow you to hold foreign currencies, you won’t pay a foreign transaction fee to spend your USD balance abroad, which makes it a good choice when you’re in the UK.
- Get a card for free by ordering online
- Top up in a range of ways in USD
- No foreign transaction fee when spending overseas
- ATM withdrawal fees of 2.5 USD or the equivalent when overseas
- American Express cards are not always accepted internationally – check coverage before you travel
Capital One Venture Rewards
The Capital One Venture Rewards card has no foreign transaction fees when you spend overseas. There’s also a comparatively low cash advance fee when you use an ATM, at 3 USD or 3% whichever is higher. You’ll need to repay your bill in full every month to avoid fees and interest, but can earn travel rewards and miles on your day to day spending.
- No foreign transaction fee
- Earn travel rewards on spending
- Get extras like lounge access and free travel insurance
- Variable interest rates which apply if you don’t pay off your bill in full
- 95 USD annual fee, and a 3 USD or 3% cash advance fee – whichever is higher
Where can I use a GBP card?
A currency card allows you to pay in the local currency when you travel, without incurring extra costs. A GBP card is perfect if you’re headed off to the UK, as you can top up in USD and switch over to GBP in advance so you know your budget in the local currency. Some cards also offer the option to convert at the point of payment, which means you don’t need to worry about getting set up in advance.
British Pound card in the US
All of the GBP cards we have profiled above can be used in the US too – but you might find that fees apply. If you don’t hold an USD balance in your account and you use your GBP card here at home, for example, you might pay a conversion fee to switch back from pounds to dollars.
Costs of getting a British pound card in the US
Each provider will have their own fees for GBP cards – which can vary pretty widely. With prepaid cards, it’s important to review the costs in detail before you pick a card as the charges applied may be quite different to using a regular debit card. You might find fees to top up, for example, and different charges for spending and withdrawing in different currencies. With credit cards, as you’d expect, there may be costs and interest charges if you don’t repay your bills in full every month.
Learn more about Wise fees here.
GBP card fees
Here’s an overview of the fees applied on the GBP cards we picked out earlier, to give you a bit of a picture. Other charges may also apply, so do check out the provider you’re choosing carefully.
|Get a card||9 USD||No extra fee (monthly account fees may apply)||No fee||No fee|
|Add money||Free to add money in 9 currencies with local bank details, including receiving USD by ACH||Free from debit cards and bank accounts in the US (fees may apply for some other top up methods)||Free by bank transfer, and in cash at Family Dollar (fees may apply for some other top up methods)||Not applicable|
|Account maintenance fee||None||0 USD – 16.99 USD/month depending on tier||None||95 USD annual fee|
|Spend in GBP||Free to spend currency you hold|
Convert currencies from 0.43%
|Free to spend currency you hold|
Some fee free currency exchange to plan limits, 0.5% fair usage fee after that
|No foreign transaction fee – network rates will apply||No foreign transaction fee – network rates will apply|
|ATM withdrawal||2 withdrawals, to 100 USD in value free every month, 1.5 USD + 2% after that||No fee for in network withdrawals|
Standard accounts: 400 USD/month out of network withdrawals free, 2% after that
|2.5 USD||3 USD or 3%, whichever is greater|
What exchange rate will be used?
You’ll likely need to convert currencies at some point when you use your GBP card, so the exchange rate you get matters. If you top up in USD and convert to GBP, getting a bad rate will mean less to spend in the end. Different providers have their own approaches to calculating the exchange rate.
Wise exchange rate: Wise offers mid-market rates, and has a transparent fee which is split out, starting from 0.43%, for example.
Revolut account holders can all convert some funds fee free, but the amount you can convert might be limited depending on your account tier. Once you’ve exhausted your allowance you’ll pay a fair usage fee of 0.5%, plus 1% out of hours costs if relevant. Other providers may take a different approach, adding a markup or foreign transaction fee when you convert or spend in a foreign currency.
How to get a GBP card in the US
All the providers we’ve looked at above allow you to order an GBP card online or through an app. You’ll need to have a suitable form of ID to get your card – usually a passport or driving license, and you might be asked to provide your proof of address as well. Once you’ve ordered your card it’ll arrive in the mail shortly after.
Check out the GBP card order process for the provider you prefer, so you can prepare everything that’s needed.
Related: How to get a Wise card
Conclusion: What is the best card to use for British pounds?
GBP cards are extremely useful for travelers – and can also be handy for people who shop online with retailers based in the UK. Get your GBP card in advance from the US, add USD and convert to pounds so you’ve got your travel money sorted and can see and manage your budget easily.
Depending on the provider you pick you might also find you get better exchange rates and lower overall costs compared to using your standard bank card overseas. Options like Wise and Revolut offer easy ways to hold and convert dozens of currencies, to make travel cheaper and easier.
Best GBP cards FAQ
What are the benefits of using a GBP card?
Using a GBP card when you’re in the UK can mean you get a better exchange rate and lower overall fees. You’ll also be able to manage your budget in pounds easily.
Are GBP cards available in the US?
Yes. You can get a card with low or no foreign transaction fees from a bank like Capital One, a network like Amex – or pick an online specialist provider like Wise or Revolut for a card and account that offers even more features.
How much does a GBP card cost?
Most GBP cards have low or no initial fees, but you’ll need to look at the transaction costs that apply when you use your card. These costs include fees for topping up, ATM withdrawal charges and inactivity or closure fees.