Compare pay as you go prepaid cards

Pay-as-you-go prepaid cards are a great choice for parents keen to keep a lid on their children’s spending. Aimed mainly at teenagers and students, they have no monthly fee. You can find the best deals here on MoneySuperMarket.

Compare occasional cards - Ordered by cards which incur the least monthly costs for an upload of £150 with 3 transactions of £35 each and 1 ATM transactions of £45, includes any special or introductory offers.

  1. Exclusive

    FREE card & FREE £5 when you pay in at least £10 within first 7 days

    Great for
    Contactless Card. NO Credit Checks*, Monthly or Usage fees - EVER
    FREE to pay in by debit card, bank transfer, wages or benefits. Only 99p to pay in by Cash at PayPoint
    Up to 10% Cashback with top UK retailers
    But be aware that
    Customers without a verified UK address will be offered a lower limit card
    You must be aged 18 or over
  2. Exclusive

    Get £5 FREE on your first load of £50

    Great for
    No monthly, ATM, usage or currency fees for the first three months
    Up to £250 overdraft and £1,000 Direct Debit cover available - subject to approval
    Manage account via mobile app or online banking
    But be aware that
    After three months, regular ATM, usage and currency fees will apply, as well as a £5.95 monthly fee
  3. Great for
    No monthly fees and no credit checks
    Spend anywhere you see the MasterCard Acceptance Mark
    But be aware that
    There is a purchase transaction fee of 2.95%
  4. Great for
    Instant approval guaranteed for verified applicants
    Account number and sort code details are generated immediately
    But be aware that
    Card issue fee of £4.95 (£5.00 if paying by SMS). A fee of up to £5.95 applies for additional and replacement cards
    Maximum daily ATM withdrawal limit is £500 (£250 for Express Access accounts)
    Purchase transaction fee of 2.5%
  5. Great for
    Pay as you go card with no monthly fee
    Free Purchase Protection and cashback rewards from online shopping
    Ideal for occasional use
    But be aware that
    Card fee of £9.95 applies, and £5.95 for any replacements
    Purchase transaction fee of £0.99 applies to any payments or direct debits
  6. Great for
    Free to load at Post Office and by BACS
    Free SMS balance check
    Share money with people who live abroad with a second card
    But be aware that
    Upfront and additional card fee of £7.50 (£10 if paying by SMS)
    Second cards may only be loaded by money share from primary card

Prepaid cards are not eligible for protection under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme

Pay-as-you-go cards

A prepaid card is a payment card that is pre-loaded with money. Once you've loaded money onto your pay-as-you-go card, you can therefore use it to shop online or take cash out of a cash machine, just as you would with a credit or debit card.

However, pay-as-you-go prepaid cards, in the same way as pay-as-you-go mobile phones, do not allow you to spend more than you can afford. So while they are often targeted at teenagers and students, their in-built discipline means they are also useful for anyone trying to stick to a budget.

Safer than cash, they are also a secure way to shop online, and they can be bought as gifts in the same way that you might give someone cash or a cheque.

Safe spending

It is all too easy to overspend and get yourself into debt if you use a credit card, or even a debit card if it is linked to an account with an overdraft facility.

Young people particularly often find it tempting to spend more than they have. That’s why many parents prefer to give their children a pay-as-you-go prepaid card that only allows them to spend the amount that has been put on to the card, but still means they can shop online.

Another advantage is that carrying a prepaid card is a lot safer than having a pocket full of cash. After all, lost or stolen prepaid cards can simply be cancelled and replaced, but cash that disappears has usually gone for good.

Available to all

You need a clean credit history and a good credit score to qualify for many of the best credit cards on the market today. But it is much easier to be accepted by a prepaid card provider. 

Even youngsters with no credit history, as well as anyone recently arrived in the UK, can qualify for a pay-as-you-go prepaid card. You will be accepted as a customer as long as the company offering the card can verify your identity using your personal details.

Secure online shopping

Nowadays, many of the best bargains and deals are found online – not on the high street. However, some people are worried about sharing their credit and debit card details on the internet.

Pay-as-you-go prepaid cards, which are not linked to a bank or credit card account and so limit your exposure to fraud, are therefore a great way to shop online.

No monthly fee

Unlike some credit cards, pay-as-you-go prepaid cards have no monthly fee. You must, however, look out for other fees such as transaction charges when choosing your pay-as-you-go prepaid card.

Cards of this kind are also generally limited to a maximum of, say, five transactions a month. If you are looking for a card for everyday use, you would therefore probably be better off with a pay monthly prepaid card.

Find the best deal

You can compare a range of pay-as-you-go prepaid cards with MoneySuperMarket, so take a look at what's on offer to ensure you choose the right deal for your circumstances and preferences. 

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