Whether it's for travel, online shopping, rewards or anything else, here's what you need to know to find the right prepaid credit card for you.
Prepaid credit cards let you load and spend your own money all around the world. But just as with regular credit cards, the features and fees vary between prepaid cards and the "best" option is different depending on your individual circumstances. So here, we go through the key details to consider when comparing prepaid credit cards so that you can find an option that suits your budget and your needs.
How to find the right prepaid credit card for you
Consider these three questions to help you compare and apply for prepaid credit cards that suit your specific goals.
- What is the main reason I want the card? Do you want a card that lets you load and spend in foreign currencies? Or are you interested in a prepaid card that offers rewards, such as the Qantas Cash or Velocity Global Wallet? There are also prepaid credit cards you can buy for single use or as gifts, so 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 cards 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 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.
Compare Prepaid Travel Money Cards
Prepaid travel money cards are similar to credit cards but allow you to load and spend multiple currencies on the one account. This helps you avoid foreign currency fees typically charged by regular credit cards. Plus, because the money going onto the account is yours, you won't have to worry about interest charges or debt.
The finder.com.au best* prepaid credit cards
Compare the features, load amounts and fees of the prepaid cards below.
|Prepaid card||Mastercard/Visa||Min/max load (AUD)||Issue fee||Other features|
|Velocity Global Wallet®||Visa||$1 / $25,000||$0||For eligible purchases you earn 1 point per $1 spent overseas and 1 point per $2 spent in Australia.|
|Qantas Cash||Mastercard||$50 / $20,000||$0||Earn Qantas Points on all eligible purchases with no cost to open the account or keep the card.|
|NAB Traveller Card||Mastercard||$50 / $45,000||$0||Supports 10 currencies and comes with 2 cards for convenience and security.|
|Commonwealth Bank Travel Money Card||Mastercard||$1 / $100,000||$15||Load and use up to 13 foreign currencies, plus enjoy the security of a second backup card.|
|Westpac Global Currency Card||Visa||$100/ 100,000||$0||Load up to 5 different currencies on your card at a time, with 11 currencies available.|
What features should I look at when choosing a prepaid credit card?
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, Visa or American Express products that can be used wherever these types of cards are accepted. But there may be certain limitations around your prepaid option if, say, you want to use a prepaid Amex card at a business that doesn't accept American Express.
- Minimum and maximum 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. Make sure that there are a lot of reload options available for the card, such as direct bank transfer, BPAY 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.
- Security features. Prepaid credit cards usually offer similar security features to regular cards, including chip-and-PIN technology and 24/7 worldwide card support. But it's still good to take note of these details when you're comparing cards so that you know exactly what's available if it's lost or stolen.
Can I earn points with a prepaid credit card?If you want to get rewarded for your spending on a prepaid card, you can consider an option that earns points per $1 on eligible spending. Currently, both the Qantas Cash and Velocity Global Wallet earn frequent flyer points for most everyday purchases in Australia and overseas.
What about prepaid credit card fees?
As well as the features above, there are many different fees that could apply when you use a prepaid credit card. These could include:
- 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, such as the Australia Post Load&Go Travel Card, the Qantas Cash card and the Velocity Global Wallet.
- 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. 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. If you decide to cancel your card after using it, a fee of around $10-$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 cards based on your spending plans and goals, you'll be able to find and apply for one that's right for you.
Compare your prepaid credit card options here