What is the best prepaid credit card?

You have a choice of reloadable, multi-currency and single-use Visa or Mastercard prepaid cards in Australia. Here’s how to find the right one for you.

We’re reader-supported and may be paid when you visit links to partner sites. We don’t compare all products in the market, but we’re working on it!

A prepaid credit card gives you a way to load and spend your money in Australia, online and around the world. Although they're often referred to as prepaid credit cards, they do not offer a line of credit and have no capacity to borrow. There are prepaid cards you can use to spend in different currencies, for shopping online and in-store – or as a gift for someone else.Use this guide to compare prepaid cards, learn how they work and decide if it's the right option for you.

How to find the right prepaid card for you

When you're searching for the best prepaid card, answer the following questions:

  1. Why do you want the card? If you're shopping overseas or online with international retailers, some prepaid cards are designed for travel and you can exchange your loaded Australian dollars into foreign currencies. If you want to earn rewards, Qantas Travel Money is a prepaid Mastercard that also earns frequent flyer points. You can also buy prepaid or gift cards for single use, which could be useful if you don't plan to top up the card.
  2. How much are you willing to pay? Some prepaid cards charge fees for activating it, loading money or withdrawing cash. Compare the full list of fees that will apply before you decide on a card.
  3. How long will you use it? Prepaid cards sometimes charge an "inactivity fee" if you don't use them for a specific length of time (usually 12 months). If you only want to use the card temporarily, check if the card charges this fee and make sure you close the account before it applies.

Travelex Money Card

Travelex Money Card

  • Up to 10 currencies on 1 card
  • Lock in exchange rates
  • No overseas ATM fees

Travelex Money Card

Load and hold up to 10 foreign currencies at a time. Lock in exchange rates. Pay nothing for international ATM withdrawals.

  • No international ATM fees
  • 24/7 emergency assistance
  • Access wherever Mastercard is accepted
  • PIN security
  • Prepaid so you can manage your spending
Go to site
Promoted

Compare prepaid travel money cards

Name Product Available Currencies ATM Withdrawal Fee Initial Load Fee Reload fee
Cash Passport Platinum Mastercard
AUD,USD,CAD,EUR,GBP,HKD,JPY,NZD,SGD,THB,AED
USD $2.50, EUR €2.50, GBP £2.00, NZD $3.50, THB ฿80.00, CAD $3.50, HKD $18.00, JPY ¥260.00, SGD $3.50, AUD $3.50, AED 10.00
$0
$5
Up to 11 currencies on 1 card locked in exchange rates and no load fees.
loading

Compare up to 4 providers

Other prepaid travel cards

Compare the features, load amounts and fees of the prepaid cards below.

Prepaid cardMastercard/VisaMin/max load (AUD)Issue feeOther features
Qantas Travel MoneyMastercard$50 / $20,000$0Earn Qantas Points on all eligible purchases with no cost to open the account or keep the card.
Commonwealth Bank Travel Money CardMastercard$1 / $100,000$15Load and use up to 13 foreign currencies, plus enjoy the security of a second backup card.
Westpac Global Currency CardVisa$100 / $50,000$0Load up to 5 different currencies on your card at a time, with 11 currencies available.

Features to compare

The features available on a prepaid 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 Australia 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 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. If you have a reloadable prepaid card, check how you can top up your account. Common options usually include bank transfer, BPAY or debit payments. It can sometimes take a few business days for funds to be loaded on your prepaid account, so check what these details are and make sure you give your funds enough time to appear in your account.
  • Supported currencies. Most travel cards in Australia support up to 10 international currencies. This usually includes USD, GBP, EUR, NZD and more. When you spend in a local currency that is supported by and loaded on your card, you can avoid foreign currency conversion fees. Check if the local currency you'll be spending in is supported by the travel card before you use it.
  • Account management. Some prepaid cards 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 cards usually offer similar security features to regular cards, including chip-and-PIN technology and 24/7 worldwide card support. Some cards also offer emergency card replacement and funds if your card is lost or stolen. Make sure you check what security measures are in place and who you need to contact in the case of an emergency regarding your card.
  • Rewards. If you want to reward your spending, consider using a frequent flyer travel card such as the Qantas Travel Money Mastercard.

What fees will be charged?

Not all prepaid cards charge the same fees, but these are some of the common costs that you may have to pay:

  • Issue fee. Some prepaid cards may charge you a fee upon activation. This can range from $5 to $24. There are also cards that don't charge an issue fee.
  • Additional card fee. You may receive an additional card which you can use as a back up if your primary card is lost or stolen. Check if any fees apply to request an additional card.
  • Loading fees. This fee is charged when you add money to the prepaid card balance. Some cards charge a fee for the initial load or reloads after that, so check what charges apply before you get the card.
  • 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 Australia could attract additional fees from both the card issuer and the ATM provider.
  • Inactivity fee. This fee could be charged if you don't use your card for a period of time, usually 12 months or more and is usually applied as a monthly or annual charge.
  • Card cancellation fee. A fee of around $10-$20 or more may apply when you close the account.

There are many types of prepaid cards available in Australia, so it's important to compare your options to find the best one for you. Consider how you plan to use the card as well as the features and any fees that apply.

Compare traditional credit cards

If you're looking for more flexibility, a more traditional credit card might be worth comparing.

Name Product Purchase rate Interest-free period Annual fee Balance transfer rate
Kogan Money Black Card - Exclusive Offer
20.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0
0% p.a. for 24 months
0% Balance Transfer Offer & $50 Kogan.com Credit
Finder Exclusive
Save with a $0 annual fee and a 0% introductory rate on balance transfers. Plus, earn $50 Kogan.com Credit and uncapped rewards points.
Coles No Annual Fee Mastercard - Exclusive Offer
0% p.a. for 12 months, reverts to 19.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0
0% p.a. for 12 months
0% Purchase & Balance Transfer Offers
Finder Exclusive, ends 16 June 2021
Earn 10,000 bonus Flybuys points and save on interest charges with 0% p.a. on balance transfers and purchases for 12 months.
Citi Rewards Card - Balance Transfer Offer
21.49% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$49 annual fee for the first year ($149 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 30 months
30-Month Balance Transfer & Annual Fee Discount
Save on interest with 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 30 months with no balance transfer fee. Plus, a $49 first-year annual fee.
HSBC Platinum Credit Card
19.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$29 annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 36 months
0% Balance Transfer Offer & $29 First-Year Annual Fee
Save money with a 0% balance transfer rate for 36 months (with no BT fee), a first-year annual fee discount and free travel insurance.
ANZ Low Rate
12.49% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0 annual fee for the first year ($58 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 30 months
0% Balance Transfer Offer & $0 First-Year Annual Fee
Save with 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 30 months (with no BT fee) and $0 first-year annual fee. Plus a 12.49% p.a. purchase interest rate.
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Balance Transfer Offer
20.74% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$64 annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 26 months
$129 Gift Voucher & Balance Transfer Offer
Get 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 26 months, a reduced 1st year annual fee & $129 Virgin Australia Gift Voucher yearly.
Citi Rewards Card - Flybuys Offer
21.49% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$49 annual fee for the first year ($149 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 15 months with 1% balance transfer fee
100,000 Bonus Flybuys Points
Get 100,000 bonus Flybuys points (worth $500 Flybuys dollars) when you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days. Plus, a $49 first-year annual fee.
loading

Compare up to 4 providers

Insights in the Finder app

Want more bang for your buck?

The Finder app hunts down personalised ways for you to save. Find a better deal on your credit card, insurance, energy, mobile plan and more. Pop in your phone number below to get your download link.

Picture: Getty

Back to top

More guides on Finder

Go to site