Prepaid debit cards in Singapore

Important things to know about prepaid cards in Singapore

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Singapore prepaid cards could be a great option for those who want hassle-free money management. It works just like a prepaid mobile SIM card and can be tailored to your budgeting needs.

Learn more about prepaid cards in Singapore and decide if this payment method is ideal for you.

Compare a range of digital bank cards in Singapore

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Monthly fee Card delivery Supported currencies
YouTrip
S$0
5-8 business days

10

Use promo code FINDER5 to earn $5 on signup.

A prepaid Mastercard with no monthly fees, contactless payment features and fee-free transactions in over 150 currencies. NOTE: Promo code valid for new signups and Singapore residents only.
Wirex Visa Card
S$0
5 business days

12

A multi-currency card that supports over 150 currencies, including more than 8 cryptocurrencies at interbank rates.
Aspire Business Account
S$0
3-5 business days

1

A virtual business debit card to help you manage business expenses. No foreign exchange fees and cashback perks of up to 1% on selected spending.
BigPay
S$0
5-7 business days

1

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How do prepaid cards work in Singapore?

A prepaid card is a safe alternative to cash. You add money to the card beforehand then use it to make purchases online and in-person, just as you would a debit or credit card.

This preloading can be done at most terminals or POS machines. Users can only use the amount of credit that they have topped up into their card, making prepaid cards very similar to debit cards. The key difference between prepaid cards and regular debit cards is that the former is not linked to your bank account.

How do prepaid cards compare to credit and debit cards?

Here are the similarities and differences between prepaid cards, debit cards 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
Sometimes — look at second-chance checking accountsSometimes — look at cards for bad credit

What types of prepaid cards are there?

Prepaid cards come in all shapes and sizes. Here’s an overview of common ones you may find:

Type of cardBest forHow to purchaseIssued byFees
Prepaid debit cardAnyone who can’t get a bank account, needs help budgeting or has poor credit
  • Online
  • Retail location
  • Payment networks — Visa, Mastercard, American Express
  • Banks
Many — varies by provider
Prepaid gift cardAnyone who wants an alternative way to gift cash
  • Online
  • Retail location
  • Retailers
One-time purchase fee
Prepaid travel cardTravelers
  • Online
  • Participating bank
  • Payment networks — Visa, Mastercard, American Express
  • Banks
Many — varies by provider
Prepaid business cardSmall business owners who don’t qualify for a business credit card
  • Online
  • Participating bank
  • Payment networks — Visa, Mastercard, American Express
  • Banks
Many — varies by provider

What options are there for a prepaid debit card in Singapore?

Although the variety of prepaid cards in Singapore is limited, the features of each choice are significantly different.

How to compare prepaid cards in Singapore

Here are some features to compare when deciding which prepaid card to choose:

  • Features. Some come with the same basic features offered by bank accounts. Some offer online bill pay, mobile check deposit or direct deposit features, for example.
  • Cost. Prepaid debit cards usually come with high issue and subscription fees, especially those offering premium banking features such as the Revolut Metal.
  • Ease of registration: Getting a prepaid card shouldn’t be a hassle. Convenient signup options including online registration and free card delivery could be a priority for you if you want a simple, quick registration process.
  • Ease of loading. Look for a card with easy reloading features for your needs. For example, prepaid debit cards such as Revolut and YouTrip allows you to reload funds conveniently from their mobile apps.
  • Card limits. Most cards have daily withdrawal and deposit limits for cash reloads, ATM withdrawals, purchases and more. Some may find lower load limits a hassle as they have to regularly top up their card. Others may feel that it is a good security feature to reduce losses if the card is stolen/taken advantage of. Examine the limits for each card you’re considering to make sure they fit with your regular habits.

Who are prepaid cards best for?

Prepaid debit cards could be a good choice if you:

  • Have no credit or bad credit. You can get a prepaid card without a credit check, so they’re 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 they’ll give you a way to pay bills and make purchases online.
  • Want to avoid overdraft fees. Overdraft fees cost around $25 per transaction on average. If you regularly dip below your account balance and want to avoid costly overdraft fees, a prepaid card is a good solution.
  • Want to gain control of spending. Knowing you can only spend what’s available on your prepaid card can force you to keep your spending under control. You can also use your card to budget for certain expenses — say $300 for groceries or $500 for petrol, for example.
  • Want to help your child spend money responsibly. You can provide a prepaid card for your child to teach them how to spend money electronically without the risk of getting into financial trouble. You can monitor their spending and load their card with additional funds as needed.
  • Are traveling and concerned about security. If you’re jet-setting to a place that’s known for debit or credit card fraud, a prepaid card can be a great way to protect your main accounts from potentially harmful activity.

Are prepaid debit cards safe?

In some ways, prepaid cards are safer than debit cards. Your bank account information isn’t tied to your prepaid card, so if it gets lost or stolen, you’re only out for the amount you had available on the card. But to make sure all your basis are covered, look for a prepaid card that has these two non-negotiables:

  • Compensation. According to the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) e-payments guidelines, consumers can claim up to $1,000 from the financial institution if they are able to prove that the unauthorised transactions did not arise from negligence by the account holder. However, this may not automatically include all prepaid cards in Singapore. Make sure you check if your desired card is eligible so you get your money back if the bank that issues your card fails.
  • Fraud protection. Not all prepaid cards come with fraud protection, which means you may not get your money back if your card is stolen, you receive a damaged order or there are billing errors. Look for a prepaid card that has fraud protection so you know your money is safe from fraudulent or unauthorised transactions.

What are the benefits of prepaid cards?

  • Bad or no credit accepted. You can get a prepaid card regardless of your credit history. There’s no credit check and having a new card won’t impact your credit score.
  • No overdraft fees. Banks charge overdraft fees when you make a purchase that exceeds your account balance. But prepaid cards don’t have overdraft fees because you can’t spend more than what you have available.
  • No interest charge. Since you can’t carry a balance, you won’t pay expensive interest charges as you would with credit cards.
  • Great for travel. If you’re traveling internationally, you can load funds onto a prepaid card so you don’t put your debit or credit card at risk of fraud or theft.
  • Develop good spending habits. Prepaid cards are a great way for kids and teens to ‘practice’ using a traditional card before graduating to the real thing.

What should I watch out for?

  • Doesn’t build credit. Prepaid cards won’t help build your credit score. See our guide on secured credit cards if you need to rebuild your credit.
  • High fees. Some prepaid cards have complex fee structures. Look for one with minimal fees. Otherwise, you could end up losing money to unnecessary fees each month.
  • Declined charges. Any transaction that would put your account in the negative will be declined. To avoid declines at the register, check your balance to confirm you have enough funds to cover your purchase before you swipe.
  • Not accepted everywhere. Some hotels and car rental agencies don’t accept prepaid cards. Others may require a credit check or additional documentation before allowing you to use a prepaid card.

How can I get a prepaid credit card?

Depending on the prepaid credit card you choose, you will be able to apply online or in person at participating retailers and bank branches. While the application details are different for each card, here are the most common requirements you need to meet to get a prepaid credit card:

  • Age. Some prepaid credit cards specify a minimum age for cardholders or will limit the available balance if a person is under a certain age.
  • Personal details. You may need to provide personal details such as your full name, residential address, contact number and date of birth to help verify your identity.
  • Initial load amount. Some cards require you to load a minimum amount onto the card when you first get it.
  • Card activation. You will need to activate the card before you can use it. This can be done in person, over the phone or online depending on the card.
  • PIN. Prepaid credit cards may come with an assigned PIN, or require you to choose a PIN when you activate the card.
  • Signing the card. Make sure you sign the card once you receive and activate it. This step is necessary to validate the zero liability policy that helps protect you against any unauthorised transactions.

If you apply in person, you should receive your card and be able to use your card straight away. If you apply online you will have to wait for the card to arrive in the post, which takes up to 5-10 working days in most cases.

What should I do after I receive my prepaid debit card?

After you purchase your card, make the most of it by following these steps:

  • 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, deposit a check with your mobile phone, or have your pay direct 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 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’ve loaded onto the card, you’ll have to reload more. You don’t have to wait until your card is empty to reload, but your card may be subject to a maximum load amount.

Bottom line

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

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