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PREPAID CARDS

Choose from our best prepaid cards

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Why compare prepaid cards with MoneySuperMarket

  • Compare at a glance

    We’ll show you the key features of each prepaid card, including introductory deals and any fees you’ll pay

  • View pros and cons

    We’ll list the main advantages and disadvantages of each prepaid card to help you make the right choice

  • Apply online in minutes

    Once you’ve made your decision, just click through to the card provider to apply without a credit check

What are the different types of prepaid cards?

There are a range of specialist prepaid cards to choose from, depending on your requirements. They include:

  • Everyday use

    A prepaid card that you load with money and use just like cash or a debit or credit card for your everyday spending. Often has a monthly fee

  • Children's prepaid debit cards

    A prepaid card can help children learn the value of money and see how much they’re spending.

What is a prepaid card?

Pre-paid cards, sometimes called everyday spending cards, are debit cards that operate on a pay-as-you-go basis. You can simply top it up with money whenever you want to use it and spend as you would normally.

Pre-paid cards are worth considering if you can’t get a bank account. And they’re equally handy if you’re looking to limit your spending, because you can only spend the money you’ve loaded onto the card.

As well as everyday spending pre-paid cards, you can get pre-paid cards designed for travel that allow you avoid the high fees that some credit and debit cards charge for using them overseas.

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How do prepaid cards work?

  • Choose your card

    Pick a card that’s right for you. It might be one that offers fee-free spending on a currency used at a location you frequently visit

  • Apply online

    There are no credit checks, but you are likely to have your ID verified. There might also be a one-off or monthly fee to pay

  • Load the card

    When you receive your prepaid card you can load it with your chosen currency and it’s ready to use

  • Spend on the card

    Use the card as you would a debit card. When funds run low, top it up from your current account or have your wages paid directly onto it

What are the pros and cons of prepaid cards?

There are advantages and disadvantages to prepaid cards. These include:

  • Tick

    Pros

    • Avoid high transaction fees when spending abroad

    • Get rewards or cashback on your spending

    • Control budgeting by not spending more than you have

    • No credit check required - although some prepaid cards can help you improve your credit rating

  • Tick

    Cons

    • Pay a monthly or one-off charge for the card

    • Face further charges for loading funds onto your card and inactivity fees

    • Not covered under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act that protects credit card purchases between £100 and £30,000

    • Could struggle to top up when you’re abroad

How do I choose the best prepaid card?

The best prepaid card for you will differ depending on how you plan to use it. Consider the following:

  • How frequently will you use the card?

    If you’re going to use the card frequently, an everyday prepaid card with a monthly fee but no transaction fees may be more suitable. A pay-as-you-go card could suit occasional users better as they are often free, but charge fees when spending

  • Where will you use the card?

    If you’re planning to use the card when you travel overseas, look to choose a prepaid card that is fee-free for the currency of your destination. This can save you a significant sum of money on spending over the course of your trip

  • Do you need to build your credit score?

    If you’re looking to get a prepaid card because you have a low credit score, an everyday card with a credit builder facility can be a way to help build your credit rating

Can a prepaid card build my credit score?

Depending on the type of prepaid card you get it could improve your credit rating. There are no credit checks with prepaid cards, but some everyday prepaid cards allow you to borrow the annual fee and pay it back in monthly instalments. This gives you a repayment record that will be put on your file by the credit reference agencies. Beware that if you miss a payment it could damage your credit rating even further.

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Compare prepaid cards with MoneySuperMarket

  • Review your options

    Check out our choice of prepaid cards from a wide range of leading UK providers

  • Compare key features

    We’ve listed the benefits of each card along with any fees you might be charged

  • Click through to apply

    Once you’ve made your decision, just click through to the card provider and apply online in minutes

There are several ways your money could be loaded onto a prepaid card. These include:

  • Have your employer pay your salary straight onto the card

  • Transfer money from your current account

  • Add funds at partner retail locations or a branch of the card provider

Yes, there are often fees associated with prepaid cards. It is a good idea to understand how they are charged before you apply for the card. The types of fee you might face include:

  • One-off or monthly fee

  • Transaction fees on your spending

  • Loading fees when it comes to topping up the card

  • Inactivity fees if you don’t use the card for an extended period

Yes, prepaid cards work in the same way as debit and credit cards when it comes to spending. You just key in your card details and the payment will be taken digitally.

The security on a prepaid card is the same as used on other forms of plastic. You need to input your PIN to make larger purchases, for example.

It’s worth noting that prepaid card purchases are not covered by Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act so you may find it harder to get a refund if you are unhappy with any goods and services purchased.

While prepaid card companies are also not necessarily covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, the underlying funds are held by a bank or building society. If the prepaid card company goes bust, you may still get your money back.

A prepaid card is different from a credit or debit card because you can only spend the money you have loaded onto the card.

This means unlike a debit card (where you may be able to go overdrawn) or a credit card (where you are borrowing money before paying it back at a later date), you are only spending your own cash and cannot run into debt.

There can be a variety of ways to check your balance on a prepaid card, including logging into your account online or through an automated phone line. You may be able to check your balance at an ATM and some cards also give you the option to receive card balance updates through text.

Yes, one of the major uses for a prepaid card is for overseas spending, where you can pay lower or zero fees on transactions in the local currency. This is why specialist Euro or Dollar prepaid cards are available.

You work hard to earn your money, and we don’t think you should waste a penny of it paying over the odds on your household bills. That’s why at MoneySuperMarket, we’re on a mission to save Britain money.

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So how do we make our money? In a nutshell, when you use us to buy something, we get a reward from the company you’re buying from.

You might be wondering if we work with all the companies in the market, or if our commercial relationships with our partners might make us feature one company above another. We’ve got nothing to hide, and we want to give you clear answers when it comes to questions like these, so we’ve pulled together everything you need to know on this page.

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