How to choose the best prepaid credit card for you
What you need to know to about prepaid credit cards in Singapore.
Prepaid credit cards work like debit cards and functions much like a prepaid mobile SIM. You pre-load a certain amount and can access the money at most terminals or POS machines locally or abroad, whenever you want to. Prepaid credit cards are uncommon in Singapore, but there are few providers offering this product to cater to the small market that demands it.
Just as with regular credit cards, the features and fees vary between prepaid cards and the right option for you is different depending on your individual circumstances. We’ll go through the key details to consider when comparing prepaid credit cards so that you can find an option that suits your budget and your needs.
How to find the right prepaid credit card for you
Consider these three questions to help you compare and apply for prepaid credit cards that suit your specific goals.
- What is the main reason I want the card? Do you want a card that lets you load and spend in foreign currencies? Do you need it for cashless transactions as you have no other means of making cashless payments? There are also prepaid credit cards you can buy for single use or as gifts, so figuring out your priorities for the card will help you narrow down your options to those that really suit your needs.
- How much am I willing to pay? Depending on the prepaid card, you could pay fees for activating it, loading money on it or for using it to withdraw cash. Make sure you consider these costs so you can find a card that offers the fewest fees based on how you’ll use it.
- How long will I use it? Some prepaid cards charge a “dormancy fee” if you don’t use them for a specific length of time (usually 3 months). If you only want to use the card temporarily, check out these costs when you compare your options to find one that offers the most reasonable terms for inactivity or card cancellation to help keep your costs down.
Prepaid credit cards in Singapore
|Prepaid card||Mastercard/Visa||Limits (SGD)||Issue fee||Other features|
|FEVO||Mastercard||Minimum load amount: S$20|
Maximum holding limit: S$1,000
|S$26.50 (Inclusive of registered mailing and S$5 load value)||A personalised 2-in-1 card that serves as a Prepaid Mastercard and an ez-link card>|
|FlexPay by MatchMove||Mastercard||Daily limit: S$1,000|
Monthly limit: S$3,000
|For FlexM Physical Mastercard: S$15.00|
Virtual Wallet: S$0
|A dynamic CVC code is generated for every transaction, significantly reducing instances of card fraud.|
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 you’re comparing cards:
- Card acceptance. At the time of writing (20 April 2018), both prepaid cards available in Singapore are Mastercard products so they can be used wherever Mastercards are accepted. But there may be certain limitations around your prepaid option if, say, you want to use a prepaid Mastercard at a business that doesn’t accept Mastercard.
- Minimum and maximum load amounts. Prepaid cards typically come with minimum and maximum amounts of money that you can load onto them at any given time. Most also have a maximum amount you can carry on the card. Depending on how much money you want access to on your prepaid card, these conditions will have an impact on which card is right for you.
- Reload options. Make sure that there are a lot of reload options available for the card, such as direct bank transfer, cash or debit and credit card payments. Also, check how long it takes for the funds to become available on the card, so you can make sure you’re able to use the card when you need it.
- Account management. Look for cards that offer online and mobile account management. This will allow you to track your spending, manage funds and update card details on-the-go.
- Security features. Prepaid credit cards usually offer similar security features to regular cards, including chip-and-PIN technology and 24/7 worldwide card support. But it’s still good to take note of these details when you’re comparing cards so that you know exactly what’s available if it’s lost or stolen.
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What about prepaid credit card fees?
As well as the features above, there are many different fees that could apply when you use a prepaid credit card. These could include:
- Issue fee. Some prepaid cards may charge you a fee upon activation. This can range from S$15 to S$30. There are also cards that don’t charge an issue fee, such as the FlexPay Virtual Card, which is accessible from the FlexM mobile app.
- Additional card fee. If you need more than one prepaid card you should check and make sure that there are no added fees if you get an additional one.
- Loading fees. This type of 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 your costs to a minimum. For example, FEVO lists its charges for the various top-up options.
- Foreign currency fee. If you make payments in a currency that you don’t have loaded onto your card, a fee of around 2-4% of the total transaction could apply.
- ATM fee. Using your card to get cash out overseas or in Singapore could attract additional fees from both the card issuer and the ATM provider.
- Dormancy fee. This fee could be charged if you don’t use your card for a period of time, usually 3 months or more and is usually applied as a monthly or annual charge.
- Card cancellation fee. If you decide to cancel your card after using it, a fee of around S$10 to S$20 or more could apply.
People buy and use prepaid credit cards for all kinds of reasons and there are many different options to suit these needs. So by comparing different prepaid cards based on your spending plans and goals, you’ll be able to find and apply for one that’s right for you.
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