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Compare prepaid cards in Ireland

Learn more about prepaid debit and credit cards and choosing the right one for you.

Prepaid cards are reloadable cards you can use for purchases wherever credit or debit cards are accepted. They essentially function like a debit card, but instead of spending money from your bank account you are spending money you have loaded onto the card. There are no credit checks when applying for a prepaid card and your credit score won’t be affected when you use it.

This guide explains how prepaid cards work and the common fees you can expect.

Compare prepaid cards in Ireland

1 - 6 of 6
Name Product Mobile view decorator Prepaid cards Maintenance fee Fee period ATM transaction fee Mobile payments
N26 Bank Account
  • Maintenance fee

    €0

  • Fee period

    Monthly

  • ATM transaction fee

    €2 per withdrawal
  • Mobile payments

€0
Monthly
€2 per withdrawal
Apple Pay, Google Pay
Benefit from no monthly fee, no currency conversion fees and a raft of in-app budgeting features to help you save.
Wise Multicurrency Account
  • Maintenance fee

    €0

  • Fee period

    Monthly

  • ATM transaction fee

    €0.50 + 1.75% per withdrawal
  • Mobile payments

€0
Monthly
€0.50 + 1.75% per withdrawal
Apple Pay, Google Pay
Wise (formerly TransferWise) is an international account with over 50 currencies, instant and very convenient money transfers, a card to spend in any currency, bank details to be paid in 30 different countries and multi-currency direct debits.
Wirex Standard
  • Maintenance fee

    €0

  • Fee period

    Monthly

  • ATM transaction fee

    2% per withdrawal
  • Mobile payments

€0
Monthly
2% per withdrawal
Apple Pay, Google Pay

Get a Welcome Bonus of $15 USD in WXT when you sign up with Wirex through Finder.

Benefit from an array of digital payment features, including a free prepaid Wirex card and unlimited fee-free transfers at interbank rates - with zero monthly subscription fee.
Revolut Standard
  • Maintenance fee

    €0

  • Fee period

    Monthly

  • ATM transaction fee

    €1 + 2% per withdrawal
  • Mobile payments

€0
Monthly
€1 + 2% per withdrawal
Apple Pay, Google Pay
Enjoy no monthly fee, no currency conversion fees up to €1,000 per month and hold an array of currencies in your account.
VIALET Current Account
  • Maintenance fee

    €0

  • Fee period

    Monthly

  • ATM transaction fee

    €2 + 2% per withdrawal
  • Mobile payments

    €0
    Monthly
    €2 + 2% per withdrawal
    N/A
    An IBAN account you can use to manage your money and spend in over 200 countries worldwide, fee-free.
    Nuri
    • Maintenance fee

      €0

    • Fee period

      Monthly

    • ATM transaction fee

      €0
    • Mobile payments

    €0
    Monthly
    €0
    Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay
    Invest in cryptocurrencies and enjoy up to 5% interest per year on Bitcoin deposits with this digital bank account
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    1 - 11 of 11
    Name Product Mobile view decorator Prepaid cards Maintenance fee Fee period ATM transaction fee Mobile payments
    Revolut Premium
    • Maintenance fee

      €7.99

    • Fee period

      Monthly

    • ATM transaction fee

      €1 + 2% per withdrawal
    • Mobile payments

    €7.99
    Monthly
    €1 + 2% per withdrawal
    Apple Pay, Google Pay
    A combined current account and IBAN account with unlimited free currency conversions and international transfers in many currencies.
    bunq Easy Money Personal
    • Maintenance fee

      €8.99

    • Fee period

      Monthly

    • ATM transaction fee

      €2.99 per withdrawal
    • Mobile payments

    €8.99
    Monthly
    €2.99 per withdrawal
    Apple Pay, Google Pay, FitBit Pay
    A card linked to up to 25 individual IBAN accounts. Earn interest on all money in your account and benefit from competitive rates and fees.
    N26 Smart
    • Maintenance fee

      €4.90

    • Fee period

      Monthly

    • ATM transaction fee

      €2 per withdrawal
    • Mobile payments

    €4.90
    Monthly
    €2 per withdrawal
    Apple Pay, Google Pay
    A mid-tier, premium subscription plan that comes with a range of essential money management features to help you better manage your finances.
    Revolut Plus
    • Maintenance fee

      €2.99

    • Fee period

      Monthly

    • ATM transaction fee

      €1 + 2% per withdrawal
    • Mobile payments

    €2.99
    Monthly
    €1 + 2% per withdrawal
    Apple Pay, Google Pay
    Enjoy purchase, event ticket and returns protection, plus other innovative features with this lower-priced subscription plan.
    bunq Easy Green Personal
    • Maintenance fee

      €17.99

    • Fee period

      Monthly

    • ATM transaction fee

      €2.99 per withdrawal
    • Mobile payments

    €17.99
    Monthly
    €2.99 per withdrawal
    Apple Pay, Google Pay, FitBit Pay
    An account with an exclusive stainless steel card. Help the environment – a tree will be planted for every €100 you spend.
    Wirex Premium
    • Maintenance fee

      €9.99

    • Fee period

      Monthly

    • ATM transaction fee

      2% per withdrawal
    • Mobile payments

    €9.99
    Monthly
    2% per withdrawal
    Apple Pay, Google Pay

    Get a Welcome Bonus of $15 USD in WXT when you sign up with Wirex through Finder.

    Enjoy revolutionary digital payment features on-the-go, plus exclusive merchant deals and higher rewards when you spend on your Wirex card.
    N26 Metal
    • Maintenance fee

      €16.90

    • Fee period

      Monthly

    • ATM transaction fee

      €2 per withdrawal
    • Mobile payments

    €16.90
    Monthly
    €2 per withdrawal
    Apple Pay, Google Pay
    Receive a stainless steel Metal card available in 3 shades, an insurance package and exclusive offers.
    bunq Easy Bank Personal
    • Maintenance fee

      €2.99

    • Fee period

      Monthly

    • ATM transaction fee

      €2.99 per withdrawal
    • Mobile payments

    €2.99
    Monthly
    €2.99 per withdrawal
    Apple Pay, Google Pay, FitBit Pay
    Benefit from zero FX fees, bill splitting facility and a wide range of advance payment features with this low cost digital account.
    N26 You
    • Maintenance fee

      €9.90

    • Fee period

      Monthly

    • ATM transaction fee

      €2 per withdrawal
    • Mobile payments

    €9.90
    Monthly
    €2 per withdrawal
    Apple Pay, Google Pay, FitBit Pay
    A smart IBAN account with no currency conversion fees, complimentary insurances and no ATM fees here or abroad.
    Wirex Elite
    • Maintenance fee

      €29.99

    • Fee period

      Monthly

    • ATM transaction fee

      2% per withdrawal
    • Mobile payments

    €29.99
    Monthly
    2% per withdrawal
    Apple Pay, Google Pay

    Get a Welcome Bonus of $15 USD in WXT when you sign up with Wirex through Finder.

    Access supercharged rewards and curated merchant offers in addition to standard Wirex digital payment features and travel card.
    Revolut Metal
    • Maintenance fee

      €13.99

    • Fee period

      Monthly

    • ATM transaction fee

      €1 + 2% per withdrawal
    • Mobile payments

    €13.99
    Monthly
    €1 + 2% per withdrawal
    Apple Pay, Google Pay
    A premium account with an exclusive Metal card featuring insurances, cashback, concierge service, cryptocurrencies and more.
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    Are prepaid cards the same as debit and credit cards?

    Prepaid cards can be used for purchases just like a debit or credit card, but there’s no balance to repay and the card doesn’t affect your credit score. In order to use a prepaid card, you need to load money onto it. This differs from a credit card which allows you to spend up to a set credit limit, and a debit card which lets you spend what’s in your linked current account. Prepaid cards are slightly different but are a great alternative to credit cards or current accounts.

    Most prepaid cards will not allow you to spend more than you have available, so you won’t get hit with expensive overdraft fees or interest.

    We’ve put together a helpful table to show you how prepaid credit cards differ from debit and credit cards:

    Prepaid debit cardDebit cardCredit card
    Uses funds in real-time
    Overdraft facility
    Accepts direct deposits
    Helps you build your credit
    Can open with no credit or bad credit
    SometimesSometimes – look at cards for bad credit

    How does a prepaid card work?

    Prepaid cards combine the best features of credit cards and debit cards and offer a safe alternative to cash. Here’s a brief overview of how prepaid cards work.

    • Purchase the card. You can purchase a prepaid card from many major stores. Some cards can even be ordered online. There’s no application process, though you may be able to register your card online to get a card with your name on it and to receive additional features.
    • Load the card with money. Most cards offer a variety of options for loading funds onto your card. You may be able to: load cash at a participating retailer, transfer funds from another account or have your pay directly deposited onto your card.
    • Make purchases anywhere you’d use a credit or debit card. Making purchases with a prepaid card is as simple as using any other payment card. Swipe your card at the register or enter your card information for online purchases. Some prepaid cards even let you pay bills online or transfer funds to another person.
    • Reload the card once you’ve spent the balance. Each purchase reduces the balance available on your card. Once you’ve spent all the funds you originally loaded onto the card, you’ll have to reload it with more money. You don’t have to wait until your card is empty to reload, but your card may be subject to a maximum load amount.

    What prepaid cards can I get in Ireland?

    We’ve listed some of the prepaid cards available in Ireland below along with some of the features:

    Wise

    The Wise Multi-Currency Account allows you to hold multiple currencies, spend worldwide and transfer money.

    • Local bank details. The Wise Multi-Currency Account is really multiple accounts in one as you will get local bank details in 10 currencies, including Euros, Pound sterling, Turkish lira, US dollar, Australian dollar and Singapore dollar.
    • Spend abroad. You can use your card in 200 countries, with your money being converted into the local currency using the real exchange rate.

    Revolut

    The Revolut Standard account offers a free UK and IBAN account, the ability to spend in over 150 currencies at the interbank rate and access to cryptocurrencies.

    • Free ATM withdrawals limit. You can withdraw up to €200 each month.
    • Spend in other currencies. Spend up to €1,000 each month in more than 30 currencies without having to pay a currency conversion fee. (0.5% fee is charged thereafter).

    Skrill

    The Skrill prepaid Mastercard allows you to make overseas payments wherever Mastercard is accepted.

    • Earn loyalty points. Spend on your prepaid card and collect points that can be exchanged for vouchers.
    • Make contactless payments. Spend on your prepaid card and collect points that can be exchanged for vouchers.

    SWIRL

    The SWIRL prepaid Mastercard can be used anywhere Mastercard is accepted, including to pay bills, spend overseas, or make online purchases.

    • Secure spending. It lets you shop securely online and in-store. You can only spend the amount you’ve added to the card and it isn’t linked to your bank account.
    • Simple top-ups. You can top up your account using cash, online or with a bank transfer. You can find top-up locations in the SWIRL app.

    When looking for a prepaid card, shop around and compare your options.

    What are the benefits of using a prepaid card?

    Prepaid cards offer several potential benefits for consumers:

    • Bad or no credit is accepted. If you’re a consumer with bad credit or no credit history, or you simply want to avoid another hard search on your credit report, you won’t have to worry about that with a prepaid card. Since you’re not applying for a line of credit, there’s no need for a credit check, and having a new card won’t impact your credit score. You can get a prepaid card regardless of your credit history.
    • No bank account necessary. A prepaid card is a viable alternative for these consumers. With a prepaid card, you’ll get many of the same features as a current account – some even have cheque writing privileges – but having a bad current account on your record won’t keep you from getting a card.
    • No overdraft fees. Banks charge overdraft fees whenever you make a purchase that exceeds the balance in your current account. These expensive fees can drain your bank account and leave you with a negative balance. With a prepaid card, you can’t spend more than you have available, which means you won’t face overdraft fees. Some people opt for a prepaid card even when they’re able to get a current account, simply to avoid overdraft fees.
    • You’ll pay no interest. Because you can’t carry a balance on the card, you won’t be subject to expensive interest charges as you would be with a credit card.
    • You won’t go into debt. Credit and debit cards both carry the potential for getting into debt. You create debt the instant you use a credit card because you have to repay the purchases you’ve made. Debit cards won’t automatically create debt, but if you go into the overdraft of your account, you’ve created debt. Prepaid cards eliminate this risk.
    • You don’t have to put all your funds at risk. You can load a prepaid card with a limited amount of funds and use the card for a specific purpose. For example, you might use a prepaid card when you’re travelling internationally so your current account or credit card is not at risk of fraud or theft.
    • You can build good spending habits with less risk. Young adults or parents of teenagers may consider a prepaid card as “practice” for using a traditional credit card before graduating to the real thing. Using a prepaid card can instil discipline and good spending and payment habits that will prevent future financial problems.
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    What fees apply to a prepaid card?

    Here are some of the most common fees you’ll find with prepaid cards:

    • Card purchase fee. Many prepaid cards charge an initial purchase fee, particularly if you purchase the card from a retail location. Some cards are free when you order online.
    • Monthly fee. Most prepaid cards charge a monthly fee simply for having the card. You may be able to have the monthly fee waived if you meet certain criteria, such as making a minimum number of transactions on the card or having a direct deposit set up for your card.
    • Reload fee. Each time you add money to your prepaid card, you may be charged. You’ll typically have to pay a fee when you add cash to your prepaid card. However, electronic deposits and direct deposits may be free.
    • ATM fee. Withdrawing money from an ATM comes at a cost. You may face an ATM fee from your card issuer in addition to the ATM owner.
    • Balance inquiry fee. This fee may be charged whenever you need to call your card’s customer service to find out your current balance. Checking your balance online or via a smartphone app tends to be free.
    • Statement fee. If you need to receive a paper statement, you’ll have to pay a fee for the convenience. Monitoring your transactions online is typically free.
    • Stamp duty. A €5 fee will apply to your card to cover the annual Government stamp duty.
    • Inactivity fee. If you haven’t used your card in a while, a fee may be applied. This could be a percentage of your balance or a maximum fee for inactivity over a set period of time.

                There may be other fees associated with prepaid cards so check the details carefully when comparing your options.

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                How do I compare prepaid credit and debit cards?

                Choosing a card in-store at the register may not give you time to digest all of the fine print. However, shopping online for a prepaid card will give you a good opportunity to take your time to check out the fees and terms of each card. While the terms may be confusing, it’s important to read through them so you understand what charges you’ll potentially face with the card and how you can avoid as many fees as possible.

                Once you’ve chosen a card, you may still be able to pick it up in-store, after you’ve confirmed it’s the right choice. Here are some factors to consider when you’re comparing prepaid cards:

                • Features. Some prepaid cards come with the same basic features offered by current accounts. For example, you may be able to use online bill pay, mobile check deposit or direct deposit. As you compare prepaid cards, see how the features stack up against each other to choose the one that will best fit your needs.
                • Cost. Prepaid cards are notorious for high fees. You’ll probably have a hard time finding a card that doesn’t charge any fees, but look for one that will allow you to avoid at least some of the fees or have them waived.
                • Ease of loading. For the card to be functional, you need to be able to reload it when you need to. For example, if you prefer online banking rather than dealing with cash, a prepaid card that allows bank transfer top ups would be best, ideally if the feature is free. If you prefer to deal in cash, look for a prepaid card with convenient cash reloading options and lower fees.
                • Ease of making withdrawals. Prepaid cards typically come with the ability to withdraw cash from an ATM, but this isn’t a free service and can come with quite an expense for the privilege. Look for a prepaid card with a large network of ATMs to increase the range of withdrawal options available to you. But pay close attention to the fees you’ll pay for ATM withdrawals.
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                Prepaid travel cards

                Just like with any other prepaid credit card, a prepaid travel card allows you to spend however much you have already loaded onto the card. You can keep track of your balance online or by calling the number on the back of the card. Certain merchants can also tell you the balance on your card, but not all can, so it’s always a good idea to know the balance before attempting to make a purchase. Prepaid travel cards can be used in stores, online, over the phone or by mail. Funds are deducted immediately or will appear as a pending charge.

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                What should I watch out for with a prepaid credit card?

                As with any financial product, it’s important to use prepaid cards wisely. There are some potential pitfalls to watch out for.

                • No ability to build credit. While it’s a plus that you can get a prepaid card without going through a credit check, it’s also a drawback that the card won’t help you rebuild a bad credit score. Since prepaid cards aren’t a credit card – you’re not demonstrating an ability to borrow and repay responsibly – they won’t help your credit score.
                • High fees. Some prepaid cards have complex fee structures. When you’re shopping for a prepaid card, look for one that will allow you to minimise the fees you pay or have them waived. Otherwise, you could end up having your funds allocated to unnecessary fees that you could avoid by choosing a different prepaid card.
                • Reload limits. Watch out for cards that limit the amount you can load onto the card. Your card may have several different load limits. For example, there may be a limit on daily cash reloads, daily direct deposit loads and a total limit on the amount you can have loaded onto your card at any time.
                • Withdrawal and spend limits. Many prepaid cards limit the amount you can withdraw from an ATM or bank branch in a single day. A card may also have a daily spend limit. Examine the limits for the cards you’re considering and make sure these fit with your regular spending habits.
                • Declined charges. While you won’t face overdraft fees for transactions that would put your account in the negative, your card will be declined for transactions that exceed the amount available on your card. To avoid embarrassment at the checkout, check your balance to confirm you have enough funds to cover your transaction before you swipe.
                • Some merchants may not accept prepaid cards. Some hotels and car rental agencies do not accept prepaid cards. Others may require a credit check or additional documentation before allowing you to use a prepaid card. You may have to pay a higher deposit, which will leave a portion of your funds unavailable until the transaction is complete.
                • Cards without fraud protection. Current accounts, debit cards and credit cards all come with protection from fraudulent transactions. Unfortunately, prepaid cards don’t always have the same protection. That means you can’t get your money back if someone were to steal your card and drain your funds. You also may not have protection for damaged online orders or billing errors. Look for a prepaid card that does have fraud protection so you know your money is safe from fraudulent or unauthorised transactions.
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                Prepaid credit cards can be a good choice for people with bad credit who are struggling to get approved for a credit card or traditional current account. There may be other consumers that might also benefit from one. Some consumers even choose to use a prepaid card in addition to a debit or credit card. A prepaid card could be right for you if any of these apply:

                • You have bad or no credit. You can get a prepaid credit card without a credit check, so it can be a good option if you don’t qualify for a traditional bank account or credit card. They won’t help you improve your credit score but will give you a way to pay bills and make purchases online.
                • You don’t want to pay current account or overdraft fees. Many current accounts charge a monthly fee that can be waived only if you meet certain criteria. You may be able to lower your monthly bank fees and avoid overdraft fees by switching to a prepaid card.
                • You want to control your spending. Most prepaid cards won’t let you go over your prepaid card balance. Knowing that you can only spend what’s available on your card can force you to keep your spending under control. You can also use a prepaid card to manage different aspects of your budget by loading only what you’ve allocated for that expense – €100 for groceries or €50 for fuel, for example.
                • You want to encourage your child to learn how to spend money responsibly. A prepaid card can help your teenager get used to spending electronically without the risk of getting into financial trouble. You can monitor their spending and load their card with additional funds as needed.
                • You want security while spending overseas. If you’re travelling overseas to a place that’s known for debit or credit card fraud, a prepaid credit card can be a good way to protect your accounts from potentially harmful activity.
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                Bottom line

                Prepaid cards combine flexibility and affordability by allowing you to load and spend your own money. In Ireland, prepaid credit cards often come with varying features and prices, so you should always compare your options before deciding on one.

                Frequently asked questions

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