Prepaid cards offer a great alternative to using credit or debit cards for many people, due to some of the alternative options they offer.
They are great for managing finances and require any funds to be loaded on to the card in the first instance.
Some cards can be used in specific chain stores and shops, while others can be used across plenty of different locations.
Checking where the card can be used is an essential part of the process when considering if it can fulfill the needs of the customer concerned.
Things to consider when choosing and activating
Where activation fees are concerned, they tend to vary from card to card and may even depend on value, so it’s important that cards are picked with rates that are not too high.
Terms and conditions for individual cards can act as guidance as to what is possible with any individual card.
Some might also carry an expiry date, after which the card cannot be used – this can either mean that money on the card is lost, or that it is possible to transfer funds across to a new card.
In certain cases, a replacement fee will apply, so again it’s important to check each individual card before making a decision.
What about any fees?
Some prepaid cards will carry fees for certain actions, so checking which fees apply on any specific card is vital.
Withdrawing money could draw a charge on one card, while another might cost money to replace or to top-up – it makes hunting for the best deals absolutely essential.
Others may charge maintenance fees or may cost extra if the card is not used for a certain period of time.
The terms and conditions on any card will set out whatever fees apply and will detail any additional payments that might not exist on other cards.
What if it goes missing or is stolen?
The great thing about a prepaid card is that it is not directly linked to a bank account, so bank accounts cannot be accessed should the card be stolen.
When a card is reported as missing, many issuers can transfer the funds on that card to a new one, although, as already mentioned, a fee might apply.
This means that you can still access the funds in the majority of cases, unlike if money is lost, as that has often disappeared forever.
Adding additional funds
Prepaid cards mean that only the money on a card can be spent, so once those funds have gone the card will require topping up.
Loading money on to the card is usually a straightforward process and then it can be used in exactly the same way as before.
However, some cards are non-reloadable and run out when the balance on them has been spent – meaning it’s time to find a new card option at this point.