The prepaid card allows, like a conventional credit card

The prepaid card allows, like a conventional credit card

to buy on the internet, in stores, or at restaurants,

to withdraw money from an ATM in Belgium or abroad,

to have a reserve of money available during a stay abroad,

without having to walk around with banknotes in your pockets.

But it is not a credit card:

  • The prepaid card is not linked to a bank account (although some banks will require it)
  • The bank does not give you credit: you put a sum of money on the card, either in cash at the counter, or by transfer from your bank account

The principle is simple: you load a sum on the prepaid card, money that you then use. “Prepaid” implies that it must be charged by you before it is put into service, and each time its credit is exhausted.

You load when you want, the amount you want. It is also possible for some prepaid cards to set a minimum amount on this card, once this minimum has been reached, the bank will itself transfer your bank account to the prepaid card.

Benefits:

  • The prepaid card is not a traditional credit card. Only the money we have is spent, which is credited beforehand on my prepaid card: 100% control of expenses
  • For everyone: Everyone is likely to be able to get one. It is accessible without financial conditions or minimum age. Since there is no possibility of spending money that you do not have, this kind of card can very well be used by young people who travel.
  • Ideal and easy application for a teenager traveling for example. It can also be recharged remotely.
  • It is a widely accepted means of payment. Less than a classic credit card, better than a debit card. Prepaid cards bearing the “Mastercard” logo are accepted at millions of locations, making them a much more usable means of payment than a Bancontact bank card.
  • The prepaid card can prove to be a good means of payment during a trip. Imagine that you have a problem with your credit card, blocked
  • Security in the event of theft, loss, and fraudulent use: Little risk, provided you are careful (as with any card). In addition, the risk is limited to the amount placed on the card since it is not linked to a bank account. Like any bank card, a secret code must be entered and it is not possible to spend more than what is on the prepaid card.

Possible blocking of the card: A phone number should be noted and kept close to you, in the event of theft or loss, to block the card.

Why a credit card when you’re still studying?

  • Less accepted as a means of payment than a regular credit card. Some payments will not be possible. What is normal since it is not associated with a bank account, it does not offer a sufficient guarantee for the creditor in certain situations such as the rental of a car abroad for example.
  • No payment on credit: No payment deferral after the purchase like the classic credit card. When you pay with your prepaid card, you are immediately debited with the amount on your card. You even pay in advance since you had to credit your card from your bank account.
  • No credit service: only a positive balance is possible. No borrowing with the prepaid card. You must first deposit your money on the prepaid card before paying.

Which prepaid card to choose from?

Bank or non-bank prepaid card?

Almost all major Belgian banks offer prepaid cards. But if you want a card that is 100% independent of your current account, opt for Bpost’s “paid”.

In the non-bank sector, you will find the Buy Way Prepaid, the Vikingcard Prepaid Mastercard, the Skrill Prepaid Mastercard (English), and the Viabuy Prepaid Mastercard. Due to the distance from the head office, we do not recommend these prepaid cards. Because this could increase the difficulties of communication in the event of recourse, of conflict between the bank and you. In addition, these cards have a very low maximum total transaction amount (between €1000 and €2500).

Visa or Mastercard prepaid card?

It seems to us that the Mastercard network is the main issuer of prepaid cards. But there is also the “Anytime Visa Card”, a VISA prepaid card that is very easy to use on the internet.

Anyway, it doesn’t matter, their use allows you to go equally everywhere in the world with the same security.

The question is which bank to choose?

Compare banks, as they are the ones who set the fees for using prepaid cards. Both the cost of the card, the loading limit and the exchange fees vary from one bank to another.

A card to be used only in specific circumstances:

A young person traveling abroad:

The young person studying does not yet have the possibility of being able to benefit from a credit card. His parents will put money on the prepaid card, which the youngster will use to make his purchases.

Parents control spending by crediting the card only as and when needed by the young person.

And if the young person is in difficulty, they can quickly help financially.

For frequent and controlled online purchases:

The online shopper who does not want to use a credit card but regularly wants to shop online. Since the recharge must be done in real-time, unlike the credit card which allows spending with deferred payment, the buyer has better control over his expenses. The prepaid card allows him to limit himself by charging only the necessary amount.

Travelers outside the eurozone who do not wish to use a credit card:

For people who do not wish to use a credit card, and who travel abroad outside the eurozone, where the Maestro function of the Bancontact debit card will not suffice.

By aamritri

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