How to Find the Best Prepaid Card: Top Tips

Also commonly referred to as general purpose reloadable cards, prepaid cards have truly come a long way. Nowadays, we even have international prepaid cards, an awesome financial tool that can be used when you travel outside the country.

In a way, prepaid cards work similar to prepaid cards or debit cards. However, prepaid cards have one distinct difference—they are not connected to any savings or checking accounts.

Instead, money has to be loaded onto the card before it can be used for purchase transactions or ATM withdrawals.

In 2016, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued consumer protections for prepaid card users. It went into effect last April of 2019. The consumer protections were created to change the prepaid card consumer protections for the past decade.

Prior to the CFPB rule, prepaid card providers were not required to give consumers fee disclosures, protection from unauthorised transactions and loss, and free access to their account information.

Fortunately, many prepaid card providers voluntarily provide some protections already. Robust protection is just one of the amazing benefits prepaid card offers. No wonder they have grown in popularity over the years.

Need proof? In 2016 alone, Americans spent a whopping $557 billion using their prepaid cards! This accounted for 9 percent of all prepaid card purchases made through merchants.

Get Your Hands on the Best Prepaid Card: Key Factors to Consider

If you’re considering getting a prepaid card or an international prepaid card, below are some the fundamental factors you need to take into account:

Is it what you really need?

If you don’t like checking accounts because of the balance requirements or the exorbitant transaction fees, a prepaid card can be your most amazing alternative.

If you also find it hard to stay within the monthly budget you’ve set, you’d find prepaid cards to be of tremendous value.

If you wish, you can have one card for groceries, gas, shopping, etc. Once you’ve depleted the balance for each, you have the option to wait for the month to end before you load money onto the card again.

This can help ensure you stay within the monthly budget and not spend more than you are supposed to or can afford to.

There are also other smart uses for prepaid cards. For instance, many parents have been using it to teach their children how to manage their money accordingly.

Prepaid cards can also be a good gift option instead of a gift card because it offers better loss and liability protections and has a more vast acceptance to boot.

What are the terms, fees, and conditions?

Look into these three primary components as they can differ from one issuer to another. You also need to compare terms laid out as not all prepaid card providers have the same terms and conditions.

If the fees you’ll likely pay is a priority for you, it is crucial to also look into other possible fees and charges you’re likely to incur. For instance:

●    Monthly fees

●    Purchase fees

●    Balance inquiry fees

●    Point of sale transaction fees

●    ATM withdrawal fees

●    Loading fees

●    Dormancy fees

●    Fees when you add or load money onto your card

Is it easy and convenient to use for purchases?

Using prepaid cards for purchase transactions is similar in a way to using a debit card. You can use it for purchase transactions and ATM withdrawals just like you would a credit or debit card.

The primary difference is you will be using your own money and not that of the bank.

Also, depending on the features available, your chosen prepaid card might come with other enticing options like online bill payments and free cash withdrawals at in-network ATMs.

Conclusion

Finding the best prepaid card that will suit your needs is no easy feat. However, as long as you know what your priorities are and what to look for, picking the right prepaid card should be a walk in the park!

International Prepaid Cards: When are They Ideal?

Many frequent travellers nowadays never leave home without their international prepaid cards. International prepaid cards have experienced a massive rise in popularity over the years thanks to their amazing features and the unparalleled benefits they offer.

For many, international prepaid cards are the consummate travel companions. They spare you from all the trouble of taking wads of cash with you wherever you go while ensuring you of ease and convenience each time you use them.

When are International Prepaid Cards Ideal?

Having an international prepaid card is ideal in the following scenarios:

If you want to save money on currency conversion charges, getting an international prepaid card is ideal.

Also, if you want to load foreign currency directly to your card, an international prepaid card is your best bet. This feature also allows you to only make currency conversions when the rates are to your liking.

When you want to travel but don’t want to take lots of cash with you wherever you go, you should never be without an international prepaid card.

All you have to do is load money on the card and you’re good to go. You can use it for most of your transactions including paying for hotel fares, purchases, and ATM withdrawals.

If you want a card you can easily reload money onto, international prepaid cards are the best way to go.

With them, you’ll have plenty of reloading options available at your disposal. You can load the card through internet or mobile banking. You also have the option to load money to your card through secure online portals.

Once money has been successfully loaded on your card, you can immediately use it for purchase transactions and ATM withdrawals.

If you want a card that provides beneficial coverage for constant travellers, you can never go wrong with international prepaid cards.

Amazing travel benefits some international prepaid card providers offer include personal air accident protection, loss baggage coverage, lost liability card protection, and counterfeit liability to name a few.

However, that’s not all. Depending on the card you’ve chosen, you might also enjoy other perks like discounts from merchants or bonus points.

If you want to have better control of your spending, using an international prepaid card is your foolproof option.

When you use an international prepaid card, you are better able to manage your money since spending also stops automatically as soon as the balance on the card has been depleted.

In similar scenarios, you have the option to reload money on your card again or just choose to no longer use it once all the available balance has been consumed.

Also, it is important to remember that once all the available balance on your international prepaid card has been depleted, you won’t be able to use it for the time being or until such time that you load money onto your card again.

In other words, any transactions you will do (online or merchant purchases as well as ATM withdrawals) will be declined. However, it is only temporary. You can use the card again once money has been successfully loaded onto it.

If you want a card you can easily have blocked in the event of loss or theft, an international prepaid card is hands down your best option.

All you have to do in case of card theft or loss is get in touch with the issuer so you can request for blocking. What’s even amazing is some prepaid card issuers provide additional benefit to their cardholders by providing an add on card in case the primary one gets lost or stolen.

Are International Prepaid Cards a Great Idea? Read This and Find Out!

Let’s face it, the advantages of using international prepaid cards abroad are quite enticing. For starters, using international prepaid cards are safer than using cash, they’re easy to obtain, and they are very convenient and easy to use.

As if not enough, some prepaid cards can also help you save a significant amount given they are preloaded with the local currency prior to leaving the country. In addition, since prepaid cards don’t come with credit capability, they’re very easy to obtain.

The Consummate Travel Companion

For many travellers nowadays, prepaid cards have not only become their plastic card of choice, it has also become a staple for them. In fact, many consider their international prepaid cards to be the ultimate travelling companion and ally.

Aside from all the exciting advantages mentioned in the early part of this article, prepaid card users also incur a very minimal amount in terms of charges and fees when they use their cards abroad. In other words, you don’t have to spend a fortune on currency conversions as well as foreign transaction fees.

Yet another reason that has endeared prepaid cards to many is they make it very easy for cardholders to adhere to the budget they have set. Since both transactions and ATM withdrawals are limited by the balance that’s available on the card, overspending can be avoided very effectively.

The safety and security prepaid cards offer is without doubt one of the main reasons people never leave home without taking their prepaid cards with them when they travel. When you use an international prepaid card, you can say goodbye to all the hassles and stress of carrying a huge amount of cash with you anywhere you go.

Also, since you are not carrying a huge amount of cash with you as you travel around, you effectively avoid the risk of having your cash stolen or misplaced. Losing your money is the last thing you want especially if you’re travelling abroad.

Why Take Your Prepaid Card with You

If you have not taken your international prepaid card with you outside the country, below are some of the practical reasons why you should:

  • Most international prepaid cards allow cardholders to load as many as 16 various currencies on their international prepaid cards.
  • In some cases, international prepaid cardholders enjoy exciting perks when using their cards. Some issuers of prepaid cards also award reward points for some transactions done using the card.
  • When used abroad, there is a huge possibility cardholders will also get attractive discounts each time they perform pay for products and services using their international prepaid cards.
  • In the event that the international prepaid card is lost or stolen, cardholders have the option to get an add-on card.
  • If you wish to check the available balance on your card, you have the option to do balance inquiries at ATMs where your card is affiliated. However, more often than not, international prepaid cardholders are notified through text each time they do a transaction using their card. Typically, the available balance on the care will also be included in the notification.

Best Practices When Using Your Prepaid Card

To ensure a seamless and convenient usage, keep the following basics in mind when using your international prepaid card outside the country:

  • When you use your international prepaid card, users can save a good amount of money when it comes to currency conversion fees.
  • Apart from the privilege to load a foreign currency on the card, international prepaid cardholders also have the freedom to do currency conversions when the rates are favourable.
  • In the event that your balance is depleted while overseas, you have the option to load money on your card through a secure online portal.

Prepaid Cards: How Safe are They?

Considering getting a prepaid card? You’re not alone! In fact, in 2015 alone, more than half of the American population got themselves a prepaid card. This is a huge jump compared to just 19 percent in 2008, according to Synergistics Research Group.

To date, there are more than a dozen different types of prepaid cards available in the market. Many of these types of cards are designed to cater to a specific need. For instance, international prepaid cards can be the consummate option for those who travel overseas frequently.

For many of these avid travellers, international prepaid cards can be the ideal alternative to bringing credit or debit cards as it is less risky (read: any of the accounts linked to their accounts won’t be compromised in the event of card loss or theft) but it offers almost the same exciting benefits.

Get to Know Your Prepaid Cards

While the popularity of prepaid cards is no longer up for debate, it is sad to note that not everyone is already fully aware of all the amazing things they have to offer. If truth be told, many are not even aware of what the prepaid card basics are. Below are some of the common questions cardholders have about their prepaid cards and the answers to them:

How safe are prepaid cards?

Since you’ll be using a PIN when you withdraw money using your prepaid card, they are considered very safe. In fact, they are deemed way safer than carrying cash. Also, when your prepaid card gets lost or stolen, you have the option to report the matter right away so you can avoid any financial loss. Of course, losing cash is a totally different story as it is way harder to get them back when you lost them.

What is my liability if my prepaid card gets lost or stolen?

In most cases, the liability will depend on the issuer’s policies pertaining to lost or stolen cards. Others will depend on how quickly the card loss or theft has been reported. If you want to play it safe, consider it best to contact your card’s customer service as soon as you notice or find out your card is missing.

Can I use my prepaid card to pay for online purchases?

Most definitely! In fact, prepaid cards are considered one of the safest ways to pay for purchases online. While you are limited by the balance that’s available on your card, it is reassuring to know that you still get to enjoy the same level of comfort and inconvenience those who use credit or debit cards enjoy in terms of paying for products or services online.

What needs to be done when the balance on my card is not enough to cover for my purchase?

The answer to this is very simple—just load money onto your card. While not everyone may be aware of it, transactions you can do (regardless if it’s purchase or withdrawal) using your prepaid card will depend on the balance that’s available on your card. That means if the balance is not enough to cover for the purchase or withdrawal, the transactions will be declined.

This kind of setup is considered very beneficial by many especially those people who are trying to curb overspending or are learning how to manage their money accordingly. When the balance available on the card is no longer sufficient or has been completely depleted, you won’t be able to use the card until you load money onto it again.

The great news is loading money on the card is both quick and straightforward. Once money has been successfully loaded on the card, you can immediately use it for purchase transactions as well as ATM withdrawals.  

What are the Two Types of International Prepaid Cards?

If you travel overseas frequently, you probably already know how important it is to stay within your budget and to ensure your money is safe at all times. Nowadays, it is reassuring to know that you can easily achieve both objectives by taking your international prepaid card with you each time you travel.

In several ways, international prepaid cards function just like general purpose prepaid cards but they come with extra features that are designed to make your life easier and more convenient when you’re travelling overseas.

Two Primary Types of International Prepaid Cards

There are two primary kinds of international prepaid cards:

General travel prepaid cards

These cards are more or less the same as the prepaid cards used locally. However, they come with features that are handy when you are overseas. For instance, it comes with emergency card and cash replacement, chip and PIN capability, and international ATM use.

Not all prepaid cards come with a chip however and it can be an issue. In many European countries, they have had chip functionality for ages now so you’ll likely encounter problems when using a prepaid card without a chip at automated payment points as well as unmanned kiosks.

Multi-currency prepaid cards

These cards will allow you to load cash in specific currencies prior to your trip. What makes this feature ideal is it allows you to lock in the exchange rate rather than paying for the current rate at point of sale or at ATMs.

However, it is not possible to load the card with just about any currency you like. In most cases, prepaid card issuers limit loading to a few currencies. Case in point, many prepaid card issuers allow loading of only 6 currencies, namely Australian Dollar, Canadian Dollar, Mexican Peso, Japanese Yen, Euro, and the British Pound.

Unbeatable International Prepaid Card Benefits

Taking your international prepaid card with you each time you travel can bring benefits that are hard to miss. While there are several exciting advantages of using your international prepaid card, some of the most remarkable ones include:

It can help you with your budgeting. Adhering to your budget while travelling can be a challenge. Understandably, you’ll likely feel a bit light and happy when travelling so it can be a lot easier to spend more than you actually intend to.

Fortunately, with a prepaid card, you can still put a limit to your spending as you have the option to limit your spending to the amount that’s available in your card. Unlike when you use a credit card where the balance can seem infinite, you are more in charge of your spending when you use a prepaid card.

It can be used as a buffer for your other accounts. If you’re not very comfortable about using your credit or debit card on your trip, taking your international prepaid card with you is one of the best options you have at your disposal.

Come to think of it, when a shady character gains access to your credit or debit card, they might also be able to put your checking or savings account at risk. It is also possible that they’ll be able to compromise any of your personal information. Thankfully, when you use an international prepaid card, the risk is way lower.

It can help protect you from fraud. Many international prepaid cards nowadays offer almost the same level of protection other plastic cards offer in terms of fraud protection. This means that if anyone uses your card without your permission, your liability will remain at a certain amount given that you report the incident within 2 business days.

Other international prepaid cards go above and beyond and provide zero-liability that prevents cardholders from losing money even if the incident is not reported before the charges show up on the account.