SWIRL Card review
Prepaid cards offer extra flexibility when spending, but are they worth the fees?
The SWIRL Prepaid Mastercard can be used anywhere Mastercard is accepted, including to pay bills, spend overseas, or to make online purchases. SWIRL is native to Ireland with over 2500 physical top-up points and locally-based customer support.
This review outlines the features, benefits and things to consider when deciding if SWIRL Card is right for you.
You can only spend what you have on the SWIRL Prepaid Mastercard, which means you won’t overspend or face mounting interest associated with traditional credit cards. But it’s the high fees that you need to be aware of.
How the SWIRL Prepaid Mastercard works
The SWIRL prepaid card works just like any other Mastercard. This means you can make purchases in-store or online as well as withdraw cash at an ATM, all at home in Ireland or overseas in any currency. And you won’t have to worry about running into debt or revealing your bank card details each time you shop.
In addition to spending money, SWIRL users can also save, budget and receive money. Accounts come with a unique IBAN number, which means you can receive your pay directly into your SWIRL account. You can use this to pay utility bills, as you’re able to set up recurring payments directly from your account. This might be helpful for people new to Ireland who have not opened a bank account yet.
The online website and app also allow you to monitor your transactions at any time, as well as disable your card immediately if you notice anything suspicious. Online services also allow you to change your spending limit, speak with customer support, or top-up your account. The app supports the same features, however, it does not currently support account top-ups.
- Secure spending. The main benefit of SWIRL is that 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.
- Monitor your spending. The SWIRL app lets you view your transaction history so you can see where your money is going.
- Card controls. If you lose your card or it’s stolen, you can suspend it in the app.
- Customer service. If you have any issues you can get help in the app with live chat.
- Increase your limit. Need more money to spend? Upgrade your limit in the SWIRL app.
- Pay bills. You can use your SWIRL card to pay and manage your bills. As long as the card accepts debit and credit cards, you can pay by SWIRL.
Fees and limits
There are some fees you need to be aware of with SWIRL, including:
- Card fee. There’s no card fee if you order your card online, but there is a €5.95.
- Transaction fees. 2.95% of the transaction value (between €0.75 and €2.95 per transaction)
- Monthly fee. There is a €0 monthly account-keeping fee.
- ATM fee. You’ll be charged €1.50 per ATM withdrawal.
- Account top-up fees. If you top up your account with Payzone or a debit card, you’ll pay between 0.99 - €3.99. Top ups with a bank transfer are €0 per transfer.
- Top up limit. You can top up your account with up to €500, but if you verify your identity that limit is increased to €25,000.
- Account inactivity fee. You’ll be charged €3.50 if you don’t use your card at least once every 60 days.
The SWIRL prepaid Mastercard is a good option if you’re prone to overspending or have a poor credit score. Although it acts like a credit card, you won’t accrue any interest as you can only spend the amount that’s available on your card. The SWIRL app also lets you keep track of your spending.
However, SWIRL comes with high fees. You will pay a fee for every purchase you make using the card and there is also a fee for ATM withdrawals. If you don’t use the card every 60 days you will be charged an inactivity fee and there are also fees for topping up with debit or cash.
Consider all of these fees and decide if the benefits of the card outweigh the costs.
How to sign up
It’s simple to get hold of a SWIRL Prepaid Mastercard. On its website, SWIRL even guarantees acceptance to open an account with SWIRL. Here are the steps involved in signing up:
Step 1: You first need to order a SWIRL Mastercard either online or by visiting one of over 2,500 participating Payzone outlets in person. You can sign up with just your name and address.
Step 2: You’ll then need to add funds to your card by bank transfer, debit card or in-store with cash at a Payzone outlet.
Step 3: Once the money is available, you can use the card for purchases anywhere that Mastercard is accepted.
Step 4: If the money on your prepaid card runs out, then you can top-up online or in-store at a Payzone outlet, and continue to use the card as usual.
Step 5: To avoid inactivity fees, you’ll need to use your card at least once every 60 days.
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