Using a prepaid mastercard (often called a prepaid credit or debit card) is a great alternative to carrying cash or using a credit card because it’s safe and does not allow you to go into debt. Much like a pay as you go mobile phone, you can only spend what you have topped it up with. It’s also very secure due to chip and pin technology, has online account management and can be used anywhere you see the mastercard sign.
If you happen to be new to the country or have no means of ID, the prepaid debit card is great as you don’t require any ID to get one. The only thing needed is a UK postal address so it can be delivered. The other great advantage is that no credit check is done, no proof of address needed and no bank account required.
The prepaid card usually costs 9.99 (you can pay online or by cheque or postal order via the postal application service offered on the website). Once the prepaid credit card arrives in the post, you can activate it and retrieve your PIN via the website or telephone. There are two tariffs to choose from, Pay Monthly or Pay As You Go. Pay Monthly is designed for people who wish to use to the prepaid credit card on a regular basis; there is a monthly charge but lower transactions fees. The Pay As You Go option is for infrequent or occasional usage; there are no monthly fees but slightly higher transactions fees.
It’s easy to load your prepaid debit with cash. Use any UK high street bank, any shop with a PayPoint logo or the Post Office. You can also load via your online bank account or telephone banking . Another useful feature is that you can have your wages and benefits paid straight onto the prepaid credit card. Use your prepaid debit card to spend anywhere across the globe where the mastercard symbol is displayed; this means over 30 million places and 1.5 million cash machines. Prepaid mastercards come with full online account access and text message control too.
What’s more, a prepaid card offers cardholders the latest money transferring technology, a very convenient way of transferring money with friends and family instantly and for free (overseas or in the UK). All you have to do is purchase an additional linked “Companion Card” along with the Primary Card and then dispatch the companion card to your friend or family member. This is now very popular with parents who give their children pocket money or money when away at university or on overseas travels.
So, in conclusion, a prepaid card is a good alternative to cash, cheques, travellers cheques and credit cards. They are a safe and convenient way of carrying money and won’t get you into debt. The technology they offer is good, including full chip and pin security, online account access and sms text message control. You can use them internationally and transfer money to people you know for free. In particular they are an option for those who due to bad credit or lack of ID cannot get a bank account or credit card.
Marckous Wukalanski is a consumer products analyst, focusing in bank cards and personal finance. He recommends downloading a free 36 page guide called the ‘Essential Guide To Your Money’. For more information, visit the prepaid debit card website.