Compare prepaid business cards in the UK 2021

A prepaid business card, also known as a business expense card, can be used to spend money with any retailer that accepts debit or credit cards.

Name Product Account fee Non-Sterling transactions Overdraft Accounting integrations Account management Key benefits
No fee
Fortnox, Sage, Xero
App, Online
Per card
a flat 1% FX fee for any transaction in the non-domestic currency
QuickBooks, Xero
App, Online
Spending limits, real time notifications, company cards
Equals Business Expense Card
+ VAT per year
A 1.5% currency fee applies when a transaction is made in a currency other than GBP, EUR, USD, CAD, AUD, NZD, DKK, HKD, NOK, PLN, ZAR, SEK, CHF, HUF, JPY
App, Online

Compare up to 4 providers

What is a prepaid card for business?

A prepaid card can help business owners provide employees with access to money so they can pay for expenses.

It can be linked to your bank account and quickly loaded with funds online, or using a mobile app. Some cards will also allow you to load funds with cash at PayPoints, a banking branch or other locations, such as the Post Office.

However, you can’t set up direct debits or standing orders, like you would be able to do with a traditional bank account. You are unable to go overdrawn either.

Business owners might choose to use a prepaid card if they’re unable to apply for a traditional business bank account or a business credit card.

How do prepaid business cards work?

You will usually have to apply for a prepaid card online, as a lot of providers don’t have branches. In many cases, you can complete the application by downloading the associated app onto your smartphone and entering a few basic personal and financial details. The application usually only takes a few minutes and you won’t need to pass a credit check to be eligible for a card.

Once you’ve successfully applied for a card(s), you’ll have to wait a few days for it to be delivered to you. However, most providers will give you a “virtual card” with all the details you need to make online purchases in the meantime. You could also link a virtual card with mobile payment services like Apple Pay or Google Pay.

The prepaid card will be powered by a payment processor like Visa or Mastercard. You’ll be able to use this card with any retailer that accepts card payments from these processors. You can also withdraw cash at any ATM, although fees may apply.

Either way, the transaction will only go through if you have enough money loaded onto your card. If your balance is too low, the transaction will be rejected.

In what situations would prepaid business cards be used?

Prepaid business cards are a useful tool for splitting your business’s funds between multiple people. If each individual had their own prepaid card, the account holder could easily control and ensure they stick to their budgets.

It’s particularly useful if you want to give employees a means of spending, as you may not trust them with full access to your account via a debit card. Prepaid cards also make it easier to track who is spending your business’s money and where.

If your prepaid card offers better overseas spending rates than your bank account, you may choose to only use this while you’re abroad.

How to compare prepaid cards for business

  • Fees. You may be charged a delivery fee for receiving the card, plus a monthly account fee. Some cards charge ATM withdrawal fees too, so make sure to compare the potential costs of each card.
  • Card limits. Each card will have daily limits on ATM withdrawals. There may also be a daily spending limit, although this tends to be very high.
  • Top-up methods. Some cards may let you top up by cash at PayPoints, or online by linking one of your bank accounts. Other accounts may only support a few of these options.
  • Overseas rates. A key advantage of prepaid cards is that they tend to offer more reasonable rates for overseas spending. If you plan to use your card in different countries, make sure to compare how much it will cost you to do so.

The bottom line

Prepaid cards may not have all the functions of debit and credit cards, but that can be useful for business owners in various scenarios. No wonder more prepaid cards for business and popping up. The costs can vary wildly though, so make sure to shop around for the best deal.

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