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Prepaid cards (also commonly known as prepaid credit cards, or prepaid debit cards) help you with hassle-free money management for your financial needs.
This guide will cover what you need to know about prepaid debit cards in Germany, including how they work and the providers to choose from.
A prepaid card, also known as a prepaid credit card or prepaid debit card, is a card that is loaded in advance. Funds are usually preloaded at terminals, ATM machines or even a mobile app. You can only use the amount of money that has been added to your card, making prepaid debit cards very similar to traditional debit cards in Germany.
While all three card types can be easily used for day-to-day spending, they each come with unique pros and cons.
Here’s how each card type works:
Here’s a quick overview of these three card types:
|Prepaid card||Credit card||Debit card|
|Payment network||Typically Visa or Mastercard||Visa, Mastercard, American Express and more||Visa, Mastercard and more|
|Card fees||Typically free, or up to €15/month depending on your subscription plan||Generally €100 or more in annual fees. May be waived for one to two years. Late payment or cash advance fees may apply||Typically free for most banks|
|Bank account requirement||No||No||Yes|
|Preloaded balance||Yes||No||No, but spending is limited to the funds you have in your bank account|
|Interest rate||N/A||Approximately 6.5% to 20% p.a.||N/A|
|Cash withdrawal||Typically no||Yes, including cash advance||Yes|
|Credit check requirement||No||Yes||No|
|Rewards and cashback||Varies between card issuers. May come with cashback or member perks, but rewards are generally less than credit or debit cards||Usually comes with a host of rewards and benefits including air miles, cashback and other promotions||Varies between card issuers. May come with cashback or member perks, but rewards are generally less than credit cards|
Here are some popular prepaid cards in Germany for you to consider:
The Black&White card is a prepaid debit card offered by Mastercard with no annual or monthly fees, and a 3-year card validity. Pay as you go and use your card as soon as you receive it. Sign up online with Mastercard, with no SCHUFA checks or salary statements required. Do note that Mastercard charges a one-time €89.90 card issuance fee, 1.5% reload fee, €4.99 cash withdrawal fee and 2.49% foreign currency charge.
This card offers free card payments within the Eurozone with no interest-rate traps. Registering for Mastercard VIABUY is quick and easy, as the online process does not require a post ident, salary statement or SCHUFA check. VIABUY’s website comes in English, which makes it a great option for expats. However, fees to watch out for include a €19.90 annual fee, €69.90 issuance fee, €5 cash withdrawal fee, 0.9% reload cost and foreign currency charges of at least 2.75%.
The DKB Cash U18 account comes with a prepaid card offering zero monthly fees, free worldwide withdrawals and no foreign currency costs. It can be open at any age, as long as minors have a legal representative with a DKB Checking account.
Issued by the German BW bank, the Visa Payango card is quick to apply for and comes with a 4-year validity period. What makes it stand out from other prepaid cards in Germany is its free recharges via bank transfer and no load limit. However, the card comes with a €25 issuance fee, €25 annual fee, as well as fees for cash withdrawal and foreign exchange that are upwards of 2%.
Commerzbank’s prepaid cards are especially attractive to younger users. They typically come with no annual fees, free worldwide withdrawals, and free reloads done via bank transfer. For adult users, the Commerzbank Prepaid card comes at an annual fee of €39.90, with a 1.95% cash withdrawal charge and 1.75% foreign currency fee.
Here are some features to keep an eye out for when choosing the best prepaid card for you in Germany:
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