Are Prepaid Credit Cards any Good?

Published on 14 July 2012 by Raffick Marday

Are Prepaid Cards any good?

This depends on where you live as prepaid cards in the USA and the UK are considered as an everyday payment process. Most retailers in the UK now adopt prepaid cards rather than gift cards as they offer better features and control.

The US have been issuing prepaid credit cards for several years and 1 in 10 people know what a prepaid credit card in the US, There are even cards that you can put your own picture on or your favorite pop star. If you live in the US there are plenty of prepaid credit cards but look at the charges as some very expensive and if you live in the UK there are some offshore and European secured credit card accounts open to you if you have the required minimum deposit. But most are unwilling to risk such money in offshore banks or non-UK banking institutions, even though many are extremely stable and secure.

If you live in the US or have a verifiable US address then there are dozens of prepaid credit / debit cards to choose from. Some of these prepaid credit / debit cards are reloadable, some are not. The ones that aren’t are generally called gift prepaid credit / debit cards which come with a fixed amount which has to be used by a certain date. Some gift prepaid credit / debit cards are reloadable, though if you upgrade by verifying your details with the company. You can even buy some of these prepaid gift credit cards in retail outlets without providing any information you just pay and activate.

An example of a US ONLY prepaid Mastercard stored value credit card that can be obtained from a retail outlet in the US is this prepaid Mastercard . You can see a list of US prepaid debit cards that are available to US customers on our US prepaid credit card page. As a result of the Patriot Act 2001, US prepaid credit cards are not available to those with an international billing address and/or those without a US SS number.

Are prepaid cards worth it?

The only solution left for people with bad credit is the prepaid credit / debit card. This is simply a credit / debit card with the usual Visa Mastercard or Maestro logo, either when you buy it or when you load or reload it with your own funds. These reloadable prepaid credit / debit cards allow you to add credit as and when you want,, usually with small admin costs so you just load what you need to spend.

In this respect, they are not credit cards but reloadable debit cards, in so much as you cannot go into debt with them. Also, as no credit is involved, prepaid credit / debit cards do not generally report to the credit reference agencies. So prepaid credit / debit cards are perfect as low risk, private and confidential second credit cards for use on the Internet, over the phone or at retail outlets etc.

Up until recently, in the UK all this was unheard of but over the past few years they have started to become a hit in the UK. In so many ways we were miles behind the US when it came to prepaid and secured credit card products. One of the reasons for this was that the UK was not as electronically connected as the US so that prepaid cards, which do not allow you to actually borrow on them and do not pay interest could be misused by some people at places that do not connect to the bank’s computers to check for sufficient funds.

The branded prepaid credit / debit card solutions open to UK (and many worldwide) residents with or without bad credit are more limited but have improved markedly in recent times. Now you can actually get a reliable prepaid Visa or Mastercard!

Although there are no banking institutions in the UK who offer secured Mastercard / Visa cards there are now an increasing number of prepaid Visa & Mastercard debit cards available. This is slowly beginning to change as Barclays have the Oyster card.

There are now around 50+ prepaid card issuers in the UK and Europe is expected to expand this year in the prepaid credit cards market.

Please be aware that our prepaid credit / debit card list (is in no particular order) and for informational purposes only. We make no claims about any of the prepaid credit / debit card accounts presented. It is up to you to make all necessary enquiries should you wish to apply for any of these prepaid credit / debit cards. Also read the terms and conditions before you apply for your card.

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