Best Prepaid Cards - Prepaid Credit Cards UK - 2018 | moneyfacts.co.uk

Compare the best prepaid credit cards

  - Take control of your spending! Prepaid credit cards can't get you into debt, so they're great if you've had trouble getting a bank account.

Compare the Best Prepaid Cards For Everyday Use

 Transaction FeesMonthly FeesIssue FeesATM ChargesCredit Builder OptionAdditional Information 
 
Nimbl
Nimbl
NilNilNil£0.49 (First withdrawal per month free)No
  • Debit Card
  • Credit Card
  • Bank Account
  • Standing Order
  • Internet
  • Wages/Benefits
 
Optimum Mastercard
Optimum Mastercard
NilNil£5.002.95%No
  • Debit Card
  • Credit Card
  • Bank Account
  • Paypoint
  • Post Office
 
Prepaid Financial Services
Prepaid Financial Services
Nil£1.00£8.951.50% (Min £1, Max £3.75)No
  • Debit Card
  • Credit Card
  • Payzone
  • Internet
  • Bank Account
  • SMS Text
  • Wages/Benefits
  • Standing Order
 
Virgin Prepaid Pay Monthly
Virgin Prepaid Pay Monthly
Nil£4.75£9.95£1.50No
  • Debit Card
  • Credit Card
  • Paypoint
  • Post Office
  • Bank Account
  • Wages
  • Standing Order
 
Cashplus Gold - Activeplus
Cashplus Gold - Activeplus
Electronic payments / transfers & standing orders - 1st 9 payments = Nil £0.99 thereafter£5.95£5.95£2.00Yes
  • Post Office
  • Wages/Benefits
  • BACS
  • Standing Order
Go to Site
icount Pay Monthly
icount Pay Monthly
Nil£9.95£4.95£0.50Yes
  • Post Office
  • Cashplus Store
  • Bank Transfer
  • Standing Order
  • Wages/Benefits
Go to Site
Cashplus Gold - Deluxe
Cashplus Gold - Deluxe
Nil£9.95£5.95NilYes
  • Post Office
  • Wages/Benefits
  • BACS
  • Standing Order
Go to Site
Cashplus Gold - Flexiplus
Cashplus Gold - Flexiplus
£0.99Nil£5.95£2.00No
  • Post Office
  • Wages/Benefits
  • BACS
  • Standing Order
 
Bread
Bread
2.00%Nil£7.50 - £10 if paying by SMS£1.50No
  • Debit Card
  • Bank Account
  • Standing Order
  • Paypoint
  • Post Office
  • Wages
 
icount Pay As You Go
icount Pay As You Go
£2.50 (min £0.25)Nil£4.95£0.75Yes provided by APS
  • Min Age: 18
  • Up to 4 additional cardholders from age 13
  • Top Up:
  • Post Office - £0.99
  • Cashplus Store - £0.99
  • Bank Transfer / Wages / Benefits/ Standing Order – FREE
Go to Site

Moneyfacts.co.uk Best Buys show the best products chosen by our independent experts. Where we have been able to we have also provided a link for you to apply online today. Products shown with a yellow background are sponsored products.

Disclaimer:

All information is subject to change without notice. Please check all terms before committing yourself.

 

Prepaid cards explained

Our prepaid debit cards chart is ordered by the lowest UK transaction fee, lowest monthly fee, then lowest application fee. If you're not sure whether you need one or not, or how these handy cards even work, then read on as we answer some of the most frequently asked questions about prepaid cards.

On this page:

  1. What are prepaid cards?
  2. How does a prepaid card work?
  3. What can prepaid cards be used for?
  4. Who are prepaid cards for?
  5. Should I get a prepaid card?
  6. Are prepaid credit cards good for building credit?
  7. Are prepaid credit cards good for international travel?
  8. What type of prepaid card should I get?
  9. Are prepaid credit cards free?
  10. How much do prepaid cards cost?
  11. Can I go overdrawn on a prepaid card?
  12. Can I have more than one prepaid card?
  13. How old do I have to be for a prepaid card?
  14. Do prepaid credit cards offer protection?
  15. Are prepaid credit cards reloadable?
  16. Can prepaid credit cards be used online?
  17. Can prepaid credit cards get refunds?
  18. Do prepaid credit cards expire?

What are prepaid cards?

Unlike the name prepaid credit card might suggest, these cards are not a form of credit, i.e. you are not borrowing any money with these cards. Instead, you 'prepay' your spending by putting money onto the card. You can't spend any more than what you put on it, so they act a bit like a gift card.

This can be a great advantage for those who can't afford to go into the red. Other advantages these cards offer is that they can be used by people with debt problems and those who are either unable or don't want to open a UK bank account.

Unfortunately, this also means you will have to be diligent about how much money you keep and spend on these cards, as you will have no buffer - if you try to pay your energy bill with your prepaid card and you don't have enough money on it, the payment will be rejected and you could be at risk of a non-payment penalty. The advantages and disadvantages of these cards are explained in more detail in our guide on the subject.

How does a prepaid card work?

Unlike a gift card, you can add money to a prepaid card from several different sources, and keep adding funds. Some cards even allow you to get your salary paid directly onto it. To get an idea of how you'll be able to add to the card, have a look at the 'Additional information' in the Best Buys above. You'll see that some allow you to add funds at Post Office counters, while others offer additions through ATMs, and most will let you add funds online.

Also unlike gift cards, you may have to pay a fee (or even several), but we'll talk more about these charges later. Once you have the card, and you've put some money on it, you can use it just like any other credit or debit card. This means you can shop online, pay in store or take cash from an ATM (though this may come with a fee). Keep a close eye on the balance as you're spending, though, as the card will never allow you to spend more than you have.

What can prepaid cards be used for?

They can be used for budgeting, as a means of avoiding debt, or even as a replacement bank account (though note that not all prepaid credit cards will allow standing orders, potentially limiting your ability to get mobile phone bills and such paid off them). To get the most out of your prepaid card, make sure it does all the things you need it to do before committing to it, and with the lowest possible fees.

Who are prepaid cards for?

Their nature makes prepaid cards ideal for people who are unable to open a bank account or have a bad credit score. They are also beneficial for those who have a perfectly good credit rating but would like some help budgeting, as it's impossible to overspend on these prepaid credit cards. This makes them suitable for parents looking to give their children some spending money as well.

Should I get a prepaid card?

If you have just moved (back) to the UK and can't open a bank account, or you are unable to get a current account or credit card due to bad credit, you may want to get a prepaid credit card. If your credit score is fine but you're feeling tempted to overspend on your debit or credit card, a prepaid card might also be for you.

Are prepaid credit cards good for building credit?

Because you are not borrowing any money, these cards don't tend to help improve your credit score. It's easy to see in the chart above which cards have a 'Credit Builder Option'. If you really want to improve your credit rating, you could also have a look at our guide on the subject.

Are prepaid credit cards good for international travel?

There are prepaid cards specifically for travelling available, with most UK-based prepaid cards charging substantial fees for use abroad. At the same time, prepaid travel cards also tend to charge high fees for use in the UK, so be careful with where and how you spend money on these cards.

What type of prepaid card should I get?

The type of card that works best for you may depend on how it allows access. This could be as important as the fees attached to it, since you'll want to be able to add money fast if you're going to depend on it as your main 'bank account'.

Most prepaid cards are issued by Visa or Mastercard, so that no matter which prepaid card provider you choose, you know you will be able to use the card in most places in the UK and abroad. After you've found the cards with the best features for your needs, it's a matter of picking the cheapest prepaid card deal.

Are prepaid credit cards free?

No. While there may be some free prepaid cards available, in general prepaid credit cards tend to charge fees for issuing the card, transactions and/or ATM use, and some may require monthly payments as well. When deciding on a card, it's therefore a good idea to think about what you would use it for most, and try to minimise the associated costs.

How much do prepaid cards cost?

If you don't manage to get a free prepaid card, you may have to pay £5 to £10 to get the card, a small percentage every time you take money out, as well as a monthly fee for having the card which can vary from £1 to £10 or more. It's always prudent to look at the terms and conditions of the card you are interested in very closely, to make sure you are aware of all costs involved.

Can I go overdrawn on a prepaid card?

No, they are specifically designed so that you can't go even one penny overdrawn, which is what makes them ideal for those with a bad credit rating or who are too tempted by a current account overdraft.

Can I have more than one prepaid card?

Yes, since they do not affect your credit rating, there's no harm in having multiple prepaid cards. Given the charges that may be involved, however, it may be prudent to limit the number you have, or switch from one to another if you see a better deal.

How old do I have to be for a prepaid card?

Generally, you'll have to be 18 or over to open a prepaid card account. However, it is possible for parents to open a card in their child's name, for instance, so that children would be able to use such a card.

Do prepaid credit cards offer protection?

They can be considered slightly safer than bank accounts, since they are not linked to anything, but they don't tend to fall under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, which means that unlike credit cards, the provider is not liable for any purchases made using the card. That said, some cards do offer free purchase protection as an extra.

Card providers need to be either authorised or regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) under their Electronic Money Regulations. This means that your money will be safe on such cards. And unlike with cash, you'll likely be able to get your money back if your card gets stolen or lost.

Are prepaid credit cards reloadable?

Yes.

Can prepaid credit cards be used online?

Yes, as most prepaid cards are issued by Mastercard or Visa, which are both widely accepted online, it should be easy to use these cards online to make purchases.

Can prepaid credit cards get refunds?

As stated above, only certain cards offer free purchase protection. If you qualify for a refund through any other means, there's no reason this can't be paid back onto your card by the store.

Do prepaid credit cards expire?

Yes, as with most cards, prepaid cards come with an expiry date. Depending on the provider, you may get a new card automatically, or you may have to pay a small fee.

 

Prepaid Card Types

Prepaid Everyday CardsPrepaid Everyday Cards
Preload your card with money that you already have so you only spend what you have.

Prepaid Travel Money CardsPrepaid Travel Money Cards
Preload them with foreign currency before you travel so you know how much you have to spend abroad.

Business Prepaid CardsBusiness Prepaid Cards
Need a payment option for staff, but don’t want a credit card?

52% reluctant to ask credit card provider for help
52% reluctant to ask credit card provider for help

Falling into debt is never a fun experience, but it can only get worse if you try to ignore it or re... More

Cashback and reward cards proving less rewarding
Cashback and reward cards proving less rewarding

Compared to a few years ago, shoppers using cashback or rewards to get something back from their spe... More

Lowest number of interest-free cards since 2010
Lowest number of interest-free cards since 2010

The recently published Moneyfacts UK Credit Card Trends Treasury Report has revealed that the number... More

Interest-free BT credit card terms shortening
Interest-free BT credit card terms shortening

Last week, we reported that credit card borrowers are due to get more help repaying their debts. Our... More

Prepaid Card Star Ratings 2018 announced
Prepaid Card Star Ratings 2018 announced

Prepaid cards can come in handy for a lot of reasons. You may be worried about spending too much, yo... More

Guide to 0% balance transfer credit cards
Guide to 0% balance transfer credit cards

Getting a long 0% balance transfer credit card can reduce your debt quickly and cheaply. But there a... More

Find your credit card providers
Find your credit card providers

Find out who provides your credit card. Most branded cards are issued by another provider – this cou... More

What type of credit card is best?
What type of credit card is best?

They’re so easy aren’t they: credit cards? It lands on your doormat, 85.60 x 53.98mm of pure spendin... More

Virgin Money improves all-round credit card
Virgin Money improves all-round credit card

Virgin Money has increased the introductory interest-free terms on its 0% interest credit card, whic... More

nuba’s balance transfer card still competes
nuba’s balance transfer card still competes

nuba has decreased the introductory balance transfer term on its leading balance transfer card, but ... More

Lloyds Bank raises 0% balance transfer term
Lloyds Bank raises 0% balance transfer term

Lloyds Bank has increased the introductory 0% balance transfer term on its Online Platinum MasterCar... More

Post Office Money 0% interest card now no. 1
Post Office Money 0% interest card now no. 1

Post Office Money has increased the introductory 0% interest terms on its balance transfer and purch... More

Sainsbury’s no. 1 purchase credit card
Sainsbury’s no. 1 purchase credit card

Sainsbury’s Bank has increased the introductory term on its leading 0% purchase credit card, which h... More

Close