Prepaid card comparison UK 2021
Control your spending with a prepaid card. Read on to find out how prepaid cards in the UK work.
A prepaid card is a good option if you need to stay on top of your spending. Here we compare the fees, transaction and withdrawal fees to help you decide which card suits you best. We also have a dedicated guide on prepaid cards for businesses.
Compare prepaid cards
We update our data regularly, but information can change between updates. Confirm details with the provider you're interested in before making a decision.
Why should I get a prepaid card?
You only need to spend what you top up, so it’s up to you! You usually don’t incur any fees for leaving money on your card, so you can use it as and when you choose.
No credit checks
If you’ve got bad credit or have defaulted on loans previously, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to get normal credit cards. Prepaid cards offer respite from the spiralling debt that can come with credit. Some prepaid cards charge monthly fees, while allowing you to build your credit.
A lot of prepaid cards work abroad. This is great for a two main reasons. Firstly you won’t have to carry loads of cash around or worry about it being stolen. Secondly, prepaid cards often offer bank beating transaction and withdrawal fees, so you won’t need to worry about racking up a big bill on ATM charges.
Easy to keep track of spending
A lot of prepaid debit cards come with an accompanying app which will allow you to track your spending. Neatly designed apps let you see how you’re spending your money too, so you can get an idea of where you need to reign in your spending!
How do prepaid cards work?
When you buy a prepaid card you can decide how much money to put on it straight away. There’s usually a few limitations (such as an overall maximum, and a maximum amount you can withdraw in one go). Just think of a prepaid card as a card for day-to-day spending, the same as having cash in your wallet.
Topping up works in a number of ways. A lot of cards allow you to top up at places such as the Post Office, so you can go in and simply add however much cash to your card. (This may take a few days to be processed).
All prepaid cards are linked to your main bank account or building society. Many prepaid cards let you top up online or via an app. The Monzo card for instance allows you to manage your account, the cards linked to it, and other features such as your PIN number and your spending history all from the app.
Do prepaid cards cost much?
Fees and charges vary. Some prepaid cards come with absolutely zero fees for setting up or having them open.
In other cases, you can be charged for getting the card in the first place. Some cards also have monthly management fees. Similarly some charge withdrawals. Some charge you for paying for goods.
These fees can quickly add up so make sure you shop around and find the right card for you.
Prepaid cards for kids
You may want your child to have access to some money to spend and believe a prepaid card is the answer, or you might feel that your child doesn’t need a current account until they hit their later teenage years. Either way, you’d like them to have their own payment card before that. Learn more about prepaid cards for kids.
The bottom line
Prepaid cards can be a simple and flexible way to spend money without using cash. You won’t undergo a credit check for these types of cards, so they can be a great financial tool for people who have previously defaulted on loans or have a poor credit history.
Prepaid cards can also be a handy way of budgeting, enabling you keep to spending limits without going into an overdraft. For this reason, prepaid cards can be a useful tool for teaching children about personal finance, enabling them to spend money without having to open a full bank account.
As a further bonus, prepaid cards can be a great way to spend your money when you’re abroad. Not only do you avoid the need to carry lots of cash, but you’ll often find lower transaction and ATM withdrawal fees.
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