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How to choose the best prepaid credit card for you
Enjoy convenience and security with a prepaid credit card.
Prepaid credit cards can be a convenient way to spend and manage your money. Instead of using a normal credit card which will cost you interest, you simply load your funds into a prepaid credit card and it works just like a credit card would. You’re able to use it online and in-store.
This guide will take you through what you need to know about prepaid credit cards, what fees to look out for and how to compare your options to find the right one for you.
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How do prepaid credit cards work?
Prepaid credit cards work the same way as a prepaid mobile SIM, but as a debit card. You pre-load a certain amount of money into the prepaid credit card account and can access the money at most terminals or POS machines locally or abroad, whenever you want to. Prepaid credit cards are becoming more common in Singapore with the rise of digital banks.
Just as with regular credit cards, the features and fees vary between prepaid credit cards and the right option for you is different depending on your individual circumstances. You’ll typically find prepaid credit cards have a number of fees, such as a monthly fee or a one-off card fee, and you may also find other fees apply such as a load fee or ATM fees.
What are the best prepaid credit cards in Singapore?
There are a few prepaid card options in Singapore. Here’s our pick of ones to consider:
YouTrip is a multicurrency digital card that is also prepaid. It’s designed for travellers, online shoppers or those that need access to more than one currency. With YouTrip, you can enjoy no monthly fee, no currency conversion fee and the ability to hold up to 10 currencies in your wallet at once.
TransferWise Multi-Currency Account
TransferWise is another great prepaid card option that gives you access to multiple currencies. The TransferWise account lets you spend like a local in a number of different countries by giving you a local bank account. You’re also able to hold and convert up to 55 currencies in your account.
Revolut is a digital account and prepaid card that comes with a number of benefits. You can hold multiple currencies (including cryptocurrencies), spend globally for no extra fees, enjoy rewards such as cashback and even get complimentary insurance. Revolut offers three account options with different levels of features, including a free account option.
BigPay is a new prepaid account option from AirAsia. You’re able to transact in 150 currencies through the app and you’ll pay no currency conversion fee when you opt to pay in local currency. You also earn 1 AirAsia Point for every S$5 you spend.
Questions to ask before you get a prepaid credit card
Consider these three questions to help you compare and apply for prepaid credit cards that suit your specific goals.
- Why do you want the card? Do you want a card that lets you load and spend in foreign currencies? Do you want it to better manage your money? 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 credit cards might charge a “dormancy fee” if you don’t use them for a specific length of time. 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.
Features of the best prepaid credit cards
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. Most prepaid cards are Mastercard or Visa products that can be used in Singapore and around the world. Some places may not accept prepaid cards (such as some hotels), so check if your card is eligible or prepare more than one option if you’re travelling overseas.
- Load limits. 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 variety 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.
- Budgeting tools. Some prepaid credit cards offer budgeting tools in an app to help you manage your money. These can include automatically categorising your purchases, sending you purchase notifications and more.
- Security features. Prepaid credit cards usually offer similar security features to regular cards, including chip-and-PIN technology and 24/7 worldwide card support. Other prepaid credit cards can come with additional security features like the ability to lock and unlock your card using the app in case you lose it or it’s stolen.
How much do prepaid credit cards cost?
As well as the features above, there are some different fees that could apply when you use a prepaid credit card. These could include:
- Issue fee. Some prepaid credit cards may charge you a fee upon activation. This can range from S$5 to S$30. There are also many 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.
- Foreign currency fee. Some cards will charge you a foreign currency fee of between 2-4% if you make a purchase in a foreign currency.
- 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 credit 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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