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Find the best prepaid credit card

Whether it is for travel, online shopping or rewards, here's what you need to know so you can discover the right prepaid credit card for you.

A prepaid credit card gives you a way to load and spend your money in New Zealand, online and around the world. Although they’re often referred to as prepaid credit cards, they do not offer a line of credit and have no capacity to borrow. There are prepaid cards you can use to spend in different currencies, for shopping online and in-store – or as a gift for someone else. Use this guide to compare prepaid cards, learn how they work and decide if it’s the right option for you.

Compare prepaid, travel and gift cards

Provider and CardReloadable?Min/max load Issue feeLoad feeWhere to get it
Bonfire Gift CardNo$25/$1,000$4.50$0Order online or in selected stores
Cash PassportYes$250/$25,000$0$5Order online or in selected stores
OneSmart travel cardYes$0/$100,000$01.5%Order online
Prezzy CardNo$25/$1,000$5.95$0Order online or in selected stores
Travelex Money CardYes$250/$25,000$0$10 or 1%Order online or at a Travelex store
Westpac prepaid cardYes$50/Unlimited$20$1-$3Westpac branches

How to find the right prepaid credit card for you

Consider these three questions to help you compare and apply for a prepaid credit card that suits your specific goals.

  1. What is the main reason I want the card? Do you want a card that lets you load and spend in foreign currencies, or are you interested in a prepaid card that offers rewards, such as Airpoints? There are also prepaid credit cards you can buy for single use or as gifts, so figuring out your priorities will help you narrow down the options for a card that really suits your needs.
  2. How much am I willing to pay? Depending on the prepaid card, you may pay fees for activating it, loading money on it or withdrawing cash. Make sure you consider these costs, so you find a card that offers the fewest fees based on how you will use it.
  3. How long will I use the card? Cash Passport charges a monthly inactivity fee of $4 per month. If you only want to use the card temporarily, check out all the costs when you are comparing your options. You can then find one that offers the most reasonable terms for inactivity or card cancellation to help keep costs down.

Prepaid travel money cards are similar to credit cards but allow you to load and spend multiple currencies on one account. This helps avoid the foreign currency fees typically charged by regular credit cards. Plus, because the money being paid into the account isn’t credit, you don’t have to worry about interest charges or debt.

What features should I look at when choosing a prepaid credit card?

The features available on a prepaid credit card vary between products, so it’s important to consider individual options before you apply. Here are the key details to look at when comparing cards:

  • Minimum and maximum load amounts. Prepaid cards typically come with minimum and maximum quantity of money you can load onto them at any given time. Depending on how much money you want to access from your prepaid card, this will help you narrow down which card is right for you.
  • Reload options. Make sure that there are reload options available for the card, such as direct bank transfer or debit and credit card payments. Also, check how long it takes for funds to become available so know you can access your money when you need it.
  • Account management. Look for cards that offer online and mobile account management, as this allows you to track your spending, manage funds and update card details on the go.
  • Security features. Some prepaid cards usually offer similar security features to regular cards, including chip-and-PIN technology and 24/7 worldwide card support. Check what kind of security features the card you’re looking at has to make sure you’re comfortable with it.

Can I earn points with a prepaid credit card?

Currently there is only one prepaid card you can earn rewards points with. The OneSmart from Air New Zealand earns 1 Airpoints Dollar for every $100 you spend overseas, and 1 Airpoints Dollar for every $200 you spend here in New Zealand.

What about prepaid credit card fees?

As well as the features above, different fees can apply when you use a prepaid credit card. These may include:

  • Issue fee. Some prepaid cards may charge you a fee upon activation. This may be charged as a cash amount, eg $20 or expressed as a percentage of the amount credited to the account upon activation. There are also cards that don’t attract an issue fee, such as Air New Zealand’s OneSmart card.
  • Additional card fee. If you need more than one prepaid card, check to make sure there are no added fees if you would like an additional one.
  • Loading fees. This fee is charged when you add money to the prepaid card balance. While not all cards apply a fee for loading money, it’s important to check before you get one so you can keep costs to a minimum.
  • Foreign currency fee. If you make payments in a currency not loaded onto your card, a fee of around 2.5 to 5.95% of the total transaction may apply.
  • ATM fee. Using your card to get cash out overseas or in New Zealand may attract additional fees from the card issuer and the ATM provider.
  • Inactivity fee. This fee may be charged if you don’t use your card for a period of time. Currently in New Zealand, only the Cash Passport applies a $4 fee monthly for card inactivity.
  • Card cancellation fee. If you decide to cancel your card after using it, a fee of around $10 may apply, but there are some providers that cancel your card free of charge.

People buy and use prepaid credit cards for all kinds of reasons, and there are many options to suit these needs. By comparing different prepaid cards, based on your spending plans and goals, you can find and apply for one that’s right for you.

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